The steep cell is covered with a sparkling carpet that consists of fifty shades between gray, green and yellow. In the refuge of the cracked rock, two balls of brown hair are resting. The muzzle is stretched in the air, the ears are erect, the deep eye scans the surroundings and the curious arrive on these lands to venture. Their lands.
Welcome to the Hornstandir Peninsula Nature Reserve in Iceland. Located in Westforgers, Western fjords in French, this region is the state of the arctic fox. A domain where land mammals can venture through the landscape in a peaceful manner as if they are breathtaking.
It is in the farthest region of Iceland, that Pierre-Antoine Guillotte was chosen to begin last August. The 27-year-old Frenchman has embarked on a journey of more than 3,000 kilometers to the four corners of the island and its wildest regions. One route he traveled completely on foot, a bag that weighed more than thirty kilos on his back.
A “big hull”
Going on an adventure, Pierre-Antoine had dreamed it since childhood. But the young Breton went on a very different path. A graduate of the Paris School of Economics and the University of Paris-Dupine, he was gradually moving towards a career as a researcher in economics. At the end of a six-month internship, before realizing that he was on the wrong track.
In late 2018, he decided to join his girlfriend in Australia and began a two-month trip to the South Island of New Zealand. A limit of freedom he decides to cling to. Back in Australia, he enlisted as a sailor and sailed into the Tasman Sea three to four times a week.
“I felt really free, it was exceptionally intense“, He tells GEO. A few months later, an accident turns everything upside down. Pierre-Antoine falls off a cliff and breaks all the right parts of the body. Then he spends several months in a wheelchair in Sydney. Spent, which occupies most of its part. Time to read and write.
“This was when I had this click. I came to know about the circumstances which were not mandatory. I felt that it took me a long time to take over the reins of this existence, which gave a big boost to my life“, He agrees.
More than 3000 km route on Google Earth
The mythical and mysterious island, a land of fire and ice, Iceland acts like a magnet on travelers and adventurers. Pierre-Antoine is no exception. He never went there. Still the island hunts its dreams. “This is how the Iceland project was born “, He continues. But to go on such a campaign requires preparation and money.
Back in Brittany, the young man became a musk farmer and rode on his adventure for several months. Already, he plans to not make it easy for himself. There is no question of going through classic routes. “Along the route, I wanted to create my own track. I did not want to follow in anyone’s footsteps. I wanted to go where instinct takes me“, He remembers.
“And see Iceland in all its diversity and monotony. I also wanted to meet Icelanders. It was really close to my heart“, He says. It’s ultimately a route of more than 3,000 kilometers that he uses on Google Earth, from west to south, Central highlands, The famous highlands, then east to north from the coast.
The route is long and consists of single glacier crossings, dangerous stages. Some try to discourage him. But the young man is determined. “I went to Iceland for a solitary, cold, silent, very long lasting adventure. I had well-established inspirations. I knew why I was leaving “, He assured.
Up to -32 ° C in the tent
After carefully preparing his equipment and re-reading his itinerary, the start was finally revealed on August 24 at the Hornstandir Reserve, where the newly-adventurous discovered Arctic foxes. Icelandic summer is coming to an end. She will be the first of three seasons and possibly the most generous.
Because if this island is famous for its spectacular landscapes, it is also famous for its weather conditions that have put pressure on its inhabitants. “It would be a lie to say that it was something simple. I pounced on him. The conditions really got tough in the winter. I was in the tent up to -32 ° C“, Riley-T-IL.
He regularly found himself stranded and occasionally came close to disaster. “This is a difficult teaching. But this is where the notion of humility comes into play. I had to accept that you had to wait for several hours, sometimes for several days. It’s nature that decides, not you“, He admitted.
One day, an orange warning and 140 km / h winds push him to take refuge in a deserted sheep. He erects his tent there to seek shelter and spend the night. He is awakened in the middle of the night by squares that tear apart the tin roof of the refuge. Another day, an Iceland family comes to their aid when a storm destroys their tent.
“I was desperate I knew I was going to take a beating. I had no place to take refuge. They came out of nowhere, they told me “Come with us we will help you repair your tent, we will offer you food“Finally, I stayed with them for three days“, He remembers.
A break and off we go 1000 km
Once on the south coast, it is his body that tells him to stop. Walker has covered 2,000 km, still has 1,000. But its members refuse to proceed. “I could no longer walk, I had snowflakes on my fingers and feet. My legs were completely burned. I can not go under these conditions“.
Doubt sets in, but after a stay in the hospital and a week break, Pierre-Antoine, calm and full, takes to the road. Meet other residents, discover new lands. Such as the Scottish Shepherd who enters her for the new year and brings her her best bottle of whiskey. “A beautiful moment“, He breathes.
Sure His instagram account, He shares photos of the wild anomalies of his experience and crosses during his travels. This landscape which is only the secret of Iceland. Silent, peaceful, delicately colored, they barely give any indication of the difficulties encountered.
In the eastern fjords, however, weather conditions are not better. Snow, cold, frost and intense rain stop the days and continue to weigh on the walkers. But kilometers keep coming. He left the east coast to return to the highlands before reaching the northern plains. The end of the campaign is near.
144 days walking tour, 3,053 km
Pierre-Antoine initially planned to complete his journey shortly before Christmas. Finally it will take him another month to reach Akuriri in the north of the island, which he wins on 14 January. After a journey of 144 days and 3,053 km. “But this number doesn’t matter“, He specifies.
“This journey was for me a certain presence, a way to reconcile with reality. I needed to change my perspective, my perceptions, to get things to heart, to feel alive…“, He says. A few weeks after his return, the feelings still thrilled.
In his mind, there are moments of great difficulty with moments of extreme beauty, such as the solitary crossing of the Langjocal Glacier. “There was a cathedral silence it was impressive. The glacier had such a white crown, in the middle of a very dark earth. There was a fiery sun that was slowly rising“.
Or it swims in the warm rivers of the Curlingerfjöl massif. “Outside was -15 ° C, water was 15 ° C. That bliss, a moment of solitude of a strong intensity “, He assured. Did the campaign fulfill his dream? The young man hesitates. “I did what I wanted to do, I saw what I wanted to see. In that sense yes“.
But these hundreds of kilometers have logically led to new dreams. That he prefers to be silent at the moment and will not immediately realize it. Because the Icelandic adventure is not completely finished for the traveler who now wants to rewrite his journey in a book.
“This will allow me to relive it, share it, expand it and intensify it with words“, He explained. Apart from taking a well-deserved rest.”I am screwed, my feet look nothing!“, He jokes.”My body took a lot of money but I just need to rest and it will be“.
Discover Passenger Photographs During his Icelandic journey.
On the same subject:
4 Our Feedback Podcast
Adventurer Geologist Arnaud Guirin, Icelandic volcano expert, spoke on microphone Live In the fourth episode of our podcast Field response. He tells us about this land of fire and ice with which he fell in love and where he went no less than 65 times! To find in the player below and on all listening platforms.
‘S They crossed Iceland’s largest glacier from east to west on their own
⋙ 40 years ago in Iceland, Vigdis Finbogadotir became the first elected President in the world
⋙ Iceland: one island, two seasons
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