DAY THREE: The Haunted Hike.
Before I came to Iceland, I read about a million blogs myself on all the things that shouldn’t be missed. I stumbled across this brilliant blog about the haunted hike on Hjörleifshöfði, and I knew we had to do it.
Situated in the middle of freakin' nowhere lies the Hjörleifshöfði mountain, that has a very haunting story behind it. This was the hike in Iceland I was most excited about, and I knew it was going to be a tough slog.
Not many people do this hike as it’s very steep, but the reward that awaits you at the top is SO worth it. When you arrive at the base, keep driving around until you see a sign for the mountain itself. Go into the parking lot (there was only one other car when we were there) and put all your hiking stuff on. Make sure you bring a big water bottle and your phone in case of an emergency.
We were very lucky on the day that we did the Hjörleifshöfði hike as it was a BEAUTIFUL day, meaning there were no slippery parts of the hike. Once you’ve parked, walk to the left of the car park and you should see some signs about the hike and the history of the mountain itself. Once you’ve read the history (which is a must-do), you’ll understand why it’s such a special hike.
To the left of the signs is flattened grass uphill where people have obviously walked; this is your path. Follow this up to the first mountain, and marvel at the view. It’s stunning, but there is still much higher to climb to reach the ultimate view. I know it looks like a lot, but it is worth the hike. As you get higher, the path becomes non-existent but there are markers every 100m to help you navigate your way through the rough terrain.
JUST KEEP GOING. We were sweating like crazy, but when the big grave becomes visible you at least have a goal of where to walk to. When you reach the top, you reach possibly the eeriest place in Iceland. There are four graves in total at the top of this monstrosity of a mountain, but I won’t ruin the story of why they’re there – that’s for you to read about.
Make sure you sign the guest book while you’re there, and while you’re at it have a read through of all the people that have visited and signed. We spent almost an hour at the peak just marvelling at the view and thinking how lucky we were to just be alive.
On our way down, we noticed there was a different path so we decided to take that down instead. BEWARE; it is really, really steep. It’s definitely a path because it’s worn, but all I can say is I am so glad we went DOWN it, and not up it. Take your time and watch for loose rocks as you navigate your way down the hill. We felt like mountain goats as we stumbled down, but you know you’re almost at the end when you reach a waterfall. The water is insanely clear, and we both filled our water bottles up from it and gratefully drank the clear, cold water.
At the end of the hike, when we finally reached our car, we were exhausted. Though it only took around 3 hours, there is no real flat ground on the entire hike except for between the smaller mountain and the large. We were ravenous, so we sat down at the picnic table near the signs and made ourselves some sandwiches.
After sitting down for a little while and recovering, we realised we were both still pretty tired. We decided to call it a day and drove to Svinafell campsite. This was a divine little campsite and we opted for this over the more mainstream campsite (which is nearby) as we drove into there, but the lady at the big desk was quite rude and not helpful.
Whereas at Svinafell, the lady was lovely and very helpful. We parked right at the front, where we had views of the valley and lots of lovely sheep. There was a big communal area that had charging stations and awesome cooking facilities, but no wi-fi. The only downside was there was only one shower and 2 bathrooms, so I’m glad we got in early and were able to avoid the big lines that happened later that evening.
The next day in Iceland was my favourite of the entire trip, and consisted of glacial lagoons, hidden hotpots and seeing the Northern lights. Click HERE to read all about it.