June 22, 2022
One last hello!
We have had a very action packed last couple of days. After our day of rafting, Rushton hopped on the campfire grill and helped grill us barbecue lamb. It was absolutely delicious. The next morning, still full from stuffing ourselves the night before, we drove up into the highlands of Iceland to the famous Kerling… hike. Fallon and Malia organized a thirty minute photo shoot at the top of the mountain where they made sure every person got a picture with each person in the group. It’s going to be so fun to see those pictures! After the hike, we stopped by a waterfall, one of our favorite things to do, and had a nice walk along side the river. Evan and George showed off their arm strength by successfully throwing rocks to the other side. Sophia and Sarah ventured down to the waters edge to smell the sulfide of the glacier runoff one last time. As we made it back to our campsite, Lily and Robert helped organize an intense game of Ultimate Frisbee. We had such a fun time running around in what ended up being the most beautiful, because it was the only, evening sun we saw all trip. As the sky was orange and red we ate pasta and had Moonup.
The next morning we woke up a little early as we need to take down camp and get on with our final day together! I’ll tell you one thing, we are getting really good at taking down tents and packing up a campsite. Missy and I were so impressed. For the last time, we piled into the van and left a campsite. Karl, our Icelandic guide, took us to one last tourist spot which is home to the first geyser that was discovered in Iceland! We walked around and then was able to go to the souvenir stop to get some last minute trinkets. From there, we had good ole American Hot Dogs for our final meal with Karl. It was a sad goodbye leaving our Iceland expert. Everybody loved Karl. Karl then dropped us off in Reykjavik and we settled into our Hostel. Nikhil kept the energy high as he quickly downed two shots of espresso before heading out for our final banquet. For our final dinner we decided to go to a local Pizzeria that ended up being a big hit. Ella Anne showed off her burping skills as we had a friendly competition amongst ourselves at the dinner table. It was quite impressive and entertaining. After dinner, we stopped by a frozen yogurt place as a final sweet treat. Evan and Sarah led us in our final Moonup which was very reflective as each person talked about their favorite qualities of themselves and one thing they would like to improve on. Lots of good conversations were had. Bed time begrudgingly arrived as we had to wake up early to get to the airport. At the airport, we got everyone off on their flights and this trip to Iceland came to a close.
Missy and I can’t thank you enough for trusting us with your kids. They are truly incredible.
June 20, 2022
Which is Icelandic for “hello” 😉
These few days have been full of wet water adventures, as we have travelled across the coast of the west fjords to the southern border of Iceland. From sea kayaking to white water rafting, our group has grown in more ways than one and you would be just as impressed as we are.
Day one of kayaking consisted of wind and rain – in true Iceland fashion! The group really came together, and Malia and Nikhil specifically rebounded like none other and led us to shelter in a legendary lava field where warm hot dogs and hot coco awaited our return.
Our start to kayaking may have been a little challenging, but we looked towards the morning, where the bright sun and calm waters welcomed us for another day of kayaking. We set our boats towards a sunken fishing boat which wrecked along the corals in 1970. We were able to “dock” on the wreckage and explore the innards of the boat. Robert and Rushton led the rest of us as we crawled through the captains’ quarters. Ella Anne had phenomenal paddling form as complimented by the guides on our way back to the dock. After conquering a day of successful paddling, we waded back to the shores and walked into town of Thingeviller where we splurged on a lunch at a local bakery.
From there we set out to our next water journey of whitewater rafting. Along the way we stopped at a souvenir store from which Eloise and Malia got colorful beanies and Lilly, Fallon and Sarah got matching sheep slippers that say “I love Iceland” inside the sole.
