Trekking Iceland – Hlöðuvík to Hesteyri – Hornstrandir

I woke up to better-looking weather today for my hike from Hlöðuvík to Hesteyri.

View from Hlöðuvík campsite - Hornstrandir - Iceland
View from Hlöðuvík campsite

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.

River crossing at Hlöðuvík - Hornstrandir - Iceland

The trail to Kjaransvíkurskarð Pass was very obvious and climbed steadily up the green valley beside a river with multiple waterfalls.

The trail to the pass between Hlöðuvík and Hesteyri- Hornstrandir - Iceland
The trail to the pass between Hlöðuvík and Hesteyri is gorgeous!

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.

Looking back at Hlöðuvík on the way to the pass over to Hesteyri- Hornstrandir - Iceland
Looking back at Hlöðuvík on the way to the pass over to Hesteyri

The sun came and went all morning, and I took the opportunity to sit and relax in its Vitamin D whenever the opportunity arose.

Great snack spot on the way to the pass from Hlöðuvík over to Hesteyri
Great place for a snack

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!

Rocky approach to the pass from Hlöðuvík over to Hesteyri
It’s up there somewhere…

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. 

More snowdrifts coming down from the pass from Hlöðuvík to Hesteyri
Still wary of snowdrifts

Fortunately, they didn’t lead me astray and the end of Hesteyrarfjörður appeared below me.

Over the pass from Hlöðuvík to Hesteyri - more incredible views- Hornstrandir - Iceland
Where I came from (top) and where I’m going to (bottom)

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.

Stone cairns leading the way to Hesteryi - Hornstrandir - Iceland
Stone cairns…

The terrain switched between rocky patches and boggy patches, and the cairns went on forever…

So many stone cairns leading the way to Hesteryi - Hornstrandir - Iceland
… and more stone cairns

And ever…

The stone cairns leading the way to Hesteryi go on and on- Hornstrandir - Iceland
Will they never end?

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.

Final stone cairns leading the way to Hesteryi - Hornstrandir - Iceland

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.

Snow drift between me and Hesteryi - Hornstrandir - Iceland
Where should I cross this?

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?

Final leg to Hesteryi - Hornstrandir - Iceland
The last stone cairn above Hesteryi

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 old doctors house in Hesteryi is the heart of the village - Hornstrandir - Iceland
The old doctor’s house in Hesteryi is the heart of the village

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!

Campsite at Hesteryi - Hornstrandir - Iceland
My campsite at Hesteryi

Trekking Information

Distance = 15.2 km

Time taken = 7 hours and 10 minutes.  About an hour or so of stops along the way.

Map

Basic Map of the route I took from Hloduvik to Hesteyri from Strava

Altitude Profile

Altitude profile of the route I took from Hloduvik to Hesteyri from Strava

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:

Alternatively, check out my other posts about hiking and trekking in Iceland and around the world.

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