Iceland or Norway or...

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voodoo_simon
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Iceland or Norway or...

Post by voodoo_simon » Fri Apr 17, 2020 1:18 pm

Both dream places to go and see for me, so ermmm, which one first really?

Thinking of 2021 for a summer time trek, probably will only get a weeks permission/child care, so looking at a trek* of 4 days with a day either side for travel.

What have you done? Happy to take all ideas in and if you got other ideas, places in Europe, chip in :-bd

Iceland - thinking geysers, hot springs, colourful landscapes and waterfalls (not thinking of trekking for 4 days in ash)

Norway - head into the mountains for some fjords and non-snowy summits.

Open minded on taking a tent or mountain Huts.



*trekking as mrs-voodoo will come

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Bearbonesnorm
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Re: Iceland or Norway or...

Post by Bearbonesnorm » Fri Apr 17, 2020 1:30 pm

Go to Norway, Iceland just looks like the remnants of any other opencast mine :wink:
#corporate shill for hire

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RIP
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Re: Iceland or Norway or...

Post by RIP » Fri Apr 17, 2020 1:40 pm

Bearbonesnorm wrote:
Fri Apr 17, 2020 1:30 pm
Go to Norway, Iceland just looks like the remnants of any other opencast mine :wink:
As mentioned before, that was a massive bonus in my eyes :wink: . Just do it.
Last edited by RIP on Fri Apr 17, 2020 1:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Iceland or Norway or...

Post by RIP » Fri Apr 17, 2020 1:41 pm

Bearbonesnorm wrote:
Fri Apr 17, 2020 1:30 pm
Iceland just looks like the remnants of any other opencast mine :wink:
As mentioned before, that was a massive bonus in my eyes :wink: . Just do it.
"There comes a time in your life Ponsonby, when you think: 'My God, I'm two-thirds of the way to the grave and what have I done?" - RIP

"It is in the petty details, not in the great results, that the interest of existence lies" - JKJ

Asposium
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Re: Iceland or Norway or...

Post by Asposium » Fri Apr 17, 2020 1:48 pm

if you're going trekking do this.....

been to this area twice, will likely go again

https://www.trek.is/en/our-tours/laugav ... r-trekking

photos from my first visit
https://www.facebook.com/pg/David-Birki ... 5144103156

voodoo_simon
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Re: Iceland or Norway or...

Post by voodoo_simon » Fri Apr 17, 2020 4:35 pm

Fabulous photos Dave. That’s one of the trails I was looking at :-bd Seems to have a bit of everything.

What time of year did you go?

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Re: Iceland or Norway or...

Post by Gari » Fri Apr 17, 2020 5:25 pm

Yeh I would agree on the Iceland trip. It is possible to get a bus from the airport to the start of those trails, and back from the end. If you do have just 4 days þorsmork is a good ending, and the bus runs from here too. If you have a couple more days you could finish at Skogafoss instead.
Pretty easy to organise yourself, and a lot cheaper.
I would be looking at late August/early September if it was me.

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Re: Iceland or Norway or...

Post by Asposium » Fri Apr 17, 2020 6:59 pm

voodoo_simon wrote:
Fri Apr 17, 2020 4:35 pm
Fabulous photos Dave. That’s one of the trails I was looking at :-bd Seems to have a bit of everything.

What time of year did you go?
August bank holiday weekend
Last week of the season

Teetosugars
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Re: Iceland or Norway or...

Post by Teetosugars » Fri Apr 17, 2020 8:01 pm

We’re heading back to Iceland as soon as we can, and yup, planning on this too..

https://www.trek.is/en/our-tours/laugav ... r-trekking

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Re: Iceland or Norway or...

Post by 99percentchimp » Fri Apr 17, 2020 8:08 pm

Asposium wrote:
Fri Apr 17, 2020 1:48 pm
if you're going trekking do this.....

been to this area twice, will likely go again

https://www.trek.is/en/our-tours/laugav ... r-trekking

photos from my first visit
https://www.facebook.com/pg/David-Birki ... 5144103156
Great photos. Really unworldly landscape... thanks
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summittoppler
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Re: Iceland or Norway or...

Post by summittoppler » Fri Apr 17, 2020 8:40 pm

Iceland is fantastic and as Stu says there is parts that look like an open cast mine but it also looks alien like. Have I ever mentioned I went there...
Film:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hYwKP6uCIp4&t=

Pics:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/150809418 ... 7109111376


And Norway is defo one place I would love to go to, fatbike or skinny (42mm)

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Re: Iceland or Norway or...

Post by voodoo_simon » Sat Apr 18, 2020 9:02 am

Asposium wrote:
Fri Apr 17, 2020 6:59 pm
voodoo_simon wrote:
Fri Apr 17, 2020 4:35 pm
Fabulous photos Dave. That’s one of the trails I was looking at :-bd Seems to have a bit of everything.

