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Trip report: The Laugavegur trail day 4

Emstrur (Botnar) to Þórsmörk

— 15 km, estimated walking time 6-7 hrs, 300m net descent —

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Again, I was left breathless by the amazing hike. Glaciers, desert, rivers, mountains and forest all within a 15 kilometer hike. This day starts off in the canyon of Syðri – Emstruá. Here there is a steep path that leads a bridge that runs over the glacier river.

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There is something epic about a raging river being fed with a glacier.. simply amazing. I sat here for sometime and ate my breakfast and just enjoyed the incredible view, engrossing my soul completely in the moment.

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I learned along this trail that it was time to replace my beloved Haglöfs LIM trail shoes. I decided from this moment on that I would wear trail shoes that had toe protection and better grip. On top of that I realized that I’m not really into video production.. I shot hours and hours of video along this trail and so far haven’t edited anything.. I prefer working with photography.

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After this long trek along the sandy, volcanic ash desert everything changes to a kind of mini forest.

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This little house just seemed lost in the wilderness – It was the first house I’d seen for days.

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The house from a little further out.

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After a long walk came this amazing water crossing along the Þröngá river. As always the water is freezing cold, but barely knee high throughout so wading is no problem.

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The little village at the bottom of the valley is Porsmork, while I will be staying in Bazar, I wanted to make the little 8 kilometer detour to Porsmork to drink beer and eat peanuts. It was worth the walk. You can even take the bus back to Reykjavik from Porsmork.

 

From Porsmork I made my way on to Bazar where I would be sleeping for the night.

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While this was not Bazar, it was nice nonetheless.. Not really sure what this place was called, but it was nessled between Porsmork and Bazar.

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After a quick walk over this glacier river, I soon arrived in Bazar where I would throw up my tent and make camp for the night

Once my tent was setup I made my way to the river, laid down and chilled out for a few hours before heading off to bed. Once again, the Laugavegur trail delivered on it’s incredible views and serene enviroment.

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Trail report: the Laugavegur trail day 1
Trail report: the Laugavegur trail day 2
Trail report: the Laugavegur trail day 3
Trail report: the Laugavegur trail day 4
Trail report: the Laugavegur trail day 5

blogDestinationsLandscape photographylaugavegurultralight backpacking

Trip report: The Laugavegur trail day 3

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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..

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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.

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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.

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After an incredible walk we come in towards Botnar which resides in the Markarfljótsgljúfur canyon with the glacier in the background.

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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.

 

Trip report: laugavegur trail day 1
Trip report: laugavegur trail day 2
Trip report: laugavegur trail day 3
Trip report: laugavegur trail day 4
Trip report: laugavegur trail day 5

backpackingblogLandscape photographylaugavegurPhotography

The Laugavegur trail day 1

Sometimes it takes me a while to finally get around to doing a trip report. I am working on this as an ebook instead as I can really get the pictures and album to flow better, but I will post the separate days here nonetheless.

This will be a full trip report and information guide for anybody wanting to do the trip themselves. This trip report is divided into 5 days simply because of the diversity and vassness of this trail I simply couldn’t fit it all into one post.

The Adventure begins

I had booked my flight a few months in advance to Reykjavik from Stockholm. The total flight cost around $350 round trip and the light takes about 3 hours. So, in other words Iceland is an obvious choice for most Swedes. I Arrived at Reykjavik international airport and immidiately outside the little airport I found my bus to Reykjavik city center.

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Once at the city center I took a little walk into Reykjavik center ate a burger, bought a map and some gas for my laugavegur trail hike. There is a gas station about 100 meters away from the bus station where all these supplies can be bought. My bus would be leaving at 13.00 so I had a few hours to spare before heading off to the trail start.

I arrived in Reykjavik at around 10.00 a.m. Finding my way around the airport was a rather straight forward process as there really is only two busses to chose from. I bought my ticket at the BSI desk to the BSI terminal in Reykjavik. After about a 40 minute ride I found myself at the main buss terminal. From here it was just a simple manner of purchasing the “hikers pass” which would get me to either the start in the north at Landmannalaugar or in the south at Porsmork or Skogar and back to Reykjavik.

I decided I really wanted to start north and head south, seemed like a fun way to go to end my journey at the ocean. I’m glad I did as I found the first days along Landamannalaugar and Hrafntinnusker to be rather bleak with the rain and snow.

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The Bus ride from Reykjavik takes about 3 and a half hours and I would definitely not recommend trying to hitch hike to the start as there it is literally out in the middle of nowhere. Nobody drives that trail unless they are hiking – and that is mainly just the buses. When I arrived in Landmannalaugar it was rainy and cold. Everyone was bunched into the toilets trying to figure out what they want to do.. Walk or pitch their tents. I also had a difficult time deciding as it was raining like crazy and it was by this time 4 p.m in the afternoon. However, as I had been sitting since my flight left Stockholm, my ass and back were hurting so I opted to walk.

