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…
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
After an extended winter break, we are now back to work preparing for the summer projects in Thórsmörk and Goðaland. As usual, our season has begun at Thjórsárdalur Forestry Station (pictured) where we prepare materials and equipment before returning to our camps to start the practical work.
In these strange times, we will begin the season without groups and the revised work plan for our staff in May includes GIS data collection and work on the new hiking map as well as maintenance and improvements at the Langidalur base camp – so that it’s ready (and even better) for the groups when they can return.
Travel restrictions, safety concerns and ongoing uncertainty mean that many of our international volunteers will not be able to join us this season and have now deferred their placements until next year. We very much look forward to welcoming them to the team in 2021.
These recent pictures from the Langidalur volunteer camp show that there is still plenty of snow in Thórsmörk and the area is still in winter conditions.
We will be heading back to Langidalur to begin preparations for the season in April… just as soon as spring arrives and the snow starts to clear from the hiking trails.
These pictures were taken by our friends at Húsadalur, Volcano Huts, who work in Thórsmörk throughout the winter.