Mountain Spirit Ride

East and South Iceland: (IT-ICRT04)
URL: http://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/iceland_landmannalaugar_spirit_is.aspx

Introduction
East and South Iceland
Mount Hekla is a highly active volcano often titled the “Queen of Iceland”. The mountain towers regally over the region and every day we see evidence of its numerous devastating eruptions throughout the ages. In the old  times people actually believed it to be the gateway to hell. Landmannalaugar is a geothermal wonderland in the Southern Highlands. Its natural bathing pools are only one of the highlights which make this area one of Iceland’s most popular destinations for nature lovers.

Our ride starts along the river banks of the mighty glacial river Thjórsá, with a magnificent view on glacier Eyjafjallajökull and Volcano Hekla. The beautiful area Landmannahellir is a fitting outpost in the central highlands before going on to enjoy the colourful rhyolite mountains in Landmannalaugar, surrounded by black lava fields.

Our way back to civilization leads us down from the mountains and into black lava and green valleys. The spirited and sure-footed horses make this tour an experience of a lifetime for anyone seeking a challenging highland adventure.

Accomodation

Accommodation
This is a progressive ride so you will be staying in different locations each night.

Description
During this tour, you will sleep in simple accommodations in dormitory style rooms with shared facilities. Please, bring your own sleeping bag!

Accommodation Itinerary - subject to changes based on availability
Night 1: Kálfhóll Farm
Night 2: Blesastaðir Guesthouse
Night 3: Mountain hut Hólaskógur
Night 4 & 5: Landmannahellir Mountain hut
Night 6: Mountain hut Hólaskógur

Kálfhóll Farm
The family in Kálfhóll farm are well known for their great hospitality.

Blesastaðir Guesthouse
This newly renovated guesthouse can accommodate up to 20 guests. Guests have access to a lounge with a TV & Wi-Fi access. A hot tub is accessible for all guest.

Landmannahellir Mountain Hut
Landmannahellir is located in a peaceful area in Fjallabak and  has for many years been one of the main dwelling place for sheep gatherers when they round up the sheep each autumn that have been grassing in this area during the summer.
•Number of rooms:  1
•Number of beds:  24
•Made up beds: No
•Outdoor jacuzzi:  No
•Number of showers:  2
•Number of WC:  1
•GSM connection:  No
•WiFi: No

Hólaskógur Mountain Hut
This is a big mountain cabin in Þjórsárdalur, close to the glacier river Þjórsá. This cozy cabin offers simple accommodation with electricity and heating. It is used in the autumn for the sheep herders but is open for travelers during the summer.
•Number of rooms:  1
•Number of beds:  30
•Made up beds: No
•Outdoor jacuzzi:  No
•Number of showers:  2
•Number of WC:  2
•GSM connection:  yes
•WiFi: No

Room Occupancy
Single rooms are not available on this trip.


Meals
During the ride full board is provided.

The menu consists of a large breakfast and traditional Icelandic meals (fish or lamb). 
All riders make their own packed lunch from the breakfast table.

Alcoholic beverages are not included in the tour price and are hard to get in the highlands. They can be bought at a reasonable price in the Duty Free Store at Keflavik Airport upon arrival.

Dietary restrictions
Vegetarian meals are available if requested in advance.

This trip includes and can accommodate special dietary requests.

Riding

Riding Experience
This tour is a great riding experience that is suitable for advanced riders. You need to be comfortable and in control at all paces, have a firm seat, and feel comfortable riding for up to 7 hours per day. Riders are expected to ride regularly and be capable of handling horses in an open country. Riding days can be as long as up to 35 km in the saddle so you should be in good physical condition and have a basic knowledge of horsemanship. You will get a thorough introduction into the gaits of the Icelandic horse and feel the Tölt, the extremely soft traveling gate of the Icelandic horse.

Riding Gear – Disinfect!
Riding gear (riding trousers, jackets, etc.) needs to be washed (40°C) or dry cleaned. Items which cannot be washed or dry cleaned (riding boots, riding hats) need to disinfected at least 5 days prior to arriving in Iceland. The Icelandic Veterinary Authority recommends the broad-spectrum disinfectant Virkon S for disinfection. Used riding gloves, whips, saddles, bridles, chaps and other used leather gear may not be brought into the country.
Please understand that these precautions are necessary because there are no contagious animal diseases in Iceland. Horses are not vaccinated and are therefore susceptible to infectious agents from abroad. Please help us to protect Iceland’s fragile nature!
We provide saddle bags, rain wear and safety helmet.