What time of year did you go?
August bank holiday weekend
Last week of the season
Didn’t realise that, makes sense why the guide book didn’t mention September of August is the last week of the season. Cheers! Likely to be a July trip now as was thinking of September
summittoppler wrote:
Fri Apr 17, 2020 8:40 pm
Iceland is fantastic and as Stu says there is parts that look like an open cast mine but it also looks alien like. Have I ever mentioned I went there...
Film:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hYwKP6uCIp4&t=

Pics:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/150809418 ... 7109111376


And Norway is defo one place I would love to go to, fatbike or skinny (42mm)
Cheers Jeff, I’ll have a look at those today :grin:

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Re: Iceland or Norway or...

Post by Gari » Sat Apr 18, 2020 9:20 am

Bear in mind if you go too early some of the rivers may not be crossable. Also, as it is a pretty short season, maybe 8-10 weeks max, everyone that is doing these trails do so pretty much all together. When I rode in to þorsmork I was amazed by the amount of people there. Literally hundreds of folk on a very small campsite/hostel.
I tried to cross the river further down from the site that the bus stopped at, but the river was about waist/chest deep and running such that I couldn’t get beyond knee deep, so moved on. Even the river to get to the other campsite required that I get on a bus that was just about to cross(carrying my bike with me!) to get over. It was crossable the following day, via a bridge a few Km upstream as the rivers are lower in the early morning, being glacier fed.

Asposium
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Re: Iceland or Norway or...

Post by Asposium » Sat Apr 18, 2020 11:14 am

voodoo_simon wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 9:02 am
Asposium wrote:
Fri Apr 17, 2020 6:59 pm
voodoo_simon wrote:
Fri Apr 17, 2020 4:35 pm
Fabulous photos Dave. That’s one of the trails I was looking at :-bd Seems to have a bit of everything.

What time of year did you go?
August bank holiday weekend
Last week of the season
Didn’t realise that, makes sense why the guide book didn’t mention September of August is the last week of the season. Cheers! Likely to be a July trip now as was thinking of September
summittoppler wrote:
Fri Apr 17, 2020 8:40 pm
Iceland is fantastic and as Stu says there is parts that look like an open cast mine but it also looks alien like. Have I ever mentioned I went there...
Film:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hYwKP6uCIp4&t=

Pics:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/150809418 ... 7109111376


And Norway is defo one place I would love to go to, fatbike or skinny (42mm)
Cheers Jeff, I’ll have a look at those today :grin:
It is possible to go later (early September); however, some of the the highland buses finish, campsites will close, and the weather becomes even more unpredictable.

Now, as mentioned above, there is more opportunity to be alone.

The landscape is so vast it wasn’t too bad for other hikers, and we’re likeminded anyway. Made some walking buddies along the way.

If you go....
Get the airport bus from airport to city
There is a petrol station exit left of the bus station, from there you (could) can buy a gas cylinder and matches. Far cheaper than the bus station shop
Get a hikers pass for the highland bus from Reykjavik excursions, leaves from the bus station.
Take ALL your food
Water isn’t a problem
There is NO possibility to recharge when on the hike.
There are campsite, but wild camping is possible if sneaky and certainly leave no trace; there are toilets at the campsites.
Weather in Iceland is more unpredictable than Wales (or Scotland)
Walking poles might be useful, especially for the river crossings
Take river crossing shoes; the river crossings cannot be avoided.
The landscape is /was stunning. Landscape photographer’s heaven.
Track through the volcanic dessert can (apparently) be interesting if windy (I was lucky) good idea to take ski goggles
Take a “proper” tent.
Will post a video later ....this was from the day after I left.
I had a Vodafone signal for most of the route, no signal at campsite at end of day three; and certainly no WiFi. 😆

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Re: Iceland or Norway or...

Post by Keith74 » Sat Apr 18, 2020 11:25 am

I’m currently just starting planning on heading to Iceland last week of August next year. Looks like some great ideas here and plenty to think about.

voodoo_simon
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Re: Iceland or Norway or...

Post by voodoo_simon » Mon Apr 20, 2020 12:22 pm

Fabulous set of photos Jeff and a lovely, mellow film too :-bd Thanks for sharing

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htrider
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Re: Iceland or Norway or...

Post by htrider » Mon Apr 20, 2020 1:47 pm

South West Iceland is definitely good for a bike tour (sorry Simon I appreciate your after walking)- lots of gravel roads, campsites, open cast mine like geology and volcanoes. But also rich grass lands, Ice caps and glaciers.

Me and a mate went there in 2012 and got fried.....
https://philsbikepacking.blogspot.com/2 ... -tour.html

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Re: Iceland or Norway or...

