The time to get on the bus came and went. In truth in the final few weeks I had been looking for a reason to stay and asked Chas if I could be a part of the final two weeks. It was bittersweet to be able to stay in this beautiful valley, a strange feeling waving away all the volunteers I had come to know and love for six or seven weeks. The sky weeped for first time in weeks, mourning the farewell of new friends, and after a big night, Glenn, Cal and I opted for a day of recuperation in the Básar hut.
The following morning we deep cleaned camp ahead of the arrival of fresh smelling volunteers who would be joining us for two weeks. Eight fresh faces stepped off the bus, and it was a different dynamic as there was no existing team to join. Many of them were returners so had already known and loved Thorsmörk. A strong bunch, ready to work. By Sunday night the lul had been filled by new excitements and eating chocolate cake tucked up in the hut, the autumnal feeling couldn’t be much different to the week before.
Work was closer to camp, building the final steps on Valahnukur and giving the trails their winter coat of gravel. Some worms fell victim to Micha’s heavy handed turfing methods as she proclaimed, ‘I think I just punched a worm…’ We were terrified to speak out of turn around her. We gravitated back to camp for hot lunches of soup and toasties. The outside grill got use in the evenings too as we cooked chocolate bananas under pinkish skies.
On Friday we built steps on the start of the Laugavegur, the famous long distance trail the group had walked a few weeks previous. Unlike the quietening other trails, Laugavegur was still getting regular visitors which kept us entertained. Mid afternoon two Italian ladies who looked they had just stepped off the other Laugavegur, the Main Street in Reykjavik, climbed up to ask us which way to the bus. They were wearing heels and their best shopping attire and with broken English they answered where they had arrived from with ‘Italy.’ At this moment three mountain bikers attempted to descend our steps, much to our horror and amusement at two such unlikely worlds colliding.
The weather was back to being glorious and there was a relaxed feel to camp which was surrounded with laughter. It was Friday night before we knew it, but equally felt like ages since the group had entered our world.
On the weekend Glenn and I walked along the canyon behind Uti, another contender for my favourite walk. The path skirted the edge of the mountain, sometimes sketchily so, climbing gently higher to the ice caves and young lava flows at the edge of the glacier. We climbed up onto the plateau of the Fimmvorduhals trail and made the winding return to camp over a lot of the previous weeks works.