Laugavegur Day 6 – FIMMVÖRÐUHÁLS to Skogar
Day 6: Fimmvörðuháls – Skogar
Distance: 5 miles
The wind howls outside. It pushes into the walls of our tent. Some of the gust really tests the limits of the sil nylon. We have little desire to go out so we eat cold breakfast in the tent hoping the wind would die down but it doesn’t happen and the miles have to be walked so in the end we unzip the fly and walk into the breeze.
It takes some creativity to break camp. We only have to chase after one piece of gear, the pouch the tent poles go in and that, considering the conditions, is a success.
Today the trail is a gentle downhill stroll following the canyon through which Skoga flows towards the ocean. Rugged canyon and a wild untamed river, that is a great recipe for waterfalls. There are over 20 of them along the trail today and we’re not talking cute little cascades. These waterfall plunge down with force, sending a large cloud of mist into the air. We’re amazed by every single one of them.
About a half mile past our campsite, we find another area well suited for wild camping. It’s a strip of soft grass with an easy access to water. Two tents are perched here protected from wind by a short green hillside. Two more could easily fit.
Lower down the wind is not an issue anymore. It feels good to take a break here on a patch of grass, by a waterfall of course, and soak up little bit of sun before the clouds cover it again.
At the very end of the trail the most impressive of Skoga’s waterfalls awaits us. Skogafoss is 82 feet wide and has a drop of 200 feet. According to legend, the first Viking settler in the area, Þrasi Þórólfsson, buried a treasure in a cave behind the waterfall. The legend continues that locals found the chest years later, but were only able to grasp the ring on the side of the chest before it disappeared again.
On a sunny day the mist yields a beautiful rainbow. Today it’s just a mist, impressive one with the ability to drench those who venture too close but the coveted arch of colors is missing. Not everything is colorless though. The greens shine under the gray sky. The vegetation near the waterfall never experienced thirst. It’s lush and radiant and vibrant, and it fully compensates for the lack of rainbow.
When we originally planned the trip, we considered hiking the Fimmvörðuháls in one day. We were only able to split it into two only because we skipped a hut earlier along the route. I’m thankful for how things turned out. Even though doable, it would not be nearly as enjoyable to rush through the amazing scenery in a single day.