The hut in Emstrur, still warming up in our sleeping bags from the storm and the river crossing

Laugavegur - Day 2 - Hiking through the Highlands

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

(Den deutschen Artikel finden Sie hier: German Version)

Warning: A tropical storm this afternoon.

So we got up accordingly early, to cross the two rivers of the day and to reach our next destination, the hut in Emstrur, BEFORE the storm was coming.


Luckily, the tshirts and socks which we had hung up in our sleeping room had dried over night. (The geniuses we are, we hadn’t used the rain capes of our backpacks the day before... So we had had to cook barefoot and in undershirts in the evening, as litterally everything we brought was wet by then…) Unfortunately, our hiking trousers and jackets didn’t dry that easily. But the most disgusting thing: the squelching sound when stepping into the soked boots! 

Outside a light drizzle welcomed us, but we were used to it by now. Ten minutes later we had to put off our shoes again for our first river crossing of the they. We pulled up our trousers and marched through the cold water. Once you’ve accept that the river crossing is inevitable, you are so much faster with it! None of us wanted to spend too much time with drying after having reached the other side - The longer we stood there and let the wind blow through our wet clothes, the worse it got.

Accordingly fast we were that day: Before you pause for 3 minutes to get some bread out of your backpack, you rather think twice if you are really that hungry.

river crossing on laugavegurToday, the way was the complete opposite of the one yesterday. While yesterday we had hiked up and down (more up than down, though), crossing mountains, moraines and sulfuric fields, today we marched through a flat, black desert. Far on the left and on the right, we could see some mountains in the distance covered in mist... But except from that the landscape was just a giant lava field. (If you have seen Thor 2: This area served as filming spot for Svartalfheim, the world of the dark elves…)

River Crossing 2.0

And then it happened again: The next river crossing. In comparison to this one, the two rivers before seemed to have been nothing more than small streams. Josephine and my girlfriend waited for me to cross it first, to see how high up they had to pull their trousers. The result was disillusioning. And with a sorrowful look on their faces, they peeled off our trousers completely, clamped them under one arm. Then took their shoes and the by now really disgusting socks in the other hand.

I assure you, this were the longest 10 meters of my life! The current was so strong that I could do nothing but feel my way centimeter by cenitmeter - while it seemed like I was not moving at all. And then my flip flop* got stuck in the middle of the river under some stone on the ground... In my mind’s eye I already saw myself falling down lengthwise into the floods… But somehow we made it to the other side! Where we had the nasty task to pull up our wet trousers over our moisty skin again.

* With a strong current, flip flops really aren’t the best choice for river crossing, because of the large contact surface they offer for the water to hit. But all in all, I was happy I brought them! At least I could just walk straight ahead and didn’t have to watch out for sharp-edged stones on the ground. Besides, your feet get even MORE dirty without shoes :D Of course, there are shoes made for walking in water, or you can just take a light pair of shoes that you can put in the washing machine afterwards. But if you have neither of them: flip flops will do as well!

Despite the warning of the warden in Alftavatn, the noon didn’t bring storm but actually better weather. The cold remained, but slowly the rain stopped and at one point, even the wind abated. How lucky that we got up that early to pick up even the last bit of the tempests… :D And so the weather was almost “nice” when we reached Emstrur after 5 hours in record time (of course we didn’t beat any actual record, but at least we were faster than the warden predicted… and again we were really proud of us!)

The hut in Emstrur, still warming up in our sleeping bags from the storm and the river crossing

How to make people turn malicious by doing nothing but sleeping in heavenly peace...

The rest of the day we spent in our sleeping bags, eating, in the sleeping bags, playing cards, eating and afterwards back into the sleeping bags... Still warming up from the storm and the river crossings. Unfortunately we didn’t have a sleeping room just for us as we had in the last hut, but shared it with approximately 10 other people and a stove. It’s kind of mean, when you are trying to fall asleep and all of a sudden the smell of a delicious meal occupies the whole hut… (Or rather the smell of pocket soup... But as we had nothing but dry spaghettis for dinner, it still smelled pretty seductive!)

It was about 8 o’clock in the evening when I fell asleep. When I woke up in the middle of the night (about 2 hours later) everybody else was sleeping as well. Unfortunately one of them seemed to have turned off the oven. Goodbye, dream of dry shoes…

Once awake, it was really hard not to notice that apparently a fivestory building was torn down right next to us. Or at least that was what it sounded like! For hours. And everytime when I thought now FINALLY it’s going to stop (because the guy, whoever it was, is going to choke from his own snoring), he proved that it actually is possible for the human body to imitate a chainsaw backwards. I never had such bloody daydreams… My girlfriend also lay awake. And after we tried everything, from listening to some music to playing stupid games on our cellphones, and nothing worked out, we took the last remedy and stuffed parts of handkerchiefs in our ears. (The second last remedy, says an evil voice inside my head and sharpens its blades… :D )


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

Click here to read about the third day: Laugavegur - Day 3 - Hiking through the Highlands

You missed the beginning? First day: Laugavegur - Day 1 - Hiking through the Highlands


You want to experience it yourself?

Here you can book this trip: Laugavegur Trekking


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