Field Notes

Iceland 3A • July 15-July 28, 2018

A Final Farewell!

July 29, 2018

Our time together in Iceland has come to a bittersweet end. We spent our last day exchanging phone numbers and sharing our favorite memories to forever instill these last two weeks in our minds. Sam passed around his journal all day to make sure we all had each other’s phone numbers, emails, snapchats, Instagrams, and every other possible kind of social media platform information we could have from each other. We convinced our guide Yohn to finally take some group pictures with him in it. He was a part of the group two weeks with us and was the reason for so many successes and funny times in our group!

 

Banquet day morning we all slept in until the smell of breakfast brought us all to the kitchen tent for one last breakfast together. We decided we needed to use up all of our extra food so we made a huge brunch spread using all kinds of ingredients. Myles took in all the last minute Coco Crispies we had while Phoebe whipped up four dozen scrambled eggs for the group. I am proud of myself for convincing Olivia to try smoked salmon and proud of her for realizing she likes it!! Gray and Jack S. we’re a huge help with breaking down our campsite by washing all of our last dishes and carrying all of our gear to our bus. It also helped that the weather that days was the warmest day recorded in Iceland all summer!

 

We spent the afternoon walking around the city of Reykjavik and picking up last minute souvenirs. McWilliams’s first stop in the city was one last visit to his favorite Icelandic store called “Bonus.” He even bought a plastic bag with the store’s logo on it that he said he’s going to bring home to frame in his room. The group unanimously decided they wanted Mexican food for dinner. Harper had been talking about her crave for salsa and spicy food all trip, so burritos were the perfect choice for this crew. Ashton was so excited to see cheese dip that she ordered three servings of it! After dinner we of course had to end the night with some dessert. Oliver got the best crepe in town filled with Nutella and bananas, while Katie got some soft serve ice cream. We ate our dessert as we walked back to our hostel admiring the best sunset over the harbor I’ve seen during my entire time in Iceland. Coco said she couldn’t have imagined a more scenic walk on our last day.

 

Back at our hostel before bed, we shared our final Moonup together. Sophia was the leader of our last Moonup and perfectly evoked the sentimental feels out of everyone. We spent so much time during Moonup talking about our favorite memories of the trip and of each other. Jack R. was asked his favorite part of the past two weeks and couldn’t choose from his top five, so he decided to just share them all. After Moonup, we discovered a hidden gem in the hostel known as the karaoke room. Everyone sang together until our tired bodies decided to go to bed. Our last day together was a sweet one. We’re headed home with overjoyed minds and we can’t wait to share our experiences with our families. We’ll see you guys soon!

 

Best,

 

Lillian and Happy


Backpacking was awesome!!

July 27, 2018

The Iceland crew has successfully finished backpacking! It was an incredible week and we could not be more proud of these students. Our first campsite was at the base of the infamous Lugaveguar trail. Our day hike through the elf forest outside Landmannalaugar proved to be a beautiful one with amazing views. Myles forgot to brush his teeth so he whipped out his toothbrush at the summit of our first mountain as a funny joke. In the elf forest I’m pretty sure we convinced Sophia actual elves are walking around the icy tundra. After the hike, we spent the day hanging in the hot springs before dinner. Jack R refused to leave the hot spring for the longest time. Moonup was held in the elf forest on beds of bouncy moss.

 

First day of our actual trekking was suppose to be by far our most challenging day of hiking. This group made it look like a walk in the park! Hiking into the snowy mountains of the trail was breathtaking. Coco, Ashton, Gray and Harper loved making the snow caps into their own personal ice slides. We climbed all through the melting icecaps and into our campsite at the base of a beautiful lake. Jack S was semi gracefully heel clicking all the way down the hills. Our LODs Olivia and Coco led us through an awesome Moonup as we together broke down life’s mysteries.

 

Our next day was a pretty one as we made our way to Emstur!

 

Mc has made it very clear to everyone in the group he has a new favorite Icelandic cookie. He can’t wait to tell y’all about it back home! Before arriving at the campsite, Yohn takes us into the giant gorge running through the valley. Ashton sparkles at the size of the crevasse. The Icelandic Grand Canyon we call it. We had a pasta night in Emstur with a beautiful Moonup on a brand new wooden porch.

