Laugavegur - Day 1: Beatiful Landscape of Landmannalaugur

Laugavegur - Day 1 - Hiking through the Highlands

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We hiked all the way from Landmannalaugur to Thorsmörk with the most terrible weather conditions and the most beautiful views! Our first Day:

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We had planned this trip for weeks: a three-days-hike through the Highlands, from Landmannalaugur to Thorsmörk. And week after week we had to postpone it, as first I got sick and then my girlfriend the week after. That’s why it felt kind of surreal to actually enter the bus which would bring us to Landmannalaugur, our overloaded bagpacks shouldered.

Laugavegur - Day 1: Landmannalaugur to Alftavatn
The bus looked like a normal city bus. Therefore we were really shocked when it left the street at one point to drive on over gravel roads and mountain paths and even crossed some rivers! I can’t deny that I was really relieved when we finally left the bus safe and sound.

On the way to Landmannalaugur

The way to our starting point close to the hut at Landmannalaugur took longer than expected and so we couldn’t start before half past 1. The best thing: We were told that we would need up to 10 hours!
The first part is always the hardest. Climbing the first mountain and realizing that one should have done some sports before this… For Josephine, a friend of ours from the university, it was especially challenging, as this was literally her second hike ever.

Beginning the Laugavegur Trail in Landmannalaugur

But the fascinating landscape motivated us again and again: smoky sulfuric hills and the obsidian fields of Landmannalaugur... And so the pockets of my girlfriend were full of stones already on the first day. (I can just shook my head uncomprehendingly on that :D )

Sulcuric Hills of Landmannalaugur

But we all did well and eventually the first 12 kilometers were behind us and we reached our first stopover in Hrafntinnusker. As it had started to rain just before we reached the hut, we decided to better have our “lunchbreak” outside than to put on our wet jackets again afterwards. And so we enjoyed a quick baguette-and-Pringles menu and trudged on. We wouldn’t let this little rain stop us!

Half an hour later the light rain turned into a grown up storm. Of course it was just in time, as the path now got worse and worse, leading us up and down every available hill in those mountains. I could have never imagined that one can get goosebumps on the cheeks…! But turning round was not an option, so step by step we cut our way through the storm. 
The higher we came, the foggier it got. Every now and then, we reached a point where it took us several minutes to rediscover the small posts marking our path in the mist. Every time, our heart throbbed faster… And always the worried glance at the sky to check how long it would probably take for the sun to go down. As it was already tricky to find the right path with a visibility of ten meters, it would be simply impossible in darkness.
As none of us really fancied the idea of being rescued at the first day already, we upped the tempo again and again, regardless our tired legs.

Crossing the glacier moraines was definitely the most impressing part of our way! Walking over something that resembled a frozen river of ice and soil, while you could hear the melting water gurgling far underneath your feet… I nearly froze to the ground while trying to take a picture of Josephine and my girlfriend standing on the moraine - To stop and wait is deadly at that weather conditions!

We all were more than relieved when finally - after 5 hours all alone in the wilderness - we saw another group of hikers in front of us. To know that there is somebody in calling distance really feels kind of reassuring!

Laugavegur - Day 1: Beatiful Landscape of Landmannalaugur

Here we have left the fog bank already... Otherwise you could hardly see the rocks in the foreground!

After a one hour descend the path ended suddenly - at the bank of a river. We had been warned that this might happen, but somehow we all hoped that we would be spared from that at least on the first day: River-Crossing. On the other side of the river we saw people getting dry and putting on their shoes… Still we walked up and down the bank for 10 minutes to look for a place where we might be able to just jump over it. But at some point we had to bow to the inevitable. 
A great self-control was needed to not just freeze in the middle of the river at the sudden cold…

Having reached the other bank my hands shook so badly that my girlfriend wasn’t able to put on her shoes again. Unfortunately one of her gloves (respectively the one she stole from me....) had dropped into the water. So she just wrapped her hands in her scarf and held out her feet for me to help her.

To recharge our batteries for the final meters, we turned on Imagine Dragons on my cellphone and sang along - kind of awry and without real knowledge of the lyrics. :D

The sun had just disappeared over the horizon when we finally reached the hut Alftavatn - after 24 km, some thousand meters of altitude, but only 7 hours hiking, very proud, very tired and very, very wet!



This post is part of a whole series called "Laugavegur - Hiking through the Highlands" in which we describe our experience of hiking all the way from Landmannalaugur to Thorsmörk in 3 days.

To the Second Day: Laugavegur - Day 2 - Hiking through the Highlands 


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