The first day of the trek was mostly up hill, through lava fields, rhyolite mountains and even snow as we approached the campsite which we would be staying at that night. The weather got worse and worse as the day progressed and by the time we arrived at the campsite, quite a few of us were wishing we were somewhere else entirely! Luckily the rain stopped so we could cook our dinner and snuggle up in our tents trying to conserve any warmth.
The mood was lifted when we awoke to clear skies and a stunning view of the snow fields we would start walking across. This view confirmed that yesterday's walk through wind and rain was worth it. The day just got better and better, with mind boggling sights down onto the plains and the warming sun drying our sopping wet waterproofs from the day before. We descended 500 metres, crossing three rivers. The next campsite was much more sheltered and we managed to sleep without the howling wind keeping us up.
The next day began with a long, flat trek across a huge plain of volcanic ash in the rain. When we emerged from this valley we were struck with another amazing view, which was highlighted by a full rainbow. We continued to the campsite across gentle hills of black sand and pitched up for another night. In the evening, six of us walked to the Markarfljotsgljufur canyon which was host to, in our opinion, the best views of the hike.
The next morning we awoke to the sad realisation that is was our last day of the trek, but nonetheless were eager to reach the final campsite, perhaps due to the sauna and warm geothermal pool awaiting our arrival. The day's hike consisted of crossing a spectacular gorge, which involved manoeuvring our heavy rucksacks and walking poles down a rope over a boulder, which surprisingly led to no serious injuries. We continued through a cinder plain before reaching the final river of our trek. The final leg of our walk was through a silver birch forest, possibly the most surprising sight after walking 4 days without seeing a single tree. We arrived at the camp, happy, exhausted and a little bit upset that our adventure was over.
The trip has been a truly memorable experience for all of us and something we will certainly not forget any time soon. The whole team would like to thank Mrs. Broderick and Ian for all of the work they have put in to organising this trip and hope they enjoyed it as much as we did.
By Richard Metcalfe and Ellie Briegal