 

Our next day we would venture to our final destination campsite in Porsmork! It is by far our favorite campsite. Sam recognizes a few filming areas for scenes from a well known tv series. Everything is so beautiful as we make our way to the last river crossing. Gray makes sure everyone crosses the river safely before we assent into the valley of Thor! Our campsite is positioned perfectly under a majestic glacier. Everyone is thrilled we have 3 nights in this epic valley. Phoebe treats a few of us to a private yoga session. Katie’s experience as a dancer shows with her flexibility and poise with her yoga poses while all the rest of us struggle to keep up. Porsmork’s magic can be felt as dinner is served and Moonup is held in the big tent.

 

Our next day is a relaxing one as Olivia leads us on a day hike to the singing cave! The overlook is beautiful, and everyone gets a picture with the glaciers in the background. Soup and grilled cheeses are a huge hit and everyone plays games and skips rocks in the river the rest of the day.

 

We summited our final mountain with record time and ate cookies in celebration of our final victory as a group! We could not be more proud of these kids. As a group we have grown so much and it’s going to be a hard goodbye. With only a few more days, left we can’t wait for town day and banquet night!

 

Happy and Lillian

 

 

 

 

 

Hey Mom, Dad, Coco, Harris, and Matthew! Iceland is the best! I’m having the time of my life! Matt was right, this has been the best trip of my life! Thanks SO much for sending me on this trip!-Sam

 

 

 

Hey Mom, Dad, and Chandler. I miss y’all so much. Iceland is definitely the coolest place I’ve ever been to. I can’t wait to tell y’all all about my trip. See you soon!! – Ashton

 

 

 

Mom, Dad, and Will- i miss y’all so much!! I have had the time of my life here and I’ve made everlasting friendships. Iceland definitely is the coolest, most unique place I’ve ever gotten to explore and I’m so thrilled that I had this once in a lifetime opportunity! I can’t wait to see y’all and share everything about this trip! Love and miss y’all a ton!! -Harper

 

 

 

Hi mama and papa!!

I miss you so so so much!!! I can’t wait to see y’all tomorrow!! Iceland has been so so so amazing!! Right now as I’m typing this I am staring out of the tent at a beautiful view of snow covered mountains and a beautiful river and valley. This country has truly amazed me in its beauty. Thank y’all so much for sending me on this trip.

Love coco

 

 

 

So far this has been the greatest trip of my life, thank you so much for sending me here! Love you so much, see you in approximately 33 hours.-McWilliams

 

 

 

Hey guys!

This has been so much fun, Iceland has been everything I have dreamed about and more!! I have made tons of friends and have some really crazy stories to share!! I love all of you so much!! See you in a couple days!

Love Gray A

 

 

 

Hey family! Iceland has been the coolest trip ever. It’s so pretty. I’ve made so many friends and had such a great time! I can’t wait to see y’all! Love Katie

 

 

 

Hey mom!

Iceland has been a fun two weeks we have done and seen a lot of great things! I’m excited to see y’all and be home! Thank you for letting me go on this trip! Love Sophia

 

 

 

Hey mom!

Moondance has really changed my perspective on things in life. I am so incredibly blessed to have had this amazing opportunity! I love you so much!!  Love Pucci

 

 

 

Hey Mom, Dad, Jp (and Henry)

As I write this I am looking out my tent at a breathtaking view of mountains and snow covered glaciers. Without you guys none of this wouldn’t have been possible. I love you all to the moon and back and can’t wait to share all of my incredible experiences with you at home.

Love, Phoebe

 

 

 

Hey everyone, this trip has changed me in a good manor and plan to bring it back to the house with helping with the dishes and just trying to make everyday count. I will be happy to see everyone at home but even sadder to leave such an amazing summer. See you all in a couple days -Myles S

 

 

 

Hey Family,

The trip has been great and I have been taking notes about everyday. I am sad to leave but will be happy to come home. I have changed a little like saying y’all and other things people say in the south. The people I’ve met here are super cool and I am looking forward to telling you all about them.

Your Family Member,

Jack S

 

 

 

Hey! The trip has been absolutely amazing so far and I have made some amazing friends. I cannot believe that it is coming to an end but I feel so lucky to be here. It is less than a day until we get back on the plane to nyc. Love ya! -Oliver

 

 

 

Dear Family and dogs

I have had an AMAZING time in Iceland so far. Even though, I can’t wait to come home and tell you all about it. I have taken some amazing photos even though they do very little justice to the beauty of this land.

Love,

Jack R


Conquering Ice Climbing and now on to Trekking!

July 20, 2018

Our trip is almost halfway over! We’ve already made enough memories to last a lifetime, but we cannot wait for all of the time we have left together. Since our last update, we’ve been spending our time ice climbing and rafting.

