11-Jul-2002 -- This confluence was visited as an excursion during a 1402 km cycle tour on north Iceland.
In the morning I started from Steingrimsfjardarheidi and cycled to Laugaland farm near Drangajökull in the Isafjördur area. I put up the tent 1 km east of the farm in Skjaldfannardalur, had a lunch and rested an hour while a light rain shower passed.
At 14:00 I set out for the confluence point. By mistake I went across the Hraundalur river where it flows into Skjaldfannardalur and continued 3 km into Skjaldfannardalur. I did not realize that I had to climb 60 - 100 m along the southwest bank of river Hraundalsa to get into Hraundalur, since the contour lines of my old map have almost disappeared.
Now I climbed the 400 m Laugalandsfjall ridge instead to reach Hraundalur. The ground was pretty easy to walk on all the way up to the waterfall in Hraundalur, about 12 km from the start, just north of the Raudinupur mountain.
The weather improved and got very nice. I saw and heard black-tailed godwit (the first observation of this bird in the area was only 10 years ago), about 100 whimbrels, arctic tern, arctic skua, over 100 golden plovers, about 50 redshanks, many dunlins, a few purple sandpipers, 2 ptarmigans, a male and a female harlequin duck, many meadow pipits, many redwings, and a raven.
After the ascent at the waterfall, I crossed Hraundalsa again. It was now only 30 cm deep. On the south side there is an old riding and walking trail, marked with cairns across the Ofeigsfjardarheidi highland. I followed this row of cairns, there were no signs of a footpath. After I had passed the highest elevation (about 550 m), I could see the area where the confluence should be, just beyond a partly ice-covered lake and some snow fields, at a distance of maybe 500 meters. The sun was shining over the barren rocky land and it was very beautiful. But there was a bank of mist just beyond the confluence, and it started to move towards it and covered it at 21:05. I reached the point at 21:10, Everyting was in thick fog, except that I could see the blue sky overhead. I waited until 22:00, but the fog did not disappear. So I took a few pictures of the barren rocks in fog and started the 16 km walk back. But as I reached the highest elevation again, the wind started to blow fromm the west, and the sun appeared again, but now very close to the mountain ridge in the north. I rushed back to the confluence point, but it was still in heavy fog. I waited another half hour, and at 22:40, the fog just sank below my elevation, and I could see mountains in the south above the cloud cover. The closest cairn was about 100 m to the north. The elevation was 479 m and the landscape type was barren rocky highland terrain. Drangajökull glacier was beyond a low mountain ridge to the north. I took a series of pictures with two cameras and started walking back, happy. I walked along the old trail all the way to the tent. It was very uneven ground on the south side of Hraundalur, and very slow to walk. The north side was much easier to walk, but the river was too big and violent to be crossed. I also got pains in my right leg and had to walk slower and slower. I reached the tent at 06:35 in the morning, and had a light meal before I went to sleep. When I woke up at about noon, I changed film in one of the cameras, and realized I had overexposed it more than one step. It had to be developed at an extra cost of 50 dollars, and will be ready on September 4th.
The Skjaldfannardalur - Laugalandsfjall route was easier to walk than the south side of Hraundalur.
When I again passed Laugaland farm, I was invited for a cup of coffee (I got many) and a chat by the farmer, Thordur.