Iceland has a special place in my heart.I can`t really explain it, but there is always a longing inside me for this extradinary place. I have been here many times and during all seasons, so I know the Icelandic weather is tricky, ever changing and very powerful. I have always had the feeling, that this country would give me an incredible amount of experience – out there – in the beauty and wilderness. Boy, was I right …
As an artist, I can take my work anywhere, so I spend time both here and in my homeland, Denmark. I have travelled all over Iceland for the last 6 years, but never hiked with a tent. Due to a longterm illnes, most trips were by car or done as many short 1-3 hour walks. Finally, I got well last sommer and this winter, I was eager to get some more experience and try out my new wintergear. The Glymur Waterfall seemed as a nice, short and innocent way to begin.
Well equipped and well dressed for Icelandic winter, I went on a quiet and sunny day. Beautiful! I had spend the last 3 days checking the weather report, and the predictions seemed fine for that area. I should have checked for further local wind details … My mistake.
The easy track to Glymur was not marked (only the difficult one), so the walk was a bit more strenous, as I ”invented” my own way up. The quiet and beautiful weather continued, so I put up my tent right on the plateau underneath the top on the one place, where the ground was only half frozen and the spikes were able to go in. I did consider stones, but the quiet weather convinced me that spikes were enough as they were …
Well, to make a long story short … When darkness surrounded daylight, a storm set in. I decided, it was too dark for me to walk down, as I had never found the easy track and would therefore not know precisely where to decend. Furthermore it was impossible to pack down the tent without it blowing away. Suddenly the whole tent liftet 15 centimeters and blew 1 ½ meter away – with me in it! I had become a kite – a dangerous situation here on the plateau. I got out as fast as I could.
That night was full of decisions. I have thought a lot about that later on …
The storm was a tipical Icelandic one – strong and with hard bursts. Impossible to stand up and even crawling was hard for me. I lost everything. My sleepingbag, underlayer, torch and so forth blew away. For a long time I was lying flat on the ground in a minor indentation with my head tugged down in the moss, holding on with all my strenght to smaller stones and grass until I finally found a small 40 cm high stone, that gave me just enought shelter to not blow away. After a couple of hours by body began to shiver slightly – that was my cue for help. Decooling is a serious matter so I called 112.
The guys at 112 were great during all their assistance and they contacted the local rescue team in Akranes (Björgunarfélag Akraness) for help. It´s fascinating! The minute you know help is on the way, there is a change inside you. Somehow you can withhold a little more knowing there is a timelimit for your endurance.
I waited 1 ½ hour more on the mountain, all the time making small movements to keep me warm while lying on the ground. Then I got a call from the 112, that the rescue team was near. 10 minutes after I saw a black shadow of a person further away on the plateau. I shouted out loud, but the wind killed every sound so he dissapeared in the opposite direction. But I was relieved. That shadow ment help was near. Shortly after, I was blessed with strong lights coming from a jeep, who had managed to crawl up an old track of the mountain. I was so very surprised, as I had been expecting a team on foot. I had been looking for trails down from the plateau during that afternoon, but only saw one far away, and now suddenly, the biggest (and coolest) jeep ever, held right in front of me. The rescue team members all came out to help me. I my mind you were all taller and proberbly stronger than in reality, ha, ha …, but in that moment you were my He-men of Iceland. Cool, calm and quiet.
So I arrived back safely. No harm done, just an immense tiredness in my body for nearly 2 weeks. Man, it takes raw musclepower to folkdance with an icelandic wind! I walked up to Glymur shortly after and became friends with the mountain again. I believe, it is important to reverse such an experience, the best way you can. Slow and steady.
SO THANK YOU:
-to the moon, who somehow managed to stay out of the clouds and give me just enough light to catch a glimse of the surface.
– to the 112 call center (you managed the situation with calm and great personal motivation). Your help makes a difference!
– To the 6-7 brave guys, who rescued me at the plateau. I am touched by your engagement to nature experiences and eagerness to help people in need. I can only speak wonderful words of this voluntary project that operates all over Iceland. Each and every one of you are all a blessing to the nation and its visitors!
– And thank you to the mountain, who gave me the worst night ever, but the most important lesson, you can possible imagine.
Where to next? And will there be a next time? But of course! This is still the most intense, diverse and wonderful nature, I can imagine, and my love for it persists.
Camilla, 37 year old Dane.Deila á Facebook