On foot from Reykjavik to Hornstrandir

On foot from Reykjavik to Hornstrandir

On foot from Reykjavik to Hornstrandir

Aren was seen walking around Isafjordur sporting a woolen sweater and long blond hair. He could have passed for a local Icelander – which it turns out he almost is. His family emigrated from Iceland to Canada – where Aren was born – in the early 1900s and they share a very Icelandic last name: Egilson. This was his first time in Iceland and he decided that he wanted to do things his way, so he walked. “I started in Reykjavik and walked northwards. I didn’t stick to any trail or path, just let my compass lead the way. Twenty days later I ended up in Hornvik and caught a boat to Isafjordur,” Aren explained. “ I find that I’m more in tune with nature when hiking where few other people are. There is something about just hiking on your own.”

Aren claims there were very few challenges he faced. It was summer; he used his compass to guide him and he had no need to worry about getting lost in the dark. If anything, hunger was the only issue he had to consider. All he packed to eat was dry fish and butter. “It’s a difficult combination. Initially, I wanted to do it as raw as possible, to challenge myself. Find my limits.”

Map

Although he enjoyed the whole hike, Aren said that the Strandir region was the highlight. “The landscapes are so beautiful, the mountains and the fjords. It’s so isolated that it feels like you are at the end of the world. In fact,” he continued, “the only time I rode in a car – or interacted with other people for that matter – was near Borðeyri. I met the postman and helped him deliver the mail. We got along quite well despite the language barrier; we just laughed and pointed at things.”

Aren set out with out a watch or a calendar; all he had was the sun and endless daylight. “It’s interesting, it really felt like one long day. I didn’t have a clue how long I had been out, and I ended up finishing a lot quicker than I had initially imagined. It was bit of a shock to realize that only twenty days had gone by.” However, that alone time was well spent. “I had lots of time to reflect on my life. Sometimes I would sing very loud for hours. Mostly Van Morrison, my favorite! I didn’t bring a book, but I had a journal and a compass. The compass saved me a few times in the fog. There was one luxury item that I brought: a bar of soap that a friend sent with my. It was a lavender soap, which is so nice when you’re in the middle of nowhere eating nothing but stinky, dry fish. I still have it.”