The enchantment of Iceland grew tremendously as our days progressed and we traveled further from our home base in Borgarnes. This next section of our Icelandic Adventure Honeymoon will focus entirely on the South, a section of Iceland that most will be more familiar with, due to its relative close proximity to Reykjavík. Of this area there are incredibly dramatic changes in the landscape that are unparalleled to any other place in the world. From our cabin, again we begin by looking out to the Northeast at Langjökull, the second largest glacier in Iceland. We have followed the Hvítá River West, down into Borgarfjörður, but now it is time to follow its main arterial vain South along the Golden Circle and down to the North Atlantic.
Langjökull is undeniably the main contributing factor to the wondrous sights of the Golden Circle. Gullfoss, Iceland’s most notable waterfall in the Southern region, would not be possible without the continual melt from the glacier. It is a beacon of an ever-changing environment; it is a reminder of the causal effect of man in Nature and the inevitability of its fate. The sheer magnitude of this waterfall, cascading in two stages equivalent of 105 feet, was so great that we felt fixed, frozen in time while staring out at its majestic beauty. The roar of the water deafening. Eyes glazed, jackets drenched with mist. Pushing through the throngs of people glued behind cellphone and camera lights to get a more apt vantage.
Home is among the towering pines, jagged, snow-capped mountains and sulphur plumes of geothermic activity. I feel at home in the land of fire and ice. The common expression of a tree-less, leafless, barren expanse is thwarted every day as I look out our dining room windows. Towering conifers border the cabin, shrouded in the early morning dew, wet and dripping onto volcanic soil. The birch like wildfire, red berries clinging to dormant branches, growing in clusters from the porch to the Skorradalsvatn. We nestle here for a month, embracing our love as we embrace this intensely dynamic country. This cabin has been our solace in between long and unending drives. 5000 kilometers in two weeks time and we have yet to see a fraction of this magnificent place. Still, in all the beauty we have seen thus far, West Iceland has a special place in my heart.
Located fifteen minutes southeast of Borgarnes, on the northern lowlands of the Skarðsheiði mountain range we plan our days with excitement and adoration of this majestic land. We start slow, right in our front yard and expand outward as our days progress. Trying to understand the mountains, follow the rivers and waterways that lead to Borgarfjörður and Þingvallavtn, we trace the landscape out to Langjökull, the second largest glacier in Iceland that straddle the Western and Southern region. We took the drive up 550 and then turned onto the pothole-riddled, snow patched 551 road toward the base camp. As we steadily navigated the road, grinding misjudged gears, the wind rolled off of the icecap, gusts tearing through the warmth of our jackets. Snow, thrust across the sun drenched sky, sent rainbows swirling about, dancing around the mountains.
A sensuous, exotic dance thrust across every corner of the star stained sky. Silent whispers in the wind, inaudible, beckoning the brave. The cold slipped like a silk nightgown; enchanted eyes glistening upward. An electric night, we too charged and excited. Oxygen swirling above, green and red photons pouring down in a flood all around us. We stood at the edges of the Skorradalsvatn, the lapping water reflecting rays in immeasurable degrees. The shimmering lake snaking from the east, spilling out and over the dam crest, carving the landscape down into Borgarfjörður, and then into the Greenland Sea. The Aurora floating along its’ winding course as all things connect in every dimension.
Finding a balance is the key to living simply.
I have always taken life as it comes, living freely, flowing with the present. I enjoy the freedom of spontaneity. The only importance being the here and now. Together, Greg and I provide the perfect balance to our relationship and to our lifestyle. He teaches me to be grounded, to remember to water my roots. I teach him to be air, to remember life is a breeze. With this balance, we have managed to create a life of our own choosing. A life of self given freedom, our only responsibilities being the nourishment of our happiness.
We slowly crept along the Grand Gulch, thick chunks of rock, broken debris crushing under the weight of the wheels. Zigzagging back and forth across intersecting veins of the Grand Wash. Mangled, sun scorched logs and limbs lay displaced, waiting for the next thunderstorm to sweep them down into the Fremont, the Dirty Devil and into Lake Powell – by that time splintered and fragmented. In the washes and up on the banks their ancestors scatter, turned over through time, transformed, petrified into ancient fossils. An eerie relief walking through the desert to see time unraveled in front of our eyes. This barren desert, eroding rock and deepening canyons once a paradise filled with life and vegetation. We walk and drive on a crumbled, silent graveyard.
Following the footsteps of the ancient cultures that dwelled here long before us, is one of the most fascinating learning experiences. From our home in the four corners, to the very edges of Lake powell, stretching north into the fish lake national forest. We follow the remnants of ancient civilization, from cliff dwellings to kivas, fragments of pottery to stone tools and petroglyphs. There is so much history hidden throughout this vast desert terrain. The winds finally pushed us down a scenic route to Central Utah in a valley surrounded by the fish lake national forest, to the Fremont Indian State Park.