Planning involved in this trip was tremendous. Likely I had been planning the Spring Break Backpacking Trips for the Pitt Outdoors Club for the last three year. But of course this trip was much more involved. Planning for the trip started about a year and a half before the trip. People would ask me why Iceland, and i could only respond "It's Iceland", what else did i need to say.
We started but searching on the internet for places to hit. Waterfalls, volcanoes, and anything else we could make a find of interest. Then I bought a big map of the island. We placed our points on the map and tried to make a route. We realized we couldn't hit them all so next we looked at towns to pick up food and places to get gas for the stove. This ended up being the hardest thing to find out. But its gave us a basic route across the Island.
Another big thing we worked on was pricing the trip. And for initial assessment it was going to be expensive. Keep in mind we were not looking for deals at this point, just trying to figure out max costs. The number we cam up with was 3000$us each, YIKS!. From Iceland Air's website the plane ticket alone was to be 1500$us. Bus fares to get to our start and finish were to be around 200-300$US and according to the tourist guide book the food was suppose to be twice as expensive as the US. In the end the total trip cost was less than 1000$US each, but we were a year away and needed the shock sticker price.
School, work, and such started to heat up so we had a bit of a dry spell for a while and worked on various things independently. I worked on making sure that i was going to have all the gear needed for the trip and filled in the gaps were necessary. I also tried to think of way to cut back on gear and way to substitute lighter gear. I also tried to figure out some of the niches like batteries for my digital camera over a month span.
Buy the time school was about to end we knew that we had to start getting the ball rolling. We made a list of all the things that needed to be done, and gradually checked things off. Usually just to add more later. After a tremendous amount of searching on the internet we realized that it could only offer us what we already knew. And after calling the tourist center we realized that wasn't going to work. I asked the lady to spell something she was talking about and she said "O R aew...." That wasn't going to work. So emailing is what we did. We emailed the tourist center with the following email
Hello My friend and I are planning to hike across a large portion of Iceland over a one month span. We have come up with an initial itinerary which will start us off at Gullfoss and end us at Skaftafell. Along the was we will need to pick up food and gasoline(for our stove) four or more times. So i was wondering if we could ask you a few questions that will help us our on our travels. Our route will start in Gullfoss then take us down around Sandafell to cross the river on 32. Then we will travel down to Hekla, and go towards the east to Landmannalaugar. From there we will go further east to Kirkjubaejarklaustur then to Skaftafell. This planed route does not take in to account food or gas since our map does not give that type of information. So our route can be modified to go to town that has food and/or gas. Could you give us or tell us where we could find a list of towns with gasoline and grocery stores? Also since we are going to be carrying all are food on our backs, the food will need to be as light as possible. This means that we will have to plan our food very carefully. In order to do this we will need a list of what an average grocery store that we will run into would have. Do u know of a place where we could get a list of foods that are at an average grocery store? Finally we fairly unfamiliar with what type of terrain we will run into though out our hike. We have seen pictures and read short description, but this does not give us a good representation of what we may see. So we were wondering if you could send us some information on the condition of the terrain that we would be hiking on. How steep is the average terrain? How thick is the vegetation and will we be about to pass though it? Will we have to cross though private property(farms), and will there be fences and obstetricals to climb over? Also we read that rivers can be hard to ford in Iceland. Will any be impassable and will we have to cross on a bridge?
Needless to say they didn't have all the answers. So we when on to email the groceries stores, hiking clubs, and more. The grocery stores were very helpful and fairly accurate, but the hiking info was far from accurate. They told us that we wouldn't have to hop an barb wire fences. Some days we would cross 10 or more. But all and all the info was helpful and we only had a few major surprises.