Tack & Riding Style
The tack used for Icelandic horses is slightly different then the tack ordinarily used for other breeds.
The saddle is built close to a dressage saddle and has a relatively flat seat. Saddles come with plain or quilted seats. On longer rides, a crupper helps keeping the saddle in place. Riding style used on Icelandic horses is close to English riding style, but stirrups are worn long.
Bits used are mostly simple snaffles. Bridles have a detachable noseband and clip on reins.

The Farmers
The real connoisseurs of the local terrain and history. We make sure that each tour has its own charm and is organized by the local expert, the farmer, and his family. They use their own horses and ride through the part of the country they know so well.
Our farmers have over 30 years of experience in leading riding groups through Iceland.

Herd of Horses
On this ride, you will be riding several days (except for two days) with a free running herd of horses. Herding along free running horses is the traditional way of travelling in Iceland, since horses are changed at least once a day on longer tours. You get to ride a variety of horses. 

Horses
The Icelandic horse is best known for its four-beat smooth gait, the “tölt”, which is very comfortable for the rider, especially on a longer tour.  Riding an Icelandic horse in its native habitat land is an authentic riding experience. The horses are especially chosen for this trip and are suited even for riders who have not had much riding experience. 

Itinerary

Sample itinerary - Subject to changes


Day 1: Reykjavík - Kálfhóll
Pick up at BSÍ Bus station in Reykjavik or at Reykjavik official bus stops near your accommodation(see: www.busstop.is) around 6:00pm. From there, our bus will transfer you and your fellow riders to Kálfhóll farm, where horses and staff are waiting for us. After a lovely introductory meal where we get to know each other we relax and rest so we are well prepared for the adventure ahead of us.

Day 2: Kálfhóll - Glacier river Thjórsá - Blesastaðir Guesthouse
We ride on fantastic riding paths along the mighty glacial river Þjórsá, with views of the glacier Eyjafjallajökull and the volcano Hekla. We leave the horses at Sandlækjarmýri field and drive to Blesastaðir Guesthouse. This day is the perfect start to get to know your horse and the Icelandic way of trail riding in a relaxed atmosphere. We stay at Blesastaðir Guesthouse and relax in the hot tub outdoors.
Riding approximately 20 km

Day 3: Blesastaðir Guesthouse – Mountain hut Hólaskógur
Today we ride along the lovely river Sandá through the National Forest Skriðufellskógur into the beautiful and famous valley of Thjórsárdalur. The mountain Dímon towers over the vast lavenderblue lupine fields along the sandy tracks. We stop at Stöng, the ruins of a medieval farmhouse excavated in 1939. In 1104, Mt Hekla erupted for the first time in the recorded history of Iceland. The eruption destroyed at least 20 farms in the valley Thjórsárdalur, among them the farm Stöng. After a short stop at Gjáin, a mystical canyon with lots of small waterfalls and famous setting for Games of Thrones, we head for the cozy mountain hut Hólaskógur with prime view of Volcano Hekla. Riding approximately 30 km

Day 4: Mountain hut Hólaskógur – Landmannahellir Mountain hut
We ride over narrow tracks through black lava north of Valafell mountain. Our surefooted horses carry us comfortably through rough terrain through the Lambaskarð mountain passage. We continue on sandy paths close by lake Sauðleysuvatn and through the moonlike desert towards Mountainhut Landmannahellir, where we will spend two nights.
Riding approximately 30 km

Day 5: Landmannahellir - Landmannalaugar – Landmannahellir Mountain hut
Today we ride to the famous Landmannalaugar, with its natural hot pool, surrounded by colorful mountains and lava from 1480. Our horses rest in a paddock and we have a good part of the day to relax in the hot pools or visit the numerous sights, before returning to Landmannahellir. This day will be without a doubt, one of the highlights of this tour.
Riding approximately 40 km

