Category Archives: Land

Child Abandonment in the Icelandic East

We were 500 metres from a pair of geese and their chick on the shore at Njardvik, when the parents flew out over the sea in a great flapping, honking noise, while the little one slipped into the rocks and did not move. It really did not move.

Shh! Not a word!

After five minutes, the parents were floating offshore, watching us. After fifteen minutes, we left. It was the only thing for it.

Pathfinding in Iceland

If you’re going to follow the trail …

Threading through the mountain bogs on the way south from Stapavik

… the sheep won’t help you.

Yes, this poor ewe is lost.

It’s best to follow the stakes set out by the Icelandic government, to keep things safe. You’ll have to stomp around quite a bit to find them.

They’re not always even on the trail!

It’s always a happy moment to spot one.

Even if you’re at the bottom of the trail at that point! It’s just a little game Iceland plays with you. You might as well play along.

Hiding in Plain Sight

While getting boots and gloves and hat ready to go over the lip of the hill last December 24 and visit Sheep’s Falls, one of my favourite waterfalls, many tourists stopped as well: the first stop, it seems, two or three hard hours of driving from Reykjavik. Time and again, they took a few pictures over the Berserkerjahraun to the rising sun, and then posed for each others’ cameras and drove on. It was intimate and sweet.

Still, they had Kirkjufoss to get to before the rising sun was no longer behind the mountain, and they didn’t need me telling them it would be worth it to walk for ten minutes down through the drifts, because they might not have come to Iceland to see the pale, pale winter sun and to learn its nature. They had places to be getting along to, with better cameras and the hope for brighter light, and promises had been made to them, and promises, we know, should be kept.

Just imagine how many times a day any and every traveller in Iceland, myself included, encounters people who know where they are and what is worth seeing and say nothing, because that’s the way of the land itself. As Paul Theroux pointed out half a century ago while travelling by train through South America, it’s North Americans (myself included) who point to stuff.

Filming Dragons in East Iceland

Some books only have one page. Here’s a midsummer one above Njardvik. Day by day it reveals itself, like a film.

Look at how the dragon from the south (left) is giving way to grass and cliffs, while the one from the right is holding strong, with three stories opening within its long ribcage. And check out the sad faces appearing in the slo-mo approach of the dragon from the south. Will it disappear before they do? Whew! Such suspense!

Oil Slick? Not in Iceland!

In Canada, this would be an oil slick, caused by a passing freighter illegally flushing out its tanks at sea.

Njardvik

Not so nice!

But in Iceland, it’s more like an Earth slick.

Njardvikura

It’s the confluence of a river that is taking an 1100-year-old farm away and the desire for a new road to prevent rural depopulation in Borgarfjördur Eystri.

The concept of “nature” is a balancing act here.