The trek begins
Sebastian and I exited the bus and did a fast tools examine — boots, waterproof pants, jackets, hats, gloves, packs, deck of playing cards, freeze-dried meals and sufficient Snickers bars to resuscitate six diabetics from hypoglycemia. Within the warden’s hut, the place potential hikers examine in, the warden eyed me appraisingly. “Climate on the cross shouldn’t be nice,” he warned. “Visibility is poor.” He then requested about our gear. The second had the somber feeling of a border crossing, as if we had been on the cusp of coming into a overseas land, which, in truth, we had been. All of this, by the way in which, is typical in the beginning of the Laugavegur Path; and wardens typically flip individuals away.
The path was nicely marked, the warden defined, with poles each hundred yards or so. And there have been loads of different hikers. The one dicey space was the primary mountain cross, simply earlier than the hut at Hrafntinnusker, the place we might spend our first evening. Snow and fog generally obscured visibility right here. “You may at all times flip round or dial 112 in your cellphone in an emergency,” he mentioned. I hesitated. A number of years again, a younger Israeli died on this very cross, in a freak summer season blizzard; and he wasn’t the one one to perish. “We often have one loss of life each two years,” one other warden mentioned.
“We’ll take it one kilometer at a time,” I informed myself.
On the trailhead, I attempted to take some weight off Sebastian’s pack. He had gained the state champion within the 1,500-meter for his age group, however operating on a observe and shouldering a pack over mountains are totally different duties solely. Sebastian gently pushed me away. “Don’t consider us as father and son, simply as extraordinarily good mates, and equals,” he mentioned. The expression on his face was so proud and earnest that I had no alternative however to agree. And so we started our ascent to Hrafntinnusker.
We climbed up a collection of light slopes by means of a vaguely lunar panorama. (It was readily obvious why, in 1960s, astronauts skilled in Iceland for his or her go to to the moon.) We quickly gazed down into Vondugil, the so-called Depraved Valley — a spot that shepherds traditionally averted due to its evil spirits — and which appeared aptly named, because it lay shrouded in a depressing mist. Sebastian was electrified by all of it. Once we noticed puffs of vapor, within the distance, he bounded up the mountain till we found a blowhole the place steam hissed. Moments later, he yelled: “Look Dad, look!” I used to be uncertain about what may warrant such exuberance, till I turned and noticed a pond effervescent to a boil.
As we neared the mountain cross, the rocky terrain vanished, giving approach to snow and ice. We may have been in Antarctica. The path was marked with tall stone cairns, which flickered out and in of view, as low-lying clouds swept over us. Instinctively, we reached out and held palms. I felt Sebastian squeeze my fingers. I appeared over at him — to ensure he was all proper. His eyes had been gleaming with dedication.