Breakdown in the snow
Today was the day to pack up camp for the last time and head back to civilization. A bit of a bummer day for the team, as we love being out in the wild, but also a gratitude day to be thankful that wilderness still exists and that we have had the opportunity to spend time there, soaking in the vast beauty, challenging our minds and bodies, and capturing it on film and in words for history and education’s sake.
The adventure doesn’t end here, however, as our trip out of the wild illustrates to a tee. The quickest way out from the highlands this time of year, except by foot, is by super-jeep — special four-wheel drive vehicles with huge tires that are designed to be able to “float” on the snow as well as make it up and down steep hillsides and over whatever terrain lays underfoot. Two of these vehicles picked us and our pulks up from our final camp spot in the afternoon, and we headed out.
We expected a bumpy, slippery ride that would take hours. We got much more. Eight hours later, we arrived at our lodging for the night, covering only about 100 miles in the meantime. In between we experienced an insane ride through deep, rock-strewn snow, along with two vehicle breakdowns, the second of which was particularly serious. The transmission died in one of the vehicles, causing the entire team along with the second driver to pile into the smaller vehicle, leaving behind our pulks and the bulk of our gear in the middle of nowhere on a mountain. Imagine all four of us crunched together in the backseat of a Nissan Patrol as it wound its way slowly across a snowy wilderness. Thankfully we all have a great sense of adventure and humor, as did our drivers.
We stopped at one point for a short break and the northern lights came out and danced above us and it was one of those perfect yet surreal moments that you know you will remember forever. Iceland has been good to us so far. We’re excited to see what adventures will engulf us in our final days here, as we visit a with a scientist at a geothermal plant, a school, a glaciologist, and a unique eco-village. Stay tuned 🙂