July 28, 2017
Hello friends and family!
We have been enjoying our final days exploring in Iceland. After our last update from Reykjavik, we left the hostel and headed towards Glymur waterfall for a short and final “cool down” hike. Thomas and Kiki, our LODs, helped lead us to the second highest waterfall in Iceland. Upon reaching the top, the girls had one last lil’ yurt performance for everyone and Aidan snapped a few model shots. After the hike our guide recommended we stop at one of the best bakeries in Iceland, so everyone got a fresh sandwich and Kate found some Icelandic donuts to snack on. We continued along the coast to the small town of Stykkisholmur where the lively karaoke bus continued! We found a basketball court where Owen, Thomas, and Blake balled out. Everyone explored the town where the film The Secret Life of Walter Mitty was filmed and checked out the picturesque harbor before dinner. Carter went to the restaurant where many scenes were filmed and took an interest in Hilmar’s history about the movie. We made grilled cheese and went for an ice cream treat by the water before settling down in our tents. The following morning we met our kayak guides to get our paddles wet in the fjords of the North Atlantic. We paddled along the coast to an island for a lunch break and juggling competition where Thomas and Owen showed off their skills. Cruising through the seaweed and jellyfish of all sizes, we arrived at an abandoned shipwreck. Virginia was the first to explore inside the cabin and Haley went down into the bunker to find a typewriter and old bottles. Back on the sea, Riley and Blake had a splash war in the warm weather and we continued on back to the shore. We played soccer in the sunshine where Lucy could get a little bit of practice in and show off her skills. Our LODs Aidan and MJ led Moonup where everyone shared their favorite Halloween costume and everyone giggled when Izzy shared her answer. Max, Owen, and Margaret slept under the arctic sky for a final night in the windy coast.
This morning we awoke to a windy coastline and made the decision to continue to town avoiding a choppy ocean and stopped along the way to find some seals and a beautiful volcano. Today is Blake’s birthday, so Max helped Margaret decorate the bus and MJ and Lucy made a birthday crown! We are heading back to the city for a final night together and our banquet dinner. We are excited to be travelling with this group and everyone is very excited for a town day in Reykjavik! Thank you for sharing your kids with us this summer.
It’s hard to believe how quickly these past two weeks have flown by and we’re excited to soak up every last minute together!
July 25, 2017
Hello friends and family!
We have been having a blast with this group and have some updates written for you by our young leaders. After departing from our country side campsite last week, we ventured to Urrigafoss to gaze upon the waterfall with the most volume in Iceland. After arriving to Landmannalagur and setting up camp, we jammed out to some music on our bus to avoid the weather outside and used the microphone for karaoke featuring some popular Kesha covers by Lucy, Mary John and Izzy. We awoke the next morning in the foggy valley and took a day hike to a place called Ugly Lake, a contradictory label for our destination which was beautiful. Each day we use our Leaders of the Day to guide us using the map, and Carter, Thomas and Kiki set a great example for the rest of the group before we headed off on our trekking section. Owen was curious to check out the hot spring at the campsite so a few of the boys went for a final hot spring dip. We concluded the day with the filling traditional Icelandic dish of lamb soup that Lucy, Aidan and Riley tasted despite their particular palettes. We were so proud of them for getting out of their comfort zones and trying something new! On the first day of trekking, we traveled through lava fields, smelly sulfuric volcanic steam, snow fields, and crossed colorful scree slopes. The changing landscape keeps our minds occupied and conversations flowing. Needless to say, we have been soaking up every minute together. Virginia, Haley and Kate’s positive attitudes kept us going through the hardest days! Each day the weather continued to improve, along with the pace and energy of the group. We finally arrived yesterday in Þórsmörk feeling weary but proud and satisfied that we had completed our challenging trek. We celebrated our arrival at the beautiful riverside campsite with delicious grilled legs of lamb and potatoes with a cheese sauce.
Today we woke up early to pack up camp for a busy day of sightseeing. We crossed the river in our bus and made a stop at several waterfalls along the south coast on the way to the incredible black sand beach and dramatic basalt cliffs outside of Vik. We are heading to Rekyjavik for the comfort of the hostel and to rejuvenate for another hike and some sea kayaking. We can’t wait!!
Despite some blisters and windy weather, we are so proud of the distance everyone travelled and have been impressed with the ever positive attitude of this spectacular group of kiddos. Below are the daily updates from your accomplished young trekkers!
-Margaret and Blake
Yesterday we took a couple hour day hike around several mountains and two lakes. We had quite a few fantastic views of the surrounding landscape with massive lava rocks and plenty of uphill hiking. Hilmar, our guide, had me and Kiki, the other LOD (leader of the day) navigate all of the trails. We only got off the trail one time. On our way back we ascended a small mountain and could see for miles around us. We stayed fairly dry! Hilmar taught us the weirdest sentence in Icelandic: ‘A á Á á á. Translation: sheep on a river own the river.
– Carter and Kiki
Today we woke up at out camp and ate a heavy breakfast. After brushing our teeth and transferring backpacks from our trailer, we strapped on our hiking boots for our four day trek. We started off by slowly trekking uphill in our t-shirts and leggings. By the end of the day we were slowly hiking through the snow in our fleeced, rain pants, down jackets, and hats. Finally after 7 miles, we made it to our campsite. The campsite was covered in mist but we still continued to set up our tents. After getting settled, the mist vanished and we were treated with amazing views of the mountains around us. Inspired by Lucy, Riley, and Kiki’s attempt to sled with a groundpad, a group traveled to a larger hill to sled on our butts. The sledding expedition left us all in high spirits for dinner (pasta and hotdogs with a grilled cheese appetizer) and ready for the second day of the trek.
