Field Notes

Iceland 2B • June 30-July 13, 2017

Icelandic Ice Climbing and Waterfalls

July 13, 2017

Bless bless (Icelandic goodbye)! Wow, to say the past two weeks have been amazing would honestly be an understatement. We feel so lucky to not only get the opportunity to be here, but to be given the opportunity to meet these incredible 13 kids. Although it’s time to say goodbye, we went out with a memorable last day. Let me fill you in on what we’ve been doing throughout our last hours in Iceland! 

 

We woke up bright and early on our last day, and we were ready to seize the day! Allie and Will were our Leaders of the Day and helped load all the group gear into the van. Considering the group are now professionals at breaking down camp, we were able to do so in record timing! It’s safe to say that setting up or breaking down a tent is now a mastered skill. With one last meal of warm oats and tea, we prepared ourselves for the amazing Seljalandsfoss waterfall and for our day of ice-climbing. Katherine and Chloe both recognized the waterfall as the famous spot where Justin Bieber filmed a music video, and we were all intrigued with being in the same place as him! Wyatt, Ryan, Evan, Will, Bobby, and Mac decided to run through the waterfall shirtless while screaming a few inside jokes from the trip. It had us all laughing hysterically! Keep in mind it was far from being “warm” today but the boys fully embraced the cold (and wetness)! After admiring the surreal waterfall, we started getting pumped for our next task: ice-climbing! A moment we had all been waiting for. Our guides geared us up in all the essentials such as ice-axes, crampons, harnesses, and helmets. We were feeling legit! Eric, our glacier guide, explained the history behind the glaciers and showed certain milestones of its melting. We couldn’t believe how fast it has melted in just a few years! It made us even more grateful to have the opportunity to not only hike, but climb, on the breath-taking glacier! On the hike up to our climbing spot, we named Hannah the “glacier goodness” because of her styling all white outfit on the glacier. That’s what we like to see! We also discovered Meredith, Hattie, and Tate’s talent with being able to climb up the ice in less than five minutes. We couldn’t believe how easy they made it look! I was able to get some incredible shots of them mid climb while throwing their ice-axes in the snow. Everyone in the group successfully climbed the ice, and we were extremely proud of the group for fully embracing the activity. The only complaint we had about being on the glacier was that “I wish it could have been longer,” which we will take! After trekking back through the snow and getting some chopping out with our axes, we made our way back to Reykjavik. Showers! The group was quickly satisfied after their warm showers, and we ended the last day with some Thai food! A small local restaurant accommodated all 15 of us, and we couldn’t have been more pleased with them (and their food!). We concluded the trip by sharing our favorite memories from the trip which brought along many laughs and smiles. The last Moonup is always tough because of the thought of departure but this group made it one to remember with all the amazing reminiscing we had! 

 

It’s crazy what two weeks together can accomplish, and we are so proud of this group for how far they have come in a short 14 days. Thirty-seven miles in three days didn’t even phase them, and many commented that it was their favorite part! We, as leaders, continue to learn and be inspired by these amazing 13 people each and every day, and we feel so blessed to know them so dearly now. They embody the word “family,” and I truly believe they have a greater appreciation for fully living in the moment after this trip. Thank you parents for allowing your kids to come on this trip!! We hope to see everyone next year! Fly home safe!

 

Addy and Thomas 


Conquering the trail!

July 11, 2017

37 miles in 3 days? Yes, we did that! This amazing group has successfully completed the Laugavegur trek, and we couldn’t be more proud of them! Thankfully, we were blessed with sunshine and blue skies every day. Our guide from Iceland (Saga) told us the sun usually follows her, and we are now fully confident that it does! Let me tell you a little more detail about the past days on the trek.

 

We woke up to sunshine at our base camp on Friday and prepared ourselves for a volcano hike! The group fully embraced the hard climb up, and we even had Wyatt attempt to run up the trail. Keep in mind this was not a flat hike! Once we reached the top we enjoyed some trail snacks and embraced the truly breathtaking view of our surroundings. We also learned some Icelandic history of past volcanos and some science behind what they are predicting. On our way down, we had the opportunity to explore an amazing ice cave! We decided to rest up after the hike and play some games such as mafia and a whole lot of card games. Our leaders of the day helped everyone get packed up for our huge day one of the trek. Feeling ready, we all filled up on a hearty meal of lamb stew before tucking in and getting to bed early.

