Hiking Laugavegur and Fimmvörðuháls

27th of July till the 5th of August I have spent my holiday in Iceland with as main goal to hike the Laugavegur and Fimmvörðuháls trail. I also spent 2 days in Reykjavik to do a bit of a city trip. Over my 10 day stay in Iceland I have walked a total of 175,91km it wasn’t always easy but the scenery around you helps to lighten the load! This was my first real hiking trip and I plan on doing more and more of them so keep following my blogs!

I also uploaded a YouTube video about the trail, click “here” to see it!

Day 1 – Flight to Keflavik and exploring Reykjavik

Total distance walked today 14,42km

I woke up at 07.00 in the morning. A long awaited-adventure awaits, and it is “the” day to go to Iceland. We will see if the months of preparing will turn out! It is a warm 38,2°C in The Netherlands today. Reykjavik is supposed to be a sunny 16°C. My brother brings me to the Airport called “Schiphol” at 08.00. We arrive around 09.30 and it is busy with cars dropping other people off at the airport as well. We Found a spot to stop the car. I stepped out of the car, picked up my backpack from the car and said goodbye to my brother. I was on my own now and went to check in. Surprisingly at the check in place I had to check in myself at a terminal which I did not know beforehand, I dropped my backpack off at the self-service drop off. Went through security to fly away at 12.25. I landed at “Keflavik” Airport at 13.45 local time. I took a FlyBus which I booked in advance that rides tourists from Keflavik Airport to Reykjavik. The ride takes about 40 to 45 minutes. Once arrived at the BSI Bus Terminal I started walking to my hostel: “Galaxy Pod Hostel”. I checked in around 16.00 to get my room key and a pass for my pod which I needed to turn on the lights and the electricity. The hostel was great. You get your own pod in a hostel, so you get a little bit more privacy than a regular hostel, you get your own locker and even a TV in your pod which has Netflix installed!

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The “pod” in the “Galaxy Pod Hostel”

Later that same day I went to the supermarket called Krónan which is one of the cheaper ones in Iceland and I bought everything I need for the 2 days in Reykjavik. I also bought a pack of Lighters which I need for the hiking trail. I walked to the seaside to enjoy the views and to eat my dinner which was a cold pasta salad. With my belly full I started to explore Reykjavik a little bit. I noticed that it was crowded with tourists everywhere I went. I made some pictures in and around the city to return to my hostel later that night. I took a warm shower (which smelled a little bit like sulphur). I went in my pod and watched a few photos to only fall asleep a little bit later.

Day 2 – Exploring Reykjavik

Total distance walked today 24,78km

My alarm clock went off at 08.00. I woke up slowly with small eyes and took a warm shower first. This felt so good and got me ready for the day ahead. My plan was to walk all the way to the most western part of Reykjavik which was supposed to be 16km. I started packing my small bag to leave my heavy backpack at the hostel. I ate a Skyr in the morning (Which is typical Icelandic food, it looks like yoghurt but tastes a little bit different. There’s almost no fat in it so it is healthy as well!) I also ate a small sandwich with salad, chicken and eggs on it. My energy was filled up completely and I was ready to start walking. It was a nice day again, it was sunny and not to cold. The whole trip I was going to walk next to the sea with views of the mountain range in the distance. I noticed that there are a lot of jelly fish in the sea which were swimming in big groups. I then arrived at “Harpa” which is a big concert hall in Reykjavik. Sadly, it was so crowded with tourists that I only have a good picture of the backside of the building.

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The backside of “Harpa” with a dock for boats in front of it.

I wanted to get to Þúfa which was all the way on the other side of the dock, so I started walking but had to walk all the way around because of construction work being done. The way there felt a little bit industrial. Industrial buildings with cafés, restaurants and bars in between.

Once there it was worth to hike around. You could see the whole surrounding area with on the right Reykjavik and on the left the sea with the mountain ridge still in the background. I walked further and further to finally reach my destination which was the most western part of Reykjavik. The bird island with the lighthouse on it. The island itself has been closed off for tourists just before I got to Iceland for bird protection, so I was lucky I could still go there. The island itself is called: Grótta Island Lighthouse.

