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près de Skogar, Suðurland (Lýðveldið Ísland)
This was the second day of a two day trip to Landmannalaugar and took us up to Bláhnjúkur, down to the thermal area in Grænagil and up Suðurnámur on the west side and down the other side.
The first hike up to Bláhnjúkur about 350 or so meters of ascend is very steep. But once at the top the view is amazing. Many of the most scenic photos which have been printed in Mountain bike magazines from all over the world are taken here and highlight the first descent. The track winds down the gravel like a slalom piste on a sky slope and is super fun to ride.
We made a mistake and took the wrong turn going down the mountain (Waypoint „Bláhnjúkur 03“). The turn we took, brought us down on the north slope. Here the grading was very high, the ground was very loose and the serpentines very narrow which disrupted the flow of the descent. The better way is to continue down the south-west route which takes a curve before ending in the valley below.
You must cross the river (which was not much more than a narrow creek) and head through the lava field towards the small Thermal field which is on the Laugarvegur track.
From there you follow the Laugarvegur north towards Landmannalaugar again for about 1 km before taking a left turn (west) towards Vondugil (Evil Canyons). Here the terrain is flat following the creek and later crossing it several times as breaks up into several branches. After about 1,5 km the first climb up towards Suðurnámur begins. It has several cycle able parts on the way so the total hike to the top does not seem too long (or perhaps it’s just that compared to the previous hike that it seems easier).
Suðurnámur has 3 major down-hill sections. All of which are technical and good fun. Each of them has its own characteristics in regards to the surface which makes it even more interesting.
The view from the top is breath-taking. But that can be said about all of the mountains in this most beautiful part of Iceland.
I recommend you keep an eye on the weather report before you plan the trip. If it is cloudy there is no view from the tops. Also it becomes alot harder if it is windy.
Dont forget to be well prepared. This is the middle of the Icelandic high lands and the weather can change quickly. Remember to bring spare warm clothes just in case.
The whole route has good GPS coverage.
BTW. The route is a full circle. Its just that my GPS ran out of juice before I reached my starting point and didn´t track the last meters back to camp :)