[Your adventure] Iceland, 1st episode: The Hornstrandir peninsula
“Your adventure” is the section where you take the floor to tell us your trip wilderness trip. The amateur photographer and Quechua tester Jean-François Lurol opens this new section. His adventure ? A solo six day trek in the Hornstrandir peninsula in Iceland.
Mountain enthusiast since his childhood, a passion he inherited from his parents, Jean-François discovered the great treks around the age of 30, with first a trip to Lapland, and then with beautiful expeditions on the island of Spitsberg and in Iceland. All theses trips are brought together in his book: Prières Polaires. The mixture adventures, simple joys and world detachment are the key elements of his motivate, as leaving alone and tracing his route with a map and a compass.
When Jean-François talked about his new Icelandic expedition whose departure was scheduled for June 26, we asked him to test some of the products Quechua. Waterproof jacket, sleeping bag and down jacket have accompanied and were put to the test. A test report will be available soon, but meanwhile he shares some of his moments of happiness in 3 episodes!
—- 1st EPISODE —-
At the northwestern end of Iceland, faces the Greenland and near to the Arctic Circle, is the peninsula of Hornstrandir.
Only one way to access to this land: the boat.
The region is actually isolated from the rest of Iceland by the enormous glacier called Drangojokull, that prevents any possibility of access by land.
For 40 years, the Hornstrandir has been a nature reserve, jealously protected by the Icelandic.
There, the world as we know it stops. No permanent inhabitants, no roads, no phone, no network, not even paths in the mountains, with the exception of a few areas marked by cairns.
In this forgotten world, the only companions are wild animals, snow, rocks, rivers, glacial Arctic Ocean … and wind.
In the absence of landmarks and human presence, you need a map and a compass to hike… but also your instinct of orientation.
Vigilance is necessary and constant. Difficult terrain alternate with long névés, wet and spongy areas, and rivers without bridges that must be crossed at the ford.
Descents come after rises. Apart from the seafront, no flat land, no respite. You go from a glacial valley to the other, we the difference in height mount up.
The weather changes very quickly. At altitude: fog and cold wind. The landmarks disappear. It must then be extra careful and calm.
At the beginning of Arctic summer, towards the end of June, the temperature of the ocean is close to 5 °. For the rivers, only 4 °. The skin remembers when it’s necessary to remove the shoes to wade across, several times a day.
In return, the water is generous. Just need to lean for drinking. A forgotten sensation of water available in abundance, clear, mineral, freezing. Probably one of the last regions in Europe where we can drink from streams or rivers.
The boat that takes me can’t approach the shore. I’m finishing with a zodiac.
This time this is it : I’m totally alone. 6 days to go around the peninsula. 120 km with my feet to move forward.
And all around, the vast wilderness.