Exploring Iceland’s Westfjords
The Adventure Of A Lifetime
Living off-the-grid in the Westfjords of Iceland without electricity or running water and endless outdoor pursuits at your doorstep. What started off as a wild idea, soon became a reality for @haukursigurdsson and his partner Vaida, when they decided to move their life into a yurt for one year. Eager to gain a deeper connection to nature and explore the potential for adventure in their home region, they had no kids, no debts and no reason not to pursue their dreams.
Turning their dreams into a reality, @haukursigurdsson and Vaida needed to first secure the yurt they would call home. As it so happens, Huakur’s cousin works in the film industry and had recently been on the set for the film, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”. For those who haven’t had the pleasure of watching this film, it’s all the inspiration you’ll ever need to pack your bags and get on a flight to Iceland. A seemingly perfect context as it is through this project that he acquired a mongolian Ger, and lent it to them for the year.
With a home to live in, the final pieces to the puzzle were to build a platform and a kitchen. Haukur and Vaida were able to salvage wood from a recently torn down barn that luckily sat upon the land they would be using.Any leftover materials were used on the wood stove for cooking and warmth.
Day To Day Life
Soon after moving in, Haukur and Vaida quickly let go of modern comforts and adapted to living off the grid. No electricity meant phones and computers were limited to their battery life which they topped up as needed in nearby villages. They fetched all of their water from a nearby river and cooked meals from a wood stove. Simple tasks, like making a pot of coffee, could take up to an hour. Dry wood was collected from the winter ration and water from the river, the stove was fired up, and once the water was brought to a boil, you could then brew your morning cuppa. Surprisingly enough, the most challenging season wasn’t winter as we’d expect, but spring. As Haukur explains, “The cold was never an issue, we were never cold. The challenges came in the spring when we had days and days of rain and snowmelt. Then we had some water coming in which wasn’t fun.”
The Potential For Adventure
Haukur and Vaida started living in their Mongolian Ger in late November, just in time for the Icelandic winter. Soon enough the snow started falling and they began exploring the skiable potential of their own backyard, and it delivered. Due to its northerly latitude and surrounding mountains, the Westfjords only see a couple hours of daylight during the peak of winter. Under these circumstances outdoor enthusiasts get out and enjoy their passions when the light is available, making for some epic midnight descents. The winter was packed with cold weather pursuits and crossing valleys to discover new peaks, many of which had never previously been skied. During the shoulder seasons stream crossings were difficult to avoid. The pair would remove shoes and socks, roll up their ski pants, and brave the icy rivers with ski gear on their backs.
Spring was warmly welcomed after the cold Icelandic winter. Melted snow allowed the once frozen roads to thaw and permit access to surrounding areas. Haukur and Vaida hung up their ski boots to explore the network of roads and waterways in the Westfjords. Vaida enjoys yoga in the yard and taking her SUP paddleboard for a cruise. Spring easily flirts with freezing temperatures so she glides through the Westfjords fully clothed in a puffy winter jacket, wool hat, and insulated winter boots. At its warmest, the summer temperatures will peak at 10 C so a road trip to a nearby natural hot springs ties them over. After an entire winter spent living in a self sustained yurt, the heated waters were a delightful indulgence.
The Real Adventure Begins
Exactly a year after moving in, Haukur and Vaida tore down their yurt to live in town, and within a couple of months their eldest son was born. After living in the yurt for an entire year, he says raising their two boys are their biggest adventure yet. There is never a dull moment! Aside from the adventures that come with raising a family, he is able to squeeze in travels here and there. With a few international pursuits on the horizon, he plans to feed the continuous hunger to explore his home region in the Westfjords. Hauker explains that, “there are still endless unexplored possibilities.” A great reminder to never underestimate the potential for adventure from your own front porch.