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Iceland Cometh

Karyn Planett

Greenland, too. And, like always, I’ve left too much till the last minute.

So, how do I pack for summer in the frozen north? Good question. They, those snowbunnies and mogulmuffins who know snow say, “layers, think layers”. Of what?

They say "silk". Honey, if I’m buying silk, I’m wanting something cuter than those ghastly, saggy-butt LongJohn onesies you see in survival catalogs. Seriously. A hot, asymmetrical, accordian-pleat Issey Miyake kimono is more to my style. But how will that hold up if I’m chasing the Northern Lights at midnight? Not sure. Well, I’ve gotta figure this out because I leave today.

So, angst-riddled, I begin pulling out work-out tights. That should help, I guess. I know warm socks are a must, so I’m packing cute ones with Betty Boop and stuffing my boots with footwarmers. I need cute boots that’ll grip the lose volcanic grit, stay dry if by some chance I’m forced to ford a fjord, yet scream style in front of an evening fire. I also need to pack waterproof pants in case I’m bum-deep in snow at some point. Chances are pretty good since we’re driving from Akureyri in Iceland’s north to Reykjavik in the south. Why? I’m joining friends on a photo-safari with National Geographic photographer Raul Touzon. He likes to be out the door and in place when the sun comes up and when it sets and in Iceland and Greenland, that’s something like 4:45am and 10:15pm. Look on a globe and you’ll understand why. Or ask Mr. Wizard, he’ll know.

In Greenland, we’ll be on an expedition via ship skirting up the east coast then looping south around the tip to poke about the west. For zodiacs, I’ll need waterproof everything especially for my camera gear. Thankfully I’ll be sporting my waterproof, rescue-ready bright red parka so rescuers can find me if I get lost. Oh, and my Norwegian road crew high-viz green pants and jacket with enough pockets for lenses, moisturizer and cuticle oil (it’s dry in the cold), hand sanitizer in case I touch a seal, lip gloss and waterproof mascara should there be seaspray, and a touch of sunscreen.

We'll be scrambling over jagged cliffs, standing far too close to waterfalls, dodging in and out of geyser eruptions (FYI -- "geyser" IS an Icelandic word), and hopefully hopping aboard those fuzz-fur Icelandic ponies that roam about nibbling this, nibbling that and looking for hand-outs from passing cars. We're also going to the Blue Lagoon for the thermal waters and porcelain-white mud to be rubbed on everything except your unmentionables.  And, Lake Myvatn. You should read Lynn Cox's "Swimming To Antarctica". This amazing young American also swam 7 1/2 miles in Lake Myvatn with the water a shriveling 40 degrees. I won't be doing that.

I will send updates from Akuryri, Myvatn, Breiòdalsvik, Jökulárión, Vik, and Reykjavik. In the meantime, I'd like to buy a vowel.