Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Afterword

I have finally (Dec 2014) loaded some photos and panoramas, so now this blog is more or less complete. Comments are welcome and I'll try and incorporate any useful suggestions or resources. Things appear here in reverse chronological order, so I'd suggest clicking on the Introduction link above to get you started. I hope you find something useful.

There is also a new link to my Scottish National Trail blog. It's perhaps worth noting that I really started to appreciate Iceland once I was in Scotland. It really did make it a lot easier. 

So that poses the question "What would make Iceland seem easier?" and I think my answer to that is Te Araroa. But I'll leave you to find out what that means.


Happy Hiking!

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Summary

This is definitely not a walk for the faint-hearted or the ill-prepared. You don't need to be super-fit, but you do need to be capable of living outside in poor weather for weeks on end, and carrying a decent sized pack. And unless you bring a partner with you, you'll likely be alone for 95% of the time. Which may not suit everyone. Personally I think it is a landscape well suited to a solo trip.

On the other hand you will...
  • see some scenery that is pretty much unique to Iceland.
  • enjoy one of your best hot baths ever.
  • emerge thinner and tougher than when you started.
  • have some sun and no wind to sit and enjoy a waterfall view. Or you may not!
  • have plenty of empty space to yourself and your thoughts.
  • get covered in black sand overnight.
  • learn to treat a river crossing as an opportunity to have clean feet (albeit cold ones).
  • see quite a variety of bird life near the coast.
  • discover just how much heat there is coming from the centre of the Earth.
  • nearly touch the Arctic Circle.
  • have 24 hour daylight in summer. Or total darkness in winter. Your choice!
  • make up your own trail.
  • have a glow of satisfaction when it is all over!
  • have fun and misery and discover all sorts of things about yourself that you didn't know.
Best of luck making your own trail!

Photos

A selection of photos for information, inspiration and amusement.

Food preparation I
Bought in Iceland

Food preparation II
Food to take to the start

Food preparation III
It helps to have plenty of space to lay it all out

Food preparation IV
Food drop II

Food preparation V
Food drop I

The Arctic Circle is a mere 3km north of here.
And it certainly feels like it

A selection of Icelandic flowers

A section of track with flowers

A rare but very welcome hut on the second night

Midnight sunset on day three

Looking back down the river on the way to Dettifoss

Selfoss

Cross country without a track

Old lava meets new

Heavily laden for the longest section (12 days)

Colourful landscape. Enjoy it while you can

A ball of barbed wire in the middle of nowhere


A flower in the largest desert in Europe

It's bandit country out here

Midnight camp site

Water supply in the desert

A ($40 a night) hut that I passed by without stopping.
This is NOT New Zealand!

It looks solid but you sink in. 
Best to stay between the stones

Somewhere near here is a solid snow bridge... I hope

Oh Yummy. Couscous à la Islande again!

Seize on each splash of colour


Lots of cold streams to cross

A rare figure in the landscape

Earthy colours from thermal activity

The climate is savage on hands.
I used a LOT of tape


Subtle shades of colour under a lowering sky

Making lunch in a Hobbit hole

For those long grey stretches on the 4WD track

A signpost that spells "Hot bath coming up"

Campsite under old lava flow

View from my tent

The start of Landmannalaugar colours

This is the cooler end of the bath

Steam room

Hot tub. Bit too hot actually

View from my tent

Sweet

Landmannalaugar colours

The path to Þórsmörk

Clouds hang constantly over the icecap behind me

At last some trees!
Difficult to describe what a relief this was

A rainbow signals the end of the trail

Preparing for the last river crossing.
Note: the laces are well tied!

Ueli from Austria.
A rare hiker who I met and walked with on the penultimate day. 

One more rainbow for the road

A stunning day of almost excessive waterfalls

Icelandic horses

Puffin on the ledge near Dyrholaey

Dyrholaey lighthouse from near the end

Dyrholaey - the doorway

It's done

Iceland Traverse - North to South
3rd July to 24th July 2014