 

On Saturday, we set out to complete 13 miles of our trek. Yes, I said 13 miles. Considering one campsite was filled with snow, we decided to combine days 1 and 2 of hiking because we were fully confident this group could make it. We were right! Mac and Allie were our leaders of the day and they could not have set the stage any better. Their constant positivity and motivation truly helped the rest of the group make it through the hike. Tate made it her mission to talk to everyone on the trail for an extended period of time, and we couldn’t have been more proud! Katherine was what we call the “spontaneous motivator” for the day as she would constantly cheer on others in the group and always be on the lookout for someone who needed a pick-me-up. For the first half of the hike, we hiked mainly up-hill, and the group managed to have no complaints. We stopped half way at a hostel where we enjoyed some well-deserved hot soup and sandwiches! With rejuvenated energy, we finished the next half of the hike with stellar attitudes. We had our first river crossing of the trek, and Bobby helped everyone get across by offering his hand. The group made it to our first campsite in no time! Just before reaching the campsite, Meredith requested that we stop for a few minutes and take a moment of silence for the surreal view. What an amazing idea! Afterwards, people said “it was the most relaxed they had been in a while.” We were so proud to see this true appreciation for the outdoors that this group fully embraced. Once we arrived at our campsite, dinner was already prepared for us by our amazing Arctic Adventures guides! A hot meal of macaroni and cheese was exactly what we needed to end the day. Evan and Will kindly offered what food we couldn’t finish to others staying at the campsite, and they were extremely grateful. To say the least, getting everybody to bed was not a hard task! Day one of trekking was completed with some style! 

 

Sunday funday greeted us with more sunshine and blue-skies! What did we do to deserve this? Within the first 30 minutes we had a river crossing that the group tackled with ease. The group took trail conversation to a different level, and everyone got to know each other even better! We love seeing how much a group can come together through hiking. The group scouted out the perfect lunch spot next to a river where we played card games and basked in the sun. We reached our second campsite 10 miles later, and we all cheered when we saw the Icelandic flag symbolizing where we would camp! We enjoyed another warm meal of salmon, salad, and rice as we began to wind down the day. I think it’s safe to say we have been well fed on this trip! Hattie and Ryan, our leaders of the day, took us on an amazing night hike where we found the perfect spot for moon-up. With one last great conversation, we went to bed to prepare for our last day of trekking.

 

Monday morning began with some pump-up tunes to get everyone going for the upcoming day. We even had a little morning yoga to get ourselves ready for the final push. Hannah woke up feeling extra energetic, and managed to break down her tent before anyone else. We love the energy! Once again, we were amazed by the breathtaking blue skies we were given. Today was the first day we saw trees. After hiking through snow, dust, and volcanic ash it was quite a relief to see some good ole green trees. The final push of the hike included one last river crossing, and the group formed teams of two to help each other safely cross! As we walked into our last campsite, everyone had huge smiles across their faces. We made it! Katherine immediately joined into an outdoor yoga class going on at the camp while dinner was cooking. Chloe nicely offered to take our leftover spaghetti Bolognese to others camping around us! She came back with no leftovers. We love to see this group embracing the concept of giving each day, and it inspires us to see these random acts of kindness! Celebratory hot chocolate and cake brought the night to a closing as we reflected on what we had just accomplished. This group blew our expectations for an AMAZING trek.

 

37 miles calls for a rest day (sorta)! Today we enjoyed sleeping in! We ate breakfast outside, listened to music, practiced yoga, and played ball throughout the morning.  We decided to go on an afternoon hike that led us to a gorgeous overlook of our campsite, and we all sat for a while to embrace the beauty. Words cannot express how proud we are of this group for all the positivity they have managed to bring to each and every activity. They have taken advantage of every opportunity this trip has thrown at them, and we have loved watching them grow.

