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Laugavegurinn stage 3, Álftavatn - Emstrur (Botnar)

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That long-awaited day arrived in the Laugavegurinn. A sunny day, with relative good weather and that will allow us to enjoy the landscape as far as the eye can see. This is the route we had studied in so many photos, without clouds or bad weather. It is time to brighten the view with large snowy plains, deep canyons and rivers that are born in colossal glaciers. This will definitely be a relatively simple stage that will allow us to make some extra route when we finish.


Laugavegurinn stage 3, Álftavatn - Emstrur (Botnar)

Laugavegurinn stage 3, Álftavatn - Emstrur (Botnar)

We could not believe what we saw when we got out of bed. The sun has appeared and looked like wanting to stay for several days. We had total visibility, something we missed days ago. Many of the landscapes that were not seen around the Álftavatn refuge Now they were exposed, what a delight. In addition the temperature was great, with a good sweatshirt it was enough to walk in the first hours.


Laugavegurinn stage 3, Álftavatn - Emstrur (Botnar)

The stage was simple, half uphill and half downhill, about 19 kilometers in length. To this we should add another 4 kilometers of extra route that we would do from Emstrur towards the incredible canyon of Markarfljotsglijufur over the river Markarfljot.

The conditions of the routeLaugavegurinn They are usually better than those exposed here. Its implementation is recommended from the second half of July until the end of September

The first thing we did after leaving the shelter was to cross the river by a bridge that we had right next to it. Built with basic materials, it was ideal to slip and take a dip in the water if you suffered from vertigo. A little later we would see that this was a great fight, having to cross several rivers with bare feet, including the Brathalskvisl. The mother who bore him, what a pain !!!


Laugavegurinn stage 3, Álftavatn - Emstrur (Botnar)

The snow was still very present and didn't seem to want to leave us. This we really liked until we had to cross a river with bare feet on a really cold water and also topped off by stepping on some snow. You will see how bad we had here and how I missed some flip flops. Pain is little word.

It started to get cold and windy which forced us to wear a windbreaker. The road tilted slightly after crowning a gentle hill with the prize of incredible views over the closest volcanoes and peaks. I wanted to run away and get on all of them, but this joy quickly fell apart and touched us again barefoot! At this point our feet were already pure ice and another sacrifice but we would not notice so much.


Laugavegurinn stage 3, Álftavatn - Emstrur (Botnar)

We started down to the valley, where a mountain of just over 900 meters presided over the horizon. A true wonder before our eyes and whose profile seemed easy to climb. Too bad we didn't have time.


Laugavegurinn stage 3, Álftavatn - Emstrur (Botnar)

With all this we reached another river but this time it had a bridge !!! This was probably because on the other side we had a nice shelter called Hvanngil at 560 meters high and where we have a hot coffee and some food. We still had more than three thirds of the way, but with the advantage that they were almost all of them on a plane or downhill.


Laugavegurinn stage 3, Álftavatn - Emstrur (Botnar)

After the snack we continued the route through a line that seemed infinite. It never ended and we hardly saw the end of it. We only saw snow and more snow. What happens that this is never going to end?


Laugavegurinn stage 3, Álftavatn - Emstrur (Botnar)

In the distance there was a great rumble produced by a fairly mighty river and where a couple of beautiful waterfalls fell. Here of course there was a bridge, it would have been impossible to cross it.

This area by the way, in summer you can reach by car through a series of dirt tracks, yet you have to be very careful with the weather. This I comment because a couple years ago in this area died a couple after a storm. They arrived in the area by car and it occurred to them to get out of it after getting lost. This caused them to get lost in the fog when they got away from the vehicle and could not find it again.


Laugavegurinn stage 3, Álftavatn - Emstrur (Botnar)

We continue along the endless plain until we begin to climb a gentle slope where we take a short rest on the edge of an extinct crater. From there we passed a small ordeal with what would be the last river we crossed barefoot.


Laugavegurinn stage 3, Álftavatn - Emstrur (Botnar)

We had little left to reach Emstrur but before we had to skirt the mountain of Hattafell 909m, a monster that shadowed the entire landscape around it.


Laugavegurinn stage 3, Álftavatn - Emstrur (Botnar)

Hattafell It was the definitive goodbye to the snow, that white powder that accompanied us all the way. From here we barely had 30 minutes to reach our deserved rest, although our mind told us that we would make an extra route once we leave some of the material in the shelter. This by the way is the best conditioning we have seen so far and in fact 4 × 4 vehicles have arrived to it.


Laugavegurinn stage 3, Álftavatn - Emstrur (Botnar)

An hour was what we take as a break in Emstrur. From there we took part of the path that we had previously used, but after 10 minutes we turned to the left along a not very well signposted path that would take us to the canyon of Markarfljotsglijufur, after spending less than 2 kilometers. The canyon as you can see is spectacular and many falls fall on it, something that one never gets used to in Iceland.

Half an hour later, we finished the visit and returned to the shelter to have a warm dinner that took us straight to bed. Tomorrow will be our last stage.


Laugavegurinn stage 3, Álftavatn - Emstrur (Botnar)

As advice if you are very tired, stay in the shelter because the next day part of the route passes through this same canyon, therefore you will not miss it.

Practical data Trekking in Laugavegurinn / Landmannalaugar

How is the crossing indicated?

Bring a map and GPS, the route is not very well indicated and if you find snow the roads simply do not show. Occasionally there are well marked posts, but you can go several kilometers without seeing them and that can be confusing.

How difficult is this stage?

Despite being quite long, it has little slope and this is saved with gentle slopes and large plains.

What is the best time to do the crossing?

July and August. In June the route can still be found with a lot of snow and in September it can start to snow. However, when the snow has not left yet, you will hardly see people during the crossing and that is appreciated.

What should we take to the Landmannalaugar?

  • Warm clothes as if we were in winter.
  • Waterproof, to be able to be membrane Gore Tex or similar.
  • Windbreaker in jacket and pants.
  • Gloves and hat.
  • Flashlight or frontal. The Black Diamond for example are excellent.
  • Flip flops to cross the rivers. It can be done barefoot but it is a martyrdom ...
  • Underwear thermal.
  • Leggings if there is snow. Here is a good example of Leggings and eye with size.
  • Several pairs of socks.
  • Backpack of at least 30l and if we go on our own of 55l or higher.
  • Sleeping bag. The type will depend on whether we sleep in a shelter or in a tent.
  • Optional tent.
  • Map/GPS. Without this, don't even show up. As GPS our recommendation is the Garmin GPSMAP 64.
  • Batteries to spare. There are no plugs in the shelters.
  • Food for 4 days. He Water It can be taken from streams as long as it does not come hot.
  • Stove for those who go for free.
  • Some ibuprofenos never go wrong….
  • Cream and sunglasses.
  • Food and Water for several days. Water is usually drinkable, but be careful where it contains sulfur. If you don't trust, there are Purifiers very useful for hiking.
  • Newspapers to dry the boots every day. Do not wear sneakers.

More information

More information in the article Trekking in Landmannalaugar. Laugavegurinn, 4 shocking days.

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