My most memorable travel escapade of 2011 is probably the four-day hike my No. 1 guy and I took in Iceland from Hrutfell to Hveravellir. Three days of flat lava fields and not a living soul in sight. It was like walking on the moon.
One day last August, a four-wheel drive bus took us over a gravel road to a bus stop in the middle of nowhere and left us there. Our location: Hvitarnes. Our goal: Hveravellir. In between: about 44 km of lava fields. We decided to take our time, and walk the distance in four days.
From the very beginning, the land around us was breathtaking. Gently undulating fields of grey rocks, speckled with perfectly round blobs of tiny pink flowers. A glacier or ice cap in every direction. We didn’t know where to look, that first leg of 8 km to the Hvitarnes hut.
After spending a leisurely afternoon pottering about near our tent, enjoying the view over the nearby lake and glaciers, the next two days took us over endless fields of lava and heather. At every hut, we met four or five other hikers, but during the day, we didn’t see another human being at all, just the occasional sheep. After hiking along popular hiking tracks like the Laugarvegur, this less popular trail felt like walking on the moon. The scenery may be less spectacular than other Icelandic hiking trails but the quiet and loneliness of the area is wonderful.
Still, it felt nice when day three led us away from the flats over an actual hill. The final day, we decided to get a bit more adventurous and took a detour to see the extinct volcano Kjalfell. Easier said than done: this volcano is only a little bit higher than it’s surroundings, but in the end we could look into the crater mouth. After that, it was an easy walk towards our final destination: Hveravellir.
Hveravellir is a lovely geothermal area with bubbling hot springs and tiny volcano-like fumaroles. The tourist hut serves simple but tasty meals and cold beer. Afterwards, you can take a bath in one of the hot springs. A great way to end a lovely, relaxing hike.