 

Tomorrow we will head to see some of the most gorgeous waterfalls in the world along with try out some ice-climbing. What a way to bring home the trip! We truly can’t believe how fast these two weeks have gone by, and we couldn’t be more thankful to have this group by our side. We will be in touch with updates from tomorrow’s activities.

 

Addy and Thomas 


Soaking it all up in Iceland!

July 8, 2017

Hello again Iceland 2B families!

On day 5 of our trip we woke everyone up by blasting American pride music and decorating everyone in tattoos, beads, and hats! Happy 4th of July from Iceland! To clarify, we were quite alone at our campsite so we felt it was appropriate to celebrate our home country a little bit. After listening to our favorite songs and filling up on warm breakfast, we drove to the breath taking Glymur waterfall hike! Katherine and Evan were our leaders of the day and volunteered to carry the group gear throughout the hike. We explored many caves, different types of flowers, and of course, an amazing waterfall. The group also had their first river crossing of the trip, and Mac took it head on! After crossing the river we had a steep incline to get to the top of the hike but this just made lunch that much better. We enjoyed packed sandwiches overlooking the massive waterfall and couldn’t have been more thankful to spend the 4th of July how we did! What is this life we get to live? Ryan seemed to find the most picturesque scenes throughout the hike, and we were able to capture some incredible shots of him with a view! With full stomachs, the group flew down from the mountain, and we traveled back to Reykjavik! I think everyone was very grateful to be back at the warm hostel. Showers were a first for the group! Considering we made it back to Reykjavik in good timing, we let the kids have their town day to buy souvenirs. We decided Will purchased the best t-shirt, and everyone was envious of his find. The group also had the chance to explore the quaint town of Reykjavik and become more familiar with their surroundings! The night came to an end with a Moonup on rocks overlooking the water. We shared some our most embarrassing moments, and the entire group was hysterically laughing. The 4th of July ended on a high note, and we were so thankful to have spent this holiday exploring everything Iceland has to offer! 

We woke up to a delicious buffet breakfast and got ready for our next activity. To the hot spring hunt we went! Hattie and Wyatt were our leaders of the day and they helped pack up the van and set up lunch items. It was a huge help! About 10 minutes into the hike we came across a boiling mud pot. We couldn’t believe the amount of geothermal activity in the area! Although we stayed a few feet back, we all watched the natural boiling mud in awe. Thomas and I were very appreciative of Tate’s constant enthusiasm about hiking and how infectious her attitude was! We passed some gorgeous horses on the hike, and Meredith was very happy to see her favorite animal! The group battled some rain showers but this was nothing for this hardy group of people. When we reached the top everyone changed into their suits and went straight into the hot springs! The group managed to find the best (aka hottest) parts of the hot-spring, and enjoyed their natural hot tub. The hike down was full of amazing trail conversations and hilarious talks about everyone’s morning routine. Quite random but we learned a lot about everyone’s character! Out campsite was a popular one because of its soccer field! We immediately set up camp and then let the games begin. We discovered Chloe and Bobby’s amazing talent for soccer, and everyone quickly started wanting to be on their team! The amazing day got even better with some salmon pasta and a blue sky Moonup where we talked about everyone’s favorite family tradition. We love hearing about all the amazing traditions people have in their life! 

Today we travel to our new campsite where we will be for two nights until we start our 4 day trek! We had a little treasure hunt for a missing part of the U-Haul, and Hannah and Allie were the saviors of the day for finding it! We have full confidence in this group after the past 6 days of being with them, and we can’t wait to see what the rest of the trip has in store! We will be in touch after we complete the trek!! Below are some shout-outs from everyone!

 

-Addy and Thomas 

 

Ryan- Hey Mom and Dad, I’m having so much fun. Iceland is so beautiful and amazing. You would love it here. I miss you and love you guys and see you soon! 

Wyatt- Hi mother and father, Iceland is so fun. It’s really pretty. I know you guys want to be here. I am having an amazing time. I miss you guys, love you. 

William- Hey Mom and Dad, This place is insane! Iceland is so beautiful and is filled with fun! I have been having so much fun and have made so many friends. You guys will be so jealous when you see all the amazing pictures. I love you guys so much and miss you! 

