Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Exploration of Langisjór, 14 km

Photos: (1-4) Langisjór

I’m awake at 5am with a splitting headache that’s close to a migraine. I had a bad one yesterday morning as well, and begin to think that it’s related to the pain in my shoulder. My backpack isn’t sitting right this year and it’s really straining my left shoulder – maybe it’s cutting off the blood supply to my head. In any case, my throbbing head pushes me out of the tent into the fresh morning air and I’m thankful for that. What a beautiful sky! It’s so great to see the sun, and there’s a bit of fog and clouds to make it interesting too. It might turn out to be a nice day. After taking a few pictures (and a few painkillers for my head), I crawl back into the tent.

I open my eyes again at 6:45 and can hear that Sigrid is awake too. We take our time with morning chores, pack small daypacks and head out to explore Langisjór a bit further along the shoreline to the north. The weather is dry, about 13°, and there’s even a bit of sun at times. My headache dissipates as the day progresses, or maybe I’m just too overwhelmed by the view to think about it. The jeep track goes right through the lake a few times, but we make our way along the shore, exploring a few dry ravines along the way, where great amounts of water surely must have once flown. Are they full in the spring? One dry river is so deep, with the banks over our heads, that it would certainly be impassable when filled with water.

We sit down for a short lunch and a few detailed photos of moss, sand and rocks as the clouds begin to roll in again. We know it’s time to head back soon, but the glacier holds a sort of magnetic fascination and we would both love to see it up close at the northern tip of the lake. But that will have to wait for another day. The first raindrops come and we start to head back. Changing in and out of our raingear becomes a sport all the way as the rain stops and starts again and again, but I finally just leave mine on and try to ignore the sweat.

Back at base camp, the weather changes every few minutes for the rest of the evening – a bit of sun and warm, then rain and some strong gusts of wind, and finally around 7pm the rain takes the lead again. But we’re grinning and silly from the great day we had exploring, that the weather has no effect on us. As Sigrid says, it’s an incredible privilege to be here - to experience this magical place in all of its splendor, to be in it and surrounded by it constantly, even in our sleep. Eventually our voices are still and I lie for a very long time in my sleeping bag with the flap open, staring out at the lake. Slowly a face takes shape in the mountains across the lake. It’s also resting its head and looking back at me. I smile in return and we just stare at each other for the longest time, with a sense of deep understanding passing between us – man and mountain. This is one of those magical moments of nature that cannot be shared or explained. A feeble attempt would be to say it feels like this spot in nature has sort of accepted my presence here (as opposed to merely tolerating it) and in return I’m flooded with a deep sense of gratitude that goes way beyond the current moment, extending to all of life itself. In any case, it’s a very personal thing, just between me and nature. In the tent next to me, Sigrid is silent and probably experiencing something similar herself …