We were BLESSED with some incredible weather during ice climbing. It was blue bird skies with warm sun in our faces while we climbed. Our guides set up three ropes for us and we all scattered around the different climbs. Everyone was impressed with Oliver because he was always the first person to climb every route the guides set up. There wasn’t a single wall that was too intimidating for him! Mc went straight for the hardest route for his first climb and he absolutely crushed it. Sam and Phoebe entertained everyone between climbs by taking funny pictures with their ice axes in their hands. They looked straight out of a Game Of Thrones movie. Coco thought the natural glacier water tasted so fresh that she convinced everyone to fill up their water bottles with the Icelandic water. At the end of the three climbs, some people were more inclined to go do a glacier walk while some people still wanted to challenge themselves on more climbs. Katie and Gray excelled with the climbing during the entire day and both climbed each of the new routes our guides set up. On the glacier walk, Myles led that group to go do some exploring around the crevasses on the ice. They were accompanied by a guide they called “Iced T” and laughed the entire way back to the base of the glacier. We headed back to our beach town campsite to warm our bodies up with some traditional Icelandic lamb soup. I’m pretty sure Jack R ate four bowls of soup and has a newfound love for lamb. We had some dessert called Skyr that Harper said she has craved every day since her first time trying it.

Today we put our skills to the test on the “white river” as the rafting guides called it. We spend the first few minutes going through high water rapids before we pulled off to do some cliff jumping. Sophia liked it so much that she opted to jump twice! Happy had people pushed into the water left and right, but there was one person that fought an equally as successful battle and that was Jack S. He did multiple cliff jumps, came up with our boat’s team name, and was the person that was always sitting in the front of the boat to get the most action. Grey joined him in the river to swim one of the rapids. They were brave souls because the cold water had the rest of us happily staying inside the boat. Ashton made sure to GoPro all of the rapids so she could remember our day rafting!

Now we’re headed to a famous Geysir in Iceland! We just went to see one more famous waterfall in the area and Olivia loved it! She thought it was the best one we’ve seen so far. Tomorrow we start our first day of hiking to get us warmed up for our prestigious Lugavegur trek. We can’t wait for backpacking!!

Best,

 

Lillian and Happy


Hot Springs and Lava Caves!

July 19, 2018

Hello from Iceland!

 

Team A had a great time at the Blue Lagoon! Voted one of the best hot springs in all of Iceland. It was a bucket list item for many people in the group. With the clan united and acquainted, we plunge into our first activity. Jack R and Grey made sure to apply multiple exfoliating masks before their waterfall massage. We enjoyed tropical juices while our bodies soaked the mineral rich waters of the lagoon. After a few hours of relaxation, group A made our way back to the hostel for a pizza party and our first Moon up. Post pizza hot-tubing was led by Katie and Sam.

Day 3 Of the Iceland excursion had us meeting our guide for the first time. Yohn A is a local legend and a lifetime Icelander. He led us into the unknown of underground lava caves. Ashton and Coco led the group through the fascinating caves, as the walls of the caves grew closer and closer. Gazing upon beautiful cave formations was Oliver’s favorite part of the day. We made sure to turn off our headlights for a brief moment to enjoy true complete darkness in the few places you can find it. Mc and Myles ruined the complete silence portion, but laughter was a preferred second.

 

After the cave exploration, we enjoyed lunch on the base of our next set of hot springs. Once back in the fresh hot springs, Olivia and Sofia swore they would never leave. Afterwards we arrived at the first campsite where we would spend the next 3 nights. Moon up was extra cool this night because Phoebe shared her musical talents and stories about her recent singing performance. The ability to open up and feel accepted among a group of strangers is what Moon up is all about!

 

Day 4: Seakayaking was a huge success! Harper rocked her bright pink kayak in style as we crushed a fresh to saltwater venture. Jack S saved the day when assisting Olivia and Sofia when their kayak got stuck. After all that padding, we needed some serious pasta. Moon up was held in base camp. We can’t tell you how excited we are about ice climbing tomorrow! Stay tuned.

 

-Happy and Lillian


Safe Arrival in Iceland!

July 16, 2018

Hello Iceland Families!

We heard from our leaders early this morning, and all students have arrived safely in Reykjavik! The trip is off to a great start. Stay tuned for more news from their adventures!

  • Moondance HQ

Students

  • Gray
  • Katie
  • Sam
  • Coco
  • McWilliams
  • Oliver
  • Ashton
  • Harper
  • Olivia
  • Sophia
  • Jack
  • Myles
  • Phoebe
  • Jack

Staff