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near Skeiðflötur, Vestur-Skaftafellssysla (Ísland)
When I was asked to upload the Laugavegur trail I found that although I've hiked this route often in recent years I have never actually followed the "official" trail over its entire length. Rather than stitch together a composite from various trips I decided to use a file from an "express" (2 day) transit in in 2006 - the weather was so bad that we mostly stuck to the trail. The only exception was when descending the Jökultungur slope - due to the heavy rain it seemed to us that the Grashagakvísl river would be difficult to cross at the usual ford so we looked for - and found - a place upstream where we could use a stepping stone to cross it. Since we had no business at the Álftavatn hut we then headed straight for Hvanngil - this is the only deviation from the blazed Laugavegur trail.
Note that for Icelanders the trail only runs between Landmannalaugar and Þórsmörk (or Básar), the leg between Þórsmörk and Skógar (Fimmvörðuháls) is only included by foreigners, who often do the trail south to north - Icelanders almost always start in Landmannalaugar.
10-SEP-06 11:39:41 Our destination
A nice place for lunch. If it rains note that the lava on the southern side actually forms an overhanging shelter
One of many rivers to ford. WikiLoc could use a pictograph for river crossings ...
09-SEP-06 12:59:14 The third overnight stop on a "normal" (four day) hike. We just walked past.
The second river to cross, this one is normally very shallow. The ford shown is that on the route via Álftavatn, on this occasion we forded the river far upstream.
One of Iceland's most beautiful mountains (in terms of colouration).
This is where one normally wades across Grashagakvísl on the way to Álftavatn.
If heading for Hvanngil you may want to check out the upstreaam location ("Grashagakvísl 2") where we managed to jump across though the river was in flood.
This is where we made our "stepping stone" way across Grashagakvísl despite it being in flood. Risky but rewarding .....
A very comfortable hut where we spent the night.
This hut is where most people spend their first night (if hiking north to south), usually taking an evening stroll to the ice caves on the other side of Hrafntinnusker. We made a brief stop on our way past in the pouring rain ...
Although my track ends on the northern shore of Krossá I felt I should indicate the location of the bridge - it isn't obvious.
This river runs in a deep gully underneath the bridge, well worth stopping to look down!
There are only two ways to cross this river - across the bridge or on the glacier where it originates. Any variations on the Laugavegur theme are constrained by this fact.
Like its sibling, the Northern Emstruá, this river can only be crossed via the bridge - in this case a pedestrian-only affair with interesting approaches on both sides.
This is really too grand an affair to be called a hut, I guess "lodge" would be a better fit.
The name means "big (hot) spring" - this place is about right for a lunchbreak if you started your hike at Landmannalaugar and intend to spend the night at Hrafntinnusker.
This river can be a bit difficult if it's been raining - so be careful.