You know the story: smartphones became mini-computers with a wireless connection to several networks, GPS among them and this is when things got interesting for outdoor route finding. Smartphones became a valid alternative to the dedicated GPS devices.
My intended route will be based on the International Appalachian Trail / Sentier International des Appalaches (IAT/SIA) as it goes along the western flank of Newfoundland all the way from Port aux Basques in the south to L’Anse aux Meadows at the northern tip of the western Peninsula. I plan to take the high level alternative wherever there is one as well as some other highland traverses that are not part of the IAT/SIA official selection.
Distance covered: 27 miles
Today there’s two distinct sections: first I need to finish the Laugavegur, a mostly downhill affaire to the coastal valley of Thorsmork. Then, the steepest, longest climb of the trip to go over the Fimmvorduhals pass and down to trip end in Skogar. The potential for trouble lies in this second half with a pass above 1000 metres and a stormy forecast.
Distance covered: 23 miles
You can get up as early as you want in the Iceland summer. I never got a precise account of what time the sun did rise but I think some “nights” I got to feel ambient light around 3 am before turning back to sleep. Most nights I’m on my own and don’t relate to anyone so it’s not obvious whether I got up early or not if I don’t look at the watch. Today I’m in a tent town that’s still quiet and still when I leave. It must be early even though we’re in full daylight. It’s clear and bright and I get ready for a memorable hiking day.
Distance covered: 19 miles
The day starts dark and moody. Rain spares my packing up but that’s all the respite I get as it soon starts coming down. I’m in high ground so I can see far to south and west and all I see is dark cloud. I get mentally ready for a wet march to Landmannalaugar.
Distance covered: 33 miles
Now that I’m fully aware of how important the weather still is, my first, early morning thought is for a sky update, pee and breakfast will come only later. It turns fairly quiet, cloudy but not overcast and it doesn’t rain. That’s good enough. Let’s go hiking.
Distance covered: 30 miles
I’m now where I dreamt to be when I left Myvatn a long time ago (that’s 4 days). It’s been no death march to get here, in fact it was fairly quiet with some glorious times along the way. Now there’s no expected obstacles to get to the F26, once there I’m in relative safety no matter the weather. I feel less vulnerable. That means I’m less worried by an early morning overcast. Now I’ve got some miles to do.