July 25, 2022
We’ve had an amazing trekking section from the highlands of Iceland to Thorsmork since we last talked and are so sad to be wrapping up our trip! As I write this, we are currently in the air heading back to the US. We had the best time ever in Iceland and we can’t wait for all the kids to share all of our stories with you all, but in the meantime here’s a recap of all we’ve been up to!
Monday morning, we woke up ready to take on the trekking portion of our trip with good spirits. It was a relatively short hike that day, and the group got off to a fast start. We got an early taste of an ice-cold river crossing, and everybody made it across just fine, but a little cold! The hike only took a few hours, and we got to see beautiful moss-covered hillsides along the way. Our camping spot for the night was nestled beside a cozy little hut, and we set up camp beside streams that intertwined throughout the campsite. The rain started up just after we set up camp, so everyone took a nap, and we woke up around dinner time. With the rain not giving up, we hung out in the kitchen tent for the rest of the night and played games and told riddles. Sophia and Lauren were particularly confused by the “City Riddle” that we told all the kids, ask them about it when you see them because they still don’t know! The rain never let up which is very uncharacteristic for this place, and it rained all night as we slept well inside the tents.
The next day we woke up ready to take on the longest section of the trekking portion. It was about a 13-mile day, and we were ready to take on the challenge. We had great weather throughout the day, and the cooler temperatures were nice as we trekked onwards. We crushed the first half of the hike in no time, and the group was doing a great job of keeping up the pace. We stopped for lunch before hiking downwards into the valley and along a beautiful river that flowed through the mountains. With a glacier in the distance and mountains on both sides of us, this was quite the view to enjoy as we continued our hike. Once we got through the valley, we came to a river crossing with a hot spring on the other side. It was some of the coldest water that we’ll ever be in as we crossed, and everyone was delighted to dip their feet in the hot spring afterwards. Caleb, Briggs, Alvaro (guide), and Henry were even brave enough to get all the way in, and Finley and Mary joined them shortly after! It was quite the treat and such a cool experience to get to feel the natural hot tub in the middle of the hike. We continued onwards and made it to our hut for the night shortly after. With such a long day behind us, the kids were delighted to learn that we were sleeping INSIDE the hut and did not have to set up camp! We all piled into the top floor of the hut and had a delicious meal of lamb soup. Porter led us in a heated debate in which he and Henry argued over if a hamburger was a sandwich or not. This debate heated up and soon everyone was very invested in the debate, and we have still not come to a conclusion. After the intellectual debate ended, we crashed hard after a very, very long day of trekking, and we were so proud of everyone’s attitude throughout the whole thing!
Wednesday morning, we slept in a little late, but it was well deserved. We woke up well-rested in our hut and had some breakfast before gearing up for the day’s hike. Ut was a shorter hike, but beautiful nonetheless and we started off around noon to get there in time for dinner. Before long we were hiking in an Icelandic desert plain with mountains surrounding the valley, we were in. We were in the bed of glacial rivers and crossed many smaller streams before getting out of the valley. Once we made it across, we finally got to some vegetation where we enjoyed beautiful views of mountains and glaciers all around us. The hike wasn’t too long, and around dinner time we were hiking up to our camp for the day, and it was a beautiful one. Everyone took a couple of hours to chill before we got cooking, and we all enjoyed taking in all of the beauty that surrounded us. The campsite was surrounded by green mountains, and a glacier behind them all. After dinner, people read, a group took a short hike over to a mountain, and everyone just enjoyed themselves before reconvening for moonup. After moonup, a big group hiked up the mountain where the group enjoyed the most beautiful sunset to date. The sky was layered in a pink and purple painting that reflected off the glacier to the left, and onto the mountains surrounding us. The beauty of it all brought some happy tears to some – especially Finley and Susanna! The group stayed up there for a really long time, and it was really cool to see them have such reverence for all the beauty around them. We headed off to bed soon after a truly gorgeous day!
The next day we continued onwards to our last stop before Thorsmork. As we got closer and closer to our destination, the trail began to get more and more crowded with tons of people getting excited to descend into the green valleys of Thormsmork, but first we’d be stopping for the night in Emstrur. We packed up our camp early and headed off for the hike that day. It was a relatively short hike, and we got to have a beautiful lunch along a canyon halfway through the hike. Austin, Doug, Hampton, and Caleb found an especially cool lunch spot along a big rock by the river, and after modeling for some pictures, we were back on the trail and making a quick approach to our campsite. Once we got to camp, everyone was delighted to see that our gear transporter had so kindly set up the kitchen tent as it’s not exactly what we enjoyed doing after the hike each day. Alvaro cooked up some hot dogs for everyone for an afternoon snack, and the rest of the day was spent hanging out at the campsite. The campsite was full of people from all over the world ready to finish the trek the next day, so there was an exciting buzz around the place. We cooked some salmon pasta for dinner, and then had a great moonup on top of a nearby hill. After moonup, Briggs played everyone some tunes on the guitar, and Emma even treated the group to some guitar as well! Shortly after we went to bed to get some energy before our final trek the next day!