Post by whitestone » Mon Apr 20, 2020 3:04 pm

We went in September. Let's just say the weather was "bracing" :lol: Don't even think about lightweight kit

Even taking your time the main tourist honey traps such as The Golden Circle, Skogafoss and the like will only take a couple of days with a hire car. Even in September Thingvetlir, Geysir and Gulfoss were busy but move a hundred metres away and you can easily be on your own. Reykjavik is small enough to walk round and does have some "interesting" museums :wink: There are quite a few antiquity sites that have reconstructions that are well off the beaten track. Get away from the SW corner and things become very spread out - signs like "last fuel for 270km"

Apart from the Landmannalaugur - Thorsmork trail I don't know of any other trekking trails, you can extend that from Thorsmork over the shoulder of Eyjafjallajökul and down to Skogafoss. The gorge behind Skogafoss is pretty impressive and worth a half day hike BTW, most of the trail is rideable but some serious consequences if you mess it up. We were told that the bridleways are for horses only - try walking on one for a minute and you'll see why!

The area I'd like to visit is the north west, AKA the Western Fjords but don't know if there are trekking trails in the area.
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rando nomad
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Re: Iceland or Norway or...

Post by rando nomad » Mon Apr 20, 2020 3:46 pm

There is trekking in the Hornstrandir nature reserve north of Isafjordur. You can take a ferry there. We were there a few years back and there were several groups at the campground in Isafjordur who were waiting to take the boat there to trek around. Chatted with one group of British trekkers who were equating it with trekking in Scotland, (less midges).
The Western Fjords are lovely, but we took a week to drive around it and that was still not enough time. I'd love to go back.

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Re: Iceland or Norway or...

Post by Alpinum » Mon Apr 20, 2020 5:59 pm

voodoo_simon wrote:
Fri Apr 17, 2020 1:18 pm
Thinking of 2021 for a summer time trek, probably will only get a weeks permission/child care, so looking at a trek* of 4 days with a day either side for travel.
For one week only, I'd clearly stay at home :wink:

Iceland
Given only one week, it seem's most sensible to limit the travels to the (very busy) SW of Iceland.
Good thing is, there are beaten tracks (like the Laugarvegur/Landmannalaugar, Gullfoss, Geysir, Skaftafell, Þingvellir), but it's easy to go off them.

I'd not bother with the Laugarvegur unless you go late;
Into the first week of September the camp ground at Landmannalaugar starts to get empty (as does the famous trail). In the second week those working at the mountain mall return back home, the busses stop running mid September too. If you're an experienced outdoor person, you're comfy with strong winds and infrequent snow storms in the higher regions, the first two September weeks are best. There's a reason why the Laugarvegur is so busy in July/August. The landscape is very unreal. Add on the Skógar trail (over the Fimmvörðuháls) and depending on weather and fitness you have a lovely 2 - 5 days trip. Although walking south you'll not end the hike with a bath in a hot spring (which is in Landmannalauger - hence the name), it's easier to shorten the hike and you end up at the ringroad with easy hitch hiking and regular busses, camp grounds, hostels and hotels. Best to make a reservation in Skógar.

If you plan to go earlier, there are many other fantastic multiday hikes in the Fjallabak besides the overused Laugarvegur/Skógar trail.
Get the maps and put your own route together.
Some established routes that come to mind:
Eldgjá - Skaftá - Langisjór. Rather easy, but can't be always done, as the river Skaftá runs off a sub glacial volcanic system and bursts every now and then.
Laki - Grænalón - Skaftafell. Tough hike, only for very experienced hikers.
Hellismannaleid trail. Easy

Then in the central highlands:
Further afield there's the Kjölur trail or Kjalvegur, yet still easy to get to from Reykjavik.
Hvítárnes - Hveravellir - Varmahlíð. Close up to glaciers (but unlike the Grænalón trail, no glacier crossing involved), yet in the middle of the "desert". The classic route ends in Hveravellir (hot springs, 3 busses/week) but the really remote part only starts at that point and goes all the way up to the Fjords in the North.
This one is great because you travel past touristic places in the south to get to the starting point, with stops to look around (Geysir, Gullfoss, Kerlingarfjöll). Closest town at the end with regular busses/flights is Akureyri.

Mountains of Kerlingarfjöll - many shorter hikes than can be made into a longer one.

Nyidalur, circuit around Tungnafellsjöküll.
The E side of the galcier (Jöküll) is also know as Vonarskarð.
Unfortunately no more busses along the Sprengisandur, which go past the huts at Nyidalur, but regular 4x4 folks for a lift.
moderate route over broad ridges, down smelly valleys with hot pots, over a small pass and onwards to (boring) double tracks which will take you back to the huts.

