Hiking with Knitters in Iceland

IWTC interviewed Nancy Fierer on her trip to Iceland

Iceland geyser clouds

Iceland geyser clouds

IWTC: What was your motivation for this trip?

Fiere: As a young girl, I dreamed of going to Iceland; and the dream continued as I grew up, raised a family, had a career and finally retired. I love that women are respected in Iceland; the country has dramatic geology; and it is incredibly beautiful. I wanted to hike on Icelandic trails through gorgeous landscapes. I needed motivation to lose weight and get in shape. In preparation, I lost 68 pounds (31 kg).

IWTC: Where did you go?

Fiere: When I searched for hiking tours, I found one for knitters with Icelandic Mountain Guides. Imagine combining my love of hiking with knitting! We met our tour group in Reykjavik, the capital; and then flew to the east side of Iceland to Egilsstaðir and Bakkagerði. There we hiked into fjords and inlets; and we watched a puffin colony. Along the way, our guide Hélène Magnússon (knitter, designer and author) told us folk tales about hidden elves and scary trolls. One day we headed inland and climbed 2,000 feet (610 m) on foot paths to a ridge and down to our hut through wild lands. With my bad knees, I was embarrassingly slow–pathetic, really–but I made it. Everyone was very encouraging; and it was an amazing hike!

IWTC: What were the coolest things about the trip?

Iceland hike

Iceland hike

Fiere: There were four amazing things!

  1. We saw incredible views as we hiked; and when we stopped for rests, we brought out our yarn from our daypacks and knitted. We accomplished serious knitting on tufts of grass.
  2. The tour group was comprised of really interesting women from Europe, Canada, Australia and the US. Everyone pitched in to do things; and everyone hiked. No slackers!
  3. The knitting classes were fun; and I learned a lot. We had classes every day. Some were at the end of our hike, while others were right on the trail. I loved going into a woman’s home where she demonstrated how to knit lace. And none of us could keep our hand off the hand-dyed native wool that she showed us.
  4. One day my knees couldn’t take another day of hiking, so I hitched a ride in a small jeep that took our gear to the rustic hut where the group would spend the night. I imagined a relaxing ride through pretty hills, but instead it was a terrifying drive. For hours, I fearfully clung onto the grab bars as we bumped on rutted tracks up precipitously steep slopes and down again into picturesque valleys. We passed numerous open-range sheep grazing on the steep, rocky slopes. In hindsight, it turned out to be a wonderful experience!

IWTC: Would you go again?

Fiere: Absolutely! Iceland was everything I had dreamed it would be. And did I mention that I have kept off the 68 pounds I lost?

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