Here we are in the last 2 days of our Iceland adventure. We’ve nearly crashed our junkyard car into mounds of snow and rock, braved several snow storms that brought our visibility down to 5 feet, and we’ve eaten every seasonal game available on the specials menu during our extravagant dinners. The last thing to do is almost die driving an ATV off the edge of a cliff.
I was looking for adventurous things to do in the initial planning stage when I came across the site Extreme Iceland. I scrolled through Super Jeep drives and glacier hikes before settling on either a snowmobile or ATV drive. Because of the price difference and amount of possibility either trip would be weather affected, we settled with the ATVs and swiftly booked our adventure!
As we arrived, we pulled the car around to what looked like a couple of greenhouses and industrial companies. We were about 20 minutes early, so our wait consisted of looking around the icy grounds to find a water closet (bathroom), a shower, and 2 or 3 small cabins. Of course, after exhaustively exploring the 100 square foot area, we settled on our own form of dancing ice capades on the slippery road. (I’ll be posting this video for your viewing pleasure shortly.)
As my friends lay bruised on the cold ground, our guide pulled up in a van, nearly running them over. They scrambled off the ground and we greeted him ready to take our adventure.
After signing some legal papers, we dressed in full body protective jump suits, double layered gloves and massive helmets. Initially I was worried that none of the jumpsuits would fit. The statistics of America being the fattest nation in the world circled in my head and I worried that the European country wouldn’t be able to accommodate my red, white, and blue waist. Thankfully, the suits were organized by size, and as I have been doing since I was 15, I walked to “my area” of the rack; the back. I took the very last jumpsuit in line and with an anxious air, swiftly zipped up the suit without complications. It fit fine, with just a little bit of tightness around the hips. I was inwardly ecstatic because even though I was surrounded by my best friends, I knew I wouldn’t be able to hide my embarrassment if the fitting went south.
Our guide, wearing an 80s neon printed jacket, gave us a crash course in operating the machines before telling us in a soft Icelandic accent, “This trip is perfect for beginners. No worries.”
We started by taking public roads around the area before climbing on gentle elevated paths. Soon those paths stopped and we began off roading upwards over hills, crevasses, and snow piles. The moment finally came when I realized this was not some low-level tourist attraction..you could actually die from this.
We ascended a short, but steep ridge and on the other side was a massive dip in the mountain. I actually stopped and screamed through the helmet to my friend sitting on the back of my ATV “Is he f***ing serious?” To which she exclaimed, “YOU GOT THIS, GO GO GO!” I screamed the whole way down, and then through the immediate steep uptake.
The trail continued to weave in and out of rocky areas, snow covered mounds, and over small streams of melting ice. Following every move of our guide, I watched as he, and then I, had to wiggle the handles of the ATV back and forth in order to keep traction. Did I mention this was on a snow covered section of the trail with the edge of the mountain being directly under our back wheel? With tiny girl screams, I pressed on.
At last, we pulled up to an open area, jumped off the ATVs, and made a brief climb (2-3 mins max) to the summit of the 1st mountain that looked over Reykjavik.
After about 15 minutes, we’re back on the machines and on our way to the 2nd peak. This time, I was a little braver and a little more trusting of my guide. Though, this did not stop me from questioning his judgment as we approached another questionable part of the path. It was an incline that I was certain would flip us over on our backs and under the ATV. Again, I screamed. Again, we reached the peak unscathed.
The 2nd peak was at a higher elevation, and my brain struggled to take in the amount of earth I was seeing. Mountains, houses, streets, the ocean; It was all there and seemed so much smaller that what we had explored 4 days before. But at last, a familiar sight loomed in the distance like a tiny toothpick stuck in the earth, holding the town and all its ingredients together. The Reykjavik church was visible from this height and I could finally gain a sense of direction.
We awed at the sights and took pictures next to the giant square rock that marked the peak of the mountain. All we could say was “holy ****, that was incredible” or “Oh my god, this is amazing.” And as our tour guide stood back and offered to take a picture of all of us in our jumpsuits and giant helmets, a small smirk pulled across his face. Maybe he did hear me screaming at some point during the trip and knew that the sight at the top of the mountains would wipe away my fears.
At this point in my life, this was the most adventurous thing I had ever done. I felt confident running this massive machine because I felt that it masked my size. I loved that I could find a jumpsuit that fit me without problems and that the guide said nothing and gave no special orders pertaining to my size. Before this I had only been on a rollercoaster less than five times because I was afraid that my hips wouldn’t fit in the seat and I’d be rejected. But there I was, at the top of a mountain in f***ing Iceland. Hell, yeah. Go fat me!
Not sure if this adventure is for you? Read my post 3 Tips for Adventuring Plus Sized! to help chose the best adventure for you!