Iceland: Eastern Fjords

On goes the hitchhiking up the east fjords, along weird symmetrical shaped mountains – one must be the biggest pyramid you can find on this planet. A fisherman stopped and asked if I can drive, so I did. He had a 7 hour trip behind him and still 5 to go, so he could rest and relax while I was cruising the roads in his Mini all the way to Egilsstadir. Here I got a quick ride along the north shore of Mjóifjörður to the romantic tiny fisher village Brekkuþorp where I could camp and prepare for the next hike around the tip of the peninsula.

Early morning I started walking up to the lighthouse where the road ends and the adventure begins.

There was no obvious path to go on and none of the locals I met thought there would be, but I spotted an old weathered sign with a hint of a map, and a trail, so I set off. For the first hour I followed sheep tracks 30m up and along the coastline until I spotted a wooden pole with a yellow tip – these are used here to mark hiking trails. They blend in with the surrounding in summer quite well so you can lose sight of them for a while when the trail itself is barely used and quite invisible. After another hour I reached a beautiful “valley” (200m above sea) with 2 creeks splitting into 3 waterfalls over the cliff edge, and there it was: the most spectacular campsite I’ve ever been to yet. A 30m diameter hill on a clifftop with 200m vertical drop to the ocean. The weather was so calm, warm, sunny and windless that I decided to put my tent right there and enjoy the view, watch fisherboats – that evening: two – and the midsummer sun moving just above the opposing hills north. Legendary.

After the “night”, which was an endless sunset turning into sunrise, it was time to get serious. For me at least and my not quite athletic shape. There was the mountain Skollaskarð to cross, which wasn’t too high with ~600m, but really steep with occasional actual climbing. With my 20kg rucksack quite a challenge, but worth it!

From the summit I could see a farmhouse on the other side, nestled in small hills at the fjord shore. The descent was quite intense too, first being steep and slippery with gravel, then the trail markings disappeared again so I had to find my way, which really wasn’t straight forward. After some time I spooked and got spooked by three students sitting just behind a small hilltop studying plants, first shock then laughter! At least I knew now that I was reaching the farmhouse quite soon, which turned out to be a former farmhouse, then hotel, now private home and research station for students of different fields and countries. A truly lovely place with 2 dogs and lots and lots of geese and ducks, residing in the cutest tiny wood houses along the ponds and the coast.

The couple living there were very interested in my hike and my findings, including a photo of animal tracks that just wouldn’t make sense: it looked like a small bear paw but had only the size of a third of my palm. After intense studies by the man, also a hunter, it turned out to be overlapping reindeer tracks. A bit disappointing. The couple gave me a lift to the next village Seyðisfjörður.

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