… but we did ford some rivers! I have no photographic evidence of our journey (because I was worried about dying) so use your imagination as I walk you through the day.
Goal: Drive to Egilsstaðir to get to the airport to pick up a rental car so Dan, Neil and I can visit an archaeological dig on Friday (excitement!!) and do some shopping since the food delivery to Skalanes was delayed.
Problem: It’s been raining here pretty solidly for the last few days. The three (3) rivers that one must cross to get to civilization are rising … and rising … and rising …
Oli (the owner and manager of Skalanes) arrives in his big 4×4 truck circa 9 am. Charlie and I hop in ASAP, since Oli says the rivers are nearing the point of unfordability. We approach the first river. The water is rushing madly down to the sea. It is easily 3x higher than yesterday. Oli puts the differential lock on so the rear wheels will have more power. We charge through the river. It’s pretty intense but we clear it. We zoom down the road to the second ford and cross it, with similar trepidation (and a larger drop off downstream). Then we approach the third and final ford, which is the largest and most dangerous. The waters are roaring down the mountain. Oli angles the truck well upstream of our exit point, throws on the differential lock and moves forward into the current. I feel the truck being pushed downstream – the water level is almost up to the windows! Charlie is ready with his window-breaking tool, and I’m planning how I will roll down the window and climb out as soon as the river thrusts us against the rocks we are quickly approaching. Can I grab my pack (which contains all my cash, ID, credit card and passport)? Nope, better not risk it … the truck is groaning and lurching and then, inches away from the rocks at the end of the ford, the nose of the truck rises out of the torrent onto the road and we’re safe. Water has made it into the floor of the truck but we escape the mad dash to the sea.
You may think that the rest of the day will be tame compared to this adventure. Incorrect. After picking up our car and getting some serendipitous shopping completed, Charlie and I head back toward Skalanes with myself at the wheel. I head into the mountain pass of route 93 from Egilsstaðir to Seyðisfjörður. The wind is gusting at 20 knots and the rain turns into snow as we crest the pass. We drive through intense pea-soup fog patches as we pass by snowpack, and it’s a good thing that all cars in Iceland are required to have their lights on 24 hours a day so we don’t strike each other in the fog. We finally descend into the valley, and drive past waterfalls which are being blown backwards and upwards by the strong winds. As we approach Skalanes, we know there is no way we can drive our SUV past the rivers (indeed, Oli hung the “Closed” chain over the road as we left). We now face a 4.5 km trek from the road to the house. We call in reinforcements and Dan, Neil and Jacob answer the call. We trudge into the east wind with our groceries. Where there was a road, there is now a series of deep, large puddles and quickly forming new rivers. In one location, the land immediately next to the trail has disappeared (even since Dan, Neil and Jacob walked out to the car) and is quickly being eroded away. The cold wind is blowing the rain directly into our faces. After about 45 minutes, we reach the house. We drag our soaking carcasses into the warm, dry lodge and jump into showers to warm up.
The rest of the day really pales into comparison – mostly because I was exhausted and just sat around by the fire. Shout out to my Marmot water-proof pants and North Face GorTex jacket – they kept me mostly dry!
Tomorrow I take Dan and Neil and drive to the dig site in Stöðvarfjörður. We’re hopeful that we can offer them our services to aid their excavation! http://icelandreview.com/news/2016/09/15/major-archaeological-find-iceland
P.S. Sage’s code is working!!!!!
Signing off for now,