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I made a loop around to walk back and even walked by a golf course. A little bit later it started to rain a little bit, I was worried because I left my waterproof clothing at the hostel. Luckily it wasn’t raining hard. I still had to get gas for my hiking trip starting tomorrow. So, I went to the nearest outdoor store to buy a small canister of gas and a map of the Highlands (Which the area is called I was going to). When I walked out of the outdoor store a demonstration was happening on the streets, I do not know what the demonstration was for, but by the looks of it, it was a big demonstration. After the demonstration passed I could pass the street again to return to my hostel. I arrived around 18.00 and immediately met a Brazilian woman on the room which I started talking to. We had been talking for about 2,5 hours. She is leaving to Norway tomorrow and must get up early for her flight. I must get up early as well to get my bus to “Landmannalaugar” where my real trip is going to start. It turned out that I walked 25km today as well. So, time to go to sleep and set the alarm clock at 06.00.

Day 3 – Bus to Landmannalaugar and a day hike

Total distance walked today 16,71km

After a night of waking up 3 times because of other people in the room. My alarm went off at 06.00. I immediately got out of my bed because I was energised to start the trail! I have been looking forward to hiking this trail for about half a year. I quickly took my last shower, ate something, brushed my teeth and headed out to the BSI Bus Terminal where my pickup was planned at 08.00. I arrived an hour earlier and saw a few people with big backpacks already. A little bit later a woman came in and asked if I was doing the trail solo, that was the plan and I said so. Around 07.45 the bus arrived and while standing at the bus I met 2 other Dutch people which were doing the trail as well! The bus ride should take about 4 hours and in between we stopped at a supermarket for 30 minutes. So, I bought a banana and a bottle of sparkling soda to get me even more energized for the trail ahead. The ride was awesome, and we got to see a glimpse of the area already. It was a bumpy ride with river crossings in between, hills to climb with the bus but finally we got to the first campsite called: “Landmannalaugar”. The idea was to get my backpack and start the trail, but at the information desk the woman said that today and tomorrow are no hiking conditions because of extreme windspeeds. At the information desk I saw the woman again which asked me if I was hiking solo, I also met a man there which also was going to hike on his own. The three of us just followed the advice and set up our tents at the first camp. It clicked well between the 3 of us. We have gotten to know each other by name, the man is called Daniel and the woman is called Jeanin.

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The campsite with my red and white MSR tent upfront.

At about 15.00 the 3 of us walked to the information desk to ask if there are any smaller hikes in the area. And there were some, so Jeanin bought a map and we chose to do a small hike. It started on the main “Laugavegur” trail but went of the trail quickly already. The area was rocky, green and there were mountains all around us, some even with snow on the top. The area was stunning already, and we just started a small day hike. We followed the white signs and had to follow the green ones after, we did not see any green markers, so we kept following the white markers. which ended up in a river crossing. I had not taken my river crossing shoes with me, so I went barefoot. The water was COLD to say the least!

We still didn’t see any green markers, so I grabbed my gps and checked if I could see the trail somewhere. Turned out we had to go back and cross the river again…. We were joking that we are just preparing for the river crossings on the main trail. Finally, we found the green marker which we didn’t see because of the mossy green mountain in the background. Strange to use green markers in this area. While we were walking uphill it got more and more windy, but the views got better and better.

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We had to go down the mountain again to start following the red markers back to camp again. We had our first encounter with the hot holes in the ground with smoke coming out of them. You could bake an egg on that!! A little while later we arrived back at the camp and I started boiling water for my dried food. It took a longer time than usual because of the fierce winds that kept blowing the heat away. Daniel was also starting to cook, and I started smelling something. Turned out he made a homemade windscreen out of cans and an epoxy. The epoxy caught fire, nothing bad happened and he still was able to cook his meal (I had a laugh about it, ha-ha). A little later we walked over to a big white tent in the camp which apparently you could cook in. We have been talking in the tent for some time after which we went to the information desk to ask about the weather for tomorrow. but it showed the same as today, so we wanted to go and try to hike tomorrow anyway. so, the plan was to set an alarm at 07.00 and leave at 08.00. Let’s hope for a good night rest.

