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Iceland - Day 5 : Alftavatn and Landmannalaugar

In the morning I didn't feel very rested and it was raining. It took me about an hour to eat and pack everything. I set out into the fog and soon started going uphill.

foggy hike

After a while I needed to cross yet another river. I didn't really wanted to do that in the rain. By carefully stepping from rock to rock I made it across without getting wet. Then the trail really went uphill. It was very steep and muddy. On top I had 'the' view. I had seen that valley a 100 times in movies and blogs and it was pretty cool to be there in real life. Unfortunately it was super foggy so I couldn't see far.

Alftavatn
Alftavatn

After the climb I arrived in a completely different landscape. There were hot springs everywhere and lots of smoke that smelled worse than Bart's socks after a week of cycling. The rocks where blue, red, and green. I had gotten pretty sweaty during the climb and felt cold due to the rain. In total the climb had taken over an hour.

landmannalaugar
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landmannalaugar
landmannalaugar
landmannalaugar

The route continued over a big pile of snow. Suddenly I noticed holes in it. It turned out I was walking over a river and there was a meter deep hollow directly under my feet.

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landmannalaugar
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During the last section I was completely surrounded by fog while going higher and higher up the mountain.

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Het berghutje met de camping

laugavegur

It was beautiful there
 

I was completely exhausted when I arrived at the cabin and not super warm. The end of the laugavegur trail was another 12 km. As it was only 11:30, freezing, rainy, and windy, I didn't plan on staying at the campsite for very long (although it would have been great to see the landscape in better weather). I started walking downhill, in the distance the sun was shining.

landmannalaugar
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hiking iceland in the mountains

I passed a few hot springs, which were pretty cool to see in real life.

hot springs in iceland
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hiking at hot springs in iceland
hot spring in iceland

A few hours later I started seeing more people. I was getting closer to the Landmannalaugar valley.

landmannalaugar
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Later I passed even more sulfur springs and unusual rocks.

rotten egg smell iceland
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After the descent the landscape became greener.

landmannalaugar
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vulcanic rocks in iceland

The last few kilometres were tough but I made it to the campsite around 17:00. 

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Today I had walked 24 kilometers through the mountains and rain while carrying a 22 kg backpack. I wouldn't be able to do that every day, but was glad I tried. During the past 3 days I had walked 59 km with still a good amount of time left, so my plan to average around 18 km/day during the entire hike seemed reasonable.

There was a large campsite in the valley because there was a hot spring and a bus stop. I passed a bunch of Belgian scouts. A girl was just telling a guy that she would go lay down in her tent. He asked why. She replied she was going to masturbate. This might become interesting. For some reasons there was no place for my tent anywhere except right next to theirs. I bought a beer and bread in the local store before heading to the hot spring. After the tough hike it felt super relaxing, the water was over 50 degrees at its hottest point.

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The hot spring
 

After I was all relaxed I headed back to my tent, where I discovered I had cell coverage again. I called home to tell my parents I was still alive and to tell Bart that he was lame for staying at home with his girlfriend while I was in a hot spring in Iceland. Later I drank the beer in my tent, it wasn't very good.

camping in iceland

The partytent
 

I regularly needed to get out of my tent to reposition its pegs. It was super windy but I couldn't manage to get the pegs properly into the ground. There were containers with rocks specifically to anchor your tent, but even those didn't always help to keep it down. The next day I would start my own route and likely see a lot fewer people. Only after 170 km there would be a small cabin with a campsite, the rest would just be lava fields and nothingness. 

Distance walked: 24 km