Pants. T-shirt. Socks. Rain jacket. Insulation. Buff. Shoes. Underwear. These are my clothes, flying on a ripping Icelandic gale across Rauðasandur Beach toward the Arctic Ocean and Greenland beyond, unless I catch them. That’s why I’m running full tilt, my toes digging out fat clumps of cold, clotted sand the colour of pumpkin pie. And I’m naked, my shame fully exposed to the icy patter of summer sleet casting off the moss-knuckled fjords behind me.
Normally, I might grab a wad of seaweed and fig-leaf it back to the car for a fresh set of clothes. After all, I’m lost deep in Iceland’s Westfjords, a rarely visited ventricle of densely knotted sea inlets and mountain ridges branching off the country’s northwest coast. The only witnesses to my embarrassment are the sheep that pepper the canted green hillsides like dirty cotton balls. Here, they outnumber humans 1,000 to one.
But this is not normally. These are my only clothes. And if I can’t catch them, I’ll be nude until Reykjavik – 397 kilometres and at least two very uncomfortable gas stops away.