July 8, 2022
Hello from the Keflavik Airport!
Everyone has made it through our trip safely and is currently waiting for their plane with Anna at the gate to head back to the US! Over the past few days, we completed a challenging but rewarding trekking expedition of over 50 miles from the highlands of Iceland to Thorsmork! We also got to spend some time in Iceland’s capital, Reykjavík! We are so grateful to have had such an amazing group and are sad our time with them is over!
Our first day of trekking began in the highlands of Iceland, and we started off our journey with a shorter hike to warm up. We hiked about 4 miles that day, and everyone began to get used to the hilly terrain, as well as the river crossings that we would have to do each day throughout our trek. We had a very pretty hike and had even better weather throughout the day. We arrived at our camp around dinner time and set up camp in a beautiful spot surrounded by glacial streams. It was one of the most beautiful spots yet, and it was particularly full of great reading spots as Chris D, Briggs and Ford took the chance to relax with their books after a good hike. Our guide, Aaron, cooked us a wonderful Salmon pasta that night to refuel for the longest day of trekking ahead, and we had some hot chocolate before mooning up inside the hut at the campsite. After moon up, we all got some rest as we had a very long day ahead.
Sunday morning we woke up to breakdown camp, and then loaded up the trailer with our gear that would be bringing it to Strutur where we’d be making our next stop. We set out on our longest hike of the entire trekking section, spanning just over 12 miles encompassing snow, elevation, and other challenges. The first section of the hike went by quickly as we hiked along mostly flat, rocky plains. However, we soon ascended into higher election and our group morale began to lower a bit as the hike wore us out more and more. Daviss and Sophie were our LODs for the day, and they were incredible as they encouraged the group to keep pushing forward. As we continued hiking, we wandered through all types of terrain, including a beautiful snowy valley alongside a gorgeous river and snowcapped mountains in the background. Although the hike was long and tiring, Anna and I were so proud of how the group pushed and supported each other, and we ultimately made it to our camp at Strutur mountain!! The hike was worth it as we were treated to a fire in the sky that night as we experienced one of the most beautiful sunsets ever – along with some crazy fast winds!! However, the biggest treat was getting to stay inside the hut and not having to set up camp! SJ quite literally cried tears of joy when Aron told us the good news. After a hearty lamb soup and some hot chocolate for dessert, we went upstairs and got one of the best night’s sleeps ever, and it was much deserved!
The next morning we woke up a little sore, but having completed the most challenging part of the trek, group morale was up and ready to take on any challenge ahead. Our hike for the day was about half the distance of Sunday’s hike, and with Ford and Lilly as our LODs for the day, we knew we were in good hands! The hike began alongside a glacial river and then led into plains full of volcanic rock. After walking through the plains, we did a little bit of exploring that led to a few unintended river crossings. Helen and Lilly were eager to lead and crossed the river with Aaron, leading the group forward and back towards the trail. We continued to hike and found ourselves surrounded by beautiful, snowy mountains all around us. We stopped for a brief snack and water break before our final push, and Daviss, Harry and Briggs played some hacky sack to keep the momentum going! After hiking towards a canyon, our hut was located just past it, and we were happy to set up camp and celebrate the FOURTH OF JULY with some CHEESEBURGERS!!! After getting out the red, white, and blue beads and face paint, MS and Britton were eager to paint flags, fireworks and other festive images on everyone’s faces. The party was an awesome way to celebrate home and boost morale at the midpoint of our trekking section. We had beautiful weather, and after a nice moon up outside, everyone went to bed with full bellies and good spirits!
The next morning we woke up and broke down camp before continuing to Emstrur for the next portion of the trek. This section was the shortest of the trip, and it was only about 5 miles through the highlands of Iceland. After days of no rain, we were finally treated to the overcast and rainy skies that we know and love in Iceland. The weather couldn’t keep our spirits down, and the group absolutely crushed the hike that day with great spirits! We got to the Emstrur camp, and were surprised at how packed it was. It was so cool to see people from all over the world arriving at the camp as they were doing the same trek we were! It was our last stop before arriving to Thorsmork, so there was a buzz of excitement around the entire camp. As the rain and wind picked up, we rushed to get the kitchen tent and camp set up. Aron cooked us some delicious fish and potatoes and we had a fun night of group bonding in the tent as the weather grew harsher and harsher. Harry played some group favorites for everyone on the speaker, and we all sang the night away over some hot chocolate and good conversation. The rain finally let up a little bit later into the night and we all headed off to get some rest before our final trek to Thorsmork.
