Glaciers to Desert

Highland Tours Iceland: (IT-ICRT-E19)
URL: http://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/iceland_sprengisandur_glaciers_eh.aspx

Introduction
Highland Tours Iceland
We ride along the ancient Sprengisandur route that crosses Iceland. We explore some of the most fascinating and extreme contrasts of the Icelandic landscape. In the South, we ride along soft green paths along the riverbanks of the Thjórsá River and through a lava valley created by an 800-year-old eruption of the volcano Hekla. The spectacular wilderness of Iceland emerges as we follow the sand and rock plains across Sprengisandur between the glaciers Vatnajökull and Hofsjökull. In stark contrast to this barren landscape, we stop at a hot spring, where we have the opportunity to relax in the geothermal water. During the tour, we pass Arnarfell Mountain, Iceland’s geographical centre. We arrive in North Iceland at the bottom of Eyjafjörður Fjord, one of the longest fjords in Iceland.

Accomodation

Sleeping bag accommodation (bring your own sleeping bag or pillow) with full board is included. Lodging is in mountain huts, community centres and guesthouses.
You can choose to stay the first night in our hotel with private rooms instead of in sleeping bag accommodation (addition al charge).

The chefs try and provide a nice variety of foods.  Specialities include fish, kjötsúpa (an icelandic soup, with meat, vedgetable and rice) and BBQ.

This trip includes and can accommodate special dietary requests.

Riding

Riding Experience
This ride is suitable for strong intermediate riders with a secure, balanced seat and a good physical condition. We ride up to 45 km per day mostly in the gait tölt and take a herd of free-running horses with us part of the tour, which requires a certain speed.

Pace
We cover about 260km total over 6 riding days. On average, we ride between 5-9 hours every day, covering approx. 25 - 60 km.

Tack and Riding Style
The riding style in Iceland is similar to English riding. We use simple snaffle bits, bridles with detachable nosebands and clips on the end of the reins so they can be easily removed when grazing. Our saddles are comfortable with soft, rather flat seat, it is not necessary to bring saddle seat pads.

Riding Gear – Disinfect!
Used boots, riding wear, helmets, saddlebags etc. must be disinfected before arrival in Iceland.  Chaps, bridles and other used leather gear must not be brought to Iceland. That is because infectious, contagious diseases can easily be brought into the country, which poses a great threat for the horses, as they are not vaccinated. Riding wear is normally washed and shoes and are washed and cleaned with VirkonS, Iodine or some other fluid disinfectant.
We can lend you a riding helmet for the length of the tour.
Backpacks, large cameras, selfie sticks and other bulky items cannot be taken on horseback tours. Small waist bags are allowed.

Horses
Since 2007, our breeding program has followed two fundamental ideas. First, we strive to breed well-behaved and well-gaited riding horses that ought to suit most of our guests. Second, we breed horses with experienced riders in mind, suitable for riding classes and the company’s horse shows. As our greatest challenge has always been combining well-behaved and reliable horses with soft and simple gaits, we invested in mares that are likely to produce the expected results. Another important factor in achieving the desired outcome is choosing the right stallion for those mares.

Free running herd of horses
Experience the diversity of the Icelandic horse in its natural environment, far from civilization. On this trip, we travel with herd of free-running horses, as Icelanders used to travel in the old days. You may switch horses from time to time.

Itinerary

Sample Itinerary - Subject to changes


Day 1: Arrival
The tour starts in the evening. Tour members who arrive the same day to Iceland should take the flight bus from the airport to the ending busstation BSÍ in Reykjavík. We will greet you at the bus station or at your hotel/ guesthouse in Reykjavik for 17:30 and drive you to our farm Vellir near Hveragerði. There you will be lodged at our new guesthouse. We will get to know each other during the dinner at our Hotel Eldhestar. The day will end with a detailed description of the tour.

Day 2: Hveragerdi – Fellsmúli – Hólaskógur
From Hveragerdi, in the Ölfus municipality, we drive to the farm Fellsmúli near the Mt. Hekla volcano. The riding tour starts there, and we follow the soft paths through a birch forest to the old farm Skarfanes. On our way to Tröllkonuhlaup we pass the waterfall Thjófafoss. From there, we drive over the sand to the hut Hólaskógur, where we spend the night.
Riding 25 km, 5 hrs.

