Monday, August 8, 2011

Day 44: Aug 8, 2011

We cycled 65 km (40 miles) today from Stykkisholmur to Olafsvik on the gorgeous Snaefellsnes Peninsula. Warmed by the sun shining overhead in a nearly cloudless sky, we rode along the base of a mountain chain to one side and a yawning, glistening blue sea on the other. In the distance to our right, over miles of ocean, I could make out the towering bird cliffs of Latrabjarg. We stopped frequently to capture photos of the stunning landscape and ate lunch on a sprawling moss-covered lava field.

We passed hundreds of ducks and gulls along the shore and regularly encountered docile sheep nibbling sweet grass on the road side. When we rode by a group of noisy arctic terns, Saya asked warily if they were going to attack us for bothering their babies. They threw a few obscenities our way, but we made it by the aggressive birds unscathed.

As we worked our way over a steep climb, Snaefellsjokull Glacier suddenly appeared in the distance directly ahead of us. It's majestic, snow-covered volcanic shape reminded me of Mt. Rainier in Washington State, where Sho was born. Eiko thought it looked somewhat like Mt. Fuji in Japan. We pulled over to the side of the road to take pictures. Upon seeing the glacier, Sho let out an appreciative, "Whoa!"

"Remember this scene," I counseled, draping an arm across his shoulders. "The glacier is receding about four meters a year now and will likely disappear completely in your lifetime." I imagined him returning here as an old man, recalling his childhood bike adventure in Iceland, and mourning quietly at the sight of a looming mass of black rock.

Or maybe I'm wrong. Perhaps human beings will come to terms with the reality of the Keeling Curve's data on the rapidly rising amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and reverse the harmful changes we are making to the global climate. It will likely require a new generation of young people willing to challenge the status quo. Perhaps my children will hear that call...

We made it to Olafsvik in time to get in an evening swim at the local pool, where Saya showed off her "I swear I'm not drowning" dolphin swim technique, and Sho crushed me in a game of water tag.

Here are some pics:

Saya snuggled up in her trailer:

On the road:

Lunch in a lava field:

Looking out toward Latrabjarg:

Snaefellsjokull Glacier:

- An Iceland Bike Adventure post

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