Fimmvörðuháls to Skógar

Location Map13-15km
5-6hrs

Waking up at the top of a mountain, I love it! Well maybe not the top in this case, but it wasn’t much further to the snow line. Today was a long, but leisurely stroll down to Skogár past waterfall after waterfall. Oh, and plenty of Icelandic sheep too. A very misty day that added an appropriate mood to the scenery.

It rained a bit in the morning and after an epic day yesterday I relished the sleep in. If there was a good sunset or sunrise, I didn’t care. There was no way I was hiking an hour back to the hraun to get some shots. Maybe I’m just not a dedicated enough photographer. Apparently it is often foggy up here for weeks at a time so I was quite lucky.

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My lonely tent on top of Fimmvörðuháls

I went to visit Bjërk again at the hut to get some water refills. She was happy to oblige and was almost the only one left. It turns out she is sponsored by 66 Degrees North which is pretty awesome. I’d love free gear like that!

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Calm morning views from inside the hut

I set off at about 10.45am in no rush at all. Bjërk told me to avoid taking the red “river track” directly from Útvist hut because she had never taken it herself and who knows what the crossings are like.

Instead, I headed down to Baldvinsskáli hut and then kept right of it to find markers again. They weren’t particularly clear, but if you stay between the river and the road you’ll be fine. I kept finding markers in the obvious passes.

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A useful map showing the Skogá river path

Just keep between the Skogá river and the road across Landnorðurstungur until you leave the barren plateau and it becomes obvious.

My first sight of the Skogá river was this waterfall, so if you see it and you’re on this side of it then you’re on the right track.

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The Skogá river coming down from Eyfjallajökull

Following the Skogá river trail was a breeze and it was thankfully a very gentle descent. Not the knee busting steep descent that I had in mind. Maybe I should read the map next time.

On the way down the mists rolled in and out and I passed many hikers who were on the way up. Oh, and a heap of sheep too.

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Mist, hikers, sheep and beautiful Icelandic landscapes. I imagine this is what the Faroe Islands and Scotland will be like.

The Skogá river continued to cascade down the hillsides – quite spectacularly at times. There’s one ultra-wide panorama that I really want to put together, but I won’t have my laptop back until August unfortunately.

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So many nice waterfalls. It's really hard to keep moving.

It was probably the most relaxing day of the trek because I kept taking my pack off to take photos. Even the sheep seemed to enjoy the views.

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Baa baa black sheep

The lower I got the more people I passed. Actually a lot of people were headed up the trail, some with big packs and so I can only assume they were crossing Fimmvörðuháls. The lower I got, the more day hikers there seemed to be and finally, I knew I was on the home straight when I started seeing inappropriately dressed package tourists struggling with the mud.

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Let's call this the one hour to go landmark

Package tourists are such strange creatures. Amused by the most lowly of views, because they haven’t really seen anything beyond the their camera lens. Terrified of dirty muddy paths and exhausted by small steps or the slightest physical activity. And most amusingly of all, they fear human interaction. Say hello to one and the response will be.. nothing, no acknowledgement and eyes on the floor while they clutch their precious camera.

When their numbers grew exponentially I knew I was at the end, Skogárfoss. The tourists looked like they’d never seen a backpack before and scuttled out of my way, which was fine, I don’t want ants crawling all over my viewpoint and crowding my photos. Begone fowl pests!

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An unorthodox finish line, but it works for me

I arrived at Skogárfoss at around 4pm and began the hunt for the traditional ultimate burger. I skipped the Skogar Hotel and went to the Fossberð shop behind it where they also have a bistro. It was quiet, which kind of made it perfect and the lady there was very kind. I wouldn’t exactly call it ultimate, but a burger, chips and some apple pie for 2,500ISK suited me just fine after 7 days of hiking.

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Ohhhhh yeeeeaaahhhhh!!!

The Skogár camp facilities looked pretty basic and I figured I should try and get a headstart on tomorrow. I tried my luck at hitchhiking to Vik at 8:45pm figuring worst case I’d just camp. A couple of French guys were trying to go the opposite way to Reykjavik. One of them was a bit flamboyant and seemed to be terrified of hitchhiking whilst the other was totally fine. Their banter was very amusing and helped pass the time.

After about 75 minutes I was in luck and a couple of alternative Canadians picked me up. Guess where they were from, not Toronto!

So that was the last section of the Fimmvörðuháls Trek! The British Columbians took me to the Vik campsite ready for tomorrow’s rainy and extremely windy tour of the black sand beaches.

To see the rest of my July 2016 trip to Iceland click here.

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