Then off to rapids of the Pjorsá river. We all geared up to join two talented guides in the waters. For two hours we splashed and dipped in and out of class two to four rapids. We all took turns jumping from a 7-meter cliff face of basalt, where Sofia, George, and Nikhil overcame their fear of heights and took the leap. We continued to play games with our guides who offered many opportunities to jump into the chill waters, which Fallon never turned down. With wetsuits and booties completely waterlogged, we returned to the rafting center for a quick dip in the hot tub to bring life back into our extremities. George quickly found the sauna while Evan and Barrett figured out they sold burgers and fries at the checkout counter.
We have now made camp at our new site in the lowlands, and tomorrow we set forth to the Kerlingafjoll highlands, where we will trek between two glacial sheets and see what last Iceland has to offer. We are soaking in these last few days with your wonderful children. Thank you for giving us the ability to spend time with them!!
June 15, 2022
Greetings from the black sand valleys of the Thorsmork where our crew of rugrats has trekked over 18 miles, venturing through waterways, crossing over glacier streams, and exploring hidden caves.
Each day has been full of adventure, starting off with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate to wake our sleepy heads and a full bowl of oatmeal to set us on the right track (or four full bowls for Robert). Then we pack our sandwich lunches for the long day ahead, stuff our day packs with snacks, layers, and rain gear, and we are off! Rushton eagerly takes the lead, offering to dunk his head in any body of water that presents itself. Following behind are Fallon and Lily, chattering away about mutual friends from their home state. Following single file, each of us marches along as our guide Karl shares with us the flora and fauna that the Icelandic landscape has to offer.
From there we settle in the Singing Cave for lunch, where dribbles of water fall onto the floor. Barrett quickly volunteers to stand in the shower of glacier runoff, with everyone following suit, of which Malia and Sarah spent many minutes shrieking in the cold stream. Now freezing, we spend a few minutes soaking in the sun, throw on our layers, and get back to the trail.
Next, we climb up to a rolling plateau where we were met with 40 mph winds that widen our already beaming smiles even larger. The boys rushed over to have a photo shoot, fighting their flying hair to no avail, while Fallon and Ella Anne captured the scene on disposable cameras. Sofia and Eloise tested the forces of nature, scaling higher above the clouds and winds than they ever thought they could. These are clearly not the same mountains of North Carolina.
Now we return to our makeshift home, a tent suited for a carnival-sized celebration. And celebrate we do, as our guide Karl spoils us with exquisite dinners of lamb stew, peppered Alfredo pasta with salmon, and lastly, three roasted legs of lamb off a coal-fired grill. Rushton declares himself sous-chef, preparing the meat and offering to dig a hole and build a fire when the grill wouldn’t get hot enough (turns out we were still talking Celsius). As we wait to feast, Lilly commands a group through the playing of “Presidents,” an extremely elite card game defined by luck and skill. As Lilly and Nikhil battle for the most wins, Robert and George struggle to keep themselves in the game. With a change in luck, George finds a winning streak of lucky hands and takes home a win.
The turn in wins led to a turn of interest as the group moves to a heated game of Mafia, a nightly ritual that has been deeply established over the last few days. Robert narrates captivatingly hilarious tales of sorrow that holds us all on edge, while Evan and Nikhil cast their accusations on the table. As hours passed with games and laughter, the night stands still as the daylight still gleams at 10 pm. We end our days with Moonup, a time spared for reflection, and then we return to our tents. Next time we wake, we will be off on an ocean adventure via kayaks! Til then!
<3 Missy and Baker
And now a word from your kiddos:
Sofia – Hi! I miss you, but I am having so much fun! Say hi to everyone for me!
Eloise – Hi! I miss you guys so much! I am having such a great time though! I love you guys!!!
Rushton – Hi! I miss you, and I am having lots of fun. I’m not drinking that much coke
Ella Anne – Hey guys, I’m having so much fun! I miss y’all and love y’all so much! See you soon!
Lilly – hey y’all, I miss you so much!! I’m having a blast. I miss you love every one of you so much and can’t wait to see y’all back home!!!
Malia – hiiii I miss y’all so much. I’m having so much fun. Can’t wait to see y’all!
