It was Fall when I first laid eyes on Hanakambur.
Iceland in the fall means the moss is almost falling asleep. It takes into winter dreams the the vibrant blue-green color it has proudly worn all summer. There are gifts. Gifts left behind, reminding us that one day the sun will return: melting the blanket of snow, awakening the spirit and returning the color.
Krækiber (crowberries) and bláber (blueberries) are the gifts. These berries grow in close proximity or even interwoven in the moss. To this day, when I’m passing over the moss and feel that soft and fragile carpet compressing under my weight, crushing the berries, I can’t help to think juice is being made for the earth to energize the island.
During a search and rescue training exercise a few kilometers from Tindfjallajökull, located in the South of Iceland, our team was passing over a path infused with berries and moss. To the West of Tindfjallajökull lies a plateau hovering around 600m above sea level with five or so small peaks sharply climbing upwards towards the sky. As our team stood near the edge of the glacier, where rock meets ice, I could not take my eyes off this one section in the middle of the flattened earth.
It looked as if the land and rock were momentarily able to escape Earth’s gravity, making a dash for the heavens, only to be caught and pulled back down to the ground. The terrain had the back of a sailfish, the spine of a stegosaurus. It was incredible! I looked around to see if my team were seeing what I saw, but no one looked in the same direction. Each one of us were focused on our own place. Our own dinosaur.
Every mountain, hill, peak, river, stream or brook in Iceland has a name. As I scanned over the map, I prayed that as I discovered the name of this magnificent formation, I would agree.
Hanakambur. That was the name given to my volcanic rock stegosaurus located at 63°46’50″N 19°45’W.
Hanakambur translates to Mohawk (the hairstyle) and Comb (the fleshy ridge on a roosters head). It was decided on this day, should a company ever be started whose sole mission was to explore, Hanakambur would be its name.