What I thought’d happen
One last hurdle to overcome before a soft warm bed
What actually happened
We ran out of food and missed our bus home
We left Emstrur at seven in the morning, leaving ample time to catch the bus from Thorsmork back to Reykjavik that afternoon, and thus completing the Landmannalaugar trail. It was a strangely calm morning, the air cold and still, a complete contrast to the arctic winds of the previous day.
About an hour in, the bare landscape started showing signs of life. At first it was just a small plant, more of a stalk, determinedly pushing through the ash towards the sky. Then an insect buzzing about. Then we reached Syðri-Emstruá, a spectacular canyon with lush green plants and a hungry river rushing below. We clambered down the steep path using chains for support, crossed the rickety wooden bridge and suddenly life was in full force. Unrestricted abundance. It was the most wonderful thing. On one side of the bridge is a sprawling wasteland for kilometres, the other green, bountiful, beautiful.
Seemingly coordinated with the change in scenery, the sun rose and bathed us in a delicious warmth. The ground heated and released the intoxicating smell of spring, of earth, perfuming the air.
We chattered happily as we hiked onwards, pointing out new signs of life with delight, as though we’d never seen them before. It’s nice to feel part of the world again. We noticed the first tree, a small, stunted thing. We noticed thick bushes laden with purple flowers. Then crickets. Then bird calls. Then three wild goats basking in the sun on the ledge of a small gorge. It felt like we hiked the food chain. It was truly amazing.
Continuing on we crossed Thronga, the widest river in the entire trail. The river bed consists of thousands of small grey rocks, beaten round by the force of water. The water level was low, only reaching to mid calf. We easily walked across.
Immediately after wading through the river the landscape changes again. Suddenly you find you’re walking through a hilly forest, soft shadows playing across the path and sunlight streaming through the canopy. The path is dirt, like real actual dirt, not ash, and it’s wonderful. A perfectly relaxing way to celebrate your efforts over the past few days.
Missing the bus at Thorsmork
We came upon a forked road with two directions, one pointing to Thorsmork, the other simply with a Trex logo (bus company). Because I can totally bitch about it on here and there’s nothing he can do about it, I DID tell Rick we needed to take a left. Aka in the direction of the Trex logo. But after a few days hiking, everybody’s dead tired and in their own world. So we took a right.
We arrived down at what we thought was Thorsmork. Buses arrived and departed and we lounged in the sun relaxing while we waited for our bus. But it never arrived. We asked at the restaurant and they broke the news that we were half an hour away from where we needed to be, we’d taken the wrong path and missed the one bus back to Reykjavik that day.
With nothing else to do but grimace and deal with the situation we walked up to several bus operators and asked if we could catch a lift. Eventually one agreed, for an extra $70 each. Sigh. I guess shit happens.
What I learned today:
- Speak up.
- My partner’s shit at directions.