So far, only twelve men had a chance to put their footprints on the Moon and definitely none of them was hitchhiking along its surface. However, if someone can imagine such a futuristic fantasy, he can experience similar sensations visiting Landmannalaugar on Iceland. Precisely there is the best place to take a ride through the frozen and stretching over the horizon lava fields, the desolate wilderness and the craters of extinct volcanoes.
In the late September, I and the tireless wanderer Asia decided that expedition to the raw, Icelandic interior will be our main goal during a two weeks trip around the island. Most of the inhabitants agree that although hardly accessible, the interior hides the most beautiful and surprising forms looking like there were taken just from space. Running off the A1, which is the only main road, usually requires a four-wheel drive vehicle. In this case, the first part runs through the rural, asphalt road. The only problem that may appear at this stage, which appears sometimes in some other regions is the lack of cars. Sometimes you have to wait half an hour for one of the few residents who come to the countryside to look after his horses or sheep. Passing the Hjalparfoss waterfall and peering into the distance, there can be seen considered the most dangerous and still active volcano – Hekla. The last eruption took place in 2000 and considering the fact that explosions were dated every 10 years, soon some seismic events might occur. After a short time, we entered the road F224, where it is necessary to follow other quadricycles traces. Accidentally, the Swiss family invited us to their camper.
Landmannalaugar is located in the Fjallabak Nature Reserve on the edge of a Laugahraun lava field, formed recently, in the fourteenth century. Often considered the most stunning place in Iceland, it is called also as the rainbow mountains, because of the amazing colours forming an unearthly landscape. On the base camp, there is a base for hikers, as well as the hot river, where you can enjoy a free bath. Apparently, camping works in the July, where each year more and more tourists put up their tents.
Endless, empty spaces, colourful peaks, the river flowing from the glacier which is on the doorstep are just perfect reasons to go trekking. In our case, unfortunately, only a few hours. Too bad, because the terrain is almost ideal for further exploration. There are several popular trails, the most famous is Laugavegur which ends in Thorsmork, it takes 53km and four days. It can be extended up and finished next to one of the most beautiful waterfalls – Skógar. Here you would have a chance to stroll along the Eyjafjallajökull glacier.
A few centuries back (if anyone could reach this place that time), this area could be considered as the gates of hell. The spread around micro geysers and the smoke coming out from the ground make you feel a smell of sulfur in the air. The tempting vision was to climb onto the expanse of snow, which did not even melt this year, but the reason told that the ice in late summer is already fragile and underneath could be an abyss. The earth did not split so we took a way back wandering among the maze of volcanic rocks. After finding the most comfortable piece of the ground, we put up our tent waiting for the sky full of stars and keeping our fingers crossed that this day we will finally see the aurora.
Iceland is placed just below the Arctic Circle, so in late summer the night temperature already falls below zero. With the dim moonlight, you can lose your way, so it is better to avoid nocturnal escapades. After a brisk morning, taking off the pajamas made up of a million warm layers and eating the nutritious breakfast prepared on a reliable gas burner, it was time to go back to the well-known and well-liked A1. We topped up our supplies of ice water and soon met a hippie couple from the US. Shortly afterwards we sped toward civilization accompanied by the rock’n’roll music.
There are madmen who overcome the whole distance alone by bike: BikeTrippin.