A few months ago the idea of a trip to Iceland came into view. We had found some insanely cheap flights from Boston to Keflavik and immediately our minds began crunching the numbers. Flights, baggage fees, rental vehicles, food, camping gear, and last but certainly not least - money to buy a puffin and whale dinner. An adventurous road trip with four people quickly turned into a journey with eight of us. A film concept was born. The prospect of a second trip to complete all of the photography we would need came up. As I sit now in our studio back in the Adirondacks, a week after the first trip, I am still watching this story unfold.
Today I write not because the journey is over, but to tell just one of the adventures we experienced, and to look forward at more to come.
Sunday, May 15th. The weather was amazing all day, and despite the hiking trail we hoped to take being closed off, we had a great time in Skaftafell National Park. Massive glacial tongues carved out in valleys below us and the sun beating down on us from above. I did not think that sunburn would be a struggle I would face in Iceland but that day proved me wrong. After hiking and exploring a nearby glacier lagoon we made our way towards Hofn to find a place to camp for the night. Avoiding any extra fees on this trip was a priority so we found a place outside of the nearby “campgrounds” that seemed suitable enough. It was near a cliff, in a valley between two mountains, but still a decent height above the town below. When we set camp the weather was still warm and only a slight breeze went past our tents.
After shooting at a beach location nearby for sunset I made my way to bed around 11pm. Night really only lasted for about 5 hours this time of year and even then it barely got dark. So when I woke up at 230am I was not surprised at the amount of light still coming through my tent. What did surprise me was, I had been woken up by my tent collapsing on top of me, unable to bear the wind that moved in. It was not long that my friend Josh who was sleeping next to me woke up and saw me holding the tent above us. There was a brief moment of looking at each other and silence, and then in hilarious fashion, we scrambled to get everything out of the tent as quickly as we could.
There I was, this hardcore adventurer, braving the extreme elements as I transported our sleeping gear and personal items into the truck nearby, almost being blown away in the wind. Ha. What it really looked like was one man running frantically without pants from a pile of tent wrapped around another man to the car with anything he could grab and running back to get more. Screams of “don’t get out of the tent, it’ll blow away without you!” and “I’m freezing my butt off!” was our morning conversation. “Can you take the rain fly off before it breaks our tent?” a plea from the tent next to us, was replied with, “OUR TENT IS ALREADY BROKEN!”
This ridiculous event became the funniest part of our trip. Once we got everything back in the cars we decided to hit the road and get far away from that place. We had a 5 hour drive ahead of us and we started it around 3am. The sun was going to rise at 4. In the few moments of clarity during that whole ordeal I can remember the sky looking absolutely apocalyptic. There was enough light in the sky and a break in the clouds to look like it was being ripped open in front of us. That is what I thought of as we began to drive and not long after it really paid off.
Driving through those early morning hours and seeing mountain after mountain illuminate with the rising sun was one of the best parts of the trip for me. The clouds were incredible and we would stop to take photos every few minutes it seemed. Only the morning before the sky was blue and we were singing the dwarves’ song from The Hobbit before our hike. Now we truly were in another world, and as crazy as it was, the struggle was so worth it.
I can only dream of what adventures lay ahead.