Mac- Hey guys, I’m having a great time in Iceland. I miss y’all so much and I can’t wait to see you.

Hannah- Hey Mom and Dad! I am having an amazing time! Iceland is gorgeous but very cold (to me at least). Thank you so much for sending me on this trip! Love you and miss y’all so much! 

Bobby- Hi Mom and Dad! Iceland is a really cool place where there is no dark during the summer. I am learning a lot about the country and people here. See you soon. 

Evan- Hey Mom and Dad, I’m having such a great time here. It’s so fun going on hikes and seeing this amazing country. Love you and miss you both and can’t wait to see you in a week. 

Hattie- Hey Mom and Dad! Love and miss y’all! Hope y’all had a great 4th of July! Tell Mary Fleming I said happy birthday! Love y’all and can’t wait to see y’all!

Tate- Hey Mom, I’m having so much fun! Hope y’all had a good 4th and tell Sy that I said happy birthday! Love y’all. 

Allie- Hey fam! Having a good time in Iceland! It’s so pretty here and everyone is great. Happy 4th of July! Love you so much! 

Katherine- Hey Mom and Dad, I’m having sooo much fun here in Iceland and I hope y’all had a good 4th. Tell George and Fred I say hi! Love you tons and can’t wait to see you soon! 

Chloe- Hi Mom and Dad, I am having so much fun here in Iceland. We are hiking and camping out! Happy 4th tell Ollie I miss him and love him. Can’t wait to see you love you and miss you all including Sophia and Gracie!

Meredith- Dear family, Iceland is a pretty cool place and I’m having lots of fun with all my new friends! Miss y’all and PV and I hope you guys had fun in NC. Love you lots! 

 


Exploring Iceland's waterfalls & hot springs!

July 6, 2017

Hello again!

On day 5 of our trip, we woke everyone up by blasting American pride music and decorating everyone in tattoos, beads, and hats! Happy 4th of July from Iceland! To clarify, we were quite alone at our campsite, so we felt it was appropriate to celebrate our home country a little bit. After listening to our favorite songs and filling up on warm breakfast, we drove to the breath taking Glymur waterfall hike! Katherine and Evan were our leaders of the day and volunteered to carry the group gear throughout the hike. We explored many caves, different types of flowers, and of course, an amazing waterfall. The group also had their first river crossing of the trip, and Mac took it head on! After crossing the river, we had a steep incline to get to the top of the hike but this just made lunch that much better. We enjoyed packed sandwiches overlooking the massive waterfall and couldn’t have been more thankful to spend the 4th of July how we did! What is this life we get to live? Ryan seemed to find the most picturesque scenes throughout the hike, and we were able to capture some incredible shots of him with a view! With full stomachs, the group flew down from the mountain, and we traveled back to Reykjavik! I think everyone was very grateful to be back at the warm hostel. Showers were a first for the group! Considering we made it back to Reykjavik in good timing, we let the kids have their town day to buy souvenirs. We decided Will purchased the best t-shirt, and everyone was envious of his find. The group also had the chance to explore the quaint town of Reykjavik and become more familiar with their surroundings! The night came to an end with a Moonup on rocks overlooking the water. We shared some our most embarrassing moments, and the entire group was hysterically laughing. The 4th of July ended on a high note, and we were so thankful to have spent this holiday exploring everything Iceland has to offer! 

We woke up to a delicious buffet breakfast and got ready for our next activity. To the hot spring hunt we went! Hattie and Wyatt were our leaders of the day and they helped pack up the van and set up lunch items. It was a huge help! About 10 minutes into the hike we came across a boiling mud pot. We couldn’t believe the amount of geothermal activity in the area! Although we stayed a few feet back, we all watched the natural boiling mud in awe. Thomas and I were very appreciative of Tate’s constant enthusiasm about hiking and how infectious her attitude was! We passed some gorgeous horses on the hike, and Meredith was very happy to see her favorite animal! The group battled some rain showers but this was nothing for this hardy group of people. When we reached the top, everyone changed into their suits and went straight into the hot springs! The group managed to find the best (aka hottest) parts of the hot-spring, and enjoyed their natural hot tub. The hike down was full of amazing trail conversations and hilarious talks about everyone’s morning routine. Quite random, but we learned a lot about everyone’s character! Out campsite was a popular one because of its soccer field! We immediately set up camp and then let the games begin. We discovered Chloe and Bobby’s amazing talent for soccer, and everyone quickly started wanting to be on their team! The amazing day got even better with some salmon pasta and a blue sky Moonup, where we talked about everyone’s favorite family tradition. We love hearing about all the amazing traditions people have in their life! 

