The Westfjords mountains

- Son, where are you going? My father sits behind the kitchen window enjoying his oatmeal. -I am going out, somewhere upwards, can't you see the lights in the sky, I say, while I am heading out armed with an old shepherd staff. 

My father takes a break from chowing down his favourite dish, glances up and tells me to keep an eye on the sheep and finishes the sentence with the old familiar phrase “and remember that it is not always best to go down the mountain the same way you went up it”.

I smile and nod of course. I wouldn't trust any man better than my father, when it comes down to knowing your way around these mountains. As ever since I was a little boy, he has been telling me about the mountain paths. For us it's important to know your way around here. As every year, before winter is upon us , we need to head out and get those sheep's.

The Westfjords mountains

But now it is not the time for sheep herding, I am just going to head up on one of those mountains that surrounds our valley and enjoy what ever comes around. I smile as I walk past a large stone that lies in the middle of the field close to my farm. This stone will never be moved, as elves live there. The elves are usually helpful to man, as-long as you don't make them angry.

Most people might find this strange and childish, but there is beauty in this folklore. To believe that there is some spirit in nature itself, that hinders you from disrupting it. And in result shapes your mindset into preserve it, as opposed to mindlessly disrupt it. I think that the lesson in this folklore brought knowledge between generations about the importance of nature and that mother earth is full of life, even the stones.

The Westfjords mountains


Up the mountain I go and soon the steps are getting steeper and I am starting to breath heavily. Somehow its still fun, you begin to feel the urge to be victorious, to achieve the goal you have just set yourself. With every step up you soon start to notice the view, that quietly talk to you and drives you on. It's a fantastic feeling and you start to wonder why you don't do this every day. I rest at the next creek and look around for the next resting place, the next landmark to get to.

The Westfjords mountains


Resting is however not much of an option when you are herding sheep's. Those who go high up the mountain, need to be experienced in walking these cliffs and know their surrounding. The sheep's are nimble and can go places where you cant. You cant outrun them so you have to outsmart them.

Whilst chasing them you must continuously try to drive them down to the path beneath, but we must also be careful of what lies ahead. As we cant push the sheep's to some places in the mountains where there is no turning back. In Icelandic we call this situation “sjáflhelda”. It's where the sheep ends up in a situation where they can neither move forward or backwards. They are stuck on a cliff in a complete standstill.

The Westfjords mountains

But now I am not chasing them even though they suspiciously watch me from distance as i climb slowly up the mountain. There is no hurry, you can always find a new place that you haven't notices before. You can see the faces in rocks which off course are what is left of the Trolls that couldn't flee the morning sun and turned to stone.

The trolls lived up in the mountains and kept their distance to men. They helped to shape the land, moved mountains, and made islands in the sea according to folklore. These stories and the faces we see in mountain connects us with nature. It makes you wonder if more things in nature had a human look to it. Maybe then we could connect better to nature, and therefore respect and appreciate her more. Check out the some trolls here.

The Westfjords mountains

The Westfjords mountains

The Westfjords mountains

The Westfjords mountains

I am beginning to see the summit, every step is now steeper and the view getting better. I look down and see valley that was carved by the ice age glacier, standing on mountain that has been here for 10000 years. And finally I am on the top of the mountain. Size is relative, everything that was once big is now small. All the worries of the mundane life is now gone, and the only muscle I can still move, produces a smile.

The Westfjords mountains

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