– Izzy and Max
Many of us woke up to discover that our sleeping bags, pace, and tents were wet. The majority of the Day was moist and windy but that didn’t stop us! We managed to complete our days’ worth of hiking despite the weather. When we made it to our campsite for the night, we were greeted by the sun and we were finally able to see our shadows. However, the wind made it hard for some to set up their tents. Our dinner of salmon and rice topped off a day of hiking and crossing a couple of rivers.
– Kate and Aidan
Today was our third day of the trek. We hiked a total of 10 miles and crossed three amazing views together, linking arms in our enthusiasm. We then walked through the desert; this was our first time actually being hot. Hilmar then led the group to a small waterfall before we pitched our tents and sat down for a candlelight dinner. After our amazing meal, half the group hiked up a mountain and say, watched the sunset, looked at a turtle rock, and talked for what seemed like hours. We blew up our sleeping pads and headed to bed early to prepare for our fourth and final day of trekking.
– Riley and Virginia
Today we woke up hot for the first time since we’ve been here and could finally wear shorts! Margaret made cinnamon bread for breakfast and we headed out to complete our trek! We went around the bend of a canyon, through a desert, and into a forest. Blake, Thomas, and Margaret carried our day packs the rest of the way to the campsite and we finished our trek! We hung out by the river, made s’mores, and had a ‘Lil’ yurt’ rap group performance with Mary John and Lucy as background dancers. Some people climbed another rock before going down to Moonup.
– Haley and Max
July 19, 2017
Hello from Iceland!
The group has made it comfortably into Reykjavik, but not before stopping off for a quick dip at the Blue Lagoon.
After a leisurely soak in the crystal blue waters of the geothermal pools, the group settled into the hostel and had lunch. After a stroll through the city, names were learned, but soon many started to drift into a nap as the time change began to take its toll. As the group awakened in the evening, we all had a pizza dinner and went along with a few ice breakers that started to bring the group together. We closed the opening day with our ritual Moonup, reflecting upon the day’s activities and individual accomplishments and aspirations.
We awoke the next day to a light drizzle, but we loaded up the bus and headed towards our hot spring hunt to Reykjadalur. The rain and wind picked up a little as we started the hike, but all were in high spirits as we were finally within the beautiful Icelandic scenery so many had anxiously waited to see. We reached the narrow heated stream atop the mountain and all quickly changed into bathing suits, ran through the rain and bounded into the heated water. The group talked and laughed for hours, as they escaped the rain and cold underneath the warm stream. After a while, we all stepped back out into the cold, but laughed at the absurdity of us wearing only bathing suits in such weather. We changed back into our hiking gear and headed back down the trail towards the bus. We reached it still in high spirits and headed towards our country side campsite.
As we reached the beautiful countryside campsite, the group learned how to set up tents and everybody began to dry off. We set up our kitchen tent and everybody on warm clothes and cooked dinner. With warm soup, smoked salmon pasta with a delicious cream and pepper sauce, the group was full and ready for bed.
We awoke this morning to head towards Landmannaluager. The group is very excited to stop off at a waterfall on the way to our campsite. They wanted to send a few words home before we head out on our trek:
Hi Mom and Dad! It’s very rugged here in Iceland. I am loving it! – Carter
Hi Mom and Dad. I’m having a great time here! It’s very rocky. – Thomas
Hi Padre and Christina. Having a lot of fun here! I am taking a bunch of photos. – Aidan
Hi Mom and Dad. I’m having a lot of fun here in Iceland. It is very rugged and beautiful. – Owen
Hi Mom and Dad Iceland is really cool and we’ve seen a lot of really cool stuff. We are having a blast! – Max
Hey Mom and Dad, Iceland is quite a different place! I’m so happy that I was able to come here! – Kate
Hey Mom and Dad! I’m having so much fun here! I lost my pants but then found them so it’s okay! Tell Teddy and Bear hi! Love y’all! – Izzy
Mom and Dad: I know y’all are super worried… but I am safe, having the best time! It is soooo pretty on the hikes here! Love and miss y’all! Xoxo, Hales. – Haley
Hi family. I am having so much fun here and we are doing such cool stuff. Hope you guys are having fun at home, I can’t wait to see you! Miss you and love you! – MJ
Hi family! I am having such a great time. Iceland is by far the coolest place I have ever been to. Miss and love y’all! – Virginia
Hi Mom, Dad, Mel and Val! Iceland is super pretty and my group is really fun. Miss you guys! I love you! – Kiki
Hi family! I am having such a fun time here. Iceland is so great and pretty. Miss you all! Love ya <3. – Riley
Hey family! I am having the greatest time here in Iceland. I miss and love y’all so much. I cant wait to tell y’all all about it! Tell Finny and Daisey hi for me! Love y’all. Xoxo – Lucy
Blake and Margaret
July 17, 2017
Hi Iceland Families,
We’ve spoken with the leaders, and the group has arrived safely. We’re excited for the adventure to begin! Stay tuned!
-The Moondance Administrative Team