Day 4 – Day hike & geothermal pool

Total distance walked today 8,26km

The night didn’t even come close to a good night rest…. At 03.00 I woke up because of the winds blowing against my tent. The tent was bending in my face, but my tent kept standing. I took a quick look outside to see if the other tents were ok. Jeanin her tent was laying flat and she was already trying to get it up. I quickly equipped my waterproof pants and jacket to start helping with her tent. The winds were so un-earthly that I cannot even describe it in words. We kept trying and trying to get het tent back up. She was missing some tent stakes which apparently just flew away to the tent next to her. The nice Canadian guy just gave them back over to Jeanin. We also asked him if his tent was ok. His tent was holding up so that’s a good thing. At one moment we got it back up but one of the poles broke and the tent collapsed. So, I lend her one of my poles to still set up her tent! The winds were so horrible that even her tent fabric just ripped apart! It was game over for the tent and she was advised by one of the +/- 8 rescue people to take down her tent and sleep in or my tent or Daniel his tent. My tent is a little bit bigger, so she asked me if she could stay in my tent. Of course you can’t reject something like that and I just took her in my tent. It was 04.30 already and the sun was coming up again while we were in the tent. The wind kept blowing at our tents. I couldn’t close an eye because I was worried about my tent. I have never seen such wind gusts before. At 07.00 my alarm clock went off and I went over to Daniel his tent to ask if he wants to go. We will stay at camp one more day, because of the wind. I am going back in my tent to get a little bit more sleep.

At 11.00 we get out of the tent and have a cup of coffee in the big white tent. Starbucks coffee made by Daniel. good one to wake up with! Everyone is talking about the wind this night. I have heard that the wind gusts went up to 180 km/h which is crazy! I also heard that 4 people needed rescue in the second camp and one tent got blown into the lake at the third camp! About 10 people were laying on the floor of the white tent to sleep there because their tents got ripped apart. It was raining quite a bit today and I want to do a small hike, so I went to ask what the weather will do today and the coming days. The wind should be getting less in the coming days. When I asked about the rain she said that they are not looking at the rain since this won’t destroy tents…. wind does. It is true but a bit strange to hear something like that. In the tent we met some people from Colorado which we have talked with for a while since we were stuck in the tent anyway. Luckily the rain stopped later that day and we made a small hike in the area. We started at 16.00. The area was so different from yesterday. We saw lava fields, dark green mountains, bright green mountains, rivers and a lot of stones! We also saw our very first waterfall of the trip!

After the hike we went back to the tents to get some food to start cooking in the big white tent again. Daniel tried my chocolate mousse today, but I don’t think he was impressed by it (ha-ha).

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Daniel and I agreed with each other that we want to try out the nearby geothermal pool which we called “The Hotpod”. Jeanin got Daniel his shower ticket to take a hot shower. Before we went in the hotpod we went and looked in the small shop they had at the campsite. Daniel needed a towel since he didn’t have one with him, Jeanin needed new hiking poles since hers broke last night during the storm and I needed swimming shorts…. They had everything except the swimming shorts. I had to ask the information desk for them. Turned out they only had leftovers, so I decided not to get one and just go in, in my underwear. The pool was so refreshing and so warm! We stayed in there for about 1,5 hours. After we got out of the pool we immediatelly dried up as quick as we could to not cool down.

Daniel has “reserved” a spot in the hut at the third camp to make sure we can hike tomorrow. If the weather is that bad that we cannot camp at the third camp, we can have a spot in the hut! The down part of this was that the price is a bit high. We had to pay 90 euros per person for the huts. We only had to pay if we wanted to stay in the hut, so we could decide it when we get to camp 3. It’s getting late now, and I am going to bed, I just hope that the weather will stay calm and that we can sleep well.

Day 5 – Finally the start of the Laugavegur trail, destination Álftavatn

Total distance walked today 28,10km

A good night rest wasn’t the case this night either… we get to meet the same wind speeds as yesterday. But this night, we also got a lot of rain which made a lot of noise on the tent. At sometimes I was stretching my arms out to both sides of the tent to hold the tent against the wind. I haven’t closed my eyes much this night so I am trying to get up on sleep. At 07.00 our alarm goes off and Daniel and I communicate from within the tent to wait 1 more hour to leave. So that means one more hour of sleeping and some time to eat my breakfast. At 08.00 my alarm clock goes off again and we decide to start packing. With everything packed we set our backpack safe and dry in the big white tent. Daniel and I still need to take down the tent. So Jeanin is going to make warm coffee for us when we get back and Daniel and I are going to break down the tents in the rain. My tent was one big wet mess. So, I decided not to put it in my backpack but to carry it on the outside. As our tents are packed down again we return to the white big tent and start drinking our coffee. At 10.00 we left to make a run for camp 3. We decided to skip one camp to save time because of the lost days at camp 1. It was about 24/25km we had to do today. First part is climbing second part is downhill.