Day 3: Hólaskógur – Hrauneyjarfoss
We continue north-east of the Thjórsá River, Iceland´s longest river. The landscape changes steadily into wilderness. We spend the night at Hrauneyjar, near a hydroelectric plant.
Riding 35 km, 7 hrs

Day 4: Hrauneyjarfoss – Versalir
Today we ride from Hrauneyjarfoss Falls to Versalir, a resting place at the beginning of Sprengisandur, known from the song “Á Sprengisandur” (Ridum, ridum…). On this route, we see many mountains and the glaciers Vatnajökull and Hofsjökull.
Riding 50-60 km, 9 hrs

Day 5: Versalir – Nýi Dalur
This day is also long, about 60 km. The landscape is similar to that of Day 4, but we come nearer the glaciers and ride between them. East of us we can see Mt. Arnarfell, a green mountain in the middle of Iceland. We now enter Sprengisandur. We pass the dwellings of some of the most famous Icelandic outlaws, for example, that of Fjalla-Eyvindur. We spend the night in a big mountain hut in Nýi-Dalur.
Riding 60 km, 10 hrs

Day 6: Nýi-Dalur – Laugafell
On our way from Nýi Dalur, we ride on big sand dunes. We have spectacular views as the landscape of North Iceland begins to open before us, and we leave the three biggest glaciers in Iceland behind. We spend the night in the Laugafell mountain hut, where we can bathe in a hot pot.
Riding 45 km, 8 hrs

Day 7: Laugafell – Halldórsstadir in Eyjafjördur
We ride from Laugafell in the direction of Eyjafjördur Fjörd, where the green natural surroundings, lush with bushes and some woods, start to dominate the landscape more . We start to glimpse a most beautiful view over Eyjafjördur and Akureyri. The tour ends at the Halldórsstadir Farm in Eyjafjördur. From there we will be driven to Akureyri Airport and fly back to Reykjavik. End of tour.

Please note:
Dinner on the last evening is not included.
The first tour starts in the South, the second in the North.

--Subject to changes--

Routes


Rates and Dates for Glaciers to Desert

Rates include:

Accommodations- 1 night in guesthouse, 5 nights in sleeping bag accommodations in simple mountain huts (formitory style), all meals, 6 riding days

Packages and Options



  • SeasonYearDescriptionEUR ~US$
    A
    20197 day trip, AP€2810$3375
The US Dollar Rate is Based on Exchange Rate of 1.2

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Transfer and Other Charges:



 DescriptionEUR~US$
2019 Transfer from Reykjavik BSI bus station is included $ 0 $0
2019 Upgrade to hotel accommodations for first night, dbl, pp 65 $80
2019 Upgrade to hotel accommodations for first night, single 120 $145

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
A 2019 07/18 - 07/24 7d / 6n 7 day trip, AP 6 /16 Expired

Dates Note:

Rates do not include:

Airport transfer into town - take the Flybus !

Other Info
Meeting: Reykjavik
Airport: Keflavik Airport
Transfer: Reykjavik BSI central bus station on Day 1 at 5:30PM or hotels/guesthouse

Climate:
                                                Reykjavík area


Month

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Average High Temperature (°F)

37

37

39

43

49

54

57

57

51

45

40

37

Average Low Temperature (°F)

27

28

29

33

39

44

48

47

42

36

31

28

Average High Temperature (°C)

3

3

4

6

10

12

14

14

11

7

4

3

Average Low Temperature (°C)

-3

-2

-2

1

4

7

9

8

6

2

-1

-2

Average Precipitation (days of rain)

13

13

14

11

10

9

9

12

12

12

12

14

Source: NOAA
 

Seasons
As its name suggests, Iceland is cold, but not as cold as might be expected; thanks to the passing warm waters of the Gulf Stream, which regulate the climate. Its average mid-winter temperatures are no lower than those in New York City. The city's coastal location does, however, also mean it is prone to wind, and gales are common in winter. Reykjavik is also a very wet city, having on average 213 rainy days out of the year, with spring having slightly more sunny days! The south is the wettest part of the country. Coastal areas tend to experience winter gales and are generally windy.

Icelandic weather is known to be unpredictable and changing several times a day. A beautiful day can suddenly turn windy and rainy (and vice versa). Travelers to Iceland should be prepared for anything and dress in layers.

Winter
The average January temperature is 31°F (-0.5°C). From mid-November until the end of January, in the darkness of winter, the country only experiences a few hours of daylight each day.

Summer
The summer temperatures in Reykjavík range from 41°F (5°C) at night to as high as 77°F (25°C) during the day.  During the summer months there is almost continuous daylight; early spring and late autumn feature long twilights. 
 
The Northern Lights are often visible in autumn and early winter.

