Ian and I went to Iceland to celebrate my 30th birthday. Back in 2006 we did a backpacking trip in Yosemite and we wanted to repeat our experience in a very different place. So we chose to do a 5 day supported trek over the Laugavegur trail that connects Landmannalaugar to Þórsmörk (a mountain ridge named after Thor).
We began our trip by taking a bus from Reykjavik to Landmannalaugar, passing by geothermal power plants and greenhouses growing bananas. We traveled with a wonderful and diverse group of people.
The area around Landmannalaugar is a geothermal area with many sulfur springs and steam pour out of the ground.
We traveled through incredibly diverse landscapes, from geothermal areas without vegetation, through black sand deserts, and on to a forest at the end of our trek.
Along the way we stayed in huts provided by the Iceland Touring Association.
As we hiked we began to enter greener and wetter areas.
We were hiking south towards the glaciers Mýrdalsjökull and Eyjafjallajökull. Yeah, Icelandic is a hard language!
The glacier runoff has created deep canyons over millions of years.
We didn’t encounter many animals (probably because of the harsh climate), but we did see quite a few sea birds, grazing sheep, and a pair of arctic fox pups, here’s one:
At the end of the trek we arrived to the base of the Mýrdalsjökull and Eyjafjallajökull glaciers. The volcano under Eyjafjallajökull erupted in 2010, causing major airline delays throughout Europe. As we approached we learned that the volcano under Mýrdalsjökull, named Katla, has historically erupted shortly after (within months) of Mýrdalsjökull. So here we were, two years after the eruption, standing under the active volcano!
Fortunately, there was no eruption during our trip. We feel kind of disappointed. If Katla remains dormant for anther two years, we can always go back for Ian’s 30th!