“It might be Nordic, but it’s nothing like home.”
“As you’d expect, the water is ice cold. But it’s not unbearable. Taking your shoes off every time is a bigger nuisance, and getting that black sand off your feet.”
After two days of sealed roads and sidewinds, the riders turn north. The goal is Laugafell, a remote site on the slopes of the mountain of the same name – an oasis in a desert of black sand. Sprengisandsleið is a draw for four-wheelers, but there are serious caveats. There are no services for over 200 kilometres. There are multiple glacial river crossings. Crossing alone is not recommended without the ability to “read the water”. On a bike it is a different prospect.
There is a curious parallel in crossing the plateau by bike, four riders under their own steam, in a country that produces all of its electricity from steam. The most obvious advantage to such abundant geothermal activity for saddle-weary travellers are the hot springs found all across the country.
“Laugafell was a dream come true. It appeared in the distance like a hallucination, an imaginary pool of water in the desert.”
“The next morning we descended off the mountain and raced to Akureryri. We just made the bus after an intense 55km team effort.”
“So that was kind of special. Challenging but peaceful... in a way.”