June 24, 2006
My first group of volunteers has come and gone, and all is well. I’ll be meeting my next group in about 25 minutes, so this will have to be short. I’m attaching a few more photos- they were taken during an expedition down to one of the valleys in Skaftafell, called Morsádalur, where lupines have taken over. While a beautiful flower, the lupine is an invasive species brought to Iceland in hopes of enriching the soil. Unfortunately they’ve spread out of control and the sheep will not eat them, so it’s causing problems everywhere. We hiked down into the valley (about two hours) to repair a fenced-in area for sheep, where some are hoping the sheep will suddenly fancy munching lupine. They didn’t seem too interested. We have had some days of rain, which is to be expected, but one of the nice things in the valley is the arrangement of the lupine leaves- they form a little circle, perfect for cradling fat rain drops in the mist. The lupines just glittered with all of these suspended drops of water, and it almost made the rain seem like a blessing instead of an inconvenience.
I’ve also become reacquainted with PermaDirt… when you get so dirty, so regularly, that it never really goes away. My tent has become an array of clothing piles, ranging from Mostly Clean, to Sketchy, to Only If Desperate, to Terminal. When you start recounting your most recent hot shower by the city you were in, instead of the day, you might be a trail monkey. If your socks are too soft to be used as tent pegs, hey, you’re good for another day!
All is good, the sun is shining today and this week we’ll be working on restoring a turf house. My co-leader is one of the Ians, the Scottish one, so I’ve been adjusting to his accent as well. “Aye’ll be get-tin up air-ly to kook the porridge, yeh?” But it’s fun.
Here we have before and after shots of part of our work. Aside from cutting and removing the turf that had grown over the collapsed building, we also removed all of the rotted and broken interior beams and several layers of slate. We also played archeologists, finding some wooden beams carved with old initials and several aging horseshoes.