Sunday, October 11, 2015

TRAVEL WRITING; LET THE STORY COME TO YOU








BLOG 30


ELAINE





I love to venture forth, be it climbing rocks in Joshua Tree or backpacking in Iceland where my daughter and I traveled last July. “This will be your next book,” my friends predicted, but writing a book about the Icelandic wilderness was never my intent. If I've learned anything about travel writing it's this: one should refrain from seeking adventure with the intention of writing a book. In other words, the story should present itself to you, you can't go to it. Although my trip turned out to be more challenging than I ever could have imagined, with plenty of personalities and situations to color the pages in every gradient of the rainbow, when all was said and done I summed it up in these few lines:



Although we gave it “the old college try” we didn’t make it to the end due to blisters on our heels. I lamented the blisters and kept repeating that I had hiked 100 miles in the Himalayas in THOSE boots with THOSE (Smart Wool) socks, and 35 miles in the Sierra Nevada the summer before without ever developing a single one. Quite honestly it seemed like such a rookie mistake not to bring a pair of sock liners to cushion our feet against the moisture. While I over-the-top prepped for this trek, what I didn’t account for was endless rain on the first two days and the fact that our feet/boots would become miserably soaked. That, plus we had to negotiate the uneven terrain of Iceland where spongy moss, ash drifts, and lava flows created a unique challenge. And to make matters worse, our 62 year old guide, Bryn, didn’t lead a trek across the wilds of Iceland..... he led a MARCH! I continually struggled to bring up the rear, which caused a wee bit of consternation. Luckily, we were able to leave the group on day five when we descended the “wilds” for a scheduled food drop. Six of us were picked up by an Indiana Jones style 4-wheel monster truck that tore across the landscape and bounced through rivers to deliver us on the main highway where we met our connection to  Reykjavik. We later discovered that we didn’t miss much on those final four days; a scheduled glacier crossing was scrapped due to snow, so I guess the choice was a good one. In five days, we did manage to crisscross a portion of the Sioujokull glacier, forded many rivers, and were delighted to soak in a hot spring in camp on night three making the journey all worthwhile.

I've filed this story in the “Live and Learn” category of my adventure repertoire.





2 comments:

  1. Thanks Elaine. I can only imagine that hot spring was a welcome treat. -Melissa

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  2. Well put! I admire you so much for knowing that each trip is totally different. Different joys, different challenges, different memories. Different learning lessons. But at the end of the day - you're out there - living life to the fullest and that sure beats sitting home! You are brave and bold and allow the rest of us, who would never do something like trek in Iceland or in Nepal, know what it's like because of your gift of writing. Your writing continues to inspire me from a Carpe Diem standpoint, and from a wordsmith standpoint. By the way, even if you didn't get blisters - hiking in the pouring rain for hours has to be grueling.

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