S: I C E L A N D 2 0 1 1
1: 26 June 2011 - 05 July 2011 Laugavegur Trek Day 1: The trip starts with a pick up from your hotel in Reykjavik at 08:30 - 09:00. We will have a quick briefing regarding equipment and the trip before we head out of Reykjavik. On our journey to Landmannalaugar we will do some sightseeing, since the road to Thjorsardalur valley offers some beautiful land. From there we will drive towards the highlands, passing Mt. Hekla, the most active volcano in Iceland. It last erupted in the year 2000, so we're holding our breath and soon expecting a new and powerful burst form this mountain, which has been called the gateway to hell. We will have lunch at some point on our journey, depending on time and weather. Before we arrive in Landmannalaugar (approx. 600m above seal level) we will make a stop at Ljotipollur crater and hope for a great view over the highlands, spotting Icelands biggest glaciers. In Landmannalaugar we will spend an afternoon exploring the area and relaxing in the naturally warm river that runs beside the campsite. Day 2 First section: Landmannalaugar - Alftavatn Distance: 24 km Vertical alteration: ~900m We start our Laugarvegur journey early morning in Landmannalaugar. From the mountain hut by the campsite, we stroll through the rough lava field of Laugahraun. From there on up the beautiful hills by the colorful mountain Brennisteinsalda and onto a plateau. The colors in this part are out of this world. Ancient rivers and streams mark the land so we will be going in and out of small gullies quite a lot. At this point we have reached a rather high altitude and you can expect snow piles that we'll have to traverse. At Hrafntinnusker there is a mountain hut where we can have lunch if the weather is bad. Lots of obsidian scattered around gives the place a mystic appearance. When the weather permits, the view from the hut is amazing. Above 1000m there is nothing much but bare rocks and wasteland, the immense Icelandic highland desert. Along the hills of Reykjafjoll we continue walking through gullies until we get to Jokultungur. There are some changes in the landscape and we face dark tuff mountains and glaciers. | We also start to see some stubborn plants scattered around. We descent down some steep slopes into a green oasis, which is a pleasant contrast after the rough landscapes behind us. From there the walk to a campsite at the northern shore of lake Alftavatn is easy. Day 3: Second section: Alftavatn-Emstrur (Botnar) Distance: 16 km Vertical Alteration: ~40m After yesterdays long journey this is going to be an easy and pleasant day. We cross Bratthals hill and head east for Hvanngil gorge. There we have to cross Bratthalskvisl River on foot. Soon after that we get to Kaldaklofskvisl that we cross via bridge. From there we head for the hut and campsite of Emstrur and on our way we cross the river of Blafjallaskvisl. Yeah, we're sure going to give our feet a refreshing wash today. We cross between two sandy hills and soon after that we'll see our destination for the night. If people are up for a nice evening walk after dinner we can take a peek at the unbelievable Markarfjlotsgljufur canyon. The canyon is 200 meters deep and through it flows the powerful Markarfjot River. Day 4: Third section: Emstrur (Botnar) - Thorsmork Distance: 15 km Vertical alteration: ~300m The day starts with a crooked path down to Syori Emstrua River which we'll cross on a bridge. While crossing the river we'll have to be very careful, as this is one of the riskiest places on the way. After our heroic crossing we'll head south to an area called Almenningar. The landscape now starts to change once again and we'll be seeing peaceful streams covered in arctic birch and flowers. More refreshing river crossing, a bit more demanding than before (Thronga) is necessary but that's fine because we'll be experts by then. On the other side of this river we have left Almenningar behind and entered Thorsmork valley. From there we have a 40 min walk to Langidalur hut in Thorsmor and from there on to Basar hut where we'll spend the night. This part is wonderful as vegetation has spread over the area and Thorsmork is undeniably one of the pearls of Icelandic nature.
4: We arrive at Landmannalauger in an ash storm and set up camp. Luckily, there are hot springs!
7: Pete and I are ready for today's hike. Billi shows us the hike trail and explains today's portion of the trek.
14: Day 2
18: A very sore day 2 begins with a dip in the water, a trek through a black sand desert ending in the greatest view that could never be captured by a camera.
23: A well deserved beer at the end of a long hike. Thank you Billi!
25: Nothing could keep me down on day 3.
30: Pylsur. Sweet, sweet pyslur.
50: I like to be in the mountains. I like to be alone. -Nóni