September 8 - September 11, 2016

Monday, October 10, 2016

Laugavegur Trek, Hiking Day #4 (Last Day). Emstrur to Þórsmörk. September 11, 2016

15 km (9.3 miles) with 300 meters (984 feet) of net descent.

Last day on the trail!  Sage said she was just getting into the thru-hiker mindset when....the thru-hike ended.  I felt the same way.  Still, this trek is great if you would like a beautiful end-to-end walk that doesn't take up too many of your vacation days.

We were last out of our cabin for a change -- usually, we're first.  Once on the trail, however, the girls sped along like they usually do and we ended up passing everyone.

This cool bridge is fairly close to Emstrur.  It is steep getting down to it, and there's a rope to help you if needed, but only the most timid of hikers would have a problem with this section.

You climb a small hill once you cross; there is one part that requires hands, but it's still fairly simple.  Sage took some photos of the other hikers crossing...

Once up the little hill, the walk alternates between flat/slightly hilly and a gentle descent.  The weather completely cleared and it was gorgeous out.  The entire day was simply lovely.

We entered an area with...gasp...vegetation!  You could smell the difference between the relatively barren areas through which we'd been hiking and the lush and life-filled valley into which we were descending.

To our right we could see Unicorn Mountain.  You can see this mountain as you hike all the way to the big hill just before the last water crossing (a mile or so from Þórsmörk).

Heading down, down, gently down.


We ascended a hill, crossed the top of it, and began our descent to the final water crossing of Laugavegur.  Behold, the river Þröngá.

This crossing wasn't a big deal.  The water was braided...meaning, the river did not fill the entire valley, but ambled along in multiple narrow branches which were never more than five feet wide and one foot deep.  The girls and I took off our boots and plowed through without much ado.

Once across, we climbed a short hill and began a lovely walk through some trees and bushes.

The path joined a road and angled upward.  After a mile or two, we reached this intersection.

For the fancy Volcano Huts (with hot tubs and restaurants), keep going straight.  For the more humble but, as we happily discovered, gorgeous hiker hut, take a left.  We took the left.

We had to go up a small hill, then we could see the hut below us.  Don't know why none of us have a picture of that view..oh well.  After coming down the hill, one walks straight toward the hut like so...

The hut at Þórsmörk!

We officially finished the Laugavegur Trek!

Sage took some selfies with the surroundings.

This hut is NICE!  Here's the big common area, complete with lots of books (in Icelandic), games, tables, stools, and cards.

Here's the boots area...

Our room consisted of a large area with smaller, semi-closed bunks of four.  Here's our little cave...

Back down in the common area, checking out the books...

There's a little store by the hut.  It's open only when the buses arrive, so you have to watch the clock if you want to get anything.

We got some food and drinks, then sat directly outside at a picnic table and looked at the scenery.

Looking back at the hut...

We took our food and drinks back inside and played games, built things with blocks, etc.

Views from right outside the hut...

Inside, eating...

Close-up of the books...

There's a river in front of the hut -- buses and cars must cross it in order to get to and from the road/parking area.  A photo album of unfortunate buses and cars partially submerged in water demonstrates what can happen if a vehicle crosses at the wrong spot.

Sage passed most of the evening building wooden dwellings.

Sage with her creation...

We took one last look outside before retiring for the evening.  By the way, that snow/ice covered thing directly across the river...that's Eyjafjallajökull, the volcano that erupted in 2010 and stalled international flights for days.  It's RIGHT THERE...we hoped it would behave itself, at least until we left Iceland. 

The only people in our sleeping area were the Indian couple, the two American guys (Brandon was still wearing the boots that were a size and a half too small), and a couple of young women and a young man who had arrived at the hut via bus.  We had already said goodbye to Lars and Dasja, who had taken the afternoon bus to Reykjavik immediately following their hike.  We slept well, feeling good about the fact that we did not have to get up first thing and head out...our bus to the city wouldn't arrive at the hut until the afternoon.

So ends our official thru-hike of the Laugavegur.  I'll post twice more -- one post will be about our trip back to Reykjavik and our time at the lovely (but expensive!) Blue Lagoon, and the other post will detail planning and gear specifics for those considering hiking this trail for themselves.

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