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We needed to take a picture to capture the moment of us finally leaving camp! Hooray!

We have seen the first 3km on our first day hike already but after that we have seen such a variety in landscapes in just a small part. We have seen green mountains, brown mountains, black mountains, mountains with and without snow. I fell in love with Iceland at this moment…. The climb to camp 2 was steep and hard at sometimes. We didn’t take a break on this part and I started to feel horrible on the inside. I need something to replenish my energy, but I feel like we are almost at the hut! We encounter slushy snow which was such deep that I sank in and my boots got wet on the inside.

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I was smiling on the picture, but I really didn’t feel like smiling on the inside.

We climbed over a hill and we could see the Hrafntinussker hut (which is the 2nd hut), I was so happy! the only thing I could think of now was food! So, I searched a table quickly to start boiling water for my pasta.

In the hut we asked about the weather forecast and it should only get better the further we get down! That’s good to hear as the wind on our way up still was a bit on the heavy side. In the hut itself it was warm and cozy while outside I felt like my hands were freezing off. In the information hut there were 2 charts hanging on the wall showing the elevation of the Laugavegur and the fimmvörðuháls. The climb of today looked nothing like the climb that was ahead of us and that trail was also on the planning.

As we got outside of the hut again I just put my burner on to warm my hands a little bit. I got plenty of fuel with me anyway. After the quick break we went on and I felt so much better. I felt like I could run to the next hut. I didn’t do that by the way because I was carrying 20kg on my back. Might have done it without the backpack ;). We were still walking in snow for a while, but it was not that slushy anymore!

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This picture was taken a little further then the hut.

The further we got down the snow started disappearing and the area got a brown-ish look but the further we walked again the greener it got! We were standing on top of a mountain which had sight all over the path ahead of us and we could see where the 3rd hut is. The hut was next to a big lake, so you couldn’t miss it. I know that there is a very small restaurant at that hut as well, so I was talking about pizza the whole time and called the hut, “pizza hut”. You must keep smiling on the trail! We got down even further and we walked around a corner to see such an amazing view of the valley we are heading to. It was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G it was so green with black mountains tops coming through the green moss, the sun shining in the background with the wild clouds hanging in the sky!

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The amazing valley nearby Álftavatn.

In the meantime, the weather got so much better. It was almost wind still with no rain. As we walked further down we noticed that we still have a river crossing to go, as we speak about it we walk up to the river and are getting ready for it. I took off my pants because the river was deep. I stuffed my pants between my backpack and my rain cover and equipped my river crossing shoes. As I set my first step in the river my pants fall out of my rain cover and into the river. I grabbed them as quickly as I could, but they were a bit wet already. Let’s hope they will dry quickly! As we walk further the area gets a little flatter. The sun has started to come out and it is getting warmer. We made it to the 3rd hut called Álftavatn! We cancelled our reservation for the hut which the woman at the counter thanked us for because the hut was already full. Why did we make a reservation then? Anyway, we got our backpacks off our back and it felt so good, if I jumped it felt like I could fly. The reception at the camp was good so I called my mother to tell her that we arrived safely.

We start to set up our tents quickly to let them dry out. They are still wet from the 1st camp. Jeanin started to clean my tent with a bit of paper and Daniel had to do it himself. That’s a positive thing about sleeping with 2 persons in one tent (ha-ha). After we set up our tents, we walked up to the restaurant which was full at the moment. So, we waited a bit for 3 spots to come free. I had a cold beer and Pork Stew with bread which was delicious!

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The lovely restaurant at the Álftavatn lake!

Normally the restaurant was open till 23.00 but closed at 22.00 today. After we left the restaurant we met the Canadian couple again from day 4. We talked a bit about the route, the scenery but also about ourselves. They were very nice and friendly!

Around 23.15 we went back to the tents. There were a lot of small irritating flies around camp and my whole tent was stuffed with them. Jeanin and I started writing our blogs and we heard someone snore. I just couldn’t hold my laugh. We were joking, this time it is not the wind or the rain that is keeping us awake but someone snoring.