Everyone woke up on Wednesday ready to finish the trip! We headed out from Emstrur and made great timing throughout the entire day. As we descended into the valley of Thorsmork, its famous green valleys began to appear, and we saw trees for the first time in days. We crushed the hike and it only took us about 5 hours to hike 10 miles! MS and Margaret led the whole way, and the rest of the group stuck together as we got closer and closer. Once we arrived at Thorsmork we hung out by the campsite for a while getting snack, playing hacky sack and hanging out. We set up camp in a beautiful, private little spot and the Anna and I were treated to a duty-free night as Joe and MS led the charge on the cool crew, and everyone else helped set up camp and gather firewood. We had an awesome final camping meal of spaghetti and then some dessert shortly after. We had a great moon up and turned it in shortly after a long four days of trekking.
Yesterday we packed up camp and headed to Reykjavík to explore the city for our final day! We got to our hostel in the afternoon, and everyone was delighted to finally be able to take a warm shower. We headed into town to get some souvenirs and clothes and then ate at a grill where we ate our last meal together as a group. Ice cream and crepes were of course the only next logical option after dinner, and Chris T and Chris D certainly made some elaborate crepe concoctions! After dessert we headed back to our hostel for our final moon up as a group and headed off to bed shortly after.
This morning we woke up early to get to the airport and saw everyone off safely! Thank you so much for sending these kids with us for the past two weeks!! We have had the best time and made memories that will last a lifetime. Getting to explore this beautiful country with such awesome people is such a joy for Anna and me, and we appreciate you all keeping up with our travels!
Briggs and Anna
July 2, 2022
Hello from the highlands of Iceland!
We had an incredible sea kayaking expedition with some of the best weather that Anna and I have seen over here all summer! Everyone did great on the water, and really got the chance to hone in some of their kayaking skills. We’ve continued to have an awesome trip, and the group has really meshed well together!
After we wrote to you all on Tuesday night, we got to experience one of the most amazing sunsets we’d ever seen – there was even a DOUBLE RAINBOW to top it off! All of this was on the backdrop of the coastline, creating a view that felt like it was straight out of a painting. Although it was a little late into the night, you can never miss a chance to take a beautiful sky in, and Mary Stanton and Helen were especially keen on capturing the moment with an awesome group picture! Shortly after we went to bed to get a good night’s rest for our sea kayaking trip.
We woke up early on Wednesday morning and fueled up on a breakfast of champions – cocoa puffs – before heading off for the sea. Once we got to our drop-in point, we met our guide Maggie (who is the most legendary kayaker in all of Iceland) and he briefed us on a few safety lessons before heading out on the real thing. Sunny skies and blue water gave us the most beautiful day of the summer yet, and we had a nice trip to our island with little current to row against. Davis showed off some of his crew skills in races against his friends along the way, and we made it to the island after about two hours. Once we got to the island, the group unloaded the kayak’s and set up camp on a beautiful little island. Margaret, Joe, Sophie and Christopher T helped Maggie cook some Icelandic lamb stew over a wood fire – they should be able to treat you all to some once they’re home! After dinner, the group played a massive game of capture the flag across the whole island. Christopher D used his sneaky tactics to hide his team’s flag in an impossible spot. Lilly was our team’s secret weapon as she sneaked up and down the coastline without being tagged. The game ended in a stalemate after about an hour of competitive play, and we relaxed by the water as Ford “skipped” the biggest rocks he could find. We headed back towards our camp, and Maggie had marshmallows and chocolates for us to make some smores by the fire put. After our bellies were full, we had a beautiful moonup with a sunset painted sky over our heads. Afterwards, we played our group’s new favorite game “Shmodus”, and SJ and Ford got to serve as the “Sir Master Game Master Sirs” for a couple of games full of belly-laughing – you’ll have to ask them about how to play when they get back! After a long, beautiful day on the island, we headed to our tents to sleep – it was an AWESOME day!
