Encouraged…the finer points of glacier climbing…

This morning I woke up overwhelmed. Literally, I opened my eyes and the first thing I experienced was an overwhelming of emotion. I’ve just returned to my regular life (which is pretty freaking amazing) from my short vacation in Iceland (which was pretty freaking amazing) and I have been completely inundated with questions via text, email, and all forms of social media. What overwhelms me the most is the love and genuine interest of my co-workers (YAY Gazelles), friends and people I’ve never even met. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve told the same stories in the past…well…ONE day! And everyone apologizes because they know that I’ve already told this story to someone else and they think that maybe I’m annoyed to have to tell it again. And that’s so far from the truth. I am so blessed to be able to do the things that I get to do; to travel and see the tiny piece of the world that I’ve seen; and to share it all WITH YOU! I know that there are people who I know and don’t know who will never see a pyramid or a glacier or a volcano or The Avenue des Champs-Élysées or The Vatican, or a black sand beach with their own eyes. It is my absolute pleasure and honor to share those things with you all. It is my absolute pleasure to show off God’s amazing earth, to be your eyes, to feed your fantasies, to encourage your dreams, however big or small they may be.
I am encouraged by the enthusiasm. I am encouraged by my friends who are pursuing their dreams. I am encouraged that something that I’ve done has inspired others.
#wedontsitoncouches was a tiny idea that I had to share my travels and it has become a bold statement, a rallying cry almost, to get up and get out and live with no fear. It started with travel and has become about so much more. And I am overwhelmed and encouraged by that.

When I was in Iceland I had the amazing chance to go on a glacier hike. I had no idea what a glacier looked like and how exactly we would “hike” the glacier, but hey, it’s something to do right?
I was fetched from my hotel at 8:30am to take the drive (about an hour and a half) out to Sólheimajökull Glacier. It was cold and a bit overcast and we were told that it would probably rain. Great! I’m about to climb over a big chunk of ice in the rain! I was genuinely all for it!! The beauty of the volcanos and greenery and snow-covered mountains in the distance was breathtaking. We arrived to our location and we were given equipment for the trek; crampons, ice axes, harnesses, and helmets. And we started off. The glacier and the area surrounding it looked a bit…otherworldly. Imagine a perfectly lush, green mountain sitting next to a field of white and blue ice partially covered in soft, black volcanic ash. Yeah. We walked through the ash to a small lake where our guide showed us how to put our crampons on over our hiking boots. He gave us a few instructions about following directly behind him, how to carry the axe and walk in the crampons so as not to truly injure ourselves…and we were off. The first bit of the climb was pretty simply; through soft ice and ash. And then we got to a slightly more difficult passage, up a slight incline in more solid ice which required us to literally stomp into the ground (uhhh…ice) so that the crampons would take hold and we would have a steady foot. We climb over a few deep fissures of the most perfect blue ice you’ve ever seen. We walked around waterfalls and drank (yes…drank) from the ice water streams flowing freely.

And then came the climb. We each took turns using our crampons, two ice axes and a rope to climb up an ice wall and peek over the other side. Truly, the view from the top was breathtaking and the accomplishment I felt on the way back down made me feel like I could do anything. After everyone took a climb we continued our trek around more waterfalls, through ice caves and volcanic ash to our highest point, 200 meters above sea level. To look out over a perfect field of white across a lush green mountain, waterfalls in the distance, the ocean in the distance and fog and clouds hanging over us. WOW! My eyes still can’t believe it.
And then we started back down! The trek was somewhere around three hours…but who’s rushing when climbing a glacier. The only rushing is the sound of falls and streams making their way through ice. No. It’s all wind and peace and quiet.

Yeah man.

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