Day 6: Landmannahellir – Mountain hut Hólaskógur
We leave the beautiful area of Landmannahellir and ride on towards the Herbjarnfell mountain. Today´s route takes us over varying landscape. We ride across sanders, sharp lava, huge pumice fields in many colors and over green grazing fields where the farmers drive their sheep during summer. We stay overnight in the solitary mountain hut Hólaskógur with perfect view of the Hekla volcano. Here we get the feeling of being “on top of the world”. Riding approximately 40 km

Day 7: Mountain hut Hólaskógur – Réttarholt Guesthouse – Kálfhóll – Reykjavík
Today we ride over the rich green mountain fields over Seljamýri to Fögruskógar and Þrengslasandur towards Réttarholt Guesthouse. Here we have to say goodbye to horses and staff. The bus will take us back to Kálfhóll farm for coffee & cake. We then drive back to your accommodation in Reykjavík.
Riding approximately 20 km

- We reserve the right to alter the itinerary if necessary -


Rates and Dates for Mountain Spirit Ride

Rates include:

Accommodations: Sleeping bag accommodations in simple mountain cabins during the ride, meals, flight from Reykjavík to Húsavík and bus drive to the farm, rain wear, water bottle, saddle bag, riding helmet, 6 riding days - 175 km

Packages and Options



  • SeasonYearDescriptionEUR ~US$
    A
    20207 day trip, AP (High)€2350$2705
  • B
    20207 day trip, AP (Low)€2200$2530
The US Dollar Rate is Based on Exchange Rate of 1.15

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Transfer and Other Charges:



 Description
2020 Pick up at BSÍ Bus station or at Reykjavik official bus stops near your accommodation on Day 1 between 18:00-19:00
2020 Children's discount (under 12) - 25% off

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
B 2020 06/23 - 06/29 7d / 6n 7 day trip, AP (Low) 8 /16 Reserve
A 2020 08/11 - 08/17 7d / 6n 7 day trip, AP (High) 8 /16 Reserve
A 2020 08/18 - 08/24 7d / 6n 7 day trip, AP (High) 8 /16 Reserve

Dates Note: Tuesday- Monday

Rates do not include:

Sleeping bag, Alcoholic beverages (can be bought at Duty Free ahead of time)

Other Info
Meeting: Keflavík Airport
Airport: from Keflavik Airport
Transfer: Keflavik Airport

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:
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 a saddle bag (where you can keep the picnic lunch, a small camera, extra pair of gloves etc.).

Bring bags rather than hard cover suitcases. Pack light because transport space is limited.
You should be ready for all kinds of weather as the weather can change very quickly.

We recommend that the following items are included when preparing for our longer tours.

• Knee high riding boots -  water resistant/ waterproof
• Warm jacket or overcoat.
• Warm (woolen or fleece) sweater.
• Warm socks and gloves, at least two pairs, scarf and a cap or hat.
• Warm underwear, long if possible (protects also against chafing).
• For the ladies – sports bra.
• Riding trousers.
• Track suit.
• A pair of slippers to wear in the accommodation (Icelanders take off their shoes when entering a house).
• Swim suits, towels, soap etc.
• A small camera to take with you on the ride.
• Band aids and second skin plasters for chaffing.
• Insect repellent, gnat net head cover.
• Chocolate or glucose sweets for strenuous riding days.
• Sun lotion for face and lips (with high sun factor).
• Sunglasses.
• For those with sensitive eyes/contact lenses, goggles.
Sleeping bag
• Small pillow to sleep on.
• Ear plugs. Some people snore!

Disinfecting of the riding gear
It is important to follow the regulation regarding the disinfecting of used riding clothes. Riding gear (riding trousers, jackets, etc.) needs to be washed (40°C) or dry cleaned. Items which can not be washed or dry cleaned (riding boots, riding hats) need to be disinfected at least five days prior to arriving in Iceland. The Icelandic Veterinary Authority recommends the broad-spectrum disinfectant Virkon S for disinfection. Used riding gloves, whips, saddles, bridles and other used leather gear may not be brought into the country.
Please understand that these precautions are necessary because there are no contagious animal diseases in Iceland. Horses are not vaccinated and are therefore susceptible to infectious agents from abroad. Please help us to protect Iceland's fragile nature! For further information please take a look at: http://www.mast.is/english/frontpage/import-export/import/ridingequipment/ 

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.