Day 6 – Continuing the Laugavegur trail, destination Emstrur

Total distance walked today 15,36km

Even though the snoring this night I have slept wonderfully! I woke up at 08.00 to get out of my tent with the bright sun shining on my face! Who would have thought that the sun would still shine after the previous couple of days! After I ate my breakfast we started packing again. My tent was completely dry again, so it was easy to pack down my tent. I got my solar panel out of backpack and attached it on the outside of my backpack to charge my power bank. Before we left we put some sun cream on to protect our skin from the sun. The hike today is 16km to camp 4. We are starting uphill to see the first marker. Huh? it was a blue one. So, we asked one of the guided groups if this is the right route and I also checked my gps. It is the right route…. Why did it change from red to blue without notice? Anyway, we keep on going and our first river crossing is in front of us. It is a small one. This time I just pulled my trouser up and equipped my river crossing shoes.

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Jeanin and me crossing the river!

On the other side I dried of my feet and got my shoes back on. It was busy at the river and I wanted to leave quickly again to avoid the crowds. So, we did. We started climbing a small hill when we looked behind us we saw green fields with behind them very dark clouds, it was raining behind us. So, we wanted to walk further to maybe avoid the rain. The predictions were dry till 13.00 so we will see if it hits us.

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Dark clouds with heavy rain in the distance, brings up a nice contrast between the moss and the rain!

A little bit later we see another hut which was about 4km after the hut we came from. We took a small break here to fill our belly’s. We wanted to start walking again but it got delayed by some rain falling down. We quickly had to put on our rain gear. remove the solar panel from the backpack and repack everything that needs to be waterproof again. After everyone was ready we started walking again. We quickly heard a wild river. Luckily there was a bridge over it! As we walked over the bridge the big group was approaching again, so we had to move out quickly to avoid them. The area turned very flat (Almost as flat as The Netherlands) and we reached another river again. One which cars also cross. I knew in advance that we needed to walk up the river and not cross where the cars cross because it’s very deep there. So, we walked up about 100 meters to go and cross there. Same story as the previous crossings, pull up the trousers and equip the water shoes. The river wasn’t that bad to cross even though it was a relatively wild one. The one that made this river a bit harder is the wideness of the river. The water is very cold, and you must cross a wide part of the river so prepare to get cold feet! I quickly put on my woollen socks (I didn’t even want to dry them off) and my shoes and hoped that they will dry quickly.

The area still is flat, it was a big part of the hike today and it was good that we had each other as the surroundings didn’t change much at the time being so we could talk a bit.

We got our first glimpse a little later of the o-so-big glacier called “Mýrdalsjökull” it is stunning to see how these glaciers still exist when the temperature is so high. At one moment we see another river, this time even wilder then the previous one with the bridge. Luckily this one also has a bridge, there’s just no way to get to the other side if there wasn’t a bridge.

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One wild river that was heading to a canyon.

The trail started to go up a little when we passed the river. It also started to rain again. The rain got heavier and heavier and at one moment it was just pouring rain. We even got some hail in between. It has shown us that the weather in Iceland can change within the blink of an eye! When we walked a bit further we could see marks of the heavy hail that happened. It just laid on the ground and didn’t melt. All 3 of us were a bit wet on the inside of our waterproof jackets. I guess we all 3 did not close our jackets good enough.

We passed someone who said that it was only 5 minutes to camp. It was more like 15 minutes, but we made it. Made some nice pictures in between and began to set up our tents before it starts to rain again. I was tired, exhausted and my shoulders started to hurt a lot. Luckily, I can walk without a backpack now. I just laid in my tent to rest a bit. at 18.00 I started cooking a meal. I ate 2 meals because I had some extra with me. We met a German couple in the white tent which we talked with for a bit. At this point Jeanin, Daniel and I started sharing contact information to share photos etc. It was getting later already and there was still a small day hike to a canyon on my list. The canyon is called: “Markarflót”. I asked Jeanin if she wanted to come as well. At first, she didn’t want to but then she heard from the German couple that it’s a beautiful hike. So, the 4 of us (Me, Jeanin and the 2 Germans) started to walk the hike. It was about 3km and we reached the canyon quickly to be pleased with the amazing views!

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An amazing view of the canyon with the clouds and the glacier above it!

The 2 Germans walked upfront already and Jeanin and I were still shooting some pictures while 5 minutes later we couldn’t see a thing because of the fog! The Germans even came walking back because they didn’t see the next marker anymore. So, I took out my gps to get us back to camp without falling off the edge of the canyon! Back at camp I went in my tent quickly to get a good night of sleep!

