The Midgard story was born in this kind of off-the-tracks adventure back in 2010, with the creation, just one day before the famous eruption of that volcano outside the window of my room, of Midgard Adventure. Founder Siggi Bjarni returned home from a trip to New Zealand with the idea of sharing, with the ever-increasing stream of tourists that had begun dripping into Iceland, the love he had for the rugged and unforgiving backyard that he’d grown up exploring, and created the guiding service you’ll see emblazed across the goliath ‘super jeeps’ parked out front. The very same super jeeps that thundered me into to the formidable, dramatic and almost completely inaccessible Thórsmörk Mountains on day two.
“This is a job for the big boys”
A bit of scale for you. I’m a pretty average 6ft tall. Picture that, and then picture a truck on which the tires reach my hips. A truck with a bonnet that I could comfortably rest my chin on. A truck that required me to use a freakin’ step ladder to climb into the front seat. A truly ludicrous vehicle, straight from the sketchbook of a Crayola-wielding little lad, but also a totally essential one for reaching the unforgiving heart of Iceland that 95% of tourists will never see; sticking, as they do, to the safety and oversubscribed waterfalls of the famous Golden Circle ring road.
Without a shadow of a doubt, my rental Dacia Duster would have feigned a theatrical cardiac arrest at first sight of the torrenting rivers or inclines we had to cross and scale to get out there. This is a job for the big boys.
And the rewards for putting your faith in driver, Midgard family member and ludicrously cool dude Stefnir, and a minor amount of spinal readjustment as you bounce over volcanic boulders, are truly awesome. As an activity that I implore, insist and will genuinely force you to add to your bucket list, I’ll leave the details a little light so to not spoil it for you. Save for one – you can mash the shutter release button of your camera with a large ham, and the photographs of the places you reach in Sefnir’s real-life child’s drawing of a vehicle will still come out looking jaw-droppingly, fist-bitingly, print-off-and-hang-in-your-bathroom epic.
Caves yawning with huge crystal clear columns of ice like giant teeth, monolithic volcanoes that want nothing more than to Pompeii the hell out of you, swirling storms atop distant mountains, and… I’ve said too much. Go see it. ‘Gram it. But don’t forget to actually experience it, too.
“Go see it. ‘Gram it. But don’t forget to actually experience it, too”
All that’s left for you to do, as you come down from your outrageous day back at Base Camp, is to grab one of their much-hyped veggie burgers (“They cater for vegans too – the food is amazing!” Daryl informed me) and a pint (Happy Hour, 5-7pm, six quid, decent) and work out where you’re going next.
If your time in Iceland is up, Midgard’s location and offerings mean you can hightail it back to Reykjavik content that you’ve done as much as is humanly possible, and more, from your 48 hours on this mean rock of an island. If you’re graced with a few more days of adventure, Midgard is the ideal springboard to leap further along the Golden Circle, on to the black beaches of Vik, the glacier fields of Hofn, and beyond. To you, I say: as long as this is the place you begin your adventure, and the next, you’ve done it right. To all my favourite adventurers I say: yeah, now I get it.
Do It Yourself
A twin room (with private bathroom) at Midgard Base Camp starts at 24,900 ISK (£150 approx) per night, with beds in dormitories (shared bathroom) starting at 5,800 ISK (£35 approx). The Midgard Adventure Super Jeep Experience to Thórsmörk Mountains costs 32,000 ISK (£200 approx). Big thanks to rentalcars.com for organizing car hire to and from Reykjavik.
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