The final week rolled around so quickly and Monday morning had a different feel knowing that the following Monday we would be waking up in a wholy different place. Still, the weather stayed loyal and work didn’t waiver.
For the latter part of the week, the trail work took the form of stone steps on a step section of the Rettarfell trail. The climb had loose earth and called for us to haul the nearby boulders and plant them in the earth. For many, stone steps were new and so the challenge was to build them solid and sturdy. That being said the team took to it with patience and enthusiasm, and by the end of the first day 19 new steps were steadfast, across three flights. The next day on return to site, optimism was growing, and after a second productive day we had hit fifty steps, an unbelievable transformation. Far from being a slow last day, Friday we took to the hillside again and left with something to be proud of, the three sections joined to a continuous flight of 81 stone steps, so solid they withstood the passing tour groups, so subtle that from above you couldn’t make out their presence. We dubbed it, the eighth wonder of the world.
Being in the mountains doesn’t impede living a certain lifestyle at camp. Glenn made a delicious chocolate tiffin one day, and Liz and I managed to score points by cooking up some camp donuts by deep frying jam sandwiches in batter, and coating them in sugary goodness. On Wednesday night Chas brought us a selection of his five favourite Icelandic Craft beers and we had a tasting of each, from the light white lager, to a formidable 9% double IPA. The hut was cosy with good feeling, crammed with cheese, and when the park wardens joined us we all got a little closer through fear listening to the ghost stories which live on in these valleys. With the nights drawing in and the sing song sounds of the Icelandic story telling, we had shivers down our spines.
The nights began to clear and the northern lights intensified. Quick displays of green and pink exceeded what we had seen before, and with them, the frosty canvas came back into play.
Friday evening, after a mammoth last week, many challenges and successes we hung up the work gloves and Chas said, ‘I think all that is left to do is relax.’ Only problem is, I’m not quite sure how. We were the final week of volunteering activity in the park, behind us only a few straggling tourists, another three weeks of park wardens. Soon all of this will lay under snow, enjoying the quiet until it is revived by the spring melt. The valley was home, and life was full, but in many ways simple. The bubble was about to burst and us, released into the real world. The experiences and accomplishments turned into dreamlike memories, hard to believe it all happened. The closing of a second summer in Thorsmörk with many new friendships, and a yearning for a third.