The next morning, we woke up with nice weather and lots of energy as the anticipation grew to get to Thorsmork. We started on our way and as we hiked further and further the setting around us evolved into the green valleys of Thorsmork. We came across beautiful canyons, rivers, and glacier sightings on our way, and it truly was the most beautiful section of our trek. After stopping for lunch at a spot with beautiful views, we made our final push over the latter part of the afternoon as we got closer and closer to Thorsmork. We came upon our final river crossing, and everyone was delighted to not have to cross anymore rivers afterwards. After about another hour we finally made our way to Thorsmork, and after a short break walked a couple more kilometers to our campsite for the night. Once we got it all set up, everyone got some deserved relaxation and snacks from the nearby store. Alvaro cooked us a delicious meal of veggies, potatoes, and grilled lamb – it was a PERFECT Icelandic meal that everyone enjoyed! It was our last night out in the wild, so everyone took in all the beauty around us and enjoyed the scenery. Porter, Anna, and Susanna had even created a movie on the hike, and after casting everyone in their creation, the group ironed out some dance routines for the big production – it will be coming to a theatre near you in 2023!!! Shortly after we had our final moonup in the outdoors and got some rest as everyone was pretty tired from over 55 MILES OF TREKKING.
Yesterday morning we woke up in Thorsmork and Alvaro made everyone some crepes before packing up camp to head into town. After quickly breaking down camp, we headed back to Reykjavik and sadly back to the hostel after all the beauty we’d taken in over the past two weeks. Everyone was sad to see Alvaro go, but very appreciative for all the hard work he put in to make our trip incredible. After relaxing at the hostel for a couple of hours, we headed into town and had our banquet dinner with the other Iceland group to celebrate their leader Baker’s birthday! It was a great celebration, and everyone was happy to have an Italian buffet of pizza and pasta. Afterwards we went to a gelato place, but no one was brave enough to try the “dill pickle” flavor of the gelato… probably a good call! Everyone was very excited to stock up on some Icelandic gear at the gift shops afterwards. Our group has developed a very strong love for puffins, and this new passion was represented in a lot of the gear people got… ranging from puffin beanies to hot pink puffin pajama pants! After everyone got all the gear they needed, we headed back to the hostel and had our last moonup 🙁 It was a great time to reflect on our trip and brought back a lot of happy memories from the past two weeks. We went to bed shortly after to get ready for a long day of travel.
This morning we headed to the airport early and are currently all on the plane to JFK. We’ve had the best time getting to know all your kiddos and are so grateful for an incredible summer in such a beautiful part of the world. Thank you so much for sharing all your wonderful kids with us for parts of your summer, and we can’t wait for you all to hear more about our travels. Thanks again!!!
Briggs and Anna
July 17, 2022
Hello from the highlands of Iceland!
We had a great sea kayaking expedition and have been having a great time since! Everyone is getting excited for our trekking section beginning tomorrow, and we are all excited to explore all the beauty the highlands of Iceland have to explore.
Friday morning, we woke up at the farm we were camping at and had breakfast with a beautiful view of the coast before heading out on our kayaking adventure. The drive was a few hours to the drop-in spot, and once we all packed our gear into the kayaks and got our wetsuits on, we were on our way! Everyone did a great job on the water, and Henry & Austin got to show off their rowing skills to the rest of us. Finley also had a new stuffed Puffin strapped to the kayak that she was hoping would attract some real ones, but unfortunately, it didn’t this time. We were also treated to a show from an Eagle that was flying near its nest on one of the cliffs we kayaked past! Once we got to the island, we set up camp and helped our guides cook an Icelandic stew. Lauren, Sophia, and Mary were quick to help with the stew, and we had dinner overlooking the beautiful fjords we were staying in. After dinner, our group had a great moon up on the island and got some rest after a full day of kayaking.
The next morning, we woke up and had some oatmeal before packing up camp and getting the kayaks ready. We got back in the water and had the currents at our back so the trip was really quick. We made one stop on the way to see an old shipwreck that the kids got to explore and go on board. Once we made it back to the drop-in, we helped our guides get the boats back in the trailer and got into some warm clothes after being on the water for so long. We made some lunch and headed to our campsite for the night which everyone was happily surprised to learn was a hut! On our way to the campsite, we made a quick stop at a nearby pool to relax for a couple of hours. Porter was eager to get in and led everyone up the big orange slide before speeding down it and into the water. Once everyone had enough time in the water for one day, we got our warm clothes on and headed to the hut for the night. To celebrate Mary for her 15th birthday, we had some birthday cake and sang happy birthday and then had our moon up. After moon up, Hampton and Caleb led everyone in some card games, and then we were off to bed.
