Take A Break: Iceland
Mr D (+ 148 other lawyers) and I recently dusted off the ol’ hiking boots to take on Iceland’s famed Laugavegur Trail.
The Hike – Laugavegur Trail
Just shy of the Arctic Circle, the Laugavegur Trail crosses the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and the third biggest geothermal zone in the world. This land mass rises out of the ocean moulding the land into an other-worldly terrain with incredible scenic diversity. The trail crosses active volcanoes, geysers, torrential (and freezing) rivers, plunging waterfalls and majestic glaciers.
Over three days we covered just under 60km and gained a total of 2,100 meters (7,000 feet) in elevation with the highest point being 1,062 meters (3,485 feet) above sea level and the lowest point being, no showers. We started at Þórsmörk and finished at Landmannalaugar.
All of our worldly possessions were perched on our backs including, a (leaky) tent, sleeping bag, mat, clothes, food, fuel & water.
Tip: You might feel like a tool but walking poles will save your bacon on this hike. Legit. Also, invest in water shoes for the cryogenic-treatment river crossings: my $5 H&M pleather snakeskin flip flops failed to make the grade.
The hike was a pretty bloody incredible adventure. Every few hours the terrain would change from craggy outcrops to giant deserts of black volcanic ash; from snow-capped mountains to steaming sulphuric yellow and pink lava fields and lush lowlands. It was a real feast for the eyes and a challenge for the pegs.
No Carbs Diet
I was responsible for purchasing our provisions, with strict instructions from Mr D to pack a dehydrated meal for supper and energy bars for every other meal to save on weight. Then, ten hours into Day 2 I realised something was awry when Mr D and I REALLY started to slow down and become slightly incoherent. As we sat on a ridge, with glacial spurs fanning out before us and little jets of of warm sulphur smoke puffing at our ankles, I realised I had purchased the “no carb” energy bars. Not a strategy I’d adopt with the benefit of hindsight…
Definitely hike during the summer: the sun basically never sets so you can walk all night if you need to (pack an eye mask if you want to sleep). Walking the trail in the rain would be pretty damn horrible, I’d imagine. If it rained, I’d bail, 100%.
The trek was challenging, but not impossible. And, mercifully, there’s a natural hot spring in which to bath your poor aching limbs at the finish line. Hallelujah. There’s also cold beer for sale (the best you’ll ever taste) and an eclectic array of swimsuits for rent.
Other Iceland Must-Sees
Post-hike, continue your convalescence at the Blue Lagoon geothermal baths (one of the 25 Wonders Of The World). Tip: To ward against damaged, crusty hair, lather your locks with as much conditioner as possible before jumping in.
Be sure to stop by the Gullfoss and Skógafoss waterfalls, a geyser or two, and walk along the black sand beach. Controversially, you can taste a teeny piece of the nation’s cutest bird, the Puffin and Minke Whale in a few restaurants in the capital, Reykjavik.
Extra tip: stay in the mountain huts along the trail & book well in advance.
What’s the craziest holiday you have ever been on?
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