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Þorsmork back to Reykjavik

We had a lovely stay in Þorsmork, which was really the perfect place to end the long hike. First of all, it is located beside a stream at the end of a narrow, flower-filled valley, with a nobly steep hill to the west and a view of the massive Myrdallsjokull glacier to the east. To the south, across a wide, flat, river-threaded valley is the massive and awe-inspiring Eyafjallajokull glacier, looming over the mountains. The glaciers are both more black than white. Only the steepest parts show the ice — the rest is covered with several inches of black ash.

We settled into the hut, where we had a room for our group alone — no more grumpy Germans. After unpacking a bit and using the facilities, Anne and I went with José, Caroline, Helga and Willi on a 25-minute hike to the next hut down the valley, which had an outdoor spring-fed pool (warm) and a cafeteria with beer (cold), both of which felt wonderful after the long hike.

After the walk back to the first hut we had our last night of the hike.

Friday morning the skies had almost fully cleared, and in the morning sunlight the steam plume rising from Eyafjallajokull was plain and distinct. I took some photos prior to breakfast. For the final morning we did a hike with the group up the steep hill next to the hut, stopping at the top to take in the impressive views and get a couple of group shots. We descended down the northwest side, towards the second hut with the pool, and stopped at a large cave with a natural acoustic (the Singing Cave) where Anne and I fumbled our way through a couple of folk songs and a two-part truncated version of “If ye love me” (with apologies to Mr. Tallis).

After a bang-up lunch back at the sleeping hut (herring in curry sauce on bread, with cheese – yum!) we had an hour to relax and read before the bus arrived. We spent some of that time working our way through a photo album belonging to the hut that was full of pictures of buses, 4×4’s and trucks getting stuck in the rivers. In due course the bus arrived, crossing those same rivers in dramatic fashion to get to us, and then, with us on board, working its way back down the valley again. I ended up sitting at the very front of the bus, where I got some very dramatic photos as the driver expertly navigated us into the rapidly-flowing brown torrents. One of the rivers was deep enough that we had to open a special air vent from the cabin to the engine so that it wouldn’t conk out in the water.

We changed buses after leaving the valley — with a slight delay as the new bus wasn’t big enough for all of us and they had to call out a reinforcement one — and got back in to Reykjavik at about half past seven. After a shower in the hotel and a dinner out with a half bottle of wine we were done in completely, and had the best night of sleep of the trip so far.

Today: laundry, then back on the road, this time with a rental car. Much more of Iceland yet to see!

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