Lost on the moon?

Trip Start Aug 30, 2007
Trip End Sep 30, 2007

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Flag of Iceland  ,
Monday, September 17, 2007

Today we did some cruising...over a mountain pass, climbed up to a waterfall - Hengifoss - with perfect basalt columns on each side....check out the photos...and then, the reindeer adventure...
We heard that there was a reindeer farm up the road a way...so we set out to find it... along what might be called a secondary road - dirt, gravel leading to an "unfinished" bridge.  It was all good and adventurous until we got to the unfinished bridge.  We could walk across it but there were wide open spaces between the metal beams that were about 18 inches apart - big enough for me to fall through.  There was a trapeze artist-like net that would catch you if you fell, but you could look straight down into this thick and very cold river.  This is not just not my thing...walking narrow paths over rushing water far below...in fact there was a rail on part of it but in one part there were just narrow planks.  Anyway, I knew this was not a desirable challenge for me...at 52 years of age, I have finally learned that I don't have to take on every challenge just because I can't say no thank you....so that's what I said....I'd skip the reindeer...I've seen them before and I was perfectly ok not crossing...however one of the guys working on the bridge would not have it....he offers me his hand and his confidence and walks with me over it...now this guy was enormous, like seven feet tall and just a big guy with a big orange work suit on....and his hand was big and sturdy...so I figured I could trust this guy not to drop me in the river....I accepted his generosity -  he even promised he'd be there for the return crossing - transformed the whole experience for me...and gave me the opportunity to experience another side of Icelanders...I'm liking these Icelandic men a lot...from those that I've dealt with I'd characterize them as generous natured, respectful of women, very proud of their heritage, non-power tripping and having generally great energy.  Anyway check out the photos of my buddy in the orange... 
So the reindeer....and sheep and foxes and geese and some other stuff are on the farm...but the reindeer are especially cool...and this is reindeer-type land...check out the photos...there's one adult with her baby, who is as cute as babies tend to be and then there's an older particularly friendly reindeer who trots down to visit and participate in some muzzle snuffling and timeless gazing with us...
The reindeer farm well worth going WAY out of the way for...and then we aim the  Yaris in the direction of the highest farm in all of Iceland, Mothrudalur...the rather stone-hearted woman at the tourist info desk in Egilsstdtir, who used far more profanity than I thought appropriate to welcome tourists with,  suggested we go up there to spend the night...it's a farm that's been around as long as Iceland, and is truly way up in the middle of nowhere...we decide, actually it wasn't a real decision, it was simply a matter of turning the steering wheel to the left instead of keeping it on the MAIN road, to take the "short cut",  the high-country road...not meant at all for travel at this time of the year, especially by two Americans and a Yaris.    Right from the start we're covering moon-like terrain (you know the astronauts have trained on this kind of landscape to prepare for their lunar missions).  The road, with its steep drop-off sideslopes, is getting snowier and we're still climbing...there's no farm, let alone humanity or animal life of any sort, in sight.  Dusk has turned to night, the only light is from the moon reflecting on the snowy fields of black lava.  The cold winds are gusting through the barren rocky fields, swirling snow and distracting our vision... we have about 30 km. of this.  I'm counting down the distance - with each kilometer we are aware of the distance we'd have to walk to the farmhouse after we get stuck.  When we're down to about 4 miles, I breathe a little easier...I could jog that far and leave the Yaris behind...but no need...we see some lights in the distance...the first lights of the night...we're going to sleep here whether it's  our intended destination or not...and what we find is a cozy farm/guesthouse with lovely people surprised at the route we have taken to get there...our wild back country adventure culminates with a candlelight dinner well deserved...this evening is dedicated to Carol, who sponsored our visit to this unforgettable and remote location...
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