Rowan Castle - Travel & Photography
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Volcanic landscape near Landmannalaugar, Iceland.

Iceland 2002 - Diary (Page 2)

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When I finally reached the hut I was exhausted. I found a level but stony piece of ground next to the hut and set up camp. A moderate breeze was blowing, which although cold, had a drying effect, so I opened up the tent for an hour or so to try and dry out the inside. The view from the camp was unusual. Looking back up to the pass I could make out the black outline of the main hut, and in the opposite direction was the North Atlantic, blue and calm. There was a picnic table nearby, so I set up my stove on that and cooked my dinner. The wind was getting up and it was sometimes a struggle to stop the windshield from blowing away. All in all it was a very rough and bleak place to camp, but I was cheered up every time I looked a few yards from my tent and saw the wide 4WD track that led down to Skogar and the end of the walk. Tonight would be my last in a tent, for a while at least. That night the wind grew in ferocity, buffeting the tent. It rained for most of the night, and I was concerned at just how rough the weather might get up there before the dawn.
Day 6 – 13th August 2002. I woke to a calm but overcast day, and quickly cooked breakfast and packed away my tent and equipment. I was eager to set off and cover the remaining distance to Skogar and take a hot bath! I followed the wide 4WD track downhill through some rather unremarkable moorland. Sometimes the marker posts followed the road, and at others they struck out across the moor to bypass a bend in the road and re-join it on the other side. By this point in the trek my feet were starting to complain from the constant pounding of my heavy pack. I had a few blisters and a bad heel, which made every step downhill painful. As a result I found myself resting quite a lot, and when I was walking I watched the distance to go to Skogar counting down on my GPS receiver. Also, I couldn’t help wondering what Skogar was like, as I was still too high up to see the settlement at all. I hoped I could get a nice beer in the hotel. After what seemed like an age I came to a wooden bridge that crossed the Skoga River. On the other side the route to Skogar split in two. I could either take the 4WD track down, or follow the river bank past what I had read to be a marvelous series of waterfalls, culminating in Skogafoss itself. There was no contest, I had to follow the river. Unfortunately though, I had gone no more than a few yards along the route when the obvious trail I was following disappeared and the marker posts seemed to indicate a return to the 4WD track (at the end of the trek I met another traveler who also had been unable to see the route). Reluctantly, I switched back to the rather dull jeep road. After much downhill plodding, the rough moorland started to give way to lush green hillsides. Finally, I looked up and to my right and saw another path parallel with mine. Hurrying down it was another walker, and I realised it must be the lost path that had come down the bank of the river. I trekked across to it, fording several boggy areas and streams. Following this new trail, I passed a couple of impressive waterfalls and rapids, before I heard the roar of Skogafoss ahead. A steep flight of steps led down the side of Skogafoss and these proved to be the last hurdle of the trek – quite painful with bad feet and a heavy pack! Now I could see Skogar in front of me. The sun was shining brightly, and a couple of tourist coaches were parked in the car park up ahead. I could see several farms dotted around, with verdant fields dotted with silage bales wrapped in white plastic. At the bottom of the steps I turned to appreciate Skogafoss itself. It seemed much taller and more dramatic than in the photographs I had seen of it. The volume of water cascading over the drop was very impressive. There were a few other people around, gathered on the shingle bank and staring up at the thundering falls. I took some photos and then realised that this was it – the end of the trek! It was time to get myself cleaned up and head back to civilization. Skogafoss waterfall, Skogar. _________________________________________ I was very pleased when I finished the Landmannalaugar - Skogar trek. I had been very lucky with the weather, had fantastic views of some memorable landscapes, and achieved the goal of doing my first self supported wilderness trek. Having done the walk, I would have to agree with the guidebooks and say that this route is surely destined to become a popular classic. It is already fairly crowded because of the short time period each year when the path is open for normal hiking, but despite this, it retains a real wilderness feel.
Skogafoss waterfall, Skogar, Iceland. Return to Contents Page Return to Contents Page