Adventurer of the Week: Henry treks the Laugavegur at age 82!

31. August 2017
Shape Henry Paulus
Henry trekking

A real adventurer! For the 82 year old Henry, this was the 6th time he visited Iceland, but it was the first time he hiked  the famous Laugavegur. He really enjoyed the time in the wilderness of Iceland!

What motivated you to visit Iceland?

I visited Iceland five times in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s and found it one of the most beautiful places in the world. Around 1980, I was seduced by the Himalaya, where I did more than two dozen long treks in areas ranging from Pakistan to Bhutan. However, this year I decided to return to the north and do some hiking in the Faroe Islands. As I booked my flight itinerary, I realized that on my return to the USA I could conveniently pay a short visit to Iceland.

Shape Henry Paulus
People hiking on the Laugavegur trail

How long was your stay? Did you travel solo or with a group?

My stopover in Iceland was on my own, not with the group with whom I had visited the Faroes. I was looking for a nice hiking opportunity that lasted about a week.

Shape Henry Paulus
Hotspring along the trail

Which tour did you take and why did you choose it?

On searching the internet, I came across Icelandic Mountain Guides and was delighted that they offered a trek from Landmannalaugar to Þórsmork, an area that I had very much wanted to visit on my earlier trips to Iceland but – in early 1970s – was not easily accessible.

You can see much of Iceland by traveling in a car, but to really discover the country and to experience the beauty of the landscape, you have to use your legs.

Henry Paulus

What is one thing you will always remember about your tour?

Although, I knew Iceland well from my earlier visits, what was so wonderful in hiking the Laugavegur was the transition from the hot springs and fumaroles between Landmannalaugar and the rim of the caldera. It was amazing to traverse the snow-covered plateau, then slowly descend over black sand plains to the spectacular Markjaflot canyon, with the ice caps of the Mýrdalsjokull commanding the horizon. As we finally hiked among the ever deeper green slopes and approached the birch forests of Þórsmork, to my delight I found three different species of orchids.

The landscape was absolutely beautiful and I was sorry when the trek ended. This trek exceeded my expectations. I should also say that Emelía Blöndal was a wonderful guide, with her vast knowledge of the area and she was always very helpful. Indeed, having Emelía as a guide made the trek very special for me. She was very concerned about our comfort and well-being, very helpful on the trail and at river crossings. She also provided us with fabulous meals.

If you had to describe your experience in one sentence, what would you say?

Each of the four days of the Laugavegur trek had its own unique beauty, but after completing the trek one feels that these days form an organic whole and that one has lived through an experience akin to listening to the four movements of a symphony.

Shape Henry Paulus
Mountain hut in the snow

What is something that you learned about Iceland that surprised you?

What is surprising is that even after many visits to Iceland, one constantly discovers new beauties.

Shape Henry Paulus
Stunning landscape

If you had more time in Iceland, what else would you like to see and do?

Now that I have discovered Icelandic Mountain Guides, I would much like to do some of their other treks, which all look wonderful.

What tips do you have for people who want to visit Iceland?

You can see much of Iceland by traveling in a car, but to really discover the country and to experience the beauty of the landscape, you have to use your legs.

Shape Henry Paulus
Green fields on the way to Þórsmörk

What adventure are you off to next? What is your next dream adventure?

At my age, i.e. the early 80’s, I don’t make plans much ahead of time, but I certainly hope that I’ll be so fortunate as to do a few more of the treks offered by IMG.

Unfortettable Experience

Henry's adventure is only one of the many features that make for an unforgettable experience. Book your tour and join us for an excursion that is guaranteed to make memories that last a lifetime.  

About the Author

Joseph Mattos-Hall

Hailing from London and born into a British/Brazilian/Italian household, Joseph came to Iceland originally to complete a master’s degree in Environment and Natural Resources from the University of Iceland: the rest is history.

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