The Hike from Landmannalaugar to Hrafntinnusker is about 12km and takes around 4-5 hours to walk. While it was late, I really just needed to walk. This part of the trail was marked by snow, rain and steaming volcanic hills. Landmannalaugar is the only part along the trail where you can swim in the hot springs. I probably should have stayed, but I couldn’t be bothered to sit still any longer.

And so, I made my way to look over the hotsprings, looked at all the hikers huddled in the toilets, waved and made my way.

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Landmannalaugar to Hrafntinnusker

12 kilometers – takes about 4-5 hours to walk

This part of the trail from Landmannalaugar to Hrafntinnusker was cold and wet the whole way. I was happy for it to be done. When I do this trail again it will be in August and not June, the trial in June is very wet, snowy and sometimes this means we just want to get through it all instead of taking time to enjoy every second.

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The first day was wet, cold and rainy with dashes of snow. With that said, the beauty was there.

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There was quite a few people stopping me along this part of the trail asking “how far is camp..” I seemed to be the only one heading south!

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The warmth of the volcano underneath kept the ground nice and toasty.

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By the end of this first day I had reached my limits. A long night before when I didn’t get any sleep, a flight, a long bus ride, never ending rain and cold. I was so tired that I didn’t bother taking pictures from that first camp at Hrafntinnusker. In my opinion the campsite wasn’t the best as it was surrounded by snow and no wind protection. I really wanted a warm bed in the cabin, but alas it was fully booked.

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Trip report: The Laugavegur trail day 1
Trip report: The Laugavegur trail day 2
Trip report: The Laugavegur trail day 3
Trip report: The Laugavegur trail day 4
Trip report: The Laugavegur trail day 5

 

 

blogLiving simplyminimalismsimplicity

Our delusional lives

To say that humans, much like oil, peanuts and gold is simply a commodity, is true in todays ”market” driven economy. To be used and discarded when the commodity is no longer profitable, is the way the new economy is built and works. At-least that is the impression given when most companies refuse to give a living wage in the USA, and if injured, most employees lose their jobs. (If non-professional). What am I getting at? Personally I think the market economy is wrong, I think we have gone too far in this utopian fantasy, our personalities have been replaced by marketing campaigns.

We all have the little movie playing in our heads, where we are the stars, were we are the ones playing in the leading roll in the Hollywood movie, or the professional boxer who just beat the best fighters in the world, or we just walked down the runway at a Victoria secret event. Whatever the fantasy, isn’t it strange that many of us live by these dreams? Often replacing our own realities with these far fetched fantasies? I have met many people who live in constant depression because they haven’t reached the dream status of the movie playing in their heads. This utopian vision of being complete only when we have the newest gear, or the newest and best car or grill. Our souls have been purposely erased and reprogrammed since birth by a highly motivated and successful marketing campaign. Read More

blogminimalismsimplicity

The future is bright

Winter is here in Sweden and as usual my focus starts turning from backpacking to other projects. Mainly writing. Living as a minimalist has had so many benefits for me that it’s hard to count them all. Not only is my bank account fatter than ever (from not spending money and selling most everything I own) by my mental stress is gone, I sleep better, I’m by far more productive than ever with my writing and since I’m not throwing away my money on time and useless garbage, I have a lot more time for backpacking and travel. (As of this writing I’m currently in Teneriffa in the canary islands enjoy some time with the family under the sun)

For those of you who haven’t been kept up to date on my other projects other than this site, I will do a quick rundown here:

I am currently writing a Recipe book with a friend. Hopefully we can get that done by years end and published by April. This book will first be published in paperback form in Sweden, but hopefully we will have an English variant available not to long after that can be purchased on this site as well as in your local gear shops.

I have another book on backpacking I’m working on that’s about 60% finished right now. The focus on this book is on general backpacking and different ways of thinking for different people. We don’t all have to be ultralight to have a good time. This book moves in phases of backpacking – phasing out from heavy miserable to lighter and lighter depending on needs. I should be finished with this book by April-may sometime.

A book on Climate change: Granted this book is still on planning basis and I only have about 5 chapters written. The outline is however finished now it’s the research that matters. I started this out as a small article that I wanted to write to my son who is now 3 years old. I wanted to write a letter to him about why me and my generation didn’t do more when we knew without a doubt that we are wrecking the planet. Anyway, on one sit down I wrote 8000 words in about 5 hours and realized that I needed to write more, and I needed to know all the facts myself. I don’t have a release date on this one as I really want to do it right. But hopefully within a year will be my timeframe.

Then to finally get myself more active in the world around me, I started a website call www.afterdemocracy.org. (Also to spare my backpacking friends in the world from reading my political thoughts on this site) While the main focus is on the political landscape in the USA and Sweden, I even write about other topics such as climate change. The blog helps me sharpen my focus and writing style. Instead of just talking about things I am able to compile them, research and back up my thoughts with verifiable facts. Making it much easier for me to write books later on.

I have a few other projects in the works as well, but I will save those for a later post as I want to get these projects completed first.

As it stands I still have a few articles lined up for this site and will continue to actively publish here. So don’t worry, I will just be working more along the lines of quality over quantity.

