Island of fire and ice

A summer month under the Arctic Circle, seems an excellent plan to appease the hungry love that we cherish for the far north. Before we embark on a wild backpacking trip into East- Greenland, we throw our legs loose, on the with trolls and elves populated Iceland.

On the intriguing island in the middle of the Atlantic, there is an eternal battle going on between its large ice sheets and active volcanoes (from which Eyjafjallajökull now has reached the celebrity status).

Mýrdalsjökull Volcanic Outwash

This constant spectacle hews the landscape into an alien profile. With only 3 inhabitants/km², the island, once away from the coast, is a volcanic desert, where almost no life is possible. It is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. There are few footpaths to find, so it’s ripe for exploration.

Volcanic dessert

With our upcoming Greenlandic adventure in mind, we choose to walk the relatively easy Laugavegurinn (Warm Sources Route). Although this 4-day route is rightly popular, it is surprising that this trip gets little mention in the many lists of “Top Treks of this World”. Nowhere in the world you get so close to such a variety of landscapes in such short time: glaciers, ice caps, active volcanoes, fumaroles, bubbling mini-geysers, raging rivers, vast lakes, (ash) deserts and rainbow-colored rhyolite mountains.

Leaving the tarp

We follow the “Laugavegur” (pet name for the route, named after the busy shopping street in Reykjavik) northward instead of the mostly southward followed route. The route has a number of huts, but in order to avoid the crowds, we look for silent bivouac spots, away from the main route to set up our new tarp.

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