Iceland - Day 8 : Alone with the mosquitoes
This morning I again started walking around 8. At 11:30 I had already walked 14 km and took a break. I wondered if I might not see anyone the entire day. I already spent 24 hours without seeing anyone, as I hadn't encountered anyone since the man in the car yesterday. My backpack finally has enough room for my jacket so I could walk in my t-shirt. The entire morning walked through the same dry hills of volcanic rock as yesterday, which was getting a bit monotonous.
A bush that had grown back into the ground due to the hard wind.
I always look forward to Bart and my cycling vacations but as the days pass during those trips there usually are increasingly more moments when I feel tired and less in the mood to cycle. During the final few days we are usually both counting down the kilometers to get home. In the afternoon I felt similar and was looking forward to seeing everyone back home again. My mom and dad had left on their own vacation two weeks prior to my departure, so I hadn't seen them in over 3 weeks.
After enjoying the view and listening to some music I continued. The trails were hardly noticeable and there were many side-tracks where someone had just driven off into the wilderness. Several times I was still walking in the right direction but realized I wasn't on a trail anymore. At one point the trail was fully gone so I continued while navigating with my GPS. In the distance I saw a car, which meant I still saw some sign of civilization today. During the following kilometers there were literally only rocks.
The road according to my GPS, at some places were poles to mark a long gone path
About half a kilometer from the larger road I passed a lake, so I decided to camp there in order to have access to water. I hoped there would be an actual road the next day. If I would had to hike through barren and flat rock fields for the next 100 km navigating would get 'interesting'. The ground around the lake was very mushy, a strange kind of clay that acted like a sponge.
While pitching my tent the mosquitoes started their attack. There were increasingly more. At one point I thought it had started raining, but it turned out to be the tapping of mosquitoes against my tent. For those who think I am exaggerating, here is a picture:
This time some mosquitoes were stinging. I didn't understand why they were so abundant in some places and not in others. Several similar lakes I had passed didn't seem to have any. It felt good to get enough water for the night and then cook while lying in my sleeping bag with the tent closed. A nice break from the tough environment outside. After two days of eating only granola, peanuts, and rice it was time for mince meat. While cooking mosquitoes kept flying in the food, after picking the 5th one out I gave up and just stirred them in.
Mosquitoes with food
While cooking I kept hearing weird sizzling noises. I got worried something was wrong with my stove, but it turned out to be mosquitoes flying into the flame. The entire stove head was covered with small pieces of charcoal. The minced meat tasted very good. It was a kind of mashed potatoes mixed with vegetables, herbs, and pieces of meat (other than the mosquitoes).
A bit later the wind picked up, which meant most of the mosquitoes disappeared. After I finishing dinner I thought I heard voices. At first I wondered if I was going crazy, but it turned out to be two hikers. They had come over the road I planned to walk the following day, which meant it actually existed. One of the hikers was Israeli and the other French. They camped pretty close to my tent, I hope that meant the mosquitoes would divide themselves between us.
The camp of the other two hikers
It was funny to meet two other haggard hikers in the middle of nowhere. I also realized they were camping exactly where I just 'went to the bathroom'. The toilet paper had blown everywhere, which they must have noticed. The guys told me they had started out with two other people and saw icebergs near a glacier and even had snow. While pitching their tents they told me they had sent food to Landmannalaugar so they didn't had to carry everything. I had considered doing something similar, but hadn't been sure how reliable that would be. I didn't want end up in the middle of Iceland without food.
Their food would arrive tomorrow, but they were nearly out of it already. I didn't have anything to spare either. As Landmannalaugar was still 35 km away one of them wanted to hitchhike, but the other wanted to walk every kilometer of their trip. I would also honestly rather not eat for a day then not walk my entire route. They also asked if I had done things like this before. I explained how I normally went cycling with Bart, but that he didn't wanted to join anymore now he had a girlfriend. The Israeli immediately sighed deeply and looked at me with a look of understanding, he clearly had been through a similar experience. I couldn't help laughing, doing this hike was way more special than sitting at home with a girlfriend.
Distance walked: 27 km