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Topic: TR - 4 day backpacking in Iceland< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 09 2013, 1:33 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Day 1
We set off June 28th from Landmannalaugar heading south to Porsmork. The trail is setup such that you reach a hut after each of the four days. The first two days are short with the last two days being just right. We did not intend to use the huts for sleeping but did plan to tent camp near each of them each night. We set off on our first day with decent weather for Iceland. It was around 50F with partly cloudy skies. We had been in Iceland since the 24th trying to figure out what 4 days we could use of our 10 days in Iceland to try and get the best weather we could for our hike. We hit it pretty well. As I said we set off and the weather was fine. As we got higher up in the mountains we started to get some pretty nasty clouds forming. Higher yet and it started to snow. By now we also made it up to the snow packs in the mountains which were still left over from winter. So now we are hiking on snow, getting snowed on, and we still had about 3 miles to the hut. Even further up the mountain we were in a blizzard. Horizontal snow, steady strong 25MPH winds and really low visibility. Only saving grace was that the wind was blowing from our right side not in our face. Still it was a long 2 miles or so to the hut in these condistions. When we arrived at the first nights hut, Hrafntinnusker Hut, we saw nothing but snow all around it. While we were checking in with the caretaker to pay for our tent spot she said they were not fully booked and we could stay in the hut if we liked. We couldn’t pass that up so we took her up on the offer. At 4 times the cost of a tent site per person it was still a deal. We arrived early in the day maybe 2PM. The hut was basically empty. As the afternoon went by it started to fill up. We passed maybe 3 other groups of hikers all day for a total of about 10 hikers. But by 6PM or so the hut was now full and folks were forced to setup tents in the storm on the snow outside. Even more interesting were the folks that arrives with no tents and no reservations for the hut. Typically they would have just sent them back to the trailhead, I found this out later from the caretaker, but she was concerned about the weather and their safety so they jammed them in for the night and sent them back the way they came the next morning.

The night in the hut was fine. It never gets dark this time of year so most of us chatted and made friends. Most of us would all be going the same direction over the next few days so it was a good opportunity to get to know folks. We made friends with a lady from Paris named Angie who was hiking alone. We agreed to hike as a group her, my wife and I. We settled on a time to start the next morning which was to be 8AM on the trail. I’d have liked this to be but we could not go down to use the kitchen till 7am so that was kind of a bummer. Bobbie and I prefer to be on the trail by 7 or 7:30

Day 2
After the mad house in the kitchen at 7AM, I’m glad the rest of the trip was to be in tents were we had the freedom to do what we wanted when we wanted. Seemed like all 50 or so folks all got up to boil water at the same time. But we got through it and were on the trail by 8:30. Today would have us heading down from the high mountains of Iceland to a less snowy trail and warmer weather. The weather today started off a bit mixed with snow, freezing rain, rain and then sun. We only had about 7 miles to hike today, much like yesterday. By the time we made the next hut, Alftavatn Hut, the weather was very nice and still pretty early maybe 12:30PM. We considered going another 3.5 miles to another hut but decided this place was interesting enough and we stayed. The tents site for this hut were near a small river. We had wonderful views of snowcapped mountains, green grass, and rocks. We had lunch and then hung out and chatted with other hikers as they arrived. The hikers heading north were the best to get an idea of what the trail was like since they had just come from where we had to go. We spoke to a German guy, Phillip, who told us about the river crossing we’d have to deal with tomorrow. We knew about them but it’s nice to hear just how deep they are. Of the 4 two are not ones you can just rock hop across. Those two are about knee deep and then thigh deep. The knee deep one was like two minutes from where we are camped so we planned to just leave camp with water shoes on. Then later that day a family came through and we watched as the Dad carried each person one by one across the river on his back. Of course Bobbie saw that and said hey that looks like a great idea. I agreed and said I’d carry her across the next day. We had late dinner and headed off to bed. The nice thing about it never getting dark is you can hike all day or all night. That is also a bad thing. Folks would come in at 1 or 2 AM and start setting up their tents which was a bit annoying since it would wake you up. They would talk and have dinner all while you are trying to get back to sleep.

Day 3
So the first river right off the bat was pretty easy. Cold as hell but easy. I went across dropped my pack, went back and got Bobbie’s pack, and then went back for her. Meanwhile Angie took some photos for us before she came across in bear feet. She did not have water shoes of any sort. Worked out fine. My feet were cold for a few minutes after I got my trail runners back on but no big deal. Today was a longer day at about 11 miles. Mostly downwards but plenty of little gullies and small passes to go over. Just before we got to the main river crossing the trail meets the dirt road that, as they call them, the ‘super jeeps’ use, we passed an old Ford full size van, nice looking truck. We watched him drive through the river we crossed on a foot bridged. When we got to the main river he was behind us but was stopped and doing nothing. I started to get my water shoes on and Angie started to wave at the van. He came over and asked us if we wanted a ride across the river. We couldn’t turn that down, this was the thigh deep, maybe 40 foot wide river we were all dreading having to deal with today. He told us to jump up on the running boards of the van and hold on to the roof rack. Well the van was so far off the ground the running boards were dam hard to get up onto with a pack on. It had to be 2 or 2.5 feet off the ground. So I boosted Angie and Bobbie up and then I struggled up as well.  Across we went. Lucky I had my water shoes on as the water was just coming up to and a little over the running boards. My shoes would have been soaked. Bobbie and Angie both had boots and they were fine. So we were on the other side and feeling happy we did not have to deal with that crossing. We arrived in camp a couple hours after that. Another early day being in camp by about 1:30. This hut, Sydri-Emstrua Hut, was nice but the tents sites were all on sandy little plateaus. It was very windy and the fine dust & sand was filling our tents. I lowered the sides to the ground on my Shangri-la 3 tent and that made a world of difference. The caretaker suggested and short walk over to a canyon which he said was very impressive. So after some lunch we headed over to have a look. He was spot on, it was really neat looking down into this canyon. There was large river roaring below. No idea how far down it was but it looks to be 600 feet or so down to the river. Later we were talking to another person that was over there after us. He said he heard a helicopter flying but could not see it since it was down in the canyon. We learned on the last day that they run a Helicopter tour through it.

