Friday, September 2, 2011

Place I've Been - Highlight

Okay. Here's the list: Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, Las Vegas, Neveda, Tinsman, Arkansas, Keflavik, Iceland, Mountain Home AFB, Idaho, Pleasanton, California, Issaquah, Washington, Dayton, Nevada, back to Issaquah, then to Maple Valley, WA and Ballard (Seattle), WA. These are the places I've lived thus far. As for traveling - I think the only states in the US I've yet to hit are up in the NE corner - Maine, CT, VT, NH and the like. Such is the life of a military kid. It was a good life. My sister and I got to see things very few kids got to see (a volcano erupting - we were a safe distance, but you really could see the fire and lava spewing into the sky!).

Lets zero in on that Iceland thing, simply because the country is lovelier than the name implies it might be. We lived there for two years in the early 70s. I still counted my age in single digits. But let me show you some photos and you'll see why the memories are so vivid. (This volcano is one of the more recent and spectacular eruptions on the main island. When we were there, it was Heimaey on Vestmannaeyjar Island. Dad was deployed into the town to help keep the ash off the rooftops - the ash was so porous that when it rained or snowed, the pumice would soak up the moisture and cave in the houses. He spent a bunch of time shoveling rooftops and getting far too close a look at that active volcano.)

 This is an excellent example (borrowed from a tourism site) of the craggy, Icelandic landscape. At the time we were on the island, there were no trees at all. The island had been deforested early in its history. As an itty bitty Girl Scout, I helped plant a few saplings. I understand that a major reforestation project got underway shortly after Dad was reassigned and we left the island.


Geysirs. Ah, the Geysers. Didn't misspell it the first time - that is the Icelandic spelling of the word. We spent a bunch of time endangering our lives by being fascinated by the geysers. At that time, no one put up fences around anything. We could rush right up to a steaming hole in the rocks and look down in. The periods of the geysers were posted on nearby signs. The onus was on you to count the super-heated water surges and to take off running *before* the actual eruption. Some of this water was boiling. You did not want to be staring down into it when it shot into the sky.

Is it any wonder I grew up to be such a geek about geology?

This link will take you a live feed of Gullfoss - or Gold Falls - the largest waterfall in Iceland. This was one of the highlights for me. My folks took us out there. You stand on the edge looking down into this chasm. So much water is pouring over those falls the ground shakes. You *feel* the water. It's spectacular. 


  1. Wow, Iceland looks awesome. Also - I find it so amazing, the things we all did as kids and lived to tell about it. No helmets, no seatbelts, and staring into geysers - wait. I never did that last one. I think I'm jealous.

  2. My sister was born at Mountain Home AFB. In fact, I'm the only one of five siblings who wasn't born on an air base. Dad's one civilian kid. LOL

    Those pics are great and I'm in awe of your living in Iceland. That must've been a neat experience - even if you were young.

  3. Last time I saw the stats, people living in Iceland were the happiest in the world. The study spent a fair amount of time trying to discern WHY. In a few pics, you've convinced me!

  4. Wow, no wonder those years in Iceland stuck with you. Beauty and adventure all in your backyard.

    Way. Fun.

  5. First earthquake: Iceland. First volcanic eruption (notably - not the last - the hubby has theories on that): Iceland. Where I first fell in love with the ocean: Iceland. Where the first cat from my childhood died and is buried: Iceland. Her name was Katmai - which is a volcanic park in Alaska. :) Note that these photos are all sunny and gorgeous. That represents only a few weeks out of the year. Every storm that crossed the Atlantic, it seemed, hit that tiny island. Doors in houses were built a few feet up off the ground (with stairs) to accommodate the ice in winter. There were weather conditions so severe that only emergency and essential personnel were allowed out on the base roads...It was an adventure and not all of it was pleasant, but it is colored that way in my memory because my parents worked so hard to make it a good time for us.