One Hundred Ninety Nine

yearofyogaJuly23A Year of Yoga: July 23, 2014

Pose: Headstand Variation

Location: Þórsmörk; Iceland

We spent the day mostly relaxing before hiking over to this side of the park. We found a great campsite courtesy of some lovely Icelandic gentleman we met yesterday in the hot spring. Tomorrow we hike up about 3000 ft. and trek across snow fields and between two glaciers before descending to the coast and Skogar.

Photography Credit: Brandon

 

One Hundred Ninety Eight

yearofyogaJuly22A Year of Yoga: July 22, 2014

Pose: Bridge with leg raise

Location: Laugevegur Trail; Iceland

This was our last full day on the official Laugevegur Trail. In the first part of the day, we crossed over this magnificent gorge via this bridge. After a long day of hiking we arrived in Þórsmörk. Þórsmörk is a National Park nestled in a beautiful valley between several glaciers. It is one of the more popular destinations in Iceland both for locals and tourists. There are multiple campgrounds and hiking trails. We headed to the nearest campground which boasts a hot spring, restaurant, and showers. We enjoyed time in the hot spring with a couple beers and chatted with many lovely people about the trek. Afterwards we had dinner in the restaurant and ran into our old friends; the leaders of the Welsh teenagers. They were enjoying dinner in the restaurant while their charges had to cook for themselves outside. We had a great time recounting the trek and getting a little tipsy : ) One of the best things about backpacking is how much it intensifies appreciation for simple luxuries like sitting in a chair, eating a good meal, and taking a hot shower. We will be taking a day off from trekking tomorrow. We plan to spend the day hanging around Þórsmörk, and eventually end up camping on the other end of the park, which puts us closer to Fimmvörðuháls. That is the trail over the glacial pass and down to the coast. But first, a day of reset.

Photography Credit: Brandon

 

One Hundred Ninety Seven

yearofyogaJuly21A Year of Yoga: July 21, 2014

Pose: Pigeon Variation

Location: Laugevegur Trail; Iceland

Today is B’s 38th birthday. Happy Birthday love : )

We hiked some beautiful country today, including past this beautiful waterfall. Although you can’t swing a dead cat around Iceland without hitting a beautiful waterfall. When we arrived at the night’s destination, we met our campground neighbor. He was a cute young Scandinavian and it also happened to be his birthday….21st. We ended up hiking to a nearby gorge and sipping whiskey from our flasks together in celebration of the guys’ birthdays.

Photography Credit: Brandon

 

One Hundred Ninety Six

yearofyogaJuly20(2)

 

A Year of Yoga: July 20, 2014

Pose: Baby Cobra

Location: Laugevegur Trail; Iceland

This is our 2nd day on the trek, and our first day having to ford an icy cold stream. But we were ready for it and made it no problem. We camped this evening by a beautiful lake and in the company of a charming group of Welsh teenagers. We heard a lot of people complaining about “Molly”. She was washing her over-trousers with baby wipes and didn’t show up to help with supper. In fact, I wrote a short story about a mixed up girl and christened her “Molly”. We ended up chatting with their group leaders for a good portion of the evening. They are secondary school teachers who lead groups on treks every summer. The deal for these teens is that they earn points towards college acceptance by participating in these treks. The treks are almost 100% led by the kids. The adults just sit back and make sure no one dies….meaning they might get lost, they might go hungry, they might run into unforeseen challenges. But the adults just let the kids work through it. I think this is absolutely brilliant. How awesome for these kids to learn survival, leadership, conflict management, and problem solving. We were pretty friendly with the group to the point where we felt comfortable making fun of their ketchup and pasta. They retorted back that the U.S. is responsible for ketchup. Touche.

