Laugevagur hike Iceland – day 3

Day 0 | Landmannalaugar | 1 | 2 | 3 | video | info

day 3 – Þórsmörk (Básar) to Skógar

25km, 10-12hrs

When I think back on Laugevagur, my first thoughts are of the amazing waterfalls on the last day. Is there a more spectacular chain of falls anywhere else on Earth?

Happily, the weather was quite good when I woke early. Then a thunder storm rolled in and disappeared before I’d finished coffee.

Later I learned that Mark was already up high. Very nervous. There’s no place to hide from lightning in Iceland.

Here I was psyching up for the 900m climb to Fimmvörðuháls pass.

I knew it could be a long, tough day climbing to the icefields up on a high plateau. It’s the most glaciated section. But at least there are NO RIVER CROSSINGS!

The ascent was quite easy, as it turned out.

What’s this?

These were the first hikers I saw coming the other direction. Doing this with a day pack is quite popular.

Stunning views.

Recall the 2010 volcano that disrupted air traffic all over Europe?

This is it. You walk that massive lava flow.

Moodi and Magni (Thor’s sons) are two summit cones pushed up in 2010.

Magni

Everyone climbs Magni to enjoy the 360 degree view.

One worry late in the season is the snowfields turning to slush. Or water.

Happily, it was still good walking for me on July 29th.

Baldvinsskali is a small emergency hut en route. Hikers are allowed to escape the wind and elements if needed.

My only complaint about this hiking day is some road walking on the way down. I’d prefer they make a parallel walking trail.

How far to Skógar?

Waterfalls begin.

The trail follows the river down.

Every tourist to Iceland visits the falls at Skógar.

Made it!

About half way through the day I’d decided to bus back to Reykjavík, if I could. Mark was shooting photos at the base of the falls. I bought a ticket on his bus.

You could stay over. Skógar has a hostel and camping. As well as several restaurants.

Day 0 | Landmannalaugar | 1 | 2 | 3 | video | info

Laugevagur hike Iceland – day 2

Day 0 | Landmannalaugar | 1 | 2 | 3 | video | info

Hvannagil to Þórsmörk (Thorsmork)

26km, 10-12hr

Hoping to make a huge day, I was one of the first to leave camp. In the fog.

Bleak and flat to start.

Bridge! Thank God.

What an epic landscape!

Quite quickly you arrive at this pretty tourist area built 1995.

I had some hot brunch in the cook tent. Then moved on quickly. Some stop here to climb one or two summits as day hikes.

More bridges!

Interesting geology at every turn.

I was missing that brief bit of blue sky from yesterday. Everyone wore their rain gear today.

This is volcanic ash. Worse than sand, it gets into everything.

Oh my. This is amazing.

My first … tree !?

Trees are rare in Iceland. But there are plenty in Þórsmörk (Thorsmork)… Thor’s forrest.

(Iceland was actually 25% forested at one time. Timber cutting resulted in only about 1% remaining.)

When you finally arrive Þórsmörk you need choose between 3 separated campsites: Húsadalur, Langidalur or Básar.

Husadalur is biggest and has a natural hot springs.

But if you plan to continue hiking next day to Skógar, Básar is the best choice. It’s closest to the exit trail for next morning.

That’s where I headed.

Langidalur is pretty, however. The tenting looks superb.

I met again two Canadian women waiting for the bus. They’d had enough of rugged Laugevagur. Here’s the vista that dissuaded them from climbing up to the glaciers next day.

It does look intimidating.

If you do decide to linger at one of the 3 campsites, there’s even more day hiking here than at Landmannalaugar

Básar is sprawling. Busy with campers and day hikers.

I asked for advice on a quiet tent spot.

While I was eating dinner Mark from Boston arrived.

He and I were the only two from the start who had made it this far, this fast. We both planned to get an early start next day and finish to Skógar. It would be the toughest and best day of all.

Day 0 | Landmannalaugar | 1 | 2 | 3 | video | info

Laugevagur hike Iceland – day 0 AGAIN

Day 0 | Landmannalaugar | 1 | 2 | 3 | video | info

Stuck in Landmannalaugar

Though it had rained all night off and on, it hadn’t rained hard. I was optimistic poking my head outside the tent in the morning.

No go. 

Recommendation from the information office was that we should stay in camp another night. Forecast for the following day was “improving“.