Day 7 – Continuing the Laugavegur trail, Destination Þórsmörk

Total distance walked today 18,23km

The alarm went off again at 07.00. Today I woke up feeling sick. I am not someone who feels sick quickly but today was a day I did. My shoulders still hurt a little bit. I was feeling miserable on the inside and did not feel like eating the same meal I have been eating for the last 4 days. I needed some time and did a quick walk around the camp. When I came back 2 people were walking to our tents with a big pan in their hands. They were from a guided group and made too much breakfast for the group. So, they offered us some warm oatmeal with sugar, banana and apple. I accepted that with open hands and was very thankful for it. It gave me an energy boost and I felt a bit better after it! I started packing my backpack and packed up my tent. I was ready for the 16km hike for today. I equipped all my clothing to try and get warm. But I was still feeling cold. Hopefully I will get warm when we start walking. When we left the Canadian couple walked with us for a while and we talked a bit with them. We reached a canyon with a bridge over it and a river flowing under it. It looked awesome, but it was crowded there because of people taking a break just before the bridge…

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A big river canyon with a bridge hanging over it.

When we crossed the river, I took off a layer of clothing because I was getting warmer. From there on it was a bit of climbing which I had some trouble with. I basically come from the flat Netherlands… Nevertheless, we were quick. The surrounding area became greener and greener, the closer we were to Þórsmörk which is the 5th campsite. We met the German couple again and we took the opportunity to take a great picture to memorise the moments we had together.

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We walked further, and we started seeing bushes and higher grass. We crossed another river with a bridge, the river was far down so it was a great sight to see. After the bridge was a big mountain we had to climb after which we had a great view of the hike we did. After we hiked down the mountain we had another river crossing. It was a river that splits into multiple parts. After the river crossing it just looked like we were walking in a forest with all the flowers, different types of bushes etc. At the end we walked up to a sign at which we had to choose which camp we wanted to go. There are 3 choices to camp at Þórsmörk: Húsadalur, Langidalur and Básar.

Húsadalur: being the one the furthest away for the fimmvörðuháls trail but with the best facilities.

Langidalur: the camp in between of the two. Nice area with beautiful scenery.

Básar: the best camp for walking the fimmvörðuháls trail since it is the closest one to the start of the trail.

We choose to go to Húsadalur because I thought that I was too tired to do the fimmvörðuháls trail. And Daniel and Jeanin are going to get picked up tomorrow by bus to go back to Reykjavik. So, we walked the last 1,5km to the camp. set up our tents and rested a bit. I rearranged my bus to pick me up at this place in 2 days, so I can spend some time in the area. Then we walked to the restaurant at which we had lunch. Which was kind of all you can eat till 17.00 So I ate my belly full with lamb soup, salad, bread and even some cake! We also met the Canadian couple again! We talked a lot with each other already, but we talked even more today. In the evening we took a hot sauna which was 60°C. Took a lovely shower and then we walked to the restaurant.

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I bought Daniel a beer and Jeanin a wine as I promised during the trail! We drank and talked a bit with 2 Canadian couples. we had a fun time together and I love these moments… meeting new people which are just so open and friendly!! It has become my main thought about hikers: cool, open and friendly people which are in for a talk!

At around 23:45 we returned to our tents to wake up at 06:30 the next day. Daniel and Jeanin are going to leave tomorrow to Reykjavik at 11:50 and we want to do one last day hike together.

Day 8 – Þórsmörk day hike

Total distance walked today 11,90km

The alarm went off at 06.30 and I just turned them both off and just went back to sleep at which I woke up again at 08.30. Daniel did the same thing without communicating so that was well planned. We talked about the plan today and he told me that he still wants to do the planned hike since it is only a 2-hour hike. So, I start eating my breakfast and Jeanin and Daniel started to pack their backpacks. When they were ready we left for the trail called: Þórsmörk Panorama. Which I highly recommend. It was a fast climb to a peak looking over the whole Þórsmörk valley!

