Scree wise?

  Without seeing Iceland's glaciers, one knows by the abundance of scree slopes (skriða) throughout Iceland, that they exist. Glaciers break down the land and broken rock fragments accumulate  at the base of hamars (crags) and mountain cliffs.  Deceptively smooth from a distance!




On my last day of the residency, Alda (one of the residency directors) and her husband, Jon took us on a walk down to the "milky" waters outside of Laugarvatn (an endearing term they give to rivers that looked white from a distance).  Once at the river, rather than return the way we came, Jon wanted to follow the river out and asked if anyone might be interested.  Most opted not too. His children and Auke followed Jon and  I elected to as I wanted to gps a longer walk .  Little did I know that I would call this one my "challenge" walk.

As the terrain became rockier and rockier,  it became clearer that we would not be able to walk down along the river. Jon pointed up along the hillside, "this way up".  Hmm?  Straight up a hillside of scree with minimal plants for anchors. Trusting an Icelander (???),  I followed along until I was no longer able to establish firm footing in the abundant scree, slipping and sliding with no plants to hold onto. Scree wise?

Somehow, with Aucke's help (and body), I found a way up to meet the others at the top.  Thank you Auke!

Iceland is blowing away

I continue to be fascinated by the Icelandic language  and was curious about how  Icelanders describe their winds.  Here is a partial list: vindur- wind

stormur - heavy wind

rok - hard wind

moldrok - strong wind with earth

sandrok - strong wind with sand

fárviðri - crazy wind, tempest, typhoon

gola, gjóla, hvassviðri - breeze

logn - no wind

andvari - breath

kaldi - a cold chilly breeze

stinningskaldi - ice cold wind

fellibylur - hurricane

hnúkaÞeyr - warm mountain wind flowing from south to north

norðangarri - cold north to south wind

sunnanblær - southern breeze

gustur - gust of wind

austankaldir - east cold wind

hvasst - medium strong wind

strekkingur - medium wind

blástur - blast  "It is blowing/windy."

hvirfilvindur - tornado

sviptivindur - sudden strong winds, common around steep mountains

staðvindur - trade winds common to a region

skafrenningur - wind that blows loose snow; piles of snow result

Winds can be destructive here. One of Iceland's most enduring environmental issues is soil erosion caused by high winds and the overgrazing of sheep. In parts of the country, particularly in the highlands region, results are dramatic, with formerly vegetated land reduced to barren wastes.

Nootka lupin ( a purple-flowered plant from the west coast of North America) was introduced to Iceland to help anchor and add nitrogen to the soil.  The project has had mixed results; on one hand it has revegetating vast tracts of land but not without a cost.  Unfortunately it is now  affecting Iceland's biodiversity.  Grazing sheep do not like its bitter taste, so it has spread its relatively tall foliage, blocking light for indigenous mosses, lichens and shrubs.


On most days here I have experienced  "blessuð bliðan":


However, recently  the "moldrok" and "sandrok" from the highlands blew in, results of Iceland's soil erosion: