The Road to the Westfjords (Part 1)

Hi there! I’m Madeline, from Colorado USA, and I’m very much looking forward to beginning work at the Arctic Fox Centre in the coming days. I’ve been lucky enough to have visited the Centre, Sudavik, and the Westfjords in the past, so I thought I’d write about this unique home to our fantastic fox projects and why I believe myself and others continue to be drawn back to this place.

My first trip to the Westfjords was back in the summer of 2013. I had been working as a volunteer in Reykjavik and another volunteer and I decided to take a trip somewhere with our extra time. I can’t say why exactly the Westfjords stood out- we could have ventured anywhere in Iceland really. With a glance at the map it seems to be its own little pocket sticking out from the rest of the island, but when searching photos online the features of this region seemed to have the most integral parts of what Iceland “is” in my mind. The constant cascades of green, the sharp fjords, the lonely shores, and the list goes on.

This trip was also (sorry mom) my first experience with hitchhiking (buddy system was in place), which in itself seemed to be an essential bit to experiencing the region in my mind. This is because it was the one of the first experiences I had directly with the enthusiastic willingness of strangers to lend a hand (or a ride, or snacks, or an inclusion in the family road-trip), because in Iceland, it seems that no one is quite a stranger, only a neighbor you haven’t met yet. This is only exemplified in the Westfjords. With its population even more sparse than the rest of Iceland, it really seemed to be a trait of the people there to want to meet and befriend a new face.

This feature of the region paired with the overwhelming nature seems to place one in a completely different earth in a totally different time where there is a great and equal respect for one’s surroundings as there is for each new passing face. There is a powerful and unique silence up there, yet every part of life still seems to be amplified. At least for someone coming from a modern America anyway.

Tomorrow I’ll travel again up north in high anticipation to work with the Foxes of Sudavik! I’m hoping to document this small journey and share this round with the blog for a Part 2. See you all soon!

Madeline

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