Posted by: jeanne | July 19, 2014

different day, different mountain

this time it was the mountain i am trying to paint.  that would be brimnesdalur, that crease roughly in the middle of the picture, running south from the east side of olafsfjordur.  it’s yet another valley flanking the fjord, a hanging valley like all of them, leading back to a crest of mountains that i have now seen from 3 sides.  i seriously doubt i shall see it from the east, since i would have to start from dalvik and climb to the ridge.  not happening this trip…

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here is the mountain and valley from the town.  the tiny little blue house on the corner is the oldest house in town, and currently for sale, and tho it needs lots of work, the property is valuable because it’s close to the harbor.  so i’m not going to buy it… only 6 million kronur.  the part of the mountain i was going for is the near shoulder of the mountain, no actual where near those snow capped peaks.

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walking up namuvegur, if it’s still called that once you cross the main road away from the harbor, the actual road goes up to the town compost, where people take their lawn clippings. it’s an old quarry, actually, and there are two quarries up on this hill.  see the trolls in the rocks?

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it also appears to be where the town gets its water, because there’s a line you can see from town that seems to be a road, but turns out to be the ditch the water pipe runs down.  but first there’s the river / stream that comes rushing down the hill from the hanging valley, just one of many beautiful waterfalls in this land of falling water.  this one was particularly nice every time i encountered it, and this is just the lowest part i walked by.   note the lupins in the foreground.  lupins are very good for rehabbing the soil, are great for stabilizing the ground, and unfortunately, being a foreign introduction, is invasive and crowds out the local plantlife.  also not edible to sheep, and it really takes over.  but i love them, and the people here, most of them, don’t seem to mind them at all.  in fact, they have planted them on the mountain to lessen the chance of avalanche.  along with a whole bunch of trees.   it was these trees that actually enticed me up the hill.  actually, i left the house at 7 pm and didn’t get back to have dinner until 10:30 or so.  rather late even for me.

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once i started climbing up the hill, because i couldn’t find a sheep path that went straight up, this great outcrop appeared, quite dome shaped.  the vertical ridges you can see were cut by water / snow coming down the mountain, erosion being one of hte features of iceland’s landscape.  it’s not really blue, that’s just what happened when i took the picture.  and those are actual trees in the foreground.  they are planted, and fenced off so the sheep don’t eat them.  the joke in iceland is that if you get lost in the forest, all you have to do is stand up.

 

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as i was ascending i looked back and was struck by how the near hill looked juxtaposed on the mountain across the fjord.  the snow filled valley behind that mountain is the hanging valley behind kleifar.

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the valley walk went up and up and up, as they all do.  but it was late and i wasn’t in the mood for a long walk hahahahaha.

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actually, i walked until i could see the peak at the head of the valley.  it is also one of the old walking routes people used to take to get from olafsfjordur to dalvik, tho i have no idea of the actual route because i never got into the valley proper.

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at that point i found the pipe carrying water down the mountain, adn followed the sheep track that accompanied it back down the mountain and around the planted trees to the pumping station that feeds the town water.  and saw this lovely little stream coming down the hill.  you can see how lush the vegetation is, so it must be low on the mountain, because looking at the picture above, it’s all heather and moss.

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while i was walking along i came across a bunch of green rocks.  these green things are celadonite, which i’m now collecting to take home and make a nice green earth pigment from.  i left this particular rock in its place as it was rather large.  the celadon forms nodules, along with i think some sort of calcite, in the basalt(?) matrix, and the whole thing is rather friable (fragile).  i collected a whole pocket full of green rocks that i didn’t take photos of, however.

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and when i was down among the trees following the tractor trail down the mountain, i spotted the first mushrooms i’ve seen in iceland.  a good end to my walk.

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more next time.  altho i’m getting to the end of my residency, i’m still trying to get around to fossdalur, which is a 4 hour walk at the least.  two of the residents went up there today and reported a large area of boggy ground where the moss was hugely thick and seemed to float on top of the marshy ground.  if they stood in one place too long the water came up above their ankles, and they were a little afraid they might become bog people if they weren’t careful.

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