Gearing Up for Iceland

I’ve already purchased the most important parts of my gear for my upcoming trip to Iceland…hiking boots, socks, and my geologic field book. I’ll wear the boots every day, hiking around volcanos, geothermal pools, and fault lines. The socks are also key. I got the best, warm socks with no seams which are knit to conform to your foot. The notebook was prescribed…a waterproof, bound book with geologic references in the back. Next up? Layers.

I bought my boots at REI. I don’t know what it is about them that drew me there, but I couldn’t even think of another place to go. Once there, I was surprised to learn that they are a co-op and that membership of $20 (which goes to local trails) gives you entrée to discounts and more. In my first trip, I got my boots, socks, and water shoes. The water shoes will be nice for the hostel shower, but I really bought them for fording streams (don’t you just love the adventure in those words?).

My second trip, I was in search of rain gear…my outer layer. The weather will be between 30 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit. I will need to go out for the day with clothing that protects me from rain and snow and sun. I could head out in a snow squall, spend hours making observations in the rain, and then find myself at a geothermal pool ready to swim. The sun will be up for 20 hours and in twilight-mode for the other four hours. What to wear, what to wear!

The helpful folks at REI helped me find a rain jacket and rain pants. For some reason, the woman helping me thought I was going to Iceland with my husband, despite my correcting her multiple times. I told her I was traveling there with a class. Finally, she got it and apologized. Then she told the next associate that “the teacher” needed help finding a waterproof pen. I let that one slide. Yes, I am a 52 year old student…being mistaken for a teacher is an honor!

In the end, I chose the low-end products for my outer layer. You can spend a fortune on this stuff, but I’ll only need it for a couple of weeks. I need to buy bigger sizes so that I can wear a light jacket and pants over at least two other layers for warmth. When the associates tried to get me to buy other layers, I demurred. I have tons of running gear and I’m pretty sure that I can fill my suitcase with my winter running tights, running jackets and long-sleeved T’s. I don’t need backpacking-specific clothes when I already have similar gear for running.Buff

I did succumb to something called a “Buff”. This turned out to be $20 for $5 dollar worth of fabric. I bought into the concept of a lightweight loop of fabric that I could wear around my neck and use to warm my neck, face, and/or head just by shifting the fabric.

In the end, it’s not about fashion. It’s about flexibility. I’m not ready to pack yet, but I am thinking ahead to when I will. I need a few new things…hopefully things I can continue to use after my trip. In the meantime…

Find the Joy in the Journey…and remember, you can’t go wrong with layers!

 

 

My Addiction to Office Supplies Goes Outdoors

New school supplies still make me happy. When I started college as an engineer, I graduated from loose leaf paper and spiral notebooks to logbooks. I learned that a scientist has to use a bound book so that evidence is documented in a tamper-proof way. I liked that. Ok, I loved that! Then, I discovered logbooks with page numbers and graph paper pages. Ah, heaven. Soon I justified buying a scale instead of a plain ruler and next thing you know I had a few French curves and a lot of colored pencils to my name.

Now, as I prepare for my journey to Iceland (sounds awfully adventurous!) I was instructed to buy a geological field book. This notebook, my professor explained, would be turned in for grading at the end of the course. It needs to have accurate drawings (uh oh) and be kept in chronological order documenting all of the sites we visit. The date, GPS coordinates, and observed weather must be recorded along with geological observations.

I ordered my notebook online. I learned that there are many profession-specific field books. They are rain-proof, as long as you use a pencil or a waterproof pen. I scoped out the proper notebook and added two mechanical pencils, one red and one black. I wanted blue and maybe even green and yellow, but they didn’t offer anything but black and red. I also found a cover to keep the notebook and pencils together.Geologic Fieldbook

Looking at this notebook, the epitome of all scientific notebooks, I think about why I am so drawn to it. The empty notebook is a new beginning, the blank pages waiting to be filled with new experiences. Back in college, I began each new semester as an adventure and a challenge. It was tough going and as I progressed through the years, I started to count down the remaining semesters at each new start. Better to just enjoy the journey, tough as it may be.

My new notebook has a table of contents. I like the orderliness of this. Life is chaotic, but with this notebook, this one aspect of my life will be chronicled in an orderly way. Built into the back of the book are twenty pages of reference materials. These aren’t the random references that some notebooks capture, but information very specific to geology. When I am out in the field, with no internet, this will be my only reference. It’s nice to know that most of the basics are already at hand. Before I leave, I will add references of my own, particularly a map of Iceland.

Opening up the notebook, I find that each left-hand page is a blank table and each right hand page is graph paper. I wonder if my observations will fit neatly into this format. I doubt it, but this is where I need to be flexible. Hidden in the back of the notebook, I find a treasure…a scale! It’s flat and waterproof with an arrow and a big N. In the field, I can set it next to a geologic feature and point it north. Then when I take a photo of the feature, I will know its exact size and orientation.

It’s often said that planning a vacation is more fun than the actual trip. I hope that they are equally pleasurable, but I do know that I am enjoying the preparations for my next adventure. I have my precious notebook and I intend to follow up with my professor to get it back after he grades it. I am already making plans to take his fieldwork class next year…Cypress or Puerto Rico.

Who knew that a passion for notebooks could mesh with my newly unleased passion for adventure! Find the Joy in the Journey…What’s your next adventure?