Laugevagur hike Iceland – day 1

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.

The Great Divide Trail is TOUGH

  • snow
  • river crossings
  • wet feet
  • weather
  • permits
  • campsite reservations
  • resupply

The Great Divide Trail traverses the continental divide between Alberta and British Columbia, wandering through the vast wilderness of the Canadian Rocky Mountains for more than 1100 kilometres. …

The Great Divide Trail is not officially signed and not always even an actual trail, sometimes merely a wilderness route, inspiring modern-day adventurers to walk the same paths of the original explorers to the area. A journey on the Great Divide Trail promises to be demanding but on the GDT you’ll discover a definitive wilderness experience in one of the most magnificent settings on Earth.

Great Divide Trail Association

Click PLAY or watch some of the challenges on YouTube. (2014)

Still interested?

Why Not and Lady on a Rock are doing it. Grizzlies? What Grizzlies?

Start here – Off to Canada’s Great Divide Trail (July 1, 2018). Click through for day-by-day trip reports.

related – Advice To Future GDTers

hiking Yellowstone to the Yukon

This looks good.

Karsten Heuer’s journey was intended to show that such a system of parks and corridors is feasible. He set out in June 1998 from Yellowstone Park, Wyoming, on the beginning of a 3,400 kilometre hike that would end, 18 months later, in Watson Lake, Yukon Territory.

Along the way, he faced personal problems, including the breakup of his relationship with the woman who had planned the journey with him. He came to terms with difficult public relations problems when he spoke to loggers and others with a stake in the economic exploitation of wild lands. And, above all, he overcame extraordinary physical challenges: ferocious storms, avalanches, apparently impassable rivers in full flood, and bears that mistook him for dinner.

Accompanied by occasional human companions and a remarkable border collie named Webster …

walking-the-big-wild-y2y

Y2Y.net

walking-the-big-wild

Laugavegur trek, Iceland

I’m starting Iceland’s most famous walk July 24, 2018. Wish me luck.

My first attempt a few years ago failed. Wanting to hike in June, the trails were far too muddy.

One of the best hikes in the world is the Laugavegur

 (Landmannalaugar to Skógar route)

by clesenne

by clesenne

AT A GLANCE

  • IcelandIceland‘s best hike
  • weird and wonderful landscapes
  • best route is Skógar – Landmannalaugar 77km (48mi) in 4-6 days in either direction
  • shorter options 55km (34mi) or 22km (13.6mi)
  • tent or sleep in huts
  • permits not required
  • steep rough, rocky and slippery slopes
  • in good weather, this trek is only moderately difficult
  • up to 100 hikers starting each day during high season July and August
  • it can be dangerous in bad weather. About every second year someone dies.

Click PLAY or watch Alastair Humphrey’s highlights on Vimeo.

Check our Laugavegur information page on how to organize this adventure for yourself.