I woke up to better-looking weather today for my hike from Hlöðuvík to Hesteyri.
Unfortunately, however, still no feeling in the surface layer of my left outer thigh 🙁 It turns out I have developed Meralgia Paresthetica (thank you Dr Google). Given that I’m not overweight nor wearing tight clothing, I suspect this was caused by the hip belt of my pack compressing the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve in my groin for the past few days. The trick now is to find out how to adjust the pack so it doesn’t continue to do so!
Fortunately, it doesn’t hurt, it just feels really, really weird. And if I press on the nerve I can feel sensations shooting down the leg, so I’m hoping no permanent damage has been done. Apparently, it can take several months to rectify…
From Hlöðuvík to the pass to Hesteyri
Loaded up again, I had walked less than 10 minutes when I came across my first river crossing. The boots came off, the neoprene socks went on, and I waded through with nary a concern, as the three guys from the Czech Republic who were just ahead of me took photos and video.
The trail to Kjaransvíkurskarð Pass was very obvious and climbed steadily up the green valley beside a river with multiple waterfalls.
But just in case you were feeling particularly nervous, there were plenty of stone cairns to keep you on the straight and narrow as well.
The sun came and went all morning, and I took the opportunity to sit and relax in its Vitamin D whenever the opportunity arose.
Closer to the pass, the ground became rocky and the trail mostly disappeared (it’s hard to see a trail on rocks). If you don’t like walking on unstable surfaces that are very good at turning ankles, I would not recommend hiking in Hornstrandir!
From the pass to Hesteyri
Just over the top of the pass, I was confronted with yet another very steep snowdrift. I couldn’t actually see the next cairn and had to trust the boot prints of others to guide me.
Fortunately, they didn’t lead me astray and the end of Hesteyrarfjörður appeared below me.
Once down off the pass, I was confronted with stone cairns stretching out into the distance along a long, flat traverse following the right-hand side of the inlet.
The terrain switched between rocky patches and boggy patches, and the cairns went on forever…
To be honest, this was the most boring part of all the hiking I’d done for the past 5 days, and I was very relieved when I finally spied the “abandoned” village of Hesteyri below me.
I just had to figure out how to get there! After hours following either a well-trodden trail or large stone cairns, in the final approach to Hesteyri there were two occasions when I could not figure out where to go next!
The first was yet another snowdrift, and once again I had to trust in the bootprints of others.
The second was even more frustrating! I hiked to what I considered to be the first stone cairn, then to a second stone cairn that was nearby. But the trail was absolutely nowhere to be seen and no further cairns were visible. I could see the trail below me – but how to get down there?
I wandered back and forth on the top of the cliff and eventually spied something that 1/2 looked like a track, back near the first cairn. Turns out – that was it, and I finally arrived in Hesteryi.
The campsite is actually on the other side of town through some pretty lush rhubarb bushes, and much further than one suspects. I was about to turn around and go ask back at the cafe, when I spied the top of the triangular toilet. I set up my tent overlooking the inlet – my home for the next 3 nights!
Distance = 15.2 km
Time taken = 7 hours and 10 minutes. About an hour or so of stops along the way.
Download track as .gpx
Read more about my solo trek in Hornstrandir
If this post has piqued your curiosity, read about the rest of my adventure in Hornstrandir:
- Prelude – leading up to departure
- Day 1 – from Veiðileysufjörður to Hornvík
- Day 2 – from Hornvík, around Hornbjarg to Hornbjargsviti
- Day 3 – from Hornbjargsviti to Hornvík
- Day 4 – from Hornvík to Hlöðuvík
- Day 5 – from Hlöðuvík to Hesteyri
- Day 6 – around Hesteyri