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Iceland - Day 10 : Headwinds

I had gone to bed at 20:00 but hadn't fallen asleep until 22:00 because of the ridiculously strong winds. In the morning I still had a tough headwind. My blisters had recovered a bit. By noon I had already seen 3 cars, it was almost like a highway there. I also saw an emergency shelter in the distance.

icelandic emergency shelter

The emergency shelter
 

noticed a small dot, which turned out to be Speedy Gonzales. All hikers I had seen thus far had been very enthusiastic and happy to encounter someone. Speedy seemed like he hardly noticed me and wanted to get on his way as soon as possible. However, he looked so unique I just needed to say something. Instead of a backpack he dragged a kind of golf cart behind him. He claimed he walked around 30-40 km per day with it. I guess it helps a lot when you don't get sore feet or a sore back from carrying everything on your back. The relatively flat and straight roads in Iceland were perfect for his cart, although I don't think it would be useful on the Landmannalaugar trail. He was also going so fast that he must have crossed the whole of Iceland within a week. He had started in the north and told me about nice whale cruises you could take there. I decided to look into later. I took a photo of Speedy, after which he said Ariba Ariba and ran away.

hiking in central iceland

The dot in the distance

hiking in iceland

Speedy Gonzales
 

Because of the wind, my blisters, and the bad night of sleep, walking today was difficult. A few hours later I found a camera lying in between two rocks. The screen was scratched and the knobs stuck because of all the sand. I usually picked up all plastic garbage I found on the trails, but a camera was definitely too heavy. As nobody would ever find it in this desert I did take the memory card. Perhaps I could find the owner on the internet.

 

[Once home I found photos on the card. Judging by the car's license plate the owners were German. They had visited the hot spring I was walking towards. I put the photos on www.ifoundyourcamera.net but never got a reply.]

I passed a man in a gigantic jeep. I had seen a few more of those, they were like mini monster trucks. He asked the usual, like if everything was going well and where I was heading to. I answered and continued. In a few kilometers I was supposed to end up on a road that was on my map but not my GPS. I hoped the road was real, otherwise I would have to take a 20 km detour. Fortunately it was, although getting there required crossing four rivers. 

 

I planned to arrive at a larger gravel road the next day and at a campsite two days later. That was also where the hot spring the Englishman mentioned was. I was looking forward to taking a long break there and regain some strength.

hiking in central iceland

The 'road ' to the left was the one I needed to take

 

After 500 meters I arrived a river, the road stopped and the river lay 4 meters lower. It was a huge river and definitely too dangerous to cross. Instead, I followed a vague path that ended up at a second river running into the main one. That way I would need to cross two smaller rivers instead of one big one. In the middle of the river were some sandbars. I measured the depth before the sandbar which was at least a meter and pretty fast flowing. The 40 cm deep streams had already been freezingly cold and difficult to stay upright in.

large river in iceland

The large river
 

If there is one thing I can't stand it is giving up, and it took me quite some effort to admit, but this would really be too dangerous. This first river would already involve me standing in water that came up to my waist and if I would slip I would get soaking wet and dragged away by the current, without anyone knowing what had happened. There was no other option except to return to the main road and take the 20 km long detour. That automatically also meant I would arrive at the campsite one day later. In addition, I would now have to sleep on barren rocks while if I had directly taken the main road I would likely have ended up at another campsite (there were two along the entire north-south road). Back on the trail I pitched and anchored my tent. I needed to do that with one peg less, as I had lost it in the sand last night. I was bummed out by that, as I couldn't afford to lose gear. Besides, I didn't want to leave anything behind in nature.

wild camping in iceland
wild camping in iceland

After I pitched my tent it was time for something I hadn't dared to think about thus far. The secondhand Sony camera I had bought annoyingly required unique charging plugs, tv connectors and memory cards. I had bought a Sony memory card, however, it didn't work. With just a week to go before my hike I obtained a working one and the right charging cable. It plugged in the camera just fine, but as soon as I tried to take it out it broke. The store offered me a free replacement cable, but of course that didn't arrive in time. With no other options I sawed the connecter open and soldered everything back together. It had worked fine on the kitchen table, but if it wouldn't work here in Iceland I would not be able to take photos for the remainder of my trip.

I very carefully connected everything and was relieved to see my camera charging. I will never buy a Sony camera again though. Now it was time to catch up on some sleep. The following day I would have to walk another 12 km before arriving on the larger road, which I would follow until reaching the main ring road in the north.

Distance walked: 21 km