Brúarfoss is a minor though very lovely waterfall in the region known as the 'Golden Circle'. It is notable for the brilliantly blue coloured water of the Brúará River. This very handy blog entry from Ann Marie provides very helpful directions.
There is a small parking lot by the river, with space for no more than a dozen cars on the Laugarvatnsvegur road (Number 37), about halfway between Laugarvatn and hot spring area of Geysir. The signs in the parking lot show the trail running along the riverside. They advise that the trail runs through Private Property, and that walkers must keep to the trail.
It is quite a wide, flat and gravelly path through the river meadows. Soon though, I came to a prominent sign with red lettering on a white ground emblazoned 'PRIVATE PROPERTY' on the hillside above the riverbank. Here the path forked, with one branch leading to the right, away from the river into a scrubby field, the other along the riverside. I briefly turned to the other path but it lead away from the river, and was uneven and very narrow, and was definitely not taking me where I needed to be.
I returned to the fork and saw that a clearly defined trail led past the sign along the riverside. When I soon came across Gongustigur as described by Anne Marie I knew I was on the right track. The track is narrow and a little rocky, twisting through low scrub. In wet weather it could be muddy and slippery. But there are fine views of the river, the hills beyond and the bright blue waters of little cascades of Hlauptungufoss and Miðfoss.
It was at this stage I had an encounter with a lady with a blond bob, and a mobile phone. After asking me whether I spoke Icelandic (I answered in the negative), she introduced herself as a 'representative' of the local property owners. She asked me why I had ignored the 'Private Property' sign on the trail. I replied that I had seen and read the sign, and definitely not ignored it. I had kept to the trail by the riverside and respected the rights of the owners not to be disturbed, as indicated by the signs in the trail carpark. She did not seem to understand or accept my explanation, and continued to accuse me of ignoring the sign. I told her that she should take up her problems with the local authorities, and should think of better ways to enjoy the pleasures of a sunny Ascension Day than confronting random hikers on a legitimate right of way. When she continued to Insist that I should not have walked on the trail by the river. I replied that so far all of the Icelanders I had met on my trip had been welcoming and friendly, I was sad that i should have met an exception to this rule, and bid her good day.
So I continued along the way, thinking of the words of the great Woody Guthrie, as they might apply to this situation:
As I went walking I saw a sign there
And on the sign it said "Private Property."
But on the other side it didn't say nothing,
That side was made for you and me.
And I came then to the very pleasing sight of Brúarfoss itself, with its complex of cascades shining brightly along the cracks in the lava. I enjoyed the rushing waters, ate a sandwich and forgot all about Ms Blond Bob.
I walked back to the car park along the alternate trail which the 'owners' would prefer that hikers walked. It is mostly along a gravel road behind the houses of the property owners, whose selfish attitude is regrettable. Walkers have every right to walk along the official trail. The 'owners' need to get a sense of perspective, and not try to keep this paradise for their exclusive use.