Saturday, November 28, 2015

Landmannalaugar, Iceland

Landmannalaugar is the starting point for a multi-day hike to Þórsmörk, but we just did a half-day hike from the main campground up to Breinnisteinsalda. It was chilly, overcast, and rainy, but the terrain and the views were truly spectacular.

I'm pretty sure that trolls live here. It reminded me of the stories where we think that these are just rocks, and then they start moving and talking.

You can see part of the campground from here. There aren't many amenities, but there are showers and restrooms, an information center, and sometimes a bus that sells (high-priced) food. And, of course, natural hot springs (hot pots are an Icelandic necessity).

It was the mention of multicolored mountains that drew me to this place. I drank in the sight of richly colored hills, with streaks and smears of each hue running down the sides, set off by the bright white patches of snow.

The hills are swirled with color. . .

and streaked with rainbow stripes of color.

Multi-hued stones are everywhere along the trail. I was so very tempted to take one of these colorful rocks home as a souvenir . . . but I resisted. (I saw another hiker take some rocks, but it just seemed as though it would be prohibited to remove the stones.)

I am dreaming of a rock garden made of ryolite lava stones . . . *sigh*.  

Here we are at the top of Breinnisteinsalda.  It was cloudy and drizzling, so perhaps the view was not as expansive as it would have been on a clear day, but it was still beautiful.  (Though it is hard to get a good selfie in the rain.)

Looking down the trail from Breinnisteinsalda, the valley is full of sulfuric steam emerging from the ground.  I know it's geothermal activity, but it looks like a dragon's lair to me.  Surely Smaug will emerge at any moment to defend his hoard.

As we hiked back from Breinnisteinsalda, my hiking boots fell apart.  The soles had started to split and they finally separated, leaving my feet unprotected as the sole flapped with each step.  Complete shoe failure.  Luckily, I had noticed the split before we started hiking and Q was willing to carry my sneakers in case they were needed.  So Landmannalaugar claimed my hiking boots and I finished up the hike in sneakers.  A small price to pay for being surrounded by such gorgeous scenery.

Even now, I ache a little when I think of the beauty of Landmannalaugar.  I only wish we could have stayed longer.  But we had a long drive to our lodging for that night, so we had to leave.

Next up:  Horses and dogs and sheep, oh my!

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