Continuous Journey in Kerlingarfjöll
“The whole summer has felt like a continuous journey,” because no two days are alike, Aníta Björk Jóhannsóttir Randíardóttir tells mbl.is . She has been working as a park ranger this summer in Kerlingarfjöll mountains and Hveravellir, in the highlands.
Since 2015, when she first got a job in Skaftafell, Southwest Iceland, she has been captivated by nature and by the park ranger’s job.
“Getting to know such a unique area this well and being paid for it is truly a privilege,” she states.
She loves traveling and happened to be backpacking in Vietnam at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, after having traveled through Nepal and Indonesia. She returned to Iceland at the beginning of February.
When asked to describe her job as a park ranger, she explains that it mainly involves preserving nature and educating guests about the area. This summer, she has mainly been providing information and answering questions. “I always make an effort of mentioning that off-road driving is illegal and that it is important to stay on the trails when hiking,” she states.
“It’s our responsibility to preserve Iceland’s nature for the coming generations.”
Her job involves replacing old signs and trail marking stakes, raking over marks created by off-road driving, and checking the conditions of the trails.
Her favorite part of the job is hiking. “Nothing beats hiking in good weather,” she states. “I take a sledgehammer along for fixing the stakes. It’s even better if, along the way, I can tell people about the area and show them unique places… During those hikes, I often use the opportunity for earthing by taking off my shoes and walking around barefoot. It gives me vitality which I cannot describe. I recommend it for everyone.”
Traffic was slow in Kerlingarfjöll at the beginning of summer, but it has picked up since the beginning of July. Few tourists to begin with means that vegetation got time to recover and grow.
You can follow Anita’s adventures on Instagram at @anitabjorkj .