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;
18th July 2012 (Day six!)
This morning we got up at 6.30. Time has become so irrelevant here as it’s always light so it always feels like the same time of day. My fears for the day were far from comforted with my bowl of manky porridge which I couldn’t stomach. Getting up and ready is the worst feeling as you’re cold, tired and feeling unprepared but still having to pack which is such an effort! We all had to be ready to set off for our trek for out decided time of 8.30 but I think it ended up being more like 9. It was pouring down with rain and very cold. Finally we all gathered at the soggy kitchen area and Mandy gave us all a bag check which took awhile although I think my re-adjusted pack that was much tighter around my hips was a little easier to carry.
And so we set off!
The first abrupt obstacle of our trek were the huge rocks made of solid lava that we had to climb. It was spine-chilling to imagine the rock that towered over our heads once flowed like a steaming hot river. We carried on up very steep hills but I was so focussed I was able to manage with my heavy pack as well as my other team mates and perhaps I finally realised that I can do this. This confidence was very new to me.
It did, like most good things, not last however. It wasn’t long before we were high up in the mountains surrounded by views for miles of beautiful, if daunting landscapes. We had already travelled up fairly steep mountain sides that were terrifying for me and with such heavy packs pulling you backwards and slippery, uncertain terrain my mind panicked with fright.
Going up one particular steep side where the drop below was horrifically daunting I simply panicked. I had, from the very bottom the support from my team but it got too much. My mind was racing with fear and I daren’t look any other way but forward. I was shaking, struck with utter fear and panic and I couldn’t hold back the tears. Mandy tried her best to quickly calm me down and told me to breath. I felt stupid!
I finally plucked up the courage to get up with a final praise from my team of whom also apparently appreciated the small break that came from my attack of panic! I couldn’t have found the will to overcome such a fear without their support and I was tremendously grateful!
With my shattered confidence we continued! It felt like a lifetime before it was finally time for lunch. It felt so weird taking our packs off! For lunch we had banana sandwiches! They were okay but I was so hungry I would have eaten anything! (Almost). Nearing the end of our trek it began to get icy until we were walking on snow! We came across a sign that said how a man had died here in a blizzard in 2004 and who was tragically only a short while from the camp site. This was quite depressing to learn. The harsh terrain and long day had left me exhausted but I still had to push on even as the weather worsened. I was literally pushing myself further than I had ever before.
Seeing the huts in the distance was one of the best feelings in the world! The whole team cheered as we ran to put up our tents in the cold, pouring rain at our destination of 1070 metres high!
It was only around 3 or 4 but we were all so tired that we just wanted to sleep. Christina and I got so warm in our tent that we didn’t want to leave for our tea the boys had kindly cooked. This tea of salami, bean feast and spaghetti was nothing less than revolting and even Mandy agreed! But, it was warm and I needed fuel for tomorrow and so ate as much as my mind would let me.
This camp site with the rough weather, hole for a toilet and broken sinks with no hot water was forever known by the team as ‘hell’.