In our last week for this season, we took a few days break from the autumn rain in Þórsmörk and returned to Þjórsárdalur Forestry Station. Our small remaining volunteer team planted more than 2000 spruce trees which brings our total for the season close to 4000.
Although our main activity is still trail maintenance work, tree planting has become an important element of our programme as we try to address carbon sequestration for the international flights associated with it. This season, the programme has increased its focus on locally based staff and volunteers, but we were also joined by 16 volunteers who traveled from abroad.
As our international volunteers now stay with us for up to 10 weeks, comfortable indoor accommodation is a welcome break from life at our camps. We would like to say a huge thank you to our colleagues in both Tumastaðir and Thjorsárdalur Forestry Stations, for hosting our teams.
Our 6-week volunteer placements include a ‘Hiking week’ when the team has the chance to take a break from the trail work and explore the area. This year our volunteers found some good weather days and were able to complete the famous 54km Laugavegur trail.
We would like to say a huge thank you to all the Ferðafélag Íslands Hut Wardens who looked after our team and helped them along the way.
A ‘relaxing’ break from building hiking trails in Thórsmörk…
Preparing to cross Þröngá river (Ondřej Kupka)
Hiking week on Laugavegurinn (Ondřej Kupka)
The long sunny days of July already seem a long time ago as the start of August has brought us storms, growing rivers and lots of rain.
Despite the weather, progress has been very good, the team are still smiling and our work continues… with orange waterproofs close at hand.
Tree planting team at Tumastaðir Forestry Station (Michelle Pröstler)
Checking numbers and repainting trail markers on Laugavegurinn (Anna Mariager)
Hiding from the rain at our Langidalur hut (Nicolas Talou)
Our team heading out to work (Nicolas Talou)
Box steps on their way to Valahnúkur (Anna Mariager)
Rainy (but still beautiful) day at Langidalur (Nicolas Talou)
Tree planting at Tumastaðir (Rahel Paasch)
Bridge building at Langidalur (Nicolas Talou)
Sunshine on Valahnúkur (Theresa Schaber)
The team have gathered some of their pictures of this season’s first big week on the trails. It has been an amazing week of trail work, bridge building, hiking and camp fires… with lots more adventures still to come.
Friday evening campfire at Langidalur (Jenny Allen)
Bridge building (Jenny Allen)
Hiking day on Rjúpnafell (Jenny Allen)
Our amazing team leaders (Anna Mariager)
Coffee break on the trail (Ellen Halldorsson)
Moving materials to Morinsheiði (Isabel Cadec)
Hiking to work (Michelle Pröstler)
The Fimmvörðuháls trail (Ondřej Kupka)
Step construction (Michelle Pröstler)
Although we arrived to an empty valley, a steady stream of international volunteers and summer staff have been joining us since the start of June and the team has been growing steadily each week.
As well as improvements at the Langidalur volunteer camp and ongoing surveys of the trail network, we have been able to return to several of our favourite work sites and get our hand dirty again. Our main focus in recent weeks has been building stone and timber steps on Valahnúkur as well as general maintenance and improved trail marking on the Fimmvörðuháls trail.
Preparations at our Langidalur volunteer camp are now complete and we are very excited to welcome the international volunteers who will be joining us on Sunday. After months of uncertainty, our planned 6-week project is finally about to start.
Our summer staff building log steps on Valahnúkur
Bridge constrction at Langidalur
Maintenance on the Fimmvörðuháls trail