November 20th, 2008 – by: incidentaltourist
Here's one I wrote earlier on my blogger site.....
This is me, a born and bred city girl attempting to hike on the Langjokull Glacier in Iceland two years ago. Do I feel utterly ashamed that I am (a) a good 50 metres behind everyone else (save for Tom who took pity on me) or (b) apparently walking like an octogenarian with a hip problem? No, I don't, because it was a totally brand new experience for me, and I was loving it. This is what makes me so excited about my upcoming trip. Bring it on!
Footnote - Orange Trousers
As we drove up to the side of the glacier, there was a tangible buzz of trepidation and excitement amongst the group of us stuffed in the back of the van - we were about to do a 4 hour hike on sheer ice and the heavens had decided that this was the most opportune moment to unleash its worst. I was last off the van while the guide was handing out waterproof trousers - school girl error. He shoved his hand in the back of the boot and had a bit of a rummage around. As my squinting brown eyes met his unflinching blues, I knew it wasn't going to be good.
"Eh" he muttered in his marbled Scandinavian twang, "we have no more of the waterproofs".
"Ah" was my reply, as I surveyed the bleak landscape around me, the rain making like a steel drum band on my North Face jacket.
"No problem," his eyes light up "we have the fishermans trousers for you".
Lo and behold, a bright orange pair of rubbery Icelandic fishermans trousers were produced. As you can clearly see in the photo above, sexy was brought back to Iceland that day. They were huge - sized to fit strapping Icelandic fishermen, not size 10 Londoners - and they only held up around my waist with the assistance of a knotted bit of string.
An hour later, we had reached the crest of a small hill and I was stumbling along in fine style, battling against an increasingly vicious wind. The guide had taken us through some of the most dramatic scenery I had ever had the privilege to be in, swathes of black and granite smothered in brighter-than-bright white. I stood still for a moment, breathing it in and for the first time in a very long time I remember thinking absolutely nothing. Not a thing. I was just there, a speck of nothingness. It was strangely liberating.
My revelry was brief. The guide turned to us, "We take a break, the wind is too strong!" and he started shepherding us down towards a dip in the ice. I dug my crampons in and slowly inched my way towards the rest of the group when a massive gust of wind spiralled across the glacier like a wet towel slap...yes, you guessed it. My oversized rubber orange lovelies caught the wind like sails on a boat and sent me flying off the ridge I was on, landing me half in a crevasse, gracefully askew and akimbo. The fates were smiling at me however - I'd only narrowly avoided falling completely in by a miracle of walking poles and a lucky foothold. I was not so much the fisherman, but the fish, having to be plucked out and laid to dry by the very amused guide. Luckily there was no damage (I did manage to get myself admitted to Reykjavik A&E that night, but that's another story). I even received extra sympathy chocolate for my trauma. Result!