|Beautiful colours in Iceland's Laugavegur region|
|Geysers and lava flows|
The smoking geysers in the sulphur hills could give a clue to what Enceladus may be like. What is the most surprising feature to many visitors to Iceland though is its desert landscapes, something one wouldn't expect to find in a land close to the Arctic Circle. The deserts, which are caused by soil erosion resulting from glaciers melting courtesy of volcanic activity, including from Ejafjallajokull, which famous halted all air traffic for a while in 2010, reminded me very much of the surface of Mars. Trekking into an area of forestry towards the end of the route though felt like coming back home to Earth!
Taking on Iceland's Laugavegur trekking route was my second serious bit of practice in my bid to summit Africa's highest peak in October. Though not a high-altitude trek, it was both a demanding and thrilling experience in its own right, especially covering 24km on the first day crossing snow, ice fields, lava fields and volcano ash not to mention fast-flowing rivers! As well as trekking across different surfaces, what made the trek particularly exciting for me was the huge contrast in colours present in the landscapes created by a combination of glacial and geothermal activity and different micro-climates from bright sun, strong winds to heavy rain. coping with such change is a challenge to anyone, especially for people with Asperger's Syndrome, but what was a much bigger step outside my comfort zone was sleeping under a sky where the sun didn't set! Fortunately, there was plenty of rain during the evenings, the sound of which on the tent roof somehow aided my sleeping patterns.
|Other-worldly desert landscape|
Respected Tibetan teacher Lama Chamtrul Ringboche gave some helpful guidance on happiness during his public talk in Bellingham, Northumberland. Describing happiness as the essence of humanity, Chamtrul also said that a good foundation for happiness was compassion. I have spoken of how compassion can enable understanding Asperger's Syndrome, but when listening to Chamtrul's talk, it also occured to me that compassion can enable people diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome to understand each other. What is still sometimes confusing with Asperger's Syndrome to me is an aspect that is often considered a strength is the directness and honesty. Because people with Asperger's Syndrome have a tendency to tell it like it is, it can sometimes falsely come across as bitter and twisted or even cold hearted, especially in one channel communication such as E-mail or when posting on social media. This is where applying compassion to both communicating and listening can help overcome such confusion, to help save someone's feelings as well as to understand that no harm is intended through directness and honesty. Stay tuned to Adventures with Autism Works for more on this theme and others related to it.
Donations can still be made towards my Kilimanjaro challenge in aid of the Daisy Chain project, supporting families affected by autism. To find out more, you can visit my sponsorship page at http://www.justgiving.com/Chris-MitchellGNR/