Áslaug Gudmundsdóttir, who is approaching 80, is Iceland’s oldest working cabin guard. She spends her summers guarding the cabin and receiving tourists in the remote Nordurfjördur fjord in the Strandir region in the eastern West Fjords.
“It adds life to my years. This job is rewarding. People come here to the west full of anticipation and few are disappointed. Then they return to their homes, satisfied after having seen and experienced the magnificent nature around here,” Gudmundsdóttir told Morgunbladid.
Gudmundsdóttir said she has never before seen as many tourists in the region in this year. Travelers often spend the night in the cabin in Nordurfjördur (where the road literally ends), which is operated by the Iceland Touring Association, and then hike from there to Hornstrandir where no one lives anymore.
“We sense that the book by Hrafn Jökulsson, Where the Road Ends, has had a great impact. Many have come here this summer to familiarize themselves with the book’s setting. Hrafn has also donated a copy of the book to every farm in the countryside,” Gudmundsdóttir said.
Gudmundsdóttir is born and raised at the nearby farm of Naustavík in Nordurfjördur. She and her late husband, Bernhard Andrésson, lived there until 1996 when they moved to Reykjavík to be closer to their children.
“But Strandir is in my blood. I call my compatriots regularly in winter to get news from home and come here early summer or as soon as the first tourists appear,” Gudmundsdóttir said. She has guarded the cabin in Nordurfjördur for 13 summers.
Click here to read a Daily Life about the Strandir region.