Kerlingarfjoll

Lost and Found in Kerlingarfjöll, Iceland - Los Angeles Travel Photographer

Traveling in Iceland reminds me a lot about life.  Not all that you've learned (or you think you know) is helpful in surviving the expansive land that throws what defines nature any moment of the trip.  It takes a lot of embracing the challenges and having faith.  

In a life where there may have been roads built and traveled by our
predecessors, the question of whether following the obvious path or to trek where it will be called a road by people after you remains relevant.  

At the highland area of
Kerlingarfjöll where the highest peak is at some 4,800 feet, I found these two doing exactly that - evaluating the options.  Eventually, they turned around and talked to us.  Nonetheless, I thought they provided perfect colors to this volcanic land.

If you happen to run into them in your summer wondering, would you please show them this post as I promised?  Thanks to Apple, all my contacts disappeared one day and I lost contact with them.  They are from Austria.  The lady speaks perfect English and the gentleman's name is George.

Couple-in-Kerlingafjoll-Highlight-Iceland-Copyright-Jean-Huang-Photography

Couple-in-Kerlingafjoll-Highlight-Iceland-Copyright-Jean-Huang-Photography

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The Land is Speaking - Los Angeles Travel Photographer

Vegetation that grows/survives the Arctic environment makes for a unique crowd.  The rocky ground is characterized by permafrost, which is frozen year-round.  Only a thin layer of soil thaws and refreezes each year.  The resulting shallow root systems, along with low temperatures and short growing seasons, are not discouraging enough for these low and slow-growing plants (although, some are not technically plants, e.g., lichens).  

When I met these tough little beauties that had withstood the harsh elements and found themselves home in the (shallow) shelter from strong wind, I felt that they are speaking to me about their stories, the slow and long ones.

 

Arctic-Plant-En-route-to-Kerlingarfjoll-Iceland-Copyright-Jean-Huang-Photography-(2).jpg

Arctic-Plant-En-route-to-Kerlingarfjoll-Iceland-Copyright-Jean-Huang-Photography-(2).jpg

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Icelandic Sheep are Odd People - Los Angeles Travel Photographer

The journey to the highlands in Iceland proved to be a long one.  Not (solely) because the road was difficult to travel on.  Not because the weather was unlike the balmy one we've been used to in Southern California.  As most situations in life, we can't blame anyone but ourselves.  Look, we are two hopelessly distractible people.  Remember, "Not All Who Wander are Lost"? 

After
saying goodbye (or rather "hello to Obama"?) to the sheep farmer, we moved on, not exactly sure what was going to happen next.  Approaching a single lane bridge ("Einbreið brú" in Icelandic), we experienced our first traffic congestion in Iceland, caused by sheep, thousands and thousands of them.  It was there that we met more sheep farmers, in bright orange outfits.

Turned out, it was the season for these sheep to go home.  There they are, coming down in fluffs and then filing into a white string of pearls descending along the edge of the glacier lake Hvítárvatn.  For some reason, this image reminds me of a
scene from less than a year earlier, on our way to the Antarctica.  A herd of people, one following another, moving by the cold blue water...      

String-of-Sheep-Hvítárvatn-Iceland-Copyright-Jean-Huang-Photography

String-of-Sheep-Hvítárvatn-Iceland-Copyright-Jean-Huang-Photography

While I was busy asking questions like "so, are these all Icelandic sheep", I secretly wished that this would never end and my camera could continue meeting one more herd after the last one.  I did also learn that these sheep had spent most of the year wild in the mountains, fending the natural elements with all they've got.  So, it was no surprise that they'd be camera-shy.  I don't blame them, I felt that I had to learn how to cross a street after spending time in Iceland.  But, would someone help me process what I see here?  

Icelandic sheep are odd odd people.    

Question for you: Do you know why Icelandic sheep are going home in September?

Extra-Long-Icelandic-Sheep-Iceland-Copyright-Jean-Huang-Photography

Extra-Long-Icelandic-Sheep-Iceland-Copyright-Jean-Huang-Photography

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