Tuesday was a winner. Several of the guys from my guesthouse and some friends from Ísafjörður went for a hike/ climb up Mt. Esja (or Esjan… “The Esja.”) outside Reykjavik. The hills were incredibly lush and full of every different color green imaginable as well as some small trees. About halfway up (300 or 400 meters), we hit a thick layer of cloud or fog and couldn’t see more than 30 feet in front of us.
At one of the trail markers, we took a silly harlem shake video in the fog, then climbed almost to the summit. At that point it became less walking up a steep trail and more climbing over rocks and scree along some chains and steps that had been bolted to the rocks. Everyone else wanted to turn back, but one friend and I wanted to keep going to the top.
We compromised and just went up another 10 or 15 minutes. It was so worth it. The visibility in the cloud was maybe 10 or 15 feet (the elevation at that point was somewhere around 750 meters) and the wind was strong and making great, loud noises against these huge, lichen covered boulders. It was unreal. The trail at that point was mostly marked by chains bolted into the rocks and few artificial steps attached to difficult spots.
On the way down the cloud suddenly blew to the side, revealing a stunning view of Reykjavik and the bright sun playing on the cold waves moving in from the ocean. By the time we got back to the bottom, the sky was completely blue. We took off our hiking boots, waded into an icy cold stream, took a group photo, than ran out quickly to sit in the tall warm grass and wait for our feet to get feeling back.