Day 4
Today is our last day with about 10 miles to hike. We had heard from one of the north bound hikers that the last Hut at Porsmork was very nice. With a sauna, hot tub, they call them hot pots, beer, and even food. None of the other huts have any sort of food or beer for sale. They all only offered a 3 minute hot shower for about 10 bucks though we never bothered using them.  So with all those amenities we planned to spend the night there and catch the AM bus back to town. Today we had one river to cross which required wading. I carried Bobbie again. She was happy to complete the entire trip without having to get cold wet feet. After the river crossing we actually arrived in an Icelandic forest. Ok Icelandic joke. What do you do if you get lost in an Icelandic forest? Stand up. Real trees, grass, and flowers everyplace now. Prior to the river it was about 6 miles of soft black beach sand. Very annoying to walk in. So the change in scenery was welcome. The trail turned to dirt road the last mile or so. Then we saw it, the last hut. Nice little place with horses wondering around, city folks, cars, and a bus. We dropped out packs on the porch and went in for a beer, an 8 dollar beer I might add but well worth it. We had a bowl of soup and enjoyed the feeling you get when a trip is over. A little sad and a little relieved is the way I always feel after a nice trip. We sat a bit too long before we realized it was sprinkling and we needed to get our tents up. We got them up just in time for the down pour which lasted a few hours. This gave us a chance to nap a few hours. Bobbie enjoyed the sauna, hotpot and shower. I didn’t bother. The next morning we caught the 8:15 bus back to the city. It was a long 45 minute dirt road, really just driving down a river bed, to the paved main road. We got to cross one good sized river on the trip back to the road.

So overall we had great weather for the hike. We saw some really pretty landscape and met nice people along the way.


Photos are here
Over 200 sorry so many


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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 09 2013, 3:01 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

wow, nice TR, thanks. Sounds like a great time, good for you. I love the picture of the pink/purple sky..awesome shot.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 09 2013, 6:52 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(GottaGamble @ Jul. 09 2013, 3:01 pm)
QUOTE
wow, nice TR, thanks. Sounds like a great time, good for you. I love the picture of the pink/purple sky..awesome shot.

Thanks. That shot was taken at about 1:30 AM As you can tell it never really gets dark. Was not sure if it was sunrise or sunset


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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 09 2013, 10:10 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

These are pretty inspirational.  We have been discussing an Iceland trip, including backpacking, for years.  I have even purchased the maps and Lonely Planet guide.  We just really want two weeks for it and my SO can only get one week at a time right now.  

Thanks for posting this.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 10 2013, 6:33 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Honestly 1 week is enough. 4 days for the hike we did. But it could be done in 3. The first two days are about 7 miles each some combined this. The other main big attractions, the golden circle tour can be seen in a day via bus tour. Wonder around the major city is a day thing.

Now that is not to say you could not find really neat things to do if you stayed longer but other than hiking out to the major glacier, we did not do this, we felt satisfied. We had a friends house to stay at so our cost were low and we wanted to spend sometime with our friends which is the only real reason we stayed 10 days


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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 10 2013, 11:22 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Excellent trip report.  Rats!  Now I've got another place for my life-list.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 10 2013, 12:30 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Simply beautiful.

Out of curiosity, can you recommend a website for that hike?


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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 10 2013, 1:28 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(tomas @ Jul. 10 2013, 12:30 pm)
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Simply beautiful.

Out of curiosity, can you recommend a website for that hike?

Thanks

Two I used

http://www.fi.is/en/hiking-trails/laugavegurinn/

http://www.nat.is/travelguideeng/hiking_laugavegur.htm


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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 10 2013, 3:43 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thank you!

I'm looking at going later this fall to see the northern lights and do some fishing. The airline prices out of Dulles are ridiculously low on Icelandair.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 10 2013, 11:57 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

You never have to apologize for lots of spectacular photos that are all unique. Almost like Capitol Reef crossed with coastal Alaska, very intriguing.

This is the best thing I've seen on this site in some time. Very well done, many thanks for sharing man.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 11 2013, 6:43 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(double cabin @ Jul. 10 2013, 11:57 pm)
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You never have to apologize for lots of spectacular photos that are all unique. Almost like Capitol Reef crossed with coastal Alaska, very intriguing.

This is the best thing I've seen on this site in some time. Very well done, many thanks for sharing man.

Thanks DC your comments made Bobbie and my day

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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 09 2013, 6:31 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Loved the pics!  Some very varied landscapes.  Looked like a great trip!
Thanks.
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 09 2013, 3:48 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Totally awesome, Eggs. I went through all your photos---thanks.

Hey, what happened to that tent pole?

---George
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 10 2013, 1:39 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Very nice trip report. Thank you for sharing. I cann't wait to hike the same trail at the end of this month :)  Beautiful pictures!

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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 13 2013, 2:49 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Mna, another fantastic trip report.  Norway looks so, so beautiful!  Thanks for the report, and I, too, went through all the photos.

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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 13 2013, 2:50 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

...ooops, make that "Man".....

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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 16 2013, 11:07 am Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

Really nice photos, and nice report!  You inspire me to start writing my summer TR.

One thing (besides captions on the pictures)--can you control the order they show in?  They seemed to be in random order, not sequential through the hike.  Maybe it's my obsession with narrative, but I like to see trip pictures that show the progression of the trip.


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