Landmannalaugar to Alftavatn (Hvannagil)
24km + 4km to Hvannagil, 8-10hrs
Sharing a room in a hut with dozens of strangers, I snuck out early for coffee. And to kind of organize my pack out of the rain.
Somehow I left behind my river shoes. And a jar of peanut butter. ☹️
The weather was no better but I certainly wasn’t going to wait another day at Landmannalaugar. It was go … or catch the bus out.
UP past the fumaroles and quite quickly on to snowfields.
The trail is well marked … IF you have visibility.
In 2004 Ido Keinan, a 25-year-old hiker from Israel, got caught in a late June storm and died of exposure only 1km away from the hut in Hrafntinnusker. Wardens at Landmannalaugar warned him it was too dangerous.
He needed a GPS.
Glaciers cover 11% of Iceland. Lava fields and deserts about 60%. It’s easy to get lost.
Here’s that hut. The Alaskan cyclists were just leaving as I arrived.
It only sleeps 36 so best bring a tent if you want to stop here. If the weather is cooperating, push on and over to Álftavatn as I did.
Happily and surprisingly the sky cleared. It was windy. But gorgeous.
Iceland is a dream destination for photographers. There are so many weird things to see. And the light is unusual.
Of many bizarre and wonderful volcanic features, I liked the glassy black obsidian best. Many hikers add pieces to their backpack as souvenirs.
Of the plants, I liked tundra cotton best.
You cross the Torfajokull caldera, about 15km in diameter. It last erupted 1480. There’s a wide distribution of hot springs, mud pots and fumaroles.
In good weather you can see Álftavatn (“Swan Lake”) from quite a distance
Here’s the hut.
New in 2017 was the addition of this restaurant. Lamb dinner costs about $30.
And the Álftavatn camping area.
Word on the trail was that tenting here can be very wet if it rains. Advice I got was to push on to Hvannagil if you have the energy. I did.
As I’d somehow left my river shoes behind, I had to do the river crossings barefoot. That was not fun.
I was first to arrive Hvannagil. The hut offers sleeping bag accommodations for 70 people in 4 rooms.
Without question mine was the best tent site. Totally out of the wind. A picnic table. And some sort of cairn of protection overhead.
Two Irish brothers joined me for dinner. Everyone else envious of the only picnic table.
I went walkabout after dinner. It never gets dark in July. You could hike all night if you wanted.