After 12 days of travelling by land and sea, we finally arrived on the eastern shores of Iceland. We expected to sail to the harbour through fog and rain, Iceland’s seemingly usual weather, but instead were greeted with clear blue skies and calm waters.
We couldn’t think of a better way to start our Icelandic adventure than with a hike! With tummies full of Egilsstaðir Guesthouse’s own-farmed beef and freshly-caught langoustine gourmet sandwiches, we set off along a gravel road north east. By the time we found the trailhead and parking spot at the top of a pass and donned our hiking gear, it was almost 3pm.
The initial steep climbs and blinding snow fields (plus some leftover seasickness from the Atlantic crossing) wore us out mentally. With no idea what we were hiking towards (what is Stórurð? a viewpoint? a stone monument? were we looking at it without even realising?), we were tempted to call it a good first day and turn back. But in just 3, 2,1 more kms, we would find out what Stórurð was. Curiosity got the better of us, and eventually it became too late to turn back.
And so we pushed on. Below, sharp black rocks jutted through the snow, hiding a turquoise blue pond that appeared as we got closer. As we slid down a steep 100m wall of snow, a magical world appeared. Huge boulders covered in lush green moss, a stark contrast to the eerie black and white scene just beside it. A visitors’ book was marked on our GPS and we scrambled through the boulders to find it.
The way back was 7kms of green green and more green, with many falling streams — some narrow and easily hopped, others larger and deeper, requiring more effort to keep our shoes dry. After this long, tough hike, the final uphill climb to the upper parking lot, where we had left our car, sapped my last bits of energy. Thankfully, the campsite of Borgarfjörður Eystri was not too far away.