Category: photography

Hiking the Laugavegur Trail in Iceland

As promised in a previous post, here’s a guide to help you prepare for hiking the Laugavegur trail (or Laugavegurinn) in Iceland. National Geographic named this trek one of the Top 20 World’s Best Hiking Trails, and for good reason. WSJ also featured the trail in an article from 2014. We had bought our plane tickets to Reykjavik and had to decide if we were going to drive around Iceland’s Ring Road or walk the Laugavegur. We chose walking, of course.

“Walking… is how the body measures itself against the earth.”  — Rebecca Solnit

Rose Kuo Laugavegur Hike in Iceland

Me, traveling to other worlds to find you.

At about 34 miles (55km) long, Iceland’s Laugavegur trek takes you through everything you could have dreamed that Middle Earth would have looked like. Most travelers start in Landmannalaugar and end in Þórsmörk (Thorsmork), although you can also opt to trek the other way. Who wouldn’t want to visit a place called “Thor’s Wood”? The scenery is incredible. I previously wrote: just when you think the last landscape you crossed *had* to be the MOST-BEAUTIFUL-and-best-thing-on-this-earth and there is no way anything can top it — a new one comes into view and takes your breath away.

Laugavegur lake flowers

On the banks of the lake

I would suggest allocating 4-5 days for the Laugavegur trail. There is an optional final leg from Þórsmörk to Skógar, which we skipped because we were limited on time (and we heard that the terrain is much more difficult). There are only 2-3 months out of the year during which it is possible to hike the Laugavegur trail (another reason to reserve accommodation ahead of time, since it will be in demand during the hiking months). Outside of mid-June through mid-September, the roads leading to and from the trail are impassible and buses do not run. Residual snow may make this trek difficult even in June. We played it safe by planning our trip towards the end of July/beginning of August. Definitely research snow/weather conditions before your hike to ensure a safe trip!

(I have included a complete gear list later in this post.)

Laugavegur mountains

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the importance of being Iceland

It feels like everyone’s been (quietly) going to Iceland. Maybe we’re tired of the rage and confusion and polemics. All the heartbreak and controversy.

of course there are rainbows and waterfalls in iceland

Maybe we just want a place that feels neutral, a place that turns off the street lamps so that you can see the northern lights, a place that looks like we’ve arrived on another planet and yet in some ways we know exactly what to expect.

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Red Hook -03283

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Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be.

And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann, “Desiderata”

Photos taken during almost-sunset at Pier 11 after disembarking the Red Hook ferry.

unseen

“Hark, dumbass, the error is not to fall but to fall from no height.
Don’t fall off a curb, fall off a cliff.”

― Dean Young

i’m not gonna lie- in every way that i’m an obsessive list-and-spreadsheet-and-calendar organizer, i’m also a complete rebel against rules when it comes to certain other types of creation – for the longest time i avoided titling blog entries, and capitalizing, and being careful, and creating structure, and adjusting photos to perfect white balance just because, well, sometimes those things stunt the very art of it all. yes, i’m perfectly aware that this is why i could never be a successful professional photographer.

to be truthful, i’ve avoided technique because i’m actually terrified of imperfection. i never took tango lessons, i never took cooking lessons, i never learned photo editing, i never took proper writing classes. though i should do all of the above. i just kind of try to feel my way into doing things. yeah, i do fail. all the time. but what i do decide to do, i try practice a lot. and with a big dose of heart.

yesterday someone talked about the imperfect white balance of one of my photos and i was like, hmm. so in jovial response (retaliation?) i created a project of the unseen ones, in all their glorious off-angles and off-light and off-balances. of course, there are other reasons for these photos – my lifelong journey to notice (and celebrate) the extraordinary in the ordinary.

i mean, there’s a time and place for it all, isn’t there?

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