From Þórsmörk to Emstrur + Emstrur to Alfavatn
We already wrote here about the Fimmvörðuháls that we walked for these two beautiful stages. And we will start with day 2 to the Emstrur mountain hut, through a landscape that is several times comparable to the moon.
The Swiss and Germans who also walked the route in this ‘reverse’ direction leave a lot earlier than I do. I love seeing all those morning scenes at the campsite and I like to take it easy. Plenty of time and hey, you’re in Iceland!
The day starts with a climb through the green Þórsmörk with beautiful views and a (also first) river crossing. The ice-cold glacier water does not yet reach the knees. But this is still exciting, if you slip and your dry things end up in the water, it is no fun. However, it works fine on my Crocs… yes, yes, I know 😉
Today’s 16 kilometers are beautiful, partly due to the beautiful weather. Moonscape alternates with lovely rivers and areas of greenery. However, at the end of the stage there are still some climbs waiting for me. Especially the last kilometer has a not very pleasant scree slope to overcome. Oh well, I’ve forgotten that scary bridge and those chains along that swirling river just now. Arriving at Emstrur, 16.2 km and 620 meters of altitude later, that beer tastes great!
Emstrur to Alfavatn
After a wonderful night’s sleep, I leisurely pack my things. Wow, it’s so hot when I start a short climb from the hut. I soon end up on a gray stone plain and the German overtakes me with long strides. Gosh, should I have left earlier? My phone has reached me and I have to get to work straight away because of a booking and some questions in the email. Can you enjoy that in the sun with views of snow-capped mountains? We’re used to ‘working from home’ by now, right?
This stage is also about 16 kilometers long but only has an elevation gain of 290 meters. Very relaxed, although this also includes the toughest river crossing of all stages. Once I reach the other side via an island, there are a few rocks that are the ultimate drying and lunch spot. I sit there and enjoy it for an hour, after having applied good cream again.
The large cabin and campsite are located on an open area on the lake. The wind is blowing really hard, but in a few moments of no wind I manage to set up my tent. I meet a lot of nice and new people here, who all go in different directions. There is barter between me and a Hungarian, I borrow his power bank and he gets an Adventure Food meal from me. Then we stick together a leaky sleeping mat from the Spaniards who are just arriving. Life is beautiful and like-minded people here do not look at boundaries or origins but help each other when necessary.
That’s how it should be.
Here you continue to the stages to Hraftinusker and of course the icing on the cake, the amazing stage to Landmannalaugar.