A couple of weeks ago we told you about our former volunteers, Anita and Martin, who decided to take their commitment to our cause to a new level and went to Iceland to walk a double marathon in one weekend. They set out on this adventure in order to raise funds for the English school, social work, health, and psychology programs that our organization, HOOP, runs for the community of Flora Tristan. They trained hard in order to become part of a special group of volunteers that helps raise money worldwide, and we couldn’t be more proud of their success. After their exhausting weekend we asked Anita and Martin to tell us a little bit more about their experience:
The Starting Line
7am and it’s still raining. Everyone has been up since 5am taking down tents, packing day bags and checking their feet! We are all assembled for our morning briefing before the start of this 52 mile, 2 day hike across Southern Iceland on one of the most renowned trekking routes in the world.
The Lunar Trek
On the first leg of our journey, we trekked across lunar landscapes at a rapid pace, past the green-mossed mountains of Landmannagaugar, then the participants gradually spread out as we made our first ascent into the highlands.
A Rainbow Reward
It finally stops raining, and we are treated to an incredibly close seeming rainbow as we stop to refuel at Domadalshals rest stop. No more rain for the rest of the hike.
Glaciers and Volcanoes
After trekking through fields of obsidian, black sands, and skirting multi-coloured mountains we ascend 600 m to an altitude of 1100 m, which takes us nearby the Myrdalsjokull and Eyjafjallajokull glaciers on the most challenging section of the route. The glaciers sit on top of active volcanoes, but luckily they are quiet at the moment!
Getting Some Rest at the Campsite
7pm and the sun is beginning to set as we arrive at our beautiful campsite at Alftavatn. A welcome sight after 12 hours of hard walking. The only drawback – we have to erect our own tents! But it is a lovely evening and we get a good night’s sleep before an early start tomorrow, knowing that we are half way through our challenge.
An Early Start: Day 2
We start the second day at the crack of dawn (up at 4am depart at 6am), walking through desert landscapes with smoking geysers.
Continuing from Hvanngil to Emstrur we crossed two rivers. The current was fast on this river, so we linked arms for safety. No-one fell in, but a few people got cramps from the icy glacial waters. Personally, I found the freezing water invigorated my hot, tired feet!
The Last Leg
After one last river crossing we trek through lush Thorsmork valley where we reach the finish line and a glass of fizz!. We trekked through a huge variety of landscapes – mountains, spectacular glaciers, volcanoes and hot springs, with wilderness camping and river crossings thrown in. Little wonder that Iceland is known as the ‘Land of Fire and Ice’!
Photos and words by Anita and Martin Hornbrook