Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Looking for pleasure

Today they are fixing the roads, which will make the bike trip back tomorrow much easier, I hope. To do this, a lot of wet dirt is spread over the surface to fill the holes, then flattened, and more water put on top to cake it down. The water is taken from the ocean. Two trucks work on this all day, disturbing the sleepy peace here on Snæfjallaströnd, but the truck drivers are friendly and wave hello. I see them numerous times as I tramp about on my adventures today. 

After breakfast I first head into Unaðsdalur again, looking for pleasure. There’s a lot of traffic today on the main trail, I see a total of three people and that’s three too many for me. Instead of staying on the trail, I follow one of the larger rivers straight up the mountain until I reach the snow field that it originates from. Here I have a bird’s eye view and can watch over the whole valley.

I spend a lot of time sitting in the hot sun, examining rocks and flowers, and digging my hands into cold rivers to see what’s at the bottom. One particularly pretty stream captures my interest. It’s narrow but deep and wild and contains the best drinking water on earth. Its banks are covered in neon green moss and spattered with pretty wildflowers. 

Reddish-gold stones sparkle at the bottom and I stick in my hands to fish out a few for closer inspection. These little stones are smoothly polished from hundreds of years of rushing water. 

But I forgot my sunscreen today and can’t stay out too long, so I head back to basecamp and then walk down to the abandoned houses of Bæir. Most are so run down, probably beyond repair, but one is still in pretty good shape. 

It’s a shame no one wants to live here, at least in the summertime. The view is fantastic, the wild flowers have taken over the landscape and it’s the perfect place for lounging in the sun. But after a while the flies drive me nuts, so it’s time to move.  
I inspect one of the collapsing houses a bit closer. The door is half open, the windows broken and that tempts me to look inside. Just as I am sneaking around, worried about bumping into some over-protective ghosts of the past, my phone beeps with a text message and nearly scares the living daylights out of me. Time to get out of this dreary place. 

I’m back by 6pm in time for a pre-dinner beer and some more lounging in the sun. The whales are active in the fjord, exercising their blowholes and poking their backs a bit out of the water. I hear they can be seen often here, and once they find a spot they like, they tend to stay there (or keep coming back). This is one thing that my ocean view on the other side of the fjord is definitely lacking.
After dinner I have a closer look along the airstrip and find the old dump and what I think is a fox den (I think I spotted another one at the end of the beach). I sit overlooking the ocean for a really long time, scanning the landscape for whales and foxes, then head down to the beach. It’s so warm and mild and this view is just amazing in the evening sun.