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It really is a panorama view of the awesome valley of Þórsmörk!
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After the panorama point we went down again to arrive in another camp, this camp had a great view of the valley below. We made a left turn to turn back to our camp again. In between was a cave which was small and a little bit higher up. Time for me to show my rock-climbing skills. It was easy to get up, but I also had to get down again which was a little bit harder. I got down and we walked further to our campsite. And I knew beforehand that when we arrive back at camp it is time for them to leave and to say goodbye to 2 amazing people which both felt like family from another country with another main language. I had to hold myself together to not let a tear slip through. I’ve been spending the whole past 6 days with them…

Daniel at last moment still motivated me to do the Fimmvörðuháls hike and told me some good and motivating words. After a hug he disappeared into the bus.

Jeanin had been sleeping in my tent for the past 4 days. Which she has gratefully thanked me for which also after a hug she disappeared into the bus.

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I will never forget these 2 amazing people!

After they left I have been sleeping a bit in my tent. I went to the restaurant at 16.00 to charge my phone and have a Wi-Fi connection. I saw the French Canadians from yesterday and have been sitting by them and we talked a bit. After they left I heard people talking about the Fimmvörðuháls hike. They had been walking from Skógar to Þórsmörk. They only had great things to say about the trail. They also said that it was not that hard. After I heard that I went to the information desk and asked about the weather for tomorrow. There was sun on the forecast and no rain. Looks like I have a new plan and I am not done hiking yet!

So, I called the company that was going to pick me up from this place if they could pick me up from Skógar tomorrow at 18.30. YES! It was still possible. I almost ran to my tent made some noodles (which I got from Daniel) and started packing my bag. The French Canadians walked by my tent to say goodbye as they were heading to the closest hut to the Fimmvörðuháls route as well. I told them my plan and was going to see them at that camp! I dropped my extra food and fuel in the resting place for other people. It also lightened my pack so that will make my trip better tomorrow. With everything packed I walked in to the restaurant and told the Canadian couple what my plan was. I also said them goodbye since I probably won’t see them tomorrow. I started walking the 5km hike. which was easy peasy! It felt like a small hike preparing for tomorrow! I also had to cross one big river with an old bridge.

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Just a bit after the river I saw the campsite already. Set up my tent and ate another cup of noodles (which I also got from Daniel) and met the French Canadians in the dining hut. We talked a bit about tomorrow. They are going to do the trip in 2 days and stay in one of the huts on top of the mountain and I am going to do the hike in 1 day. So, I probably won’t see them anymore tomorrow. So, 2 more people to say goodbye to. I also met a brother and sister from Austria which are planning on doing the same hike tomorrow. I might see them at Skógar tomorrow. My alarm clock is going to be at 05.00 in the morning to leave at 06.00. I must make it to my bus, so I rather leave early then arrive too late.

Day 9 – Fimmvörðuháls trail, destination Skógar

Total distance walked today 33,02km

It is 04.30 in the morning and I woke up already. Might be because of my biological clock. Saturday is my standard work day at which I must get up at 05.00. I laid in my sleeping bag for another 30 minutes to rush out at exactly 05:00. Time to eat, army biscuits with jam and a Mars for extra energy for the climb ahead! Time to start packing. I am trying to be quiet because there’s a tent right next to me. It’s hard to pack your backpack and be quiet at the same time. at 06.10 everything was packed, and I was ready for the hike ahead. So, I left with my sleepy eyes and started the climb. There were some parts on the trail where the trail was small with a drop to your side, so you had to be careful. On the other hand, the view was amazing already.

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You could still see the campsite in the background.

The climb went further up, and the plants and bushes started to disappear, after a big climb there was almost a flat area where I could get up on breath again. after walking a bit on the flat surface there was a big climb ahead again which was very steep. I had to rest once on the steep part but made it to the top of it. The sun was shining hard now, and I took off my jacket and got my sunglasses. I could not see a thing without the sunglasses. I am glad that I brought them to Iceland. After a Mars and some water, I was ready for the last steep part. It was so steep that I slipped away once. I was able to recover. I was almost on top of the Fimmvörðuháls trail when I looked behind me. It was stunning… I heard nothing… it was so quiet up there. There was no one. Just me. I haven’t seen people since I left camp, I guess that’s a positive thing about leaving early!

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The view from almost the top of the Fimmvörðuháls hike. With a view of a plateau and the mountains in the back from the Laugavegur hike.

I walked further, and I started to see snow. The ground also started to change, instead of only black sand there were some red particles in it as well. Later I learned that those are remains of the eruption of the Icelandic volcanoes Móði and Magni which erupted in 2010 and put down air traffic in a big part in Europe. I feel strange walking here knowing that 8 years ago those volcanoes erupted here.

