Saturday, July 13, 2013

Laugavegur Day 2

After a short rest in the sauna of a mountaintop hut, the foul weather returned with whiteout blizzard conditions.  
A heavy layer of slushy snow had fallen in the early hours of the morning; unsettling weather for early July biking.
We were initially able to overtake the group of trekers who had set out several hours earlier in the morning, but as we gained altitude, the sections of snow with a fresh layer of slush slowed our pace to a crawl.

Finally out of the hail storm.
False summit victory shot. The group of backpackers from Italy and Spain who took this picture caught sight of the "Merlin" logo partially hidden by my frame bag and began berating me for subjecting such a fine bicycle to the abuses of the Laugavegur Trail.   

Actual summit. Unfortunately the loose shale and steep grade dictated that we continue walking downhill for the initial descent.

Breaking for lunch at the Alftavatn Hut.

A welcome sight after a morning of endless pushing through snow, hail, slush, and mud.

The afternoon had many river crossings, some were knee deep, some were up to my hips.
Both of my Wiggy's ultralight hip-waiters developed leaks so I just went barefoot to try and minimize the sogginess of my pants, socks, and shoes. Water was just cold enough to completely numb my legs.  The benefits of a lightweight bike-packing kit readily evident as I was able to easily shoulder my loaded bike for one trip across each river, whereas another pair of bike travelers had to take three separate trips, one for the bike and two for each set of front and rear panniers.  
The luxury of a shallow ford.

From a morning of snow and hail to an afternoon of showers and rainbows.

Loud Waterfall.

Sandy single track, also prime terrain for a fatbike but we managed fine on our 'skinny' tires.

The rain helped to compact the black volcanic sand making the riding faster than it would have been in drier conditions.

Glad we didn't have to figure another way across this section of river.

Another glacier in the distance feeding the many frigid rivers carving into the undulating landscape.

Distant waterfalls.

 Thankfully the trail was well marked through the sections with an illdefined track.
More black desert.

Final glacial river crossing around 1:00 am "sun set".

Warm welcome at 2:00 am by Magnús the manager of Thōrsmōrk Volcano Huts, with a shot of "black death" a traditional Icelandic liqueur, as a prize for being the first people crazy enough to bike the Laugavegur trail for the 2013 summer with the "worst weather in 200 years".

The twilight of early morning as we finally made it to bed; long 14 hour day of travel.


  1. WOW! Amazing journey, thanks for sharing- PJT

  2. Terrific photos. Thanks for this.