Eastern highlands:
Askja trail or Oskjuvegur (I only know the area around Askja - but know it well from 3 visits).
Surely not as easy to get to the start/from the end of the trail, but also into September there are still some folks about which can give you a lift. Seems to be very straightforward like the Kjalvegur, yet more remote and a starker desert. Askja is one of the bleakest places in the Highlands, yet magically colourful. Closest town with regular busses/flights is Akureyri.

South Eastern Iceland/highlands:
Lonsoraefi - Snaefell.
Very highly recommended. Similar but no quite as difficult as the Graenalon trail. For experienced hikers nothing crazy. Mostly easy glacier crossings, days of trackless hiking with crazy views. Colourful (rhyolite mountains, mosses), even birch forest, glaciers, no crazy fords a bit of desert and stunning waterfalls and mountains. Ends at the huts at Snaefell - the highest peak outside the Vatnajöküll massif and the most alpine looking one. If there's time left, the mountain Snaefell is a great hike in itself. With a bit of luck you can spot reindeers on this hike.
Starting point can be reached in one long day from Reykjavik by a very scenic bus trip and about 30 min hitch hike.
Ending point (Snaefellskali) will again require getting a lift, but with chances are big that you get this chance daily to Egilsstaðir.

Westfjords:
I've never been to Hornstrandir, but my girlfriend has and thus I know a few things about that region. There are many options for a few days out, but you need to rely on calm weather for many of the options, as starting and ending point can only be reached by boats. With a narrow window not the best idea. Totally different landscape again. Yet one you already have when ending the Northern section of the Kjalvegur.

Iceland is quite straight forward when it comes to known hiking routes. Off course you can go cross country and some of the above mentioned don't actually have a track you can follow in many places, but are just route suggestions - some have cairns. The density of tracks/trails is scarce. Norway is very different. Once you leave vegetation you often just have red marked rocks and cairns. Lower down there's always a tracks of some sorts to follow.

Norway
So many lovely spots to pick from. Again... To great thing about central Norway is, that it can be reached by train within reasonable time.

Central Norway
Breheimen NP
I found Breheimen Nasjonalpark to be very special. Bre = glacier, heimen = home. So, full of glaciers, but many multiday hikes without needing to traverse one. Full of options. Most at the upper end of moderate. You soon end up going over a 1000 m high pass where you'll be going over boulders.

Jotunheimen NP
Similar to Breheimen but busier, as it holds the highest mountains (very busy in summer) in Norway. That's why Breheimen is so lovely, it's kind of hidden behind it large, famous neighbour Jotunheimen.

Dovrefjell-Sunndalsfjella NP
A bit tamer than the two above, but just as magical. The right place to see muskoxes.
A wonderful blend of what Norways mountains are alike. Has a high peak (Snøhetta, 24th highest in Norway) with an easy hike up too - like Jotunheimen - yet without the hordes.

hmmm... just to name a few. All are equally easy to get to. You can leave home in the morning and spend the first night of the trip in the tent out on the fjell on the same day. But then you miss the fantastic breweries in the cities.

One place I've never been, but looks really special is Femundsmarka NP.


Northern Norway
Lofoten.
As with some places in Iceland, this area is otherworldly. Nothing less.
Most hikes are steep and slippery - it's not a place for folks who struggle with heights.

Rago NP
A little jewel.
Have so far only brushed the boarders when hiking across the Scandies (coming from Sweden; Stora Sjöfallets NP through Sarek NP and Padjelanta NP) but would love to spend some more time there.


Talking about Sweden. The three above mentioned NPs are well worth a visit too. The most inaccessible point in Sweden is actually between Sarek NP and Padjelanta NP. Been there, done that 😉
Sarek's often considered as the last wilderness of Europe - which isn't quite true. The raindeers roaming the Sarek are "herded" by the Sami people.


I could provide tons of photos from all those places mentioned, but have been speed tiping away for more than an hour now, so need a break.
:shock:

I really do hope you can arrange to go for more than just 4 days, but with this here you'll surely find some really nice options.

I've must have spent more than a total of 3/4 year hiking, biking and kayaking in those areas and can help with further planning, maps etc. if needed, also since my last visit to Norway was 2018 and to Iceland 2019.

voodoo_simon
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Re: Iceland or Norway or...

Post by voodoo_simon » Mon Apr 20, 2020 8:52 pm

Fantastic :-bd That’s a wealth of information, thanking you.

I wish I could spend more time there but we’d be going without our daughter (I know it’s mean but...), so we were thinking of doing a short, tight trip to get an experience. I thought Mrs-voodoo was going on a girls holiday and I’d sneak this one in when she was feeling guilty :lol:

Turns out my trip sounded too good to miss :roll: Still, at least I don’t have to train for Rovaniemi in 2021 now if we’re going trekking :-bd

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