26 July 2017

Well, it turns out I mis-labeled my itinerary, which is something I always feel paranoid about. I thought I'd built in a "zero" in Thorsmork, but it was actually a "nero." I gave myself a little time to explore by only planning 33.5 k's today. Instead, it's 9p and I'm cooking dinner here in Thorsmork with kilometers to go before I sleep. Oops. Gonna be a late night. Ah well, what a day I've had! Started by sleeping in. Thirteen hours, and I was finally caught up. Emerged from my bag at 11a this morning.

I didn't really know where to start. Ya know, cuz I thought I had a whole day to explore. Started by fording a pretty sketchy crossing just below the saddle where I'd camped. Then I made my way up a narrow drainage I wanted to check out, which is where I met Jordi. He had read about a waterfall further up the drainage, and I was down to head that way with him. It didn't take long for the route to cliff out at a deep, fast river crossing, one that neither of us was willing to ford. End of exploration. We headed back together and got to talking. It was cool to make a new friend, and we ran into each other a few more times before he caught his bus back to Reykjavik. We split at the hostel, and I made my way up Valahnukur. What a sick view of the whole valley below. From there I saw a parking area at the head of a drainage that looked like it might lead to the base of a glacier and a sweet waterfall. Couldn't tell for sure from the top, but how cool would it be if it really went all the way?! Naturally, I hiked back down and headed over to check it out.

I got back down to the Laugavegur and realized my mistake in timing, but I pressed on anyways. Figured it was worth the extra effort, and I knew I could make up the time with a few more long days. Well, it didn't go all the way. That drainage also cliffed out at a high, sketchy river ford that I wasn't willing to risk. I turned around and headed back, none the worse for wear. And feeling nothing but stoke for the extra k's I got to explore. Then something even cooler happened: I was on my way back via another (less) sketchy ford and a local Icelander, Ahdi, picked me up and gave me a ride back to the hostel. Doesn't sound like much, but he literally drove me through deep, fast fords that I would've had to walk many kilometers out of my way to avoid. Fords that I never woulda risked on foot. The water came halfway up the doors as he plowed through. It was so epic. And even better because I'd thought about how cool it would be to ride through those fords when I'd seen others driving through them earlier today. I can hardly believe I got to experience it. It was awesome! I was high on adrenaline and ready to tackle a few more k's before making camp.

The first six or eight kilometers out of Thorsmork were comparatively unimpressive. I was happy to shred right along. Had to ford another river, but nothing too dramatic. Then the trail climbed up to a canyon rim and followed it with the river flowing way down below steep cliffs. I could see mountains all around me as I pressed on. It was stunning. I was feeling strong, but ultimately stopped because I couldn't bear to keep hiking and not capture photos. The sun set long ago, and while there's still enough light to see, there isn't enough for good photos. I've set up on a bed of moss high above the river and with uninterrupted views of distant mountains towering over me. It's 1230a, and I'm ready for sleep. Oh, I almost forgot the best part of today: I saw a blue arctic fox! Seems I always get to see the cool wildlife!

Kilometers Walked: 16.5 + 13.5