I walked further in the snow and saw the first hut next to the trail. I was looking for the second hut to take a break at. The second hut is right next to the trail at which the first hut is a bit away of the trail. I finally saw the second hut, but it was still a bit away. Just a bit before the hut I met the Dutch people again that I have met on the first day at the bus. We talked a bit about what we have been doing and then went on our own path again. So, I kept on hiking and finally reached the hut. At the hut I had lunch and 2 Mars again. At the hut there was a group of German people which I started talking with. They told me about their experience with departing for the hike to late and arriving late at night at the hut. They were also hiking with a bottle of alcohol ha-ha (must be heavy). After my Lunch I started to walk further. My climb is done for the day and I begin my descend. I heard that there are a lot of waterfalls on the way down.

Nothing was less true and there were indeed a lot of waterfalls, one bigger than the other, one wider than the other and the other wilder then the others. To conclude this last hike. It was AMAZING with such a lot of variety. Yes, the climb might be a little bit tougher, but it is all worth it in the end! Down at the waterfall I met the Brother and Sister from Austria again. They have got the same bus back to Reykjavik as I do. So why not cook a meal together. We went in the shop to buy some groceries. After we bought our groceries we prepared the meals and ate them. When we were done eating, the bus was already at the bus stop. So, we got in. You don’t know how happy I am from the inside that I still did this hike it was SO beautiful! The bus departed and made a stop an hour later for about 45 minutes. Time to buy something to eat again. I am treating myself with pizza and an extra big red bull. I have earned it after those couple of days! At the supermarket I meet the same Dutch people again that I have met on the mountain today. We started laughing and I wish them all the best for their further travels.

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I didn’t feel tired yet but as I get out at BSI Bus Terminal at 21.45 I am beginning to feel it. I must stay awake to get my bus back to the airport at 02.30 tomorrow.

I started to walk in and around Reykjavik for a while to sit out the time. The sun was setting, and it was a beautiful sight.

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Back to BSI Bus Terminal it is!

Day 10 – Returning home

Total distance walked today 5,13km

I was still awake and walking to the BSI Bus Terminal. Which had a sign on the door saying the building was closed till 01.30… well then. I sat on a bench just outside to terminal to get surprised by the terminal opening earlier than was on the door. I got in at 00.45 that means I must wait another 01.45 hours. I was scrolling through my pictures and it made me think about the trip… wow I cannot believe I have done this trip. All the time and effort I have put into preparing this trip have turned out into an amazing trip! There were some things I didn’t plan on like the fierce winds on day 3 and day 4. Lesson learned, you must be flexible in Iceland!

It was 02:30 and the bus arrived. I put my backpack in the compartment and take a seat in the bus only to fall asleep a bit later. I wake up when we are almost at the airport. I have been sleeping for 30 minutes. At the airport I check in. leave my checked luggage and go through the security. After security I see that my flight is delayed for 30 minutes. No problem there are a lot of shops at the airport. One being a souvenir shop. Sadly, it’s all just so expensive. They even sell the red rock I have had in my hands on the fimmvörðuháls trail for around 20 euro’s…. I bought a sandwich and a bottle of apple juice for in the plane. I head to the gate and enter the airplane to see that I have gotten a bigger airplane than planned. This was an Airbus 330 instead of an Airbus 321. I had plenty of leg room and the seats next to me where al free. 8 seats just for me.

I take one more picture before going to sleep.

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This was THE holiday of my life! I have seen everything from mountains to canyons, from green mountains to black mountains, from snow to a geothermal pool, from river crossing to bridge crossings and above all the above… AMAZING people!! This was a great holiday, a great hike and there are many, many more to come!

Like the Icelandic people say: Við sjáumst (See you later).

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Paul says:

    Hey Tim, a very nice blog from your first hiking trip. What a nice trip and it must have been an amazing experince for you. I am very proud you made this trip, and I am a bit jealous as I see the very beatiful pictures you made.

    Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your very kind words Paul!

      Like

  2. laura says:

    Hi Tim, I made this trip summer 2017, we were more lucky with the weather, always sunny, only 1 day rainy, and it was a very beautiful trip. And I feel the same Emotion seeing your Picture.
    Very beautiful blog. thank you
    Laura from Italy

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your reply, Iceland is surely a pristine and beautiful country which I plan on visiting again someday.
      , Tim

      Like

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