Iceland - Day 12 : The balance
Today I wanted to walk as far possible so I can reach tomorrow's campsite early. After a few kilometers I passed a hiking couple. They reacted normally, super enthusiastic and curious. They came from canada and had started hiking in Akureyri in the north, now they were heading towards Vik.
They asked what the south was like so I explained about the mosquitoes. According to them it was very windy in the north and it would take about 1,5 days before it would get more green. I was looking forward to that, after walking in the same dry landscape for the past 5 days. When we sad goodby the girl said 'good luck, you only have 6 more days to go'. She wasn't being sarcastic, hiking 'only 6 days' was getting normal.
A while later I noticed a gnome that somebody had left by the side of the road.
Near a lake I could fill my water supply. It was also time to take out another piece of my gear: my solar charger. I plan to use that to recharge the batteries I use to recharge my electronic devices.
Later I arrived at a 10 km long straight road over a bare plain in the scorching sun. It seemed like I was in Spain or Morocco. I saw a lake in the distance and was confused because it wasn't on the map. It turned out to be a mirage.
The road in Spain
I also needed to cross another river, which was a lot less bad now the sun was out. I also washed my socks and t-shirt. A car arrived with a man and woman in it. The lady had to go out of the car and walk through the cold river so she could tell the man where to drive, he had it all figured out.
The river I crossed
I noticed I had two more blisters, maybe because I am walking larger sections now. I am carrying blister bandaids, but won't used them until the blisters open up.
The road I was on was a lot busier that the previous ones, today I had seen about 15 cars. I don't really like that, it's a lot less adventurous when several people a day ask you if you have enough water left. There are no other roads, however, and in the end the passing of a car only takes a minute. It still feels amazing to be able to look 20 km in every direction with no other sign of civilization than a small sandy path.
The dry plains
Nice view near a river
The water is super clean everywhere in Iceland
In the meantime my tent is up again. Tomorrow it will be another 11 km until the campsite. I am about to try the pasta bolognese meal and had tried to call home. According to the internet there was only cell phone connection on Iceland's periphery. Apparently that has changed in the last few years, because I have had cellular connection every day. I had agreed with myself, however, not to call home until a week after Landmannalaugar. That week has finished today. However, precisely tonight I don't have connection. It's a strange idea that you can walk around here for days without seeing anyone, but can update your facebook status whenever you want.
Today I have been walking for about 10 days, so it seems a good moment to make up the balance. In terms of electricity I carried 12 batteries and my solar charger. If I wouldn't listen to any music just the batteries would probably be sufficient. In terms of food, it is difficult to estimate how much calories I am eating exactly, but I am pretty sure its not more than the 2500 kcal/day I am carrying. I haven't been super hungry yet, although I definitely lost weight. What I did miscalculate is the amount of fuel I need to burn my stove, I burned about 330 mL in 7 days, which means I am carrying about one liter too much. Naturally I am not going to throw the gasoline away here, instead I plan to leave my stove on a bit longer every night to warm my tent. My bodily issues are not that bad. Usually in the evening my back hurts but that is almost always gone in the morning. It also makes a huge difference that my backpack keeps getting lighter. My blisters are pretty intense but not hurting much. I also have a red rash on my hands since the past two days. It looks like mosquito bites but those don't bite around here and it is only on my hands. Especially in the sun and wind they start to itch and sometimes hurt.
My lip is also badly damaged due to the sun and not drinking enough. For the rest, I have been having some strange alternating pains. For example, today I noticed I have small wounds on the back of both my ears. After a lot of thinking I realized this is because when I look sideways my ears scrape over the top of my backpack. Then lastly: the daily distance. That is where the largest error lies. I had planned to walk 18 km/day based on other peoples hike stories. Currently I am averaging about 23 km/day, which means that despite my missed flight I will still have 8 days to spare after reaching the ring road. That might seem a lot, but if I would have walked only 15 km a day - just three km less than planned - the trip would already take several days longer. I already have a few ideas for what I am going to do during that time, but first I need to reach Varmahlid.
Distance walked: 25 km