Some of us dream of kicking back and relaxing in a beach hammock. Some of us love the idea of sitting on the deck of a mountain lodge and sipping coffee. Some of us like cruises and having plenty of minions around to bring us a fresh drink as soon as our ice starts melting.
And then there are others. Others, whose idea of a good time is something called “hiking”.
“Hiking” (as far as I understand it) involves work. And maybe even sweating. Which to me seems to be the antonym to “vacation”. But what do I know?
Some might say they are a little strange. Crazy, even. But I prefer to call them my family.
These particular family members would be my Aunt and Uncle, the youngest daughter from my father’s family and her husband. They like the Great Outdoors.
Great Outdoors: A place where there are bugs. And possibly large, flesh-eating mammals.
The last time I sat and talked with my Aunt, she regaled me with the tale of her and my Uncle’s trip to the Arctic Circle, and how a polar bear (Polar. Bear.) seriously considered fording the river that separated them and
sharing a coke eating them. Okay, so I don’t know that he wanted to eat them, but I’m pretty sure he was interested in more than a photo op.
Now that they are both over 50, however, she and her husband have realized that their adventures must, by necessity, take a more moderate turn. I mean, after five decades of life, one must realize that perhaps a safer, less exhausting mode of entertainment is in order. I mean, sure, hiking is still just fine, but let’s stick to just a few hours at at time, okay? And no more freezing rivers. Or exotic locations. How about somewhere closer to home?
Very funny. For a minute there I thought you said Iceland.
You did say Iceland?
Oh. Okay. Sure. Just a little jaunt. You went on a cruise ship, right? You viewed it all from the deck of a luxury liner?
Why am I not surprised?
Okay, okay. Go ahead. Put us all to shame. Show us all your pictures. Let us know what irrevocable wusses we are. We can take it.
This is a hot spring (even the Icelanders aren’t that crazy…I don’t think).
The name of this particular bit of Iceland is Kirkjubaejarklaustur. I am not even kidding.
Here are two of the most amazing people I know. My Aunt says they choose to take vacations such as these once a year in order to strengthen their bond. It’s “the ultimate marriage encounter”, according to her.
I think I’ll just take her word for it.
Did I mention that they hiked for sixteen hours straight across a glacier in one day?
Yes, I said glacier.
Glacier: A big-ass piece of ice.
These people, I am honored to call them my relatives. I’d like to believe I have half of their inner fortitude.
But who am I kidding? I would have been reduced to the consistency of Jell-o within the first thirty minutes.
Okay, okay, I wasn’t going to say it. I really was trying not to say it. But I have to say it.
My uncle looks startlingly like a garden gnome in this picture.
I hope he will still speak to me after he finds out I called him that on the world wide interweb.
This is the end of the hike. Oooh! Look at the pretty little purple and yellow Icelandic wildflowers! Look, Uncle John! Look at the pretty little…oh, never mind.
It truly is a beautiful country.
I could almost imagine going there myself someday. Except for that pesky temperature issue.
My Aunt and Uncle are so
insane really awesome that they’d rather hike on the ice than put it in their drink. And I’m just so proud to be hanging out in the same family tree as they are.