Alftavatn to Emstrur (Botnar)
15 km, estimated walking time 6-7 hrs, 40 m net descent
I was in no rush to leave Alftavatn, the views were simply incredible and it was nice to just hang out for a while. I knew that walking through this valley would be an amazing adventure, and with that, I laced up my trail runners and made my way towards Emstrur.
From the very start on the way to Emstrur, this incredible view is what I was met with. The hike from Alftavatn to Emstrur is by far the most picturesque of all the sections. From this kinds of green rolling landscapes, into long deserts of volcanic ash and a massive glacier looming in the distance like a constant reminder of the true wild that you are in.
This hike felt long, maybe it was the deep ash or the several large river crossings.. who knows, the hike is easy, but feels much longer than the 15km that it actually is.
The first real water crossing is about 3-4 kilometers from Alftavatn. Here I passed a whole group of heavy-miserables while they stopped to take of their boots and socks 🙂 I just trugded through, admittedly the water was cold but I warmed up quickly.
Here the trail takes us over the low ridge Brattháls into Hvanngil. If your looking to book a room in advance in Alftavatn and it’s fully booked (not unlikely). Check out Hvanngil, as it’s not always a known campground.
The first real river crossing is made on this part of the trail. It’s wide and irratic, you will have to walk around a while along the river Blafjallakvisl until you find a very wide part, and there crossing shouldn’t be a problem. You will notice however I stopped on a little sandbank in the river. I didn’t actually stop here to take a pic, to be honest I stopped here because my feet felt frozen solid from the ice cold water..
To say that the views along this part of the trail are amazing is an understatement. While I always find nature to be awe-inspiring, this particular part of the trail was something altogether different. I had the feeling of walking along the art gallery of god – his best pieces of art all laid out along a 15 mile trek. I took my time here, stopped often and forgot about everything else in the world, nothing mattered, I was lost in the moment and it was one of the greatest moments of my life.
After a while we come along the river Nyrðri Emstruá, which thankfully is bridged.. From here it’s only a few kilometers left before reaching the campground at Botnar.
After an incredible walk we come in towards Botnar which resides in the Markarfljótsgljúfur canyon with the glacier in the background.
The campground in Botnar is well protected from the heavy winds blowing down from the glacier. The views are incredible here and there is even a little shop here if you need some resuplies. 3G works perfectly fine along all the campgrounds throughout the Laugavegur trail – so calling home wont be a problem.