In an attempt to share my experiences of my expedition in Iceland as fully as possible I have decided to publish a slightly abridged version of my journal which I wrote throughout the trip. So here goes;
16th July 2012 (Day Four)
Today was the day of the first (almost) trek; it was a practise trek that began close to our camp site. The sounds of our fellow campers has become our alarm clock. We were up fairly sharpish as we’d planned to set off at 10. For breakfast we had bacon butties, it was actually my first ever one and it was shamefully quite nice! Certainly what we all needed. Before we left we were given a short walking pole tutorial, it was then I realised that the poles Dan had been kind enough to lend me before we had set off from England were broken! I couldn’t believe the bad luck I have had with two of mine also breaking beforehand. Mr.Gwilliam was kind enough to lend me his though, and he did for the entire trek! I was very grateful. The weather was SO HOT! I had to put sun-cream on loads throughout the day and wear my sun hat. I couldn’t believe it but I certainly wasn’t complaining, especially as I was sure it wouldn’t last.
As a group we left the cosy camp site and headed for the hills. I say hills but I’m sure they were mountains! We soon came to what would be the first major obstacle of our trek. ‘Scrambling’ is what I think it’s called in mountainy terms. We had to walk across, and on, a harsh path of giant rocks overlapping which frequently left black, empty gaps which I think drilled within me the most fear. It wasn’t long before I was discovered as the terrified one but I was given a great deal of support and guidance from the team. It was one of the scariest things in my life. The real panic struck when I fell at the beginingish and I screamed!! Which obviously struck a sudden (if shortlived) shock within my team. It was then the danger and fear truly hit me. Eventually jumping over darkness on unsteady rocks just got too much and it brought me to tears! Nevertheless, I was so relieved and felt quite accomplished after taking the final leap onto ground once more and I was soon back to normal. I am so grateful to everyone that helped me.
It was then a fairly lengthy walk afterwards where we came across a small spring from which we were able to fill our water bottles! It was tasty and straight from a volcano. After we had all filled our bottles and had a small rest we set off once more. It was still really hot! As we walked I began to imagine and fear doing this with a full and fair heavier pack. Other people were worried too but I knew they had nothing to fear.
It was when we walked over boggy marshes I found out that my boots are in fact not waterproof! My socks were soaked! Mandy was always wary about us stepping on the vegetation as it it quite delicate and apparently takes ’10,ooo years’ to grow back! This was to become her signature catchphrase!
We eventually came to a river and hence a tutorial for river crossing. The river itself was extremely shallow but regardless of this we needed to learn the technique for crossing rivers safely as there are apparently quite a few large and dangerous glacial rivers on our trek. Something else to look forward to I know! We were taught how to cross in teams of five and practised stepping together in sync holding each other tightly against the hypothetical rushing stream . The water was painfully cold on my bare feet although quite refreshing in contrast to the hot weather.
We were soon back on our feet, well if only for a short while as I managed to slip and fall on my bum as we were coming down a steep, gravely hill! I wasn’t, however, the first of our team to befall such state. I quickly laughed it off and soon gained my stride.
The road back was a long one and I was quite tired at the end yet I think today has given me a little confidence although I begin to slowly dread the future obstacles of our trek. As soon as we got back to camp we got tea going. Tonight we had ‘beef stroganoff’ with pasta. As Dan put the beef in the pan blood came out too! Oddly it was more funny than anything else but yeah that was pretty grim.
Today we were told that if we sent the trangias back to ‘World Challenge’ dirty then we’d have to pay a fine! It was because of this we (Christina, Dan, Cameron and I) thought it’d be hilarious if we sent them back filthy with a small sentiment of ‘enjoy’ attached and a five pound note! How this made us laugh! During tonight’s game of Cheat it quickly became apparent that Dan has no idea (despite his 17 years of being alive!) what the order of cards is as he kept putting down tens after kings and queens. We therefore decided to write the order down for him so he could refer to it as we played, this document was titles ‘How cards work’ and was used throughout the trek! Looking forward to tomorrow’s 6 hour bus journey! That wasn’t even sarcastic. :3