Filip H.A. Claeys

Trekking in Mountainous and Subarctic Regions


Iceland 2018: Fjallabak to Langisjór (and back!)

10 days, 200 km walked, 7300 m climbed, countless rivers forded, 2500 pictures taken: these are some of the statistics of this year’s Iceland solo adventure…

Two years ago or so I came across the blog of outdoor photographer Alex Nail and was immediately taken by his rendition of one of Iceland’s hidden gems, i.e. the Langisjór lake. Although Langisjór measures no less than 20 km and is hence one of the largest lakes in the country, it is hardly known to the general public due to its remoteness and notoriously barren climate. Truth be said, until I read Alex Nail’s blog, I had actually never heard of Langisjór myself either…

More or less around the same time fellow Belgian hiker Kasper Geuns and his partner Charlotte post on their outdoor blog an account of a trek covering Langisjór, the Eldgjá area, Fjallabak NP, and the well-known Laugavegur and Fimmvörðuháls trails. I take an interest in some day hiking a trajectory similar to Kasper’s, however excluding Laugavegur since I have already hiked it twice (i.e. in 1998 and 2016).

During the second half of August 2018 I finally find the opportunity to take on the intended challenge. Taking into account bus schedules (which late August are a bit less favorable than earlier in the season), I decide to start in Landmannalaugar, hike to Langisjór, and then return to Eldgjá to catch a bus back to Landmannalaugar. Thanks to growing confidence during the course of the trek however, I eventually forget about the plan to catch a bus in Eldgjá, and hike all the way back to Landmannalaugar!

Given that I lost 4 kg of body weight during the trek, I guess it is fair to say it was one of the more challenging I did so far. Daytime highs were around 6°C mostly and except for 2 days of rain, weather was quite reasonable with a fair amount of sunshine. From a photographic point of view, this trek was probably one of the best ever, thanks to an almost endless succession of absolutely stunning and extremely varied landscapes.

Of course, a full report of the trek will follow in due time. Below are just a couple of randomly chosen pictures that hopefully give some idea of the variety of landscapes.