Iceland - Day 11 : Koen and Bart
I couldn't help laughing this morning while packing my tent. Today was a special day. My friend Koen (from the first cycling vacation) never wanted to go cycling with me again. He did have the 'adventurous' idea to one day cycle over the Dutch 'enclosure dam', a large dam in the north of the country, but only if we travelled there and back by train.
Koen had secretly suggested to Bart to cycle over the dam while I was away. However, Koen's girlfriend had told me about their plans. After crossing the damp they wanted to continue cycling until reaching the most northern tip of the Netherlands. Two years ago I had tried to cycle there with my colleague Bas, but because he had given up we had stopped 30 km before reaching our goal. For years certain people were also claiming I was the source of everything that went wrong (i.e., the adventure) during our cycling trips. Now, without my 'bad' influence, Koen and Bart had planned their trip so well that Koen was under the impression they would leave on the 22nd and only cycle one way, while Bart thought they would leave on the 15th and cycle there and back. I am happy they are going though, so Koen can see Bart is just as stubborn as me. I suspect Bart is going to get annoyed about Koen's slow cycling and his desire to eat at restaurants and sleep in hotels. In contrast, Koen will likely get annoyed by Bart's farting, non-stop eating of chocolate, and his continuous talking about his girlfriend Manon.
I had my own adventure to endure though. Without stopping I walked the 14 km to the campsite at Nyidalur. Before getting there I needed to cross a wide river. I wasn't sure upto what height my shoes are waterproof, but figured this would be a good time to find out. The river was about 15 cm deep and I could just tip-toe through without getting my feet wet. This was also were I reached the larger gravel road.
Nyidalur consisted of just a few huts for drivers to sleep. The 'campsite' only had one tent. It also wasn't really a campsite. The only difference between camping there and the rest of Iceland was that you had to pay.
The road along the way
After a brief stop I needed to cross a second river. This one was pretty large but there were several sandbars. It was pretty cold outside and I didn't want to get wet. After jumping from rock to rock, aided by my hiking poles, I managed to cross without taking my shoes off. When I looked back I noticed two hikers arriving at the campground, perhaps I would meet them later.
The river with Nyidalur in the background
After 5 km I left the national park another driver stopped to ask if I was OK. It was nice that everyone did that. I came across another river that was deep enough I needed to wade through. I already felt cold the second I too my shoes off and couldn't walk fast due to the fast current. You really need to experienced it to know how cold that feels. After another 1,5 hours it was time to stop for the day. It was a real struggle to pitch my tent in the strong winds. I also tore out of my pants. This was the first time I wasn't camping near water and of course I didn't have much left.
Due to the cold I had forgotten to fill my water bottle after crossing the river. Fortunately, I had been carrying a spare 0.5L since Landmannalaugar. This was the first time I needed it. For dinner I ate mashed potatoes with kale. The package had been damaged exactly where the recipe mentioned the amount of water required. This resulted in lukewarm mashed potatoes with solid pieces of kale.
Type of soil I had been walking over for the past days
Beautiful sky above the glacier in the distance
I had grown another serious blister on my heel. I wasn't sure why I only started getting those during last few days, perhaps because of all the volcanic sand. The next campsite was about 39 kilometers away. With some luck I would arrive there in 1.5 days. I hoped it would be bigger than the one at Nyiladur.
Distance walked: 25 km