Yesterday we woke up on the island to a beautiful morning and cooked some oatmeal to warm up as the sea currents brought some wind to the island. After breakfast, we loaded our gear back into our kayaks and were on our way back to the mainland after a great. Trip. The trip back was even easier than the trip there as the wind was at our backs, and we were back to the drop-in spot in no time. We loaded the kayaks back up on the trailer, and then made some lunches before heading on our way.
After the kayaking trip, we headed up to a hut in the highlands of Iceland to warm up after the cold waters that the seas had to offer! Upon arriving to our cozy hut, everyone got settled in and were treated to the best meal of the trip yet. Our guide Aron cooked up some incredible grilled lamb on the grill, and we had potatoes, mushrooms, and a salad to accompany it – it was quite the Icelandic spread! Afterwards we got some much-needed relaxation and hung out in the hut for the rest of the night. We had a great moonup followed by some laughs and great conversation, and then headed off to bed after a busy couple of days.
This morning we woke up at the hut and made some yogurt and granola for breakfast. After packing up lunches and tidying up the hut, we headed on our way for a day full of adventure. Our first stop was at a desert oasis in the highlands. After driving through miles of volcanic rock, we arrived at a small spot in the desert full of flowers, waterfalls and a river running through the entire thing. We enjoyed a lunch break there, and then headed off to our next – Viking huts! We got to see a replica of one of the first Viking settlements (circa the year 1100). After walking around the hut, we continued on our way to our campsite around the highland area and set up tonight by a beautiful river. Britton led the group in setting up the kitchen tent (that looks more like a circus tent than anything) and Aron cooked us up some hot dogs shortly after. After dinner, Harry led the whole group in a very competitive game of hacky sack, and we had our moonup under pink skies shortly after. Right now, everyone is heading off to their tents to get a good night’s sleep in anticipation for our trek tomorrow!
Thank you all for keeping up with our travels! We’re having a great time, and have had some incredible weather that we hope continues for the rest of our trip. Hope you all are well, and we look forward to updating you everyone after our trekking section!
Briggs & Anna
I am having so much fun, love you all! Looking forward to seeing everyone in Maine!
I meet Bjorne vogenharden bloodfist on a ship an he told me the phrase “klaratulambid” -harry
The guitar man and hippie girl take me on adventure after airport. Flies annoy me. Otherwise pretty good. -Daviss
Hi Mom, Dad, and AP! I’m having so much fun here and finally got a puffer! I can’t wait to see y’all when I get back and tell y’all so many stories about the trip. See you soon! -Margaret
Hey, I am having so much fun here! Can’t wait to tell you all about this trip and see y’all soon. Love y’all. SJ
Hey guys, Iceland turns out to be quite a cold trip but I’m having so much fun! There is two people on the trip that kind of know us. Helen goes to saint Mary’s and played field hockey with her and then ford knows Hugh and he says they are besties. Life is good love y’all. -Mary Stanton
Hi, I miss you guys but I am still having a fun time! I’ll tell you all about it when I get back, love you – Britton
Hey everyone I’m having fun in Iceland. It’s way colder than I thought it would be here, but it’s bearable. I’ve had a ton of fun so far and can’t wait to see you guys. I miss the dogs. I love you all. – Joe
It’s really cold and I don’t miss Will. Everyone here is nice and the counselors are great! See you soon-Chris 1
Hi, I am having so much fun and meeting lots of new people. Can’t wait to tell you guys all about it. Tell Bennett HBD for me. Miss you guys. Love, Lilly
Hey mom, dad, Hadley, and Monty! I am having so much fun but it is very cold here!! You guys would love the hiking!! Everyone is so nice and I have made lots of new friends! Please give Monchichi lots of hugs and kisses for me! Love you guys so so so so so so much!! See you soon, Helen
Hi Family! I am having so much fun in Iceland, it is incredible but very chilly! Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity, I am meeting so many amazing people! Can’t wait to see you soon I miss and love you! Give Hope lots of kisses from me – Sophie
Hey mom and dad this trip has been balanced between very fun and kinda sad, mostly because of the books that I have been reading, however my group has been great and and the counselors are amazing. Also Iceland has been very pretty, see you guys in a few days.
