Home is among the towering pines, jagged, snow-capped mountains and sulphur plumes of geothermic activity. I feel at home in the land of fire and ice. The common expression of a tree-less, leafless, barren expanse is thwarted every day as I look out our dining room windows. Towering conifers border the cabin, shrouded in the early morning dew, wet and dripping onto volcanic soil. The birch like wildfire, red berries clinging to dormant branches, growing in clusters from the porch to the Skorradalsvatn. We nestle here for a month, embracing our love as we embrace this intensely dynamic country. This cabin has been our solace in between long and unending drives. 5000 kilometers in two weeks time and we have yet to see a fraction of this magnificent place. Still, in all the beauty we have seen thus far, West Iceland has a special place in my heart.
Located fifteen minutes southeast of Borgarnes, on the northern lowlands of the Skarðsheiði mountain range we plan our days with excitement and adoration of this majestic land. We start slow, right in our front yard and expand outward as our days progress. Trying to understand the mountains, follow the rivers and waterways that lead to Borgarfjörður and Þingvallavtn, we trace the landscape out to Langjökull, the second largest glacier in Iceland that straddle the Western and Southern region. We took the drive up 550 and then turned onto the pothole-riddled, snow patched 551 road toward the base camp. As we steadily navigated the road, grinding misjudged gears, the wind rolled off of the icecap, gusts tearing through the warmth of our jackets. Snow, thrust across the sun drenched sky, sent rainbows swirling about, dancing around the mountains.