In six days we will go through a whole variety of landscapes, from moss-covered lava fields, through colourful rhyolite mountains, passing active geothermal hot spots, take dip into a natural hot spring, hike in the monochromatic landscape where the white of the snow meets the black glass obsidian mountain. We will be hiking close to glaciers, go through glacial-fed rivers and into valley where glaciers have clearly and vividly formed that stunning area. Prepare yourself for long summer days with spectacular landscape and very few people. The kind of place that you will have to remind yourself that you are not dreaming. People that have never been to the moon often say this is like being on the moon, including myself. I have been guiding this route about 20 times and I still absolutely love it. As you might have guessed by the name of my company; I love food, I love cooking, I love eating food, I love talking about food and most importantly I love sharing food with good people. Ever since I was studying adventure tourism in Canada I have tried my best to make the food delicious in wilderness setting. To work around all the limitations of cooking in the wild.
The hike, as most places in Iceland is alpine, meaning there are no trees to be found anywhere around. Unless of course you count the trees on the 5th and 6th day trees. That would be extremely generous and very Icelandic of you to do so. I have been guiding this tour around 20 times. Still, I find this trip to be fascinating. Now I am finally doing these tours how I always envisioned them. With the right group size so everyone can get my attention, a night in Landmannalaugar so we can bath in a natural hot spring, great local produce as much as I can and many other smaller things as well. All in hopes to improve the overall experience for my guests.
The trips will be supported. We will experienced highland driver in a modified 4x4 highland truck driving with our luggage from hut-to-hut. I really think this is a great way to travel like this. Because then we will only have a day pack with the things that we need for the day. The driver will drive with our one bag of luggage each where our sleeping bag, clean clothes, a nice book to read, toiletries etc. will be stored. Allowing us to have great and fresh food for the journey as well. Everyone will be responsible to load and unload their bag into the truck and the same goes with the highland bus to and from the hike. The tour will be guided by myself, Einar Sveinn Westlund.
Each day we will hike 12-17km, except for the last day which is shorter. Total of around 75km. 55km on the Laugavegur trail and around 20km counting the first and the last day.
Day 1 - Reykjavik to Landmannalaugar
Hut: Landmannalaugar www.fi.is/en/mountain-huts/all-mountain-huts/landmannalaugar
The tour starts at BSI bus terminal in Reykjavík. The highland bus leaves at 07:00 (AM). We meet up 30 minutes before that. It takes about 4 hours and half to drive to Landmannalaugar. Once we are there, we will put our gear in place, this is where the hut that we will be sleeping at. The area around Landmannalaugar gives a sense of being on a different planet. With all its colours, lacks trees, mountains, lava fields and vast nature. The first day and last day are going to be different to the other ones because we will have a choice of where to go depending on the weather conditions and the group. Around Landmannalaugar are some nice hikes. Bláhnúkur, blue mountain that has blue rhyolite rocks, Suðurnámur mountain range that overlooks the geothermally active area of Landmannalaugar and far into the direction of the Laugavegur hike of the following day. Ljótipollur, The Ugly Puddle is an old caldera crater lake with red rocks around it. Quite humble name for that place. Any of the choices to hike around Landmannalaugar will be the right one. After the hike we will cook some nice dinner in the hut and go for a dip in the natural hot spring afterwards. This is the only day where we will be able to go into hot springs. Then of course shower and go to sleep all happy and tired.
Day 2 - Landmannalaugar to Hrafntinnusker
Hut: Hrafntinnusker www.fi.is/en/mountain-huts/all-mountain-huts/hrafntinnusker
We will hike through moss-covered lava field, over colourful rhyolite mountains towards the monochromatic area of Hrafntinnusker, which means obsidian mountain. This day has perhaps the most drastic change of landscape in this hike. On the hike are different spots where we can see the geothermal activities of the area, in lakes, in small pockets and most notable in Stórihver. Where we will smell the sulfur and see where the heat of the geothermal activity melts the snow up there. Hrafntinnusker hut is the most primitive of this hike. There is no shower and there are outhouses instead of flushing toilets. This gives a real sense of old-school adventure. I find this hut to be cozy. Hrafntinnusker hut stands at 1.100m height which is the highest point of our hike. During this day we will not see a whole lot of plants and vegetation giving a surreal feel of being on a different planet. We will cook dinner together.