June 28, 2022
Hello from the southern coast of Iceland!
We have been having the best time getting to know your kids, and we’ve been having a lot of fun in the process. Tonight, we’re camping at a farm along the coastline, and were just treated to a great meal of lasagna by our hosts. We’ve been having a great trip so far and can’t wait to tell you about it!
Sunday morning, we met up with the kids at the Keflavik airport. Everyone was a little jet lagged from a long day of travel, but ready for all of the adventures to come. Sophie came off with a Lego ship that everyone had made at the JFK airport, and we packed our bags and the ship and headed off for the blue lagoon. Once we got to the blue lagoon, everyone was really surprised by the natural colors of the water. It was a cold first day, so everyone was eager to get in the warm waters of the lagoon. Helen, SJ and Britton were especially excited to find the steam room where they got some much-needed relaxation. We hung out at the lagoon for a couple of more hours and ate some lunch before heading off to the Lava Cave tour. We had a great tour guide who told us all about how lava flow had created the cave as we walked further and further into it. We even got to witness what complete darkness looked like for a couple of minutes once we were all the way into the cave – we haven’t gotten a lot of it since! It was a great tour, and once it was finished, we headed back to our hostel in Reykjavik for some much-needed Domino’s pizza! We had an early night as everyone was still a bit tired from their travels, but we had a great first day in Iceland!
The next day we woke up early and ate some breakfast at the hostel before heading off for our rafting trip. It was a pretty chilly day, but everyone braved the cold to head down the East Glacial River. Even though it was cold, everyone got into the water, and Mary Stanton was even the first person to lead us off the jumping spot. Christopher D was inspired by the bravery, and even chose to float down one of the tamer rapids on his back. Our day consisted of many rafting games, and after much resistance the group even talked Ford into taking a dip in the river as well. Josiah even got the chance to lead as a rafting guide for his boat and was able to steer the boat to shore at the end of the trip. Rafting was a big success, and once we got back to the rafting HQ, everyone took a dip in the hot tub where we solved some confusing riddles posed by the group. Lilly and Christopher T were especially entertained by the riddles, and even solved one of Moondance’s hardest ones. After our rafting trip, we packed up the van and headed to the highlands to find our camp spot for the night. Upon arriving and setting up camp for the first time, our guide Aron cooked us some great tacos and a short hike after dinner. After walking up to one of the nearby peaks, Margaret and Harry led us in our first moon in the outdoors. We headed back down to camp afterwards and Harry and Daviss led some group hacky sack before turning it in for the night to get ready for a busy day ahead.
This morning we woke up and had a hearty breakfast before starting off on our hike in the highlands. We had great weather throughout the morning, which isn’t always easy to come by here, so we were eager to get the most out of our day! We packed up our lunches and began to hike up one of the larger peaks nearby. We gained lots of elevation, and even trekked through some snow patches. This ended in a pretty amazing lunch spot, overlooking one of the most geologically diverse places in all of Iceland. After lunch, we hike back towards camp after a great day hike. Upon arriving, we packed up the bus and headed on our way towards the coast. We had a beautiful, long drive today, and even got to stop along the to see a beautiful waterfall, and then to the Mid-Atlantic Ridge where we stood in-between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. We continued our way to the coast and arrived at a beautiful camping spot tonight. We just finished our dinner and are heading out to a secret hot spring that only our hosts know about to do our moonup!
We’re excited to begin our sea kayaking expedition tomorrow and are looking forward to a great rest of the trip after that! Thank you all for keeping up with our travels, and we look forward to updating y’all again soon.
Briggs & Anna
June 26, 2022
Hello Iceland Families!
We just heard from our leaders that the group has landed safely in Iceland. 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!