What To Bring:
We provide the following:
·Safety helmets
·Rainwear
·During the wintertime we also provide winter overalls
·Rubber boots

You should bring:
•Warm clothes in layers (long underwear, woolen socks, scarf, gloves, woolen sweater or fleece, wind- and waterproof jacket). Eldhestar provides good rain gear. Please have in mind that you might experience “T-shirt weather” as well as temperatures close to 0°C, especially on Wilderness tours!
•Thin hat to wear under the helmet, “buff” is well suited. You can buy a “buff” at Eldhestar.
•Sleeping bag. We recommend a small pillow and a bed sheet if you use your sleeping bag as a blanket. A sleeping bag is not needed for tours with all nights at Hotel or Guesthouse Eldhestar.
•A small waist bag (not a backpack!) for using when riding. (Backpacks are bumpy when you are riding and may hurt you if you fall off).
•Swimwear and towel.
•Riding pants (If you don’t have riding pants, any seamless tight garment will do), for long tours you should bring two pants suitable for riding.
•Riding or hiking boots which should be comfortable with a thick sole for walking over rocks. Hiking boots are fine if they are not too broad for the stirrups. High riding boots might get uncomfortable, rubber boots are not necessary.
•Sun lotion
•Sun glasses (also for long tours to protect eyes from dust).
•Fly net (can be purchased at Eldhestar).
•Band-aids and second skin plasters for chaffing.
•Some comfortable clothes and shoes (slippers) for using in the evening, after the riding. Normal street clothes are not necessary except for your stay in Reykjavik the last night.
•Your travel insurance card/information.

Please note: Please do not use large and bulky suitcases as we have limited space in the trailer. If you need more luggage for travelling in Iceland before / after the tour you are welcome to store it at Hotel Eldhestar during the tour.

Cameras:  
We recommend to bring a small camera that can be taken in a pocket, a waist/hip bag or in the saddle bag.
Large camera equipment we can not allow on the horses for security reasons. Tours are operated with a free running herd - at speed of tölt or trot for most of the day. We take breaks to relax the horses and then it is possible to take pictures. While on the horse taking pictures is rather difficult since the horses are constantly moving. Because of the herd instinct it is not possible to stop an individual horse, they all will follow each other.
You can leave larger Digital SLR with your luggage at the farm or put it in their luggage that will be transferred to the new accommodation.
It is not yet legally mandatory that riders need to wear riding helmets. Nevertheless we strongly recommend clients wear one. Clients will be experiencing a new breed of horses in new terrain, involving gravel, stones and rocks. Therefore it is in the clients best interest to take precautions. If they feel they do not want to wear a helmet after the first few days it is up to them. However, some insurance companies in Europe refuse to pay in case of an accident if the client has not been wearing a riding helmet. We provide helmets here in Iceland which clients are welcome to use but if you want to bring your own it is fine with us. If you bring your own it has to be sterilized before bringing it into Iceland.

Regarding the sterilization: What can be washed in a washing machine at medium temperature or dry cleaned is fine (even riding trousers). But what can not be washed or dry-cleaned or is a full leather garment needs to be sterilized.

You should be ready for all kinds of weather as it can change very quickly. We provide you with good rain-clothes, a riding helmet and at winter time a thermo overall, gloves and rubber boots. 
Luggage that is not needed on the tour can be left at the office and recovered at the end of the tour.

Caution: Used boots, riding wear, saddlebags etc. must be disinfected before arrival to Iceland. That is because infectious diseases can easily be brought into the country, which pose a great danger for the horses. Riding wear is normally washed and shoes and cleaned with iodine or some other fluid disinfectant. All used leather articles are prohibited.
 
This list is only a guideline for you

 

Hidden Trails Travel Documents and TripVoucher (contains important local tour contact info.)
Flight tickets
Passport
Visa (check with your consulate)

 

RIDING GEAR
Riding pants or Jodhpurs
Riding boots (rubber is best)
Riding helmet  (provided, but bring your own if you like)
Riding gloves

 

PERSONAL CLOTHING
Jacket or sweater for cool evenings, long underwear, scarf
Comfortable T-Shirts/Shirts
Jeans
Underwear and warm socks
Pyjamas and slippers (Icelanders take off their shoes when entering a house)
Bag for dirty clothes
Comfortable shoes
Swimsuit and towel
 
For Camping trips:
Sleeping Bag and Pillow!! (not provided)
Towel and small bar of soap
 
 
ADDITIONAL THINGS TO BRING
Personal Toiletries
Insect protection
Personal medications
Sore cream and bandaids/ second skin plasters for chaffing
Sewing kit
Handkerchiefs
Adapter for electric appliances
Camera and extra film or batteries
Waist pack
Address book and pen (for postcards!)
Sun glasses with strap
Sun tan lotion and lip balm