general hiking travel trip reports

Day Two of the Laugavegur hike (Hrafntinnusker – Álftavatn)

The morning brought a little mizzle, so we pessimistically donned all our rain gear. The rain gods thanked us for our humility, and declared an end to the rain for the duration of our hiking that day.

The ground steamed at us, the mountains were dark, the mountains were colourful, the snow patches had ashy residue, and ridiculously bright green moss highlighted quirks of the landscape.

We spent the first half of the hike climbing down into and then out of the creases in the landscape. Lots of little gullies were still filled with snow, and some obvious snow bridges had streams flowing under them. Nothing collapsed beneath our feet.

And then suddenly the scenery changed, and instead of colourful rhyolite mountains and ashfields and moss, we were faced with a prehistoric landscape that seemed like it should have dinosaurs casually meandering through it. Bright green, with traditional volcano cone-shaped mountain-lets, and an enormous glacier lurking to the left, just below the clouds.

We descended into the green, but no dinosaurs appeared. Perhaps they’d eaten all the trees and then moved on. That’s definitely a feature of hiking in Iceland, not the dinosaurs, but the fact that there’s nary a tree or animal to be seen. We did see several birds over the course of the hike, and a few bugs hovered nervously nearby, but seemed too shy to come up and have a bite of us. Oh, there were some sheep though, hanging around occasionally, and wandering past when we least expected it.

The hut that night was by Lake Álftavatn. We’d seen it as soon as we were in view of the prehistoric valley we were about to descend into, but it was still kilometres away, and kept tantalising us with glimpses as we gradually hiked closer. It couldn’t keep that game up forever though, and eventually we reached it.

There were actually twin huts linked by boardwalk that would also take you to the toilet block, which included a couple of showers (they would even be warm showers if you paid 500ISK). We glared at the showers and maintained our eau de hiking aroma.

A quick deal with the hut warden had us moved from one of the big sleeping rooms into one of the small private rooms – just two beds, and just the thing for the Moosling and his Papa to fall asleep on while I went out for a walk … until it started to rain on me. Everyone arriving later that day started turning up absolutely saturated.

The rest of the afternoon and evening was spent chatting with people in the roomy living/cooking area of the hut. Or for those in the party under the age of one, it was instead spent chasing around cups on the floor of the hut, and grinning at everyone who glanced at you, and possibly offering them your socks. The friendly driver/cook from one of the guided groups offered us some of their leftover lamb soup (absolutely delicious – I could definitely handle hiking with a cook).

Distance: 12km
Terrain: A bit hilly, with an overall altitude loss of 490m

3 replies on “Day Two of the Laugavegur hike (Hrafntinnusker – Álftavatn)”

Thanks Katya! Trying to slowly get through it all, still heaps of photos to go through and edit/upload. Stupid photogenic country.

I know it was an amazing place to visit, but your pictures make me want to jump in hiking shoes and go!

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