This morning we woke up and had some breakfast before heading off to do some sightseeing. Our first stop was at a waterfall, and everyone enjoyed the small hike before as we walked through a beautiful, green canyon. The waterfall was beautiful and there was even a rainbow at the bottom of it as we were treated to some Icelandic sunshine (which is hard to find sometimes!) Afterward we hit the gift shop outside of it, and Doug stocked up on some Puffin gear – he is slowly beginning to look more and more like a puffin!! Emma and Susanna found a tea spot and everyone enjoyed lunch together before continuing on our way. We made our way to the campsite this afternoon, and after setting up camp everyone got to explore the area a bit. It’s a beautiful campsite nestled along a gorgeous river, and we had a group dinner of some delicious fish and cake for dessert. We’re about to head off and do our moonup for the night, and the kids are hanging out and having a great time at the campsite!
Thank you for keeping up with our travels! We’re excited to start our five-day trekking portion tomorrow, and are shocked at how fast our trip is already flying by! We’ll give you all another update after we get back from trekking!
Briggs & Anna
Porter: Hey Mom, Hey Dad, Hey Brothers! I love u guys so much. and miss u. I am having the best time!! My group is amazing! I will see you soon! P.s. Mom, I am running low on cash, just a heads up Love U!!!!! Best trip ever thx for sending me!!
Susanna- hi! I am having a TON of fun in Iceland !! I miss y’all tons and can’t wat to see y’all but I also good here. Please make sure Sheila is alive and that she has a good time it’s Angie. I love you all and miss you and please say hi to Farley wheezy Lucy and Sheila and liddy because she won’t read this!
Lauren- Hey!! I am having the best time in Iceland! I miss y’all so much, and can’t wait to see you soon. Give Elvis a hug for me! Thank y’all so much for sending me on this trip. I love y’all so so so much. Xoxo!
Finley: hola guys!!! I am having SO SO much fun in Iceland. Please keep lil hammie alive until I get back, although I don’t really want to 🙂 love you guys to the moon and back!
Hampton- hi , I’m having so much fun in Iceland. I miss y’all so much, I can’t wait to see y’all again.Can’t wait to see y’all soon peace
Sophia- hi! I miss you guys so much, and I’m having a great time in Iceland! Love you and I’ll see you soon! Tell Lottie hi for me! Bye!
Mary-Hey fam! Moondance is amazing and I am loving this trip! My birthday had a water park, dogs, horses, and a chocolate cake, so it was amazing! I love y’all so much and tell Rhett, Tippie, and Daisy that I love them!
Henry-hi guys. I’m having a lot of fun here in Iceland. This has genuinely been one of best weeks of my life. Today I went on a run down a road through the highlands and it was life-changing. Say hi to the dogs for me. Miss you!!!
Doug: hi guys, I’m having fun. We went rafting and kayaking and are about to trek. The food is good.I love you.
Austin: Hey! I’m having a lot of fun in Iceland! Say hi to Maddox and Lilly. Miss you a lot and can’t wait to see you in a couple days
Caleb: Hey Mom and Dad! We’re having lots of fun in Iceland. We’ve already done rafting and kayaking. I hope you guys are having just as much fun on your vacation. I can’t wait to see you back home in just a few more days!
Emma: Hey guys! Im having the greatest time with the funniest people. We start trekking tomorrow and I’m so excited! Can’t wait to see y’all again!
July 15, 2022
Hi from the southeast coast of Iceland!!
We have been off to a fast and great start to our trip and have enjoyed getting to know all of the kids so much. After our travel days, we have really enjoyed getting out to our campsites and taking in all the beauty Iceland has to offer. The kids have been awesome so far, and we can’t wait to experience all the fun this trip has to offer!
Monday afternoon Anna met everyone at JFK before we flew as a group to Iceland. As soon as there were enough people to play card games they started doing so. It was apparent from the first moments at the airport that this group was going work well together and have an amazing time in Iceland. Plenty of snacks, card games, and getting to know each other allowed the time to pass quickly to almost midnight when we took off for our overnight flight. After a long day socializing in the airport, everyone was pretty exhausted, we slept as well as we could on the plane, trying to get some rest before our first full day in Iceland!