Today we travel to our trekking base camp, where we will be for two nights until we start our 4 day trek! We had a little treasure hunt for a missing part of the u-haul, and Hannah and Allie were the saviors of the day for finding it! We have full confidence in this group after the past 6 days of being with them, and we can’t wait to see what the rest of the trip has in store! We will be in touch after we complete the trek!! Below are some shout-outs from everyone!

Ryan- Hey Mom and Dad, I’m having so much fun. Iceland is so beautiful and amazing. You would love it here. I miss you and love you guys and see you soon! 

Wyatt- Hi mother and father, Iceland is so fun. It’s really pretty. I know you guys want to be here. I am having an amazing time. I miss you guys, love you. 

Will- Hey Mom and Dad, this place is insane! Iceland is so beautiful and is filled with fun! I have been having so much fun and have made so many friends. You guys will be so jealous when you see all the amazing pictures. I love you guys so much and miss you! 

Mac- Hey guys, I’m having a great time in Iceland. I miss y’all so much and I can’t wait to see you.

Hannah- Hey Mom and Dad! I am having an amazing time! Iceland is gorgeous but cold (to me at least). Thank you so much for sending me on this trip! Love you and miss y’all so much! 

Bobby- Hi Mom and Dad! Iceland is a really cool place where there is no dark during the summer. I am learning a lot about the country and people here. See you soon. 

Evan- Hey Mom and Dad, I’m having such a great time here. It’s so fun going on hikes and seeing this amazing country. Love you and miss you both and can’t wait to see you in a week. 

Hattie- Hey Mom and Dad! Love and miss y’all! Hope y’all had a great 4th of July! Tell Mary Fleming I said happy birthday! Love y’all and can’t wait to see y’all!

Tate- Hey Mom, I’m having so much fun! Hope y’all had a good 4th and tell Sy that I said happy birthday! Love y’all. 

Allie- Hey fam! Having a good time in Iceland! It’s so pretty here and everyone is great. Happy 4th of July! Love you so much! 

Katherine- Hey Mom and Dad, I’m having sooo much fun here in Iceland and I hope y’all had a good 4th. Tell George and Fred I say hi! Love you tons and can’t wait to see you soon! 

Chloe- Hi Mom and Dad, I am having so much fun here in Iceland. We are hiking and camping out! Happy 4th tell Ollie I miss him and love him. Can’t wait to see you love you and miss you all including Sophia and Gracie!

Meredith- Dear family, Iceland is a pretty cool place and I’m having lots of fun with all my new friends! Miss y’all and PV and I hope you guys had fun in NC. Love you lots! 


Greetings from Iceland!

July 3, 2017

Haló from the other side!

Our team has arrived in high spirits in majestic Iceland. Although slightly jet-lagged from a delayed flight, the group came through security with full smiles. We couldn’t be more excited to have them here! Hannah had us immediately laughing by announcing how she fell asleep before the flight even took off. Talk about well-rested! We met our Arctic Adventures guide (Saga) who will be with us for the remainder of our time here in Iceland. She had the whole group intrigued with her belief in the elves and her various stories involving the elves. Wyatt was especially intrigued with the elves and immediately began looking for locals who believed in elves. After some car ride folk tales, we arrived at the famous Blue Lagoon hot springs! There’s nothing like a little spa day to get over the jet-lag! The group was quick to change into their suits and begin enjoying the hot springs. Allie was the first to discover the silica face masks that the hot springs provided and lathered it all over her face. Soon after, the entire group had completely white faces! Evan and Will spearheaded the group to explore all aspects of the hot-springs, and we found ourselves on the search for the hottest spots we could find. After feeling refreshed from our natural spa day, we loaded up the van to Reykjavik. The group was pleasantly surprised with the clean, warm, and welcoming hostel. They quickly helped everyone get their luggage up to the room! Fortunately, the rooms can accommodate the entire group into one room. Talk about a party! Once settled, we took a walk through Reykjavik and found a park in the middle of town. Bobby brought his frisbee, which was a crowd favorite and we, all played get to know each other games and some ultimate frisbee. After getting some fresh air, we went back to the hostel where we were greeted by some good ole comfort food! Pizza! We managed to devour 6 full pizzas in no time. Thomas and I loved the hardy appetites! With full stomachs and fresh showers, we went to the roof for our nightly Moonup. For those of you reading, Moonup is a nightly ritual we do where we gather as a group and get to know each other on a deeper level. Our first Moonup question was, “What are you most excited about getting away from this summer?” and we think it’s safe to say Moondance is a refreshing 2 week break from our daily lives! 

