We kicked off our trek with a 14 km day of hiking in the mountains around Landmannalaugar to Ljótipollur crater. This was described as the “warm up” or “half” day, but it was anything but – though not overly challenging, it was a long day of hiking.
Though Ljótipollur translates roughly to “ugly pond”, the calm, green lake surrounded by bright red terrain was actually very beautiful – and with the backdrop of intense green mountains accentuated by snow, it was breathtaking. Being our halfway point, we stopped and enjoyed lunch overlooking the lake.
Though the day’s hike was described to be fairly flat, we started off with a surprising incline out of the camp. But since my favorite kind of hiking is hiking inclines, I’d not a single complaint. And to make things more amazing, very time I turned around, the mountains and the colours were different. I’d never seen such diverse landscape on any other hike, in any other country.
We made it back to the camp just in time to avoid a massive rain and hail storm. Warm and dry in the dinner tent, we shared more stories as Gulli prepared traditional Icelandic meat soup for our dinner. Luckily our tents withstood the elements, and our belongings remained completely dry.
After several hours of laughs and conversation, we zipped into our sleeping bags for one last night at Landmannalaugar before continuing on the 55 kilometer Laugavegur trail.