Thursday, July 31, 2014

Nano's Photos

I'm still winnowing mine down (I took 947), but Nano, my hiking partner for the North-South traverse, has already posted his Iceland photos. Great stuff.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

All done. Back to normal.

I'm back in Berkeley. Back to work. I've got a couple projects that are overdue for WASH Benefits and the Center for Open Science, and now hopefully I can get started on work from a grant from the USDA/UK Center for Poverty Research and work with the Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences.

But what you really wanted to see is this video I shot of an arctic fox on my last day on hiking in the Hornstrandir region of the Westfjords.

Obviously many more photos, video, and hopefully my notes on the route for others who plan to traverse Iceland (JLey's route is becoming a thing) will come in due time. Let me find a place to live first.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Just relaxing with the morning paper

From 1947 about the partition of Palestine.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The plan, Stan

Got to Isafjordur. Ferry tomorrow (Monday) from nearby Bolungarvik to Hesteryi. Walk the long way around Hornstrandir clockwise and get picked up by ferry Saturday AM from Grunnavik. Fly back to Reykjavík Sunday. Fly home Monday.

I was kind of hoping to walk all the way to Holmavik, but it would be more dirt road walking, and the Strandir (more southeastern) coast is supposedly less spectacular than the reserve at the far northwest, and it added up to too many miles (or at least it was cutting it really close assuming 40km/day).

If I'm lucky maybe I'll see an arctic fox; I'll be disappointed if I don't see puffin and get divebombed by arctic terns. (Iceland is -seriously- lacking in wildlife.)

Got my tide chart ready. Got to buy my return flight, then walk/hitch to the next town over.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Traverse done, Westfjords next

The north to south (Húsavík to Skógar) traverse of Iceland is done. There was maybe too much on dirt roads, but the Laugevegur trek was amazing, and the weather yesterday was memorable to say the least.

Nano departs Tuesday, so we are back in Reykjavík and I am flying to Isafjordur tomorrow to explore the Westfjords and hike the Royal Horn.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Somewhere between Nýidalur and Landmannalauger

Forty five degrees: probably higher than both the temperature and the angle the rain was coming in at all day today. In the morning we crossed a field of crumbly razor sharp lava covered in moss with a glacial fed river disappearing into it, which I thought was great, even in the rain, but the afternoon was all a really boring dirt road through boring country. Did I mention the rain? Oh well, that's what I expected. On to Landmannalauger and the popular trek there-- we have to haul apples to get there because you can't buy any food at Nýidalur, so we're doing this stretch in 3 days.

And if you're wondering, we crossed neither the Svedja nor the Tungnaá--the ranger at Nýidalur said the Svedja dug itself a channel a few years ago and is a narrow rager now. So we x-countried to the lake and took the dam.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

64.91080312 -17.47609608

That's where we are right now, if you're curious. Just off 'forest service' road 910, which we walked all day. It looks like the moon out here. The wind was miserable yesterday afternoon and evening, but we're better sheltered tonight. The first stretch into Mývatn wasn't the most spectacular, but since then it's been getting better and more remote. Still pretty flat, but I didn't really come expecting big mountains. Hope to resupply at Nýidalur in a few days.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014


Greetings. Nano and I are in Mývatn for the night, waiting to get my food box from the post office tomorrow morning. There's a campsite right next to a beautiful lake, and ideally a place to watch the World Cup game too.

We started from Húsavík and walked east to a great waterfall, Dettifoss, then south and west. We wanted to start at the very northern tip of the island, but we couldn't get a hitch, and we were chomping at the bit to start. I explored the northern fjord near Grenivik before Nano got here, so I think I got the gist of things, though I didn't see any puffins, unfortunately.

We're heading south next, with our next resupply at Nýidalur, in hopefully 4-5 days.

Saturday, July 05, 2014


Flew to Akureyri on a bumpy flight with no view. Then hitchhiked in the rain through the fjords with an older couple on their way to a funeral. Felt like I was in an Ingmar Bergman movie. Reached the end of civilization in Grenivik and will hike north for a day before turning around to meet Nano in Akureyri on Monday.

Weather is crummy (45*, raining, windy) but that's what I expected. Locals say this is worse than average, more like May weather.

Friday, July 04, 2014

Dirtbagging Iceland

If anyone from Reykjavík calls or emails because they found my bag in the woods, I'm not dead, nor pulling a Chris McCandless or anything, I just think it's absurd to pay $80 to store a small bag for a few weeks. So I buried it instead.

Off to Akureyri by plane tomorrow, where I'll hike until (ideally) Monday when Nano shows up and we head a little further clockwise to start JLey's route. I had hoped to go to Westfjords but they're pretty hard to get to and I figured I didn't have enough time. Maybe if Nano and I finish the main route early I'll head there after.


Thursday, July 03, 2014

Maps on Phone

Just like point and shoot cameras, it seems that standalone GPS devices are going the way of the dodo. MRB pointed me to this guide to doing maps on your Android phone. Essentially, (never pay for a USGS or Canada topo or software for those again) and Backcountry Navigator for $11 for your Android. Except for the GPS killing the battery on your phone in minutes, you're all set.

Looks like I should really get that external USB charger I mentioned in the previous post about getting a Garmin watch to last for an entire 100 miler.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Passports Expire Six Months Before They Expire

I did not know this. Thankfully, in SF one can get a new passport in three hours if one is lucky and cries a little. I'll go to Iceland tomorrow instead.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Penske Pics

I'm off to Iceland tomorrow. To tide you over, here are 43 pictures from me and MRB's trip across the country, to be referred to as "the Penske trip." First, my last trip to Philly, Badlands, Rushmore, Tetons, Craters of the Moon, a desert road, and the Santa Barbara 100 miler.

As a side note, I recommend Penske if you ever have to move across the country. Just make the reservation as far as possible in advance--you'll save over $1000, and there's no fee if you cancel 48 hours in advance. The truck was in great shape, and the company refunded an entire section of the insurance bill when I found out after the fact I'd been misinformed by an agent on the phone. (The trucks come with basic liability insurance.)

As another side note, is Google's Picasa Web now entirely subsumed within Google Plus? Seems that way. I don't like it, but I won't waste energy complaining about it.

If you don't want to look at 43 pictures, here are a random 6.