Ryan and Hannah, as our first leaders of the day, had the responsibility of waking the group up and getting packed up. We woke up feeling refreshed after a full night’s sleep and enjoyed a wonderful breakfast provided by the hostel. To the West Fjords we went! Katherine helped load up everyone’s backpack into the van, which Thomas and I were extremely thankful for. The van ride to the West Fjords, where we kayaked, was about 2 hours but Meredith had us all entertained by sparking great conversations. When we arrived at our kayaking point, the girls ran off to explore the surreal island and picked some gorgeous purple flowers that they braided into their hair. The group worked together to get all of the kayaks packed with tents, sleeping bags, food, and personal gear and then carried them down to the water. I think we might have built up some superior upper-body strength! On our paddle we spotted some Icelandic puffins and adorable seals that were swimming around us. We also had the opportunity to get off our kayaks mid-way and explore an old ship wreck. The ship was an old fisherman’s boat, and we were able to get some amazing photos with the sun shining! We kayaked right up to our own island for the night and couldn’t believe the views of all the Fjords we had in front of us. As we set up tents, Arctic Adventures cooked us a delicious hot meal of meat stew. Yum! Hattie helped serve the warm meal along with passed out kitchen utensils to everyone. Dinner was followed by some well-deserved hot chocolate and cookies. I promise these things taste better when you’re camping! The night came to an end with a Moonup on the edge of the island where we imagined the sun setting. Considering the sun doesn’t set much here, we are now calling it the island that never sleeps! We couldn’t be more thankful to have spent the first day on the water with this amazing group of people. Thomas and I already have an amazing feeling about this group! 

We woke up to some birds chirping, Icelandic sheep, and some warm oatmeal. Mac and Tate were our leaders of the day and they helped serve and clean breakfast. It was a huge help! The group packed up camp and took one last look around the breathtaking island before getting into the kayaks. Mac and Tate also helped everyone get their kayaks into the water, which was not a simple task! We battled a few more currents back and ended the paddle with a final race! Ryan took the win with Bobby coming in a close second. Next stop was glacier and canyon searching! We went to a glacier that is thought to be the center of the world by many Icelandic people, and it is thought that it gives off high amounts of energy! Cloe was the first to cross over a small bridge to the amazing canyons, and we were thankful for her discovery. I think we might have gotten a future catalog photo! The day came to an end with filling up our water bottles with carbon dioxide water from the ground. It is supposed to have various health benefits and tastes like a soda water! Last but not least, we enjoyed some hot dogs to gear up for the 4th of July! Tomorrow we venture to the amazing Glymur waterfall hike and then head back to Reykjavik where we will prepare for our future trek/hiking days. We cannot even put into words how much fun we are already having with this group! Iceland has been treating us well, and we look forward to the many more adventures!

Until next time! 

Addy and Thomas 

 


All Arrived in Iceland!

July 1, 2017

Hi Iceland Families!

We heard from our leaders in Iceland and the group has arrived safely in Reykjavik! Stay tuned for more posts to come!

-The Moondance Team


Students

  • Katherine
  • Chloe
  • Tate
  • Evan
  • Hattie
  • Bobby
  • Will
  • Meredith
  • Hannah
  • Mac
  • Wyatt
  • Allie
  • Ryan

Staff