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Landmannalaugar to Þorsmork, pt. 2

Þorsmork hut

What an amazing trip! We’re just finishing dinner in our final hut — barbequed salmon, and leftover meat soup from yesterday — and we’re enjoying some hard-earned beers.

Tuesday afternoon after we got to Alftavatn the wind and rain picked up speed and a real storm hit. We were fine and warm in our hut, but we gradually picked up some stragllers who came in with soaking clothes and gear: a couple from Belgium, a young man from Portugal, and a couple of French kids, completely soaked through and extremely greatful for the heat and our spare pasta. But the worst was hearing that a couple of young Spanish kids wearing jeans and sneakers had set out before us in the morning but had not been seen since — there was talk of launching a search and rescue trip. Eventually it was decided that they had probably headed back to Landmannalaugar and driven off without telling anyone. Sure hope that’s what happened!

Anyway, for us we had a warm night and set off rather late the next morning after waiting for the weather forecast. There was a very light rain and a lot of wind but the view had cleared considerably. We headed east and south, crossing a couple of rivers and heading down towards the glaciers and the desert. Before too long we were in the desert. Dry gravel and ash was swept up by the wind, which fortunately was behind us the whole way. After a long day of walking we did a brief side trip to a spectacular canyon and then made our way down to the Botnar hut, in the shadow of a glacier.

We had a very nice night at Botnar, though punctuated with a brief and entertaining interlude of a frustrated German hiker from another tour group waking everyone up trying to get our German hikers to stop snoring.

That brings us to this morning, when we woke up to find that the wind had died down a bit, and the sun was out. Nonetheless my wet shoes, which I had left outside, were completely coated in ash (and still wet). I packed them on the outside of my pack and we set off. Today’s trip had a lot of ups and downs and took us through a number of protected valleys between windswept barren plateaus. We gradually made our way south, and downward, running parallel to one glacier and heading towards the smaller (but much more famous) Eyafjallajokull glacier. After a final river crossing (that was the death of my sneakers) we arrived in the first forested part of our journey — Thor’s Forest, or Thorsmork, our destination.

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