We did not have a choice, we had to visit Iceland again this year. Alex had a conference in Reykjavik at the end of June. Therefore, we had to include Iceland in our vacation plans and find something new to see and do there. We have seen a lot of sites along Route 1 and even Westfjords, but we have not seen a lot of interior Iceland and we have not been on long hikes. Thus, I suggested the Landmannalaugar-Thórsmörk hike. It is the most popular multi-day hike in Iceland (so much so that it is called Laugavegur Trail, after Reykjavik’s main street) and seemed to be a good fit for our abilities. Plus, we have never done multi-day hikes, so that one was definitely going to be an adventure.
However, we were not ready to give up some of the conveniences in the name of adventure. For example, I did not want to carry a backpack full of stuff with me or find the right trail in a snow field. So, the solution was to find a guided tour that would take care of all the details, inconveniences and organization, while we enjoyed nature, walking and picture-taking activities. After some research, we decided to go with Extreme Iceland company. They offered the most value for basically the same amount as other tours. With them we got to hike over 20 km more, hike around and spend a night at Landmannalaugar, and travel on super jeeps instead of scheduled buses.
So, this and the next several posts will be our report on the Laugavegur trail hike.
On Day 1, we were set to begin traveling to Landmannalaugar at 9am, but the driver was a little late, and while we waited we met some of our future companions. By around 10am we were all set to go, a total of 10 people (2 guides and 8 hikers). Most of the first half of the day were spent on traveling to Landmannalaugar by Route 208. We made several stops on our way there.
The first stop was at Hjalparfoss waterfall (a small detour from Route 32), a prettyish sort of waterfall but not by any means extraordinary. The setting and surroundings were kind of nice, all green grass with patches of lupines everywhere. The green surroundings definitely help Hjalparfoss stand out.
The second waterfall was located along F208 (64°10’13” N 19°7’47” W), not far from the Sigöldustöð power station. I liked it a little better than Hjalparfoss because of more dramatic surroundings. I could have spent a couple of hours there just to find an interesting spot for a photograph, but unfortunately on a tour it is not possible. The following is all I could accomplish in 20 minutes that was allocated for that stop.
The majestic Bláhylur crater lake is near route F208 (64°3’18” N 19°2’4″ W). The wind nearly blew me away there. There was no way I could use a tripod in such wind, but when I came back to the bus and complained about the wind, the guide told me that this wind was not as bad as it was going to be tomorrow. “The weather is going to be a little bit bad,” he said. I kind of ignored that comment because I thought that tomorrow during the hike we were not going to be hiking on a ridge of a mountain. Besides, how bad could “a little bit bad” be?.. I was so wrong.
Another lake along F208. Not as pretty as Bláhylur, but the view in the opposite direction of the lake was good. Again, it was really windy, so we did not stay for long.
Finally, we arrived at Landmannalaugar. After a half day of travel, everyone agreed to go for a short hike before dinner. We went on a circular hike through some geothermal areas near Landmannalaugar. The weather was pretty good, and we breezed through the trail.
On a side of the trail, our guide found some nasturtium plants for us to try. We already ate nasturtium when we visited Faroe Islands, so it was nice to eat them again.