Imagine a time when the gods created the earth, scooping out canyons, building mountains, and then flooding much of the planet. The leftover materials were jumbled together and dumped into the ocean, creating Iceland. Towering rocky spires soar over rolling green hills, with streams and rivers carving their way down the flanks and gullies, and waterfalls everywhere. Unreal.
That’s my impression at least, after hiking the Laugavegur, a 55 kilometer trail that traces a sinuous path up and down mountains, along and across rivers, from Landmannalaugar to Þórsmörk. It is unrelenting, difficult, and one of the most beautiful places you can imagine.
Our hut to hut hike went smoothly over 3 days, and we were quite ecstatic that we did not need to camp. Not only did we not need to carry tents and sleeping pads and stoves, but every night we were guaranteed a warm and comfortable bed. Wonderful.
This trek through Iceland’s highlands climbs and descends, climbs and descends, then climbs and descends yet again. BRING TREKKING POLES! Once again, do not do this without trekking poles. Sure, it’s doable, but the struggle is real, and the poles were a blessing.
The colors are out of this world, with the most vibrant hues in the most unexpected places. Frozen lakes covered in snow, abutted by the most luminescent green moss you’ve ever seen. Blue clay. Yes, blue clay. Mineral streaked streambeds wending their way through volcanic black sands. And everywhere more of that green, highlighted by an equally vibrant yellow.
It wasn’t an easy hike, and I’m not sure I need to do it again, but I would, just to see it all once more.
New gear used: Eagle Creek National Geographic Utility Backpack 40L, The North Face Mountain Sneakers, Big Agnes Farrington PrimaLoft Sleeping Bag Liner, Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking Poles.