George – Hey I hope yall are having a great time in France. I miss u guys and can’t wait to see u!
Robert – Hey, I am having a wonderful time and have taken a lot of pictures. I can’t wait to see you.
Fallon – Hi mom! I’m having such a great time here and I have made so many new friends. It is beautiful here! Miss you!
Barrett – Hey, I am having lots of friends and it’s beautiful here. See you soon
Evan – I have been having a lot of fun and I miss you. See you soon.
Nikhil – Hey, having a blast, Iceland is beautiful! Miss you and will see you soon.
Sarah – hey guys I wanted to let you know the trip is so much fun! I have made so many friends. I can’t wait to see y’all love y’all.
June 11, 2022
Good morning from sunny Iceland! After a long day of travel, a crisp, chill air welcomed us as we touched down into the Keflavík airport Friday morning. Rushton beamed proudly that he didn’t sleep a wink the entire five-hour flight but had all the energy to take on the day ahead which Nikhil eagerly agreed with!
Our group glided through customs and out the door to the van, making our way to the first stop of the adventure: the Lava Tunnel. Lead by the renowned and husky-voiced guide Theo, our group ventured through some 5,600 year old igneous rock. Encapsulated by pumice, the cave stays a steady 4 degrees year around, which shocked Sofia and Baker who still had shorts on from the flight before realizing our guide Theo was talking degrees Celsius (around 40 degrees Fahrenheit!)
Throughout our tour, we grew accustomed to Icelandic etymology, as the guide clarified that Icelandic words and names are long as they are typically three words mashed together and that a good guess in pronunciation is all you need to get a laugh out of a local.
We giggled and belly-laughed our way out of the cave and into the Blue Lagoon, which thawed our bodies in its 100 degree waters (this time we are talking Fahrenheit). Sarah swept into the pools, sporting braids just done by Missy, while Malia, Barrett, and Evan greeted us with bright smiles surrounded by an even brighter silica mud face mask, which is guaranteed to strengthen the skin and age us a shocking ten years younger.
Fallon, Ella Anne and Eloise slurped slushies down as we watched the boys challenge each other to a pull-up match under a small pedestrian bridge. After such a fun-filled day, we returned to our home-for-the-night hostel ready for a tasty meal!
Robert discovered a new love for sweet potato and beet Terra chips that George hesitantly, but bravely, tried , as we waited for dinner to arrive. A familiar aroma of toasted cheese and garlicky bread filled the bunk room. We scarfed down the legendary American cuisine chain Domino’s, as we were reminded that home is not as far as we think it may be!
Throughout all of this, we had a piece missing. One of our own Lilly had not been able to catch her flight out of Nashville, and we missed her dearly as our day continued. Without missing a beat, the Moondance Office and her parents quickly rerouted her through Minneapolis and into Keflavik, where Missy was able to scoop her the following morning with ease. After an airport Açai bowl we bussed back to the hostel where another long, fun-filled day begins!
Now whole, our group begins its descent through the Thorsmork, an environment famed in Iceland. We will trek through its thin shrubs for four days and three nights lead by our Icelandic guide Karl, who has pledged to safely guide us through the most scenic waterfalls Iceland has to offer.
And off we go! We will be trekking through the Thorsmork for Four days and three nights. Another trip update will come once we return!
Tala Fljótlega (talk soon in Icelandic),
Missy and Baker
June 10, 2022
We heard from our leaders late last night that the group has landed safely in Iceland, except for one student who will be arriving tomorrow morning! The trip is off to a great start, and we cannot wait to hear more stories from their adventure.
Please remember our leaders and students will be unplugged during their trips but we will be posting up to three trip updates throughout the next couple of weeks! This will allow you to follow along with the trip and the students will also give a special shout out mid-way through! You can also follow us on Instagram, @moondanceadventures, to see more of what we are up to this summer!