Charlie, Goose and Maverick survive the ride of their lives….
OH MY GOD! It’s the day I’ve been dreading – the snowmobiling adventure on Langjokull glacier. A two hour drive on a beautiful sunny morning improves my mood somewhat until we travel the last few miles on the gravel track up to base camp at Skalpanes and then fear sets in. No-one else is about so I’m tempted to think it’s been called off and we can forget about it…….but no such luck. A huge super-jeep appears over the horizon with two other happy customers who have been picked up in Reykjavik by the Mountaineers of Iceland http://www.mountaineers.is/ .
Soon we’re being kitted out in big snow-suits, helmets and boots. Hubby rather enjoying this, he thinks he looks like Tom Cruise in Top Gun and refers to himself and son as “Maverick and Goose”! We are driven down to the edge of the glacier to pick up the skidoos. Can’t believe how big they are and terrified to learn I’ll be driving one myself rather than hanging on gamefully behind a professional. With warnings to avoid going near the yellow poles as they indicate large crevasses we may fall into (hmm thanks for that little tip) we are soon whizzing over the glacier at a fair lick, though I’m going at my own speed and soon realise the rest are well ahead of me and I can’t find their tracks I’m meant to follow. Panic sets in and I have to accelerate even more over the ice, cursing husband under my breath for charging off with my precious son and leaving me behind. What if I fall in a crevasse and no-one notices? Thankfully the instructor’s mate is on my tail, telling me to raise my buttocks so I can go faster and encouraging me to push the throttle. It seems to go on for eternity, water splashing up into my face, yellow flags looking perilously close, but there is something exhilarating about the whole experience, I have to admit.
On the way back Hubby discovers he has broken his snowmobile: gone over something hard! So whole trail stops and the broken machine has to be towed back to the edge of the glacier. Return journey is now at my pace and much more enjoyable for that! Ride back to base camp and discover the instructor’s pal is a singer-songwriter Justin Newman, a Californian spending some time in Iceland. We listen to his CD in the Jeep and it’s great though he is a bit bashful letting us hear it; he needn’t be as his voice is like honey and gradually soothes my frazzled nerves.
The rest of the day is a long trek along the interior road, the F35, gravel track all the way. It lasts another four hours and consists of avoiding suicidal sheep who wander onto the road at regular intervals. We also stop fairly frequently to place stones on top of cairns by the side of the road for good luck (well we need plenty of that for this holiday!) Back in the car I’m looking at the schedule and the 8.30am white-water rafting planned for the next day!!! Am mumbling to myself about how sadistic these Discover The World people are until we reach our third hotel, Hotel Varmahlid, and receptionist asks me to ring the rafting company. Apparently there aren’t enough people on the 8.30 session so could we change to 1.30pm? Whoop for joy in reception, shout that there is a god after all and celebrate with an extortionately priced bottle of wine which has never tasted so good!