Sigh …

A hiker recently died on this section during a big storm.

I did grab a cancellation for a spot in the 110 bed tourist hut operated by Ferdafelag Islands. (Others had booked at least 6 months in advance.)

In fact, I got in early and had my pick. Farthest from the door, against the wall. It cost $90 – no meals. The most expensive bunkbed of my life. Tenting is $20 / person.

Landmannalaugar tent city was packed.

Many — including me — heeded the advice that we should stay. As day hikers rolled in it got more and more crowded.

At the time I trusted the advice. They know a lot about alpine rescue here.

So … a lazy day to read my book. Take a nap. And, of course, do the rest of the local day hikes.

I made my own routes including parts of the Sulphur Wave trail (towards Brennisteinsalda). Wandered the Laugahraun lava fields. I climbed part way up Blue Peak (Bláhnjúkur).

The weather never really got any worse.

In fact, this was some of my best hiking of the trip.

I enjoyed another hot springs soak, of course.

And hung out in the cook tent as late as possible. Before climbing into my warm, comfortable bunkbed. Those out in tents were getting soaked.

If you want to know more, check out HOW TO VISIT AND WHERE TO HIKE IN LANDMANNALAUGAR, ICELAND.

Day 0 | Landmannalaugar | 1 | 2 | 3 | video | info

Laugevagur hike Iceland – day 0

Day 0 | Landmannalaugar | 1 | 2 | 3 | video | info

Reykjavík to Landmannalaugar

Years ago I tried and failed to do this hike. Roads and rivers were impassable in June of that season.

Since then it’s been near the top of my bucket list.

Click PLAY or watch on YouTube to see why.

I bought my fuel at Iceland Camping Equipment in Reykjavík. It’s VERY expensive.

Later I learned that every hostel and campsite has plenty of free fuel canisters left behind by foreign hikers who will soon fly out.

I enjoyed my last restaurant meal – traditional Icelandic meat soup.

There are a number of ways to get to Landmannalaugar. Reykavik Expeditions and TREX are the two biggest bus services.

I went early to catch the 4pm bus. … Last bus leaves at 1pm. Never believe anything you read on the internet.

click for bigger map

click for bigger map

Next morning I was surprised to see young people from Alaska loading bikes. I’d not heard of people cycling Laugevagur. Turns out it’s a bad idea.

Reykjavík to Landmannalaugar is about 4 hours … if you don’t get stuck.

It would be FUN to drive your own rental monster truck.

Landmannalaugar is a sprawling mess of a campsite.

While the rest of the world was suffering a heat wave, Iceland has had the worst summer weather in recorded history (100 years).

Forecast was not good. We worried whether or not we’d be able to attempt the hike.

I put my Hubba up on a platform in case of flood during the night.

At the information office you can buy a crappy day hiking map for about $3.

Most recommended is the Suournamur loop (about 9km). I first took a detour up the Ljiotipollur ‘Ugly Puddle’ trail and found myself this lookout for lunch. Ljiotipollur is an explosion crater lake.

If you find any trail crowded in Iceland, you only need walk a few minutes on any side trail to feel like you have the island to yourself.

Suournamur trail is gorgeous. It climbs up above the campsite.

I left a Summit Stone atop one of the cairns.

Not much can live up here.

I really liked this ridge walk section.

I got my feet wet on the river crossing after coming down. Situation normal hiking Iceland.

The highlight of Landmannalaugar for many are the natural hot springs.

FIRST you need to get there down a long boardwalk without freezing.

Having had hernia surgery just a week prior, I wasn’t suppose to soak the wound … but couldn’t resist.

When weather is bad, everyone crowds into the warm, bright cook tent.

After having dinner with a lovely couple from Austria, I hit the tent early hoping for good weather next morning. Forecast was for a BIG STORM. ☹️

Day 0 | Landmannalaugar | 1 | 2 | 3 | video | info

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.

Washington State – Ape Cave Trail

This fascinating hike includes a trek through the 2.5 mile Ape Cave, the longest continuous lava tube in the continental United States. …

You’ll want to bring sweatshirts and plenty of outerwear, head lamps or lanterns, flashlights and spare batteries. …

Ape Cave was formed about 2,000 years ago from lava streaming down Mount Saint Helens.

Skamania County’s Ape Cave Trail