Modern interpretations of Norse mythology regard Valkyries as feminist symbols of power and strength. Portrayed as formidable female warriors who posses muscled bodies, strong wills and fierce independence, tales of the Valkyries in the Icelandic Sagas and other historic texts will inspire you to explore your inner Viking goddess.
At the Iceland Hiking with Viking Women Retreat, we do just that. Hiking mindfully through the Kerlingarfjöll Mountain Range of Iceland’s central highlands, you will revel in your daring for embarking on this Arctic adventure. Traversing a gentle trail across a treeless ridge of red-streaked volcanic rhyolite, each step you take makes a rhythmic “crunch” that encourages a steady pace.
About hiking in Iceland
Our daily hikes will vary in distance from 4 to 8 miles, with most of it on trails of various surfaces. This means we will be hiking--with breaks to take pictures, eat and drink-- for 2 to 5 hours a day. There is no running offered on this retreat, though you do have free time to run on your own. Some hikes will be easy (soft, packed dirt and pebble paths), while other areas will be challenging, including steep ascents and descents on trails that can become muddy when wet. For this reason, hiking shoes are mandatory (waterproof hiking boots are strongly recommended), as is a lightweight backpack that can carry at least 1 L of water, snacks and a lightweight, breathable jacket. Our highly trained Icelandic guides will keep us safe on the trails, monitor the weather and trail conditions on a day-by-day basis. The weather in Iceland is extremely variable, and we will hike as long the conditions are safe, though this may mean hiking in blowing wind and sometimes rain. We will provide you with a comprehensive packing list as part of your preparation. Good health and a moderate level of physical fitness is recommended.
Mindfulness + Viking lore
With tales of the Valkyries inspiring your travels through this landscape once conquered by Vikings, your retreat leader will offers ways to make your retreat more mindful, particularly as while hiking these breathtaking trails through soaring mountain ranges, glacier-carved valleys and plunging river canyons. This practice will help you be more present without the distractions of everyday life and responsibilities, and afford you the space and opportunity to find stillness of mind while your body remains in motion. Through this practice, you'll tap into kind of inner power and agency the Valkyries-- female Viking warriors--once embodied.
The weather in Iceland can be summarized in one word: wet! Prepare for wet weather so if we’re treated to sunny, dry conditions (which does happen!), then it’s a bonus. Especially when we’re running along the southern coast, it can be cool and windy, and rain is highly likely. The average daytime temperatures are in the low- to mid-fifties, though it can reach the 60s on a sunny day. In the packing list we’ll supply for you, we highly recommend lightweight rain pants and a waterproof-breathable rain jacket. It won’t be raining the whole time, but for those times it is raining, you’ll be glad to have the right gear!