Did I mention I’m still a full time dad, husband and Boss?

blogminimalismsimplicity

Minimalism and me

I’ve written in earlier post about my move towards a minimalist lifestyle, in many ways inspired by my backpacking. So far my conversion from consumer to minimalist is working out just fine. There have been a lot of changes that I have had to make, but to be honest the feeling I get everyday is that of less stress, less worry and, well, less. I am not constantly obsessing about the stuff I own or what I need to buy to be complete. I have found the latter part to still be a fight though, I do find things I would like to buy and would make my life easier. Though admittedly it’s now about what one thing can replace several and help me with my productivity.

One example of this is have an iMac 27” an iPad Air and two iPhones. Considering I am rather un-productive on an iPad (I just surf the internet and read magazine). My iMac I don’t like sitting at because of it being downstairs and at a desk with a really bad chair. I decided to get rid of the iMac and iPad and replace them with a MacBook Pro instead. (I haven’t really figured out which I would like as my needs include video, photography and writing) I did purchase a MacBook Pro 15” but it is a bit heavy to have with me everywhere. Read More

blogminimalismsimplicity

The failure of man

Here is an article I wrote awhile ago but never got around to publishing. I call it the failure of man because we are always striving after “something” – yet what we don’t truly understand is that we already have everything we truly want or need. Enjoy.

This post is going to be a little different from my normal ones. Namely this isn’t about gear or specifically about hiking. It is simply about the philosophy and meaning of life. Small subject I know. I think about this question a lot, it’s one of those priviledges in life where I have a lot of free time and this allows my brain to focus on other things than work and paying bills. I think about this as I have lived my life fairly materialistic, there has never been anything I truly wanted that I haven’t been able to just go out and buy, and more often than not, I do just go out and buy with very little oversight or thought.

However over the years I have also been accutely aware of my materialism: I know I buy an amazing amount of gear, stuff and many times just garbage that sits in my closet. One of my mental phases or perhaps coping mechanisms with this insane materialism is that I sell just as much as I buy, I rarely lose money on the things I sell, but the fact remains: I am addicted to buying shit. Read More

blogGoing Lighterminimalismsimplicity

What I think about when I hike

Backpacking has given me so much in life. Nature is my psychologist and my mentor, it humbles me and it challenges me. What I get out of my hikes I could never possibly formulate in writing, anybody who has ever been on longer hikes would probably feel the same. Being in the wild reminds us of who and where we really are on earth. Our place in the natural order, somewhere in the middle of the food chain. There are all kinds of bad shit that can happen to us in the wild, from falling and breaking something, to being eaten to being poisoned, freeze to death, starve to death or heat exhaustion. You name it, you can die from it in the wild. It is when you are alone in the vast expanses of the wild that you realize just how insignificant you really are. An ant on a child’s playground. Read More

blogRamblings

Opting out of the NSA spy games

2013 it was revealed that the NSA had been recording, cataloging and spying on just about every human being on earth. With the majority of spying being done on it’s own citizens. Now, perhaps what had been unclear for many people, myself included, was what and who was being spied on. See I thought “well, it’s not so strange that Merkel is being spied on, she is after all a high ranking official.” You could make the argument that it’s a US ally, but in reality, the US doesn’t really have Allies, just servants to the corporate interests of the USA. (as per the Wikileaks documents). I also thought in my ignorance that only brown people named Mohammed are spied on. This of course is the ignorance that most people suffer from. Or atleast most middle class white people.

We don’t really know how to respond or feel about racial disparities, because we rarely if ever experience them. Instead we are able to live confidently within our false bubble of white persecution because nobody has a voice loud enough to snap us out of our delusion.

Anyway after watching an interview with Ed Snowden I started to think “well, I’m glad I don’t have any secrets that I wouldn’t want out” – so this spying doesn’t apply to me of course. Read More

blogGoing LighterminimalismsimplicityUncategorized

My path to Minimalism

Since I already had a blog up and running, and for better or worse ultralight backpacking is about minimalism in it’s essence. Being able to do more with less, not being hindered by all your shit. Instead, packing what you need and being able to go longer, harder and better with less. Knowing what you have and having a use for what you bring. In backpacking, at least ultralight backpacking you bring one backpack, one bed, one spoon, one kitchen set, one t-shirt and so on. And if you choose the stuff you really like than it’s the best feeling on earth knowing you are complete, that you couldn’t possibly need or want anything else. This joy is something I have felt for a long time when I am out on the trail. However, once I get home reality starts to set in.

This is something I have been thinking about for a long time, and with a few odd brush ins here and there with an occasional YouTube video about a guy in japan who owns only 150 things, I have never actually heard about minimalism or the movement that it is. Nor, have I ever thought about the benefits of owning less and so on. I do know that at times in my life when I am most productive is usually when I have a focused working environment, free from distraction. Then, one day a few a few months ago I went for a long walk, stressed and bothered about not having anytime and only have anxiety for the stuff that I owned. Namely a BMW, A motor boat, two Saab 900s, a fairly large house packed from wall to wall with stuff. I am by no means a hoarder, in fact I have always been pretty good at filtering out the stuff I don’t use. But somehow this last couple of years my consumption has really taken over without me noticing.  Read More