The incredible Iceland Trek has been a staple in our events calendar over the past few years, and with good reason! Iceland has certainly become a must-visit destination and while tourism is booming, this wonderful country still feels untouched and has managed to avoid turning into a place filled with tacky tourist traps. A visit to Iceland is sure to be one you never forget and, through sharing our many tales from this fantastic trip with you in our various blog posts, we hope we have inspired you to visit this amazing place, either trekking with us or on your own adventure!
On the 12th July another group set off to take on the Iceland Lava Trek and this year’s challenge certainly didn’t disappoint! Our team of trekkers were raising funds for various different causes with teams hiking for HFT, Whale and Dolphin Conservation and Forever Friends to individuals raising for their personal charities from hospices to animal shelters! From the get-go everyone was chatting and bonding and getting extremely excited for the challenge ahead.
After our flight to Reykjavik and a long bus journey, we experienced our first taste of camp life – pitching our own tents! We stocked up on hot soup, tea and biscuits before getting down to the task ahead and setting up the tents which would become our homes for the next three nights. A few trekkers had never camped before, so this was definitely a new experience for them, but we all quickly became pro’s at getting camp set up and taken down every day!
In July the sun doesn’t set in Iceland until around midnight and it never truly gets dark, this was completely unfamiliar to most of us and we couldn’t quite wrap our heads around the fact that it was still sunny at 10pm. This did make setting up our tents a little easier, but it felt fairly odd to be falling asleep in glaring daylight – we soon got used to it after a hard days trekking though, where all we wanted was to crawl into bed!
After our first night in camp we awoke to pouring rain. Something we learned very quickly was that the Icelandic weather is extremely unpredictable and you could go from pouring rain to snow to beautiful sunshine in the space of an hour, so to see rain on day one didn’t come as too much of a shock to us.
We managed to get our rainy tents down and set off on our first day, which was the longest and toughest day of the challenge. If anything is going to help you bond with a group of strangers, trekking for 10 hours in brutal conditions and sharing some of the most breathtaking views you’ll ever witness is bound to do it! By the end of the day we were all great friends and knew we had just shared something truly amazing together. The first day saw us trekking through snow (for hours!) over stunning mountains, past steaming geysers, crossing hot springs, wading through crystal clear streams and stopping for more than one amazing picture opportunity! Time just seemed to fly as we were faced with so many different weather conditions, terrains and spectacular views.
By the time we got to our second camp of the trip we were all exhausted and were rewarded with a delicious feast of soup and tasty pasta to give us fuel for the next day. A few of the trekkers caved and had a hot shower, but the hardier lot decided to stick it out and embrace the camping experience!
After a good night’s sleep and plenty of porridge we were ready for day two. While we knew that day one was the longest and toughest, it had nothing on day two in terms of being mentally challenging. As soon as we set off from camp we were met with torrential rain, strong winds and icy sleet. We were completely drenched within about five minutes (thank god for waterproofs!) but the morale in the group stayed high and we all encouraged each other and cheered each other on despite the rain.
Today we were met with two tough river crossings, made slightly worse by the fact that we were already drenched, but we all linked arms and laughed our way across them with the help of our amazing leader Eric, who kept saying that this weather was just the charm of Iceland!
Once we’d crossed our rivers the sun suddenly came out and by the end of the day we were all pulling off layers and saying how warm it was, we even made it back to camp early!
As we still had a while until dinner, Eric asked if a few of us would like to go and explore the area around the campsite, and I am so glad we did. We saw some incredible views of Eyjafjallajokull Volcano and a stunning waterfall and we got to enjoy some of the rare Icelandic sun.
Our last day saw us making our way through more stunning scenery and we enjoyed hiking through green meadows, past beautiful streams and getting to see some of those unbelievable mountain views for the last time! Whilst we were trekking the 2017 Laugavegur Ultra Marathon was taking place, with participants doing the route that had just taken us three days in a mere few hours! The winner actually completed the challenge in just over four hours and it was incredible to witness these runners making their way past us over such tough terrain – they made it look easy!
When we finished the challenge we celebrated with a group photo and plenty of hugs – we’d done it!
That night we enjoyed a celebration meal in Reykjavik with a well-deserved glass of wine and some brilliant speeches! We had all really bonded as a group and I’m so glad I got to share my trekking experience with such a brilliant bunch.
Our last day saw us exploring Reykjavik and then taking a visit to the Blue Lagoon – a must-do in Iceland! We all felt as though a float around in the beautiful springs and a glass of prosecco was very well-deserved and much needed after a tough few days trekking. Many of the participants had overcome so much on the challenge and everyone had put in a huge amount of effort with their training and fundraising, going above and beyond their original targets – it was truly inspiring.
This marked the end of another amazing adventure in Iceland. We had tackled crazy weather, pitching tents, freezing cold days, wading across rivers and plodding through snow and it had been one fantastic experience! A huge thanks to all of the trekkers who made the trip what it was and to our lovely leaders and doctor – what an unforgettable challenge!
One of our fab trekkers, Katy, also made this wonderful video of her journey in Iceland so take a peek for a real insight into the trek…
If you would like to take on the Iceland Lava Trek in 2018 then head here or give us an email or call for more information on 020 7424 551 or firstname.lastname@example.org.