On the road again…

Today’s world is, for the most part, mapped-out and sign-posted to a fare-thee-well.  You can still get lost if you work at it, and I can recommend some woods in Norway if such is your desire, but the days of setting out literally into the great unknown are behind us here on Earth…and our current understanding of physics pretty well rules out human exploration of even our nearest other planets.  Thus, it’s hard to imagine the mindset of a handful of hearty Vikings who set out around 986 to establish a settlement in North America.  Yep, American schoolkids still sing songs about Columbus, but nearly five hundred years earlier a bunch of guys in furry nightgowns and funny hats beat his expedition to the New World.  Columbus at least had the magnetic compass and dead-reckoning to help him wander across the Atlantic.  No one knows for sure what tools the Vikings employed during their voyage to God-knows-what, but there is speculation that they took caged crows along with them…once released the crow would presumably fly towards the nearest land and Leif and the boys would toodle along after.  I don’t know whether to think they were immensely brave, or just lacked better options back home, but crows??? I get cranky when my GPS doesn’t know road names in Greece (the Greeks don’t seem to sure either)…guess I would probably have stayed on the porch while the Viking big dogs were out on the prowl!  The image below was shot on a hike with friends in western Norway, the trail being marked in the usual Norwegian fashion.  (15 August, 2011  Preikestolen, Rogaland, Norway)

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