On Tuesday morning, Briggs headed off to the airport early to meet up with Anna and everyone else. Once we all met up at the airport, we got to meet our guide for the next couple of weeks, Alvaro! We fueled up on some breakfast and then hit the road. With everyone feeling pretty jetlagged after catching a red eye the night before, Alvaro took us straight to the Blue Lagoon where everyone got to relax for a couple of hours. Everyone was delighted by the beautiful colors of the lagoon, but most importantly eager to hop in after their American attire from the travel day wasn’t cutting it in Iceland (even if Caleb says he could brave the cold in a t-shirt!). We got some slushees at the lagoon, and George even said that it was “the best slushee he’d ever tasted in his life!” We got some mud facemasks as a group and took in the lagoon for all its beauty before making some sandwiches and hitting the road. Our next stop was the lava cave, and we got to take a tour of a cave that was formed by a lava river flowing through the ground following a volcanic explosion! We had an awesome guide who had an even better Viking accent, and he told us all about the cave as we went further and further into it. He even showed us what complete darkness looked like by turning off all the lights in the cave – it’s pretty crazy! After the tour we headed back to our hostel in Reykjavik to settle in for the night. We ordered some Domino’s and feasted on some pizza to get everyone some comfort food on the first night. Soon after we headed just outside for our first moonup as a group. Everyone quickly got the just of it, and we had a great conversation in our first night as a group. The group headed off for a good night’s rest after a long, long day of travel, and Hampton and Doug were particularly confused as they thought it was the afternoon since the sun never sets!
Wednesday morning we woke up at the hostel and ate breakfast. Everyone was ready to get out of the city and start our adventure! We left the hostel and headed straight to the rafting headquarters to get geared up for our trip down the East Glacial River. Once we got our wet suits on, we were ready to start our adventure down the river! Austin, Henry, Sophia and Emma sat at the front of the two boats and took up most of the splash zone to everyone else’s delight. At about the halfway point we had the chance to jump into the water from a small jump along the river. Everyone was eager to jump in and they all had a great time, although it was a little cold! With everyone now used to the temperature of the water, we had more chances to get in and swim. We played Icelandic rafting games as well, and Mary even opted to float down the last few hundred feet in the river – braving the cold the whole way! We had a great time on the river and it was such a great way to start off the trip. After we gave all our gear back, we were able to enjoy the hot tub and sauna at the rafting place. We warmed up and made some sandwiches as well before heading off for our campsite for the night. The drive was long, but it was a beautiful one as we drove into the highlands of Iceland. As the road turned to dirt, and the scenery around us changed to look like we were driving to the moon, everyone was in awe of how vast the Icelandic landscape is. We stopped at a waterfall along the way, and Porter was quick to explore the area as he tried to find the best view from rock to rock. We continued on our way and ultimately made it to our campsite. We showed everyone how to set up the MASSIVE kitchen tent, and then after getting our group camp set up went on to setting up individual tents. The kids were fast learners and we quickly built our home for the night right beside a beautiful river. Finley and Susanna led the group in some “sledding” as they slid down a nearby snowy hill in their rain gear. Afterwards, Alvaro treated us to some burritos and we ate like kings and queens! We had dessert and then Lauren and Porter led us in our first moonup in the outdoors as LODs for the day. The group played some cards afterwards, and then everyone was off to bed for the night.
Yesterday morning we woke up and had breakfast before starting off on a short hike to start off our morning. We quickly broke down camp and were on our way to check out the nearby scenery. The highlands have such a vast scenery, and the mountains surrounding us were beautiful as well. We did a quick loop before heading back to our campsite. Once we got back to camp we ate some lunch and headed on our way back towards the coast and out of the highlands. We stopped along the way to take a look at Europe’s largest waterfall by the amount of water that flows through it. We also got to stop and see a fissure where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates collide. It’s really cool to be in “no man’s land” between the two continents, and the colliding of plates is the reason for all of Iceland’s volcanic activity! We kept on our way to the campsite and eventually made it to a beautiful farm along the coast where we settled in for the night. The very kind family who runs the farm cooked us homemade lasagna, and we enjoyed a meal inside together. After dinner, we hung out for a long time on the playground outside the farm, and the kids even befriended some German kids who were staying at the farm as well. For moonup, we had a very special treat for all of the kids. The owners of the farm have a very, very secret hot springs all to themselves on their property, and they were so kind to let us use it. However, before anyone got into the spring, a polar plunge was required. Everyone bought in and we hopped into the ocean before running off to the hot spring right above it. The spring has one of the most incredible views as it looks over the coast and the massive green cliffs on the opposite side of the shoreline. It was a beautiful night, and everyone was so grateful for such an incredible opportunity. Shortly after our swim, we headed back to camp and turned it in for the night to get ready for a long day of sea kayaking ahead.
We’ve loved getting to know all of your kids so far and can’t emphasize enough how great they’ve been!! Thank you for keeping up with our travels, and we look forward to telling you all about our sea kayaking adventure!
Briggs & Anna
July 12, 2022
Hello Iceland Families!
We 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!