Photography Credit: Brandon

One Hundred Ninety Five

yearofyogaJuly20A Year of Year: July 19, 2014

Pose: Knees to chest

Location: Laugevegur Night 1; Hrafntinnusker, Iceland

So our first day on the trail was interesting. It started out with decent weather and a nice hike. After the first few miles we ran into some much nastier weather and had to start crossing snow fields. I had opted not to lug my waterproof boots from home all across Europe. They are super heavy and this is the only time I would have needed them. But after today, I really wish I had just brought them. As we started crossing snow fields, my feet became soaked. Even though everything else I was wearing was waterproof, the wet feet and sweat from hiking were enough to make me hypothermic by the time we reached our campsite.

I don’t remember a lot. I remember being really cold. B pitched the tent and I climbed in. I took off my clothes but then was kind of frozen cognitively. I didn’t know what to do next and couldn’t make my body move. B finished settling the tent and climbed in and realized the state I was in (now I’m telling his story because it’s a blur to me). He immediately took action. He made sure I was dry and then put me inside a sleeping bag and threw the second sleeping bag over the top. He made some hot broth and I drank it. He also had the brilliant idea to heat up water, pour it into our nalgene water bottle and throw it in the sleeping bag with me. He also ended up climbing in with me for body heat.

Woah. I don’t remember things being that dire, but apparently I was on the edge. Before anyone (my family) freaks out about this story, we were adjacent to a hut which would have gladly taken me in if things didn’t improve. Thankfully I’m married to a guy that knows how to act : )

I was disappointed that we weren’t able to venture out after arriving. There are supposedly some incredible ice caves in the vicinity that we were planning to check out. But there’s always next time.

Photography Credit: Brandon

 

One Hundred Ninety Four

yearofyogaJuly18A Year of Yoga: July 18, 2014

Pose: King Pigeon

Location: Hot Springs; Landmannalaugar, Iceland

The weather has not been great today. We walked from our guest house to the bus station in the rain. We could barely see anything through the bus windows as we rode the 3 hour ride to the interior. Once we arrived, it was still raining. We hurriedly pitched our tent and got inside to warm up a bit. But we’re finally in Landmannalaugar! We’ve been looking forward to this for literally 3 years. So we put on our bathing suits and made a run for it to the warmth of the hot springs. We probably spent 2 hours in the pools, talking with other travelers, exchanging stories, and prolonging the inevitable pain of exiting the warm pools into the 40ish degree rain. We did eventually suck it up and get out of the pools. After changing back into some warm and dry clothes, we embarked on a short hike before cooking some food and heading to bed. I did find 2 items I needed in their little supply shop…woolen knitted socks and a quick dry towel! I’m ready to trek!

Photography Credit: Brandon

 

One Hundred Ninety Three

yearofyogaJuly17A Year of Yoga: July 17, 2014

Pose: Headstand Variation

Location: Tjornin; Reykjavik, Iceland

We had a lot to accomplish today. Our main objective this week is hiking the Laugevegur Trail. It is a 5 day backpacking journey from Landmannalaugar to Þórsmörk. We are also adding another day of hiking from Þórsmörk to Skogar on the southern coast. The weather in Iceland is unpredictable at best. So there were many supplies we hadn’t brought with us and needed to buy for our trek. We spent the morning at the mall purchasing over-trousers, freeze-dried meals, and the like. I also purchased a beautiful traditional Icelandic wool sweater, which I have wanted since our last visit in 2011. I figure it will be a good layer for keeping warm out on the trail. We then realized we didn’t have trek poles and would most certainly want them. Brandon found a local camping supply rental place which rented us the trek poles for a ridiculously low rate and didn’t even ask for a credit card. Plus they tell you where their hide-a-key is in case you have to return them after hours. Iceland rules! After the mall we had lunch at the famous hotdog stand…you know the one where Bill Clinton was photographed when he visited. We were successful at finding all our supplies and spent the evening wandering around Reykjavik and remembering our last trip here. We also went to the local sundlaug (swimming pool). Iceland has a great swimming pool culture (more on that in future posts). Our bus leaves quite early in the morning to take us to the beautiful interior where we will start our hike. Getting excited to be out in nature for reals!!

Photography Credit: Brandon