Hiking in Iceland can be an adventure and an experience that could last in your mind forever. It is advisable to always check for advisories as some areas in Iceland are not available for hiking, especially in winter which can get rather harsh in the area. Whatever your hiking mission, make sure that you have an up to date map that is labeled well. The best maps are the ones with grids from the National Land Survey that can be used with GPS instruments. Last thing you want is to get lost in a country like Iceland, where most intriguing areas are completely remote.
It’s always smart to check out the weather forecast before you enter out into nature. The Icelandic Meteorological Office has a hotline for people to call and find out the days weather. The number is (+354)-902-0600. Fog and mist are common place in Iceland so knowing what is ahead on your journeys especially during the winter months could save you lots of trouble.
Hiking and Sleeping in Huts
Even though many areas of Iceland are vastly desolate, there are huts throughout the country and careful planning of your hiking itinerary can assure that you will always have a place to sleep on your adventures. Red emergency huts so don’t offer accommodation to tourists – make sure you planning your stay in a correct hut. Then if you find the hut that offers accommodation for hikers, you have to make sure it is going to be open during the time of year your excursion is going to happen. Many owners of huts close them in winter and don’t open again until the weather improves for the year. On the other hand, some huts get very busy in the summer so make sure to make reservations in advance, otherwise you may get stranded in the middle of nowhere. Advanced reservations are essential especially if you;re taking a multiple day hike.
One thing you can find during your hiking trip throughout iceland are unmonitored huts. These are huts that no one is monitoring so it is a place anyone can use. Even though not monitorred, users of these huts are expected to pay for their stay. Some people stay a night and don’t pay, which is definitely not a fair approach, as money spent is used for hut maintenance – to keep them in good enough shape so hikers can use them.
Obviously, food is not sold at these huts so bring your own. It also a good idea to find out if your hut is going to have a stove or any type of cooking utensils. Make sure before you go out so you can plan accordingly. And lastly make sure you lock up the hut when you leave. For some reason there is an abundance of huts left wide open every summer.
When hiking through Iceland, be prepared to have to cross bodies of water and to get wet. On many of the routes you will have to wade across small rivers. On the more popular trails bridges are starting to be built but they are still uncommon. Usually there are only bridges that cross the largest rivers. Bringing a spare set of shoes is a good idea because no one likes to hike in wet shoes all day because of a small river. Some of the rivers that you wade across though will be bigger than you expect. Try using walking sticks or even a safety line to avoid getting washed away. The locals have a great feel of the terrain so ask around before you go out and they will give you an idea what you can expect.
While hiking there is always an abundance of great pure water around and almost all of it is safe to drink. You also do not need to worry about insects biting you on your travels. There are few places that insects become a problem. You are more likely to run across a group of wandering sheep or a pack of horses.
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