So, the hike. The pictures are going to paint this much better than my words can, so I’ll be brief. Whilst six of us set out, we were joined by two Aussies and became eight. We had been warned on arriving at Landmannalaugur that it would be best to wait until the following day to start our trek, but with huts and return buses booked we started out knowing that we would have a stretch with poor visibility to contend with. The headline picture shows the view we had of the first hut, on approach we were reliant on compass bearings as the trail posts were either buried beneath the snow or invisible in the thick mist.
The intrepid hikers were:
- Ande (my sister)
- Pals: Isy, Bonita, Ana and Chris
- Plus our new Aussie friends Claire and Cooper
We covered about 55 km in 4 days (I say about because distances varied depending on which warden, signpost, map, guide, you referred to).
The guidance from Ferðafélag Íslands says Hikers can expect:
- To carry a pack weighing up to 20 kg for up to 16 km each day
- A 10km climb up to 1000m on the first day to Hrafntinnusker
- Steep declines
- Rough, rocky and slippery surfaces
- At least one day of rain while on the track
- Non-bridged river crossings of icy glacial rivers through water up to a metre deep
- Beautiful views and high temperatures when the weather is good, no views at all, horizontal rain and freezing temperatures when the weather is bad
Day 1 Landmannalaugur to Hrafntinnusker
Day 2 Hrafntinnusker to Hvanngil
Day 3 Hvanngil to Botnar
Day 4 Botnar to Þórsmörk
We saw amazing landscapes, hiked through all sorts of weather, trudged through snow, volcanic sands, obsidian scree, palagonite gravels, through gorges, ravines, rivers, over passes, ridges and river plains and even, at the end, through a birch wood. One of the best experiences of my life.