Heidmörk: An early-morning outing (and more squishy moss!)

On Monday we had to return our rental car by 9 AM, but I wanted to squeeze in one last outing before we did so. On our way to Hveragerði on Saturday, we’d passed an area of strange rock outcrops that looked like something from another world. The place was just outside Reykjavík and there’d been a sign that said Heidmörk, which I knew from my guidebook was a park with walking trails. So at 7:30 AM — a little later than we’d hoped to start out — we stopped at a bakery for cheese buns and then headed out to Heidmörk.

It was an easy and uneventful drive, though it felt like a special occasion because of the early hour and the still-dim morning light.

Rauðhólar in the early morning with massive clouds


{as always, click on photos to enlarge, or mouse over for description}

When we saw the Heidmörk sign we turned off the highway, but soon came to a stop when we realized the road ahead was unpaved and gravelly, and therefore off-limits in our rental car. I was disappointed, but we didn’t have much time anyway, so I thought we might as well make the best of it. We were still within sight of the highway, but there was no one else around, and we were surrounded by all those funny rocks.

The red hills of Rauðhólar


There was a sign that said Rauðhólar, which meant nothing to me at the time, but later I looked it up and found it means “red hills.” According to Wikipedia, they are pseudocraters and are more than 5000 years old! We tried walking around a little, but the only trails there seemed to be uneven horse paths, and anyway there was nothing around but the rocks, and a brook closer to the highway, which we naturally investigated.

Brook or creek or river

Small river

Finally we decided to just climb a rock and eat our breakfast. We chose a big boulder not far from the car, and walked easily up its gentle slope.

The moss was the squishiest we had encountered yet. It was like stepping on a mountain of firm but fuzzy, irregularly shaped cushions.


And when we sat down, it was the cushiest possible seat.

The deeply mossy boulder we climbed

We were surrounded by more of that wonderful rich Icelandic flora.

A beautiful little peachy-green plant


Little seed pod things

Gold and black bugs on green leaves


It was chilly out, without the benefit of full sun, and my fingers got very cold while I was eating and taking pictures. But we were there, and I was glad we had come out.