Trip report by BestHike editor Rick McCharles
Sept. 15, 2023
Álftavatn ➙ Landmannalaugar ➙ Álftavatn YOYO
Wow. Weather continues to be fantastic for September.
My PLAN was to leave the tent behind. Hike to the hot springs at Landmannalaugar and YOYO back before dark.
For me it was 5 hours to Landmannalaugar. 1 hour lunch and hot springs. 6 hours back.
Around 40 tough kms.
I left in the dark.
It did turn out to be one of the greatest days hiking of my life.
I’ll let the photos explain. 😀
I had 9 hours with vistas like this.
It’s a gorgeous area of the world. Part snow and ice. Part volcanic landscape.
There is real risk of stepping into boiling mud accidentally.
All sorts of weird snow caves and tunnels.
Of the plants here, I liked cottongrass best.
It’s in this high section in a snow storm where people might most easily lose the trail. Therefore it’s better marked with cairns and posts than anywhere else on the trail.
I had lunch at Hrafntinnusker. Met a fun American guided group who I would bump into several more times over the next 2 days.
As you approach the end, there’s more and more volcanic activity.
Landmannalaugar came into sight. My half way point for the day.
In August, the hot springs at Landmannalaugar are typically crowded.
But in mid-September there were only a few people enjoying a huge pool.
It’s hot. You can easily get scalded so positioning yourself carefully is critical. This was my best spot.
I had lunch. Then started back the way I had come. STILL confident I could get to my tent before dark. 😀
The return trip was equally good. But different in that you are facing the opposite direction with much different light.
Happily, no rain the rest of the day.
There’s the lake. One more descent and I’ll make it.
Unfortunately, It WAS dark before I got home. Days are already getting short in Iceland in September.
Even with a good headlamp it was easy to lose the trail. I had to rely on the GPS via Maps.me in order not to get lost.