Ahhhhh Icelandic weather!
After a relatively nice day yesterday, the wind picked up and fairly howled during the night, making us all grateful that we were in the Hrafntinnusker mountain hut and not camped outside like so many others!
However, we couldn’t stay sequestered in warm comfort forever, and after a hearty breakfast of tea, coffee, porridge, bread, crackers, cheese, and various spreads, we had no choice but to head out into the wind and the cold.
The first part of today’s hike was across open ground and plenty of snow-drifts – in other words, nowhere to hide from the relentless wind! And although it seemed to be about the same strength as 2 days ago on the final leg of the Volcanic Trails trek, at least it wasn’t raining and we weren’t walking into the teeth of it (today it was at our back for the majority of the time).
Despite the terrible weather, the views continued to amaze in every direction
[move mouse over image to see full panorama]
and at one point I caught myself thinking that the wind was quite invigorating and made me feel alive. Judging by the smiles that Yves and Annie gave me as I stopped to take yet another photo – perhaps I wasn’t the only one 🙂
Instead of improving as the day wore on, the wind actually became worse, making negotiating the trail tricky in places and forcing us to brace ourselves on occasion against the very strong gusts.
Unlike the other treks I’d done in Iceland (Hornstrandir, Volcanic Trails and Shadow of Vatnajökull) where I saw hardly anyone beyond those I was hiking with, there was no shortage of people on the Laugavegur Trail. It was quite a shock to the system both yesterday and today to see an almost continuous line of people stretching out ahead of and behind us along the route. Though not surprising given that the Laugavegur Trail is the most famous multi-day hike in Iceland and we were there during peak season.
Our destination for the day was Álftavatn (“Swan Lake”), and the amazing hut that I’d stayed at on Day 5 of the Volcanic Trails trek. Hmmm… there seems to be a theme emerging about me hiking to Álftavatn in bad weather…
This view must be incredible in good weather!
By some miracle, Sigþór managed to find a spot for lunch that was largely protected from the gale, and I sat down to my regular lunch on an Icelandic Mountain Guides trek – a “cheese bomb” consisting of red pepper cheese spread and thick slices of Brie or Camembert sandwiched between large crackers. The secret is that by lunchtime, the spread has soaked into the crackers and turned them into a bread-like consistency. Much better than starting with bread that is several days old
After our relatively quick lunch stop (it was cold after all!), we descended from the ridge to the valley floor and began to follow a small river. At one point, Sigþór gathered us all together for our “Icelandic story of the day”. Today’s offering – a story about Trolls. Oh how I love Icelandic Folklore!
I’m thinking that he timed this to distract us from our next obstacle – our first river crossing for the trek! If you’ve read the posts about my other treks in Iceland you will know that changing out of hiking boots and into river crossing shoes is par for the course, but it is never a pleasant experience when the weather is miserable. Fortunately, this river was only small and didn’t take long to cross
and it wasn’t long before we were off again through the fog towards our warm lodging.
It was a relief to arrive about half an hour later and dump all our gear in our dormitory.
Once again, we demolished tea, coffee, biscuits and cake while Sigþór and Þorbjörg concocted another culinary masterpiece. This time – Icelandic Lamb soup 🤤
And we all sent up another petition to the Universe for better weather tomorrow!
Distance = 10.95
Time taken = 4hr 23 mins
Strava Link = https://www.strava.com/activities/1768355363
Read more about hiking the Laugavegur Trail
If this post has piqued your curiosity, read about the rest of the 7-day Laugavegur & Fimmvörðuháls Combo Tour with Icelandic Mountain Guides
- Day 1 – Reykjavík to Hrafntinnusker via Landmannalaugar
- Day 2 – from Hrafntinnusker to Álftavatn
- Day 3 – from Álftavatn to Emstrur
- Day 4 – from Emstrur to Þórsmörk
- Day 5 – Þórsmörk Valley
- Day 6 – from Þórsmörk to Fimmvörðuháls
- Day 7 – from Fimmvörðuháls to Reykjavík via Skógar
Alternatively, check out my other posts about hiking and trekking in Iceland and around the world.