July 24, 2022
One last hello from Iceland!! The past few days have been the perfect farewell tour to this fantastic journey together. We have spent the last few days sea kayaking and enjoying each other’s company. We were blessed with perfect weather for our final few days in Iceland. Each day we woke up to blue skies and sunshine! This warm weather allowed for Nat, Gunner, Gardner, and Liam to still be able to wear their cutoff shirts! Don’t worry, they should all arrive back to you with shirts with sleeves today!
The night before our sea kayaking adventure, all the kids wanted to sleep in our big, blue cooking tent to have a “mega sleepover!” We stopped at a delicious bakery in the morning before heading out for sea kayaking to enjoy some delicious pastries. Chloe, Lucy, and Sophie had to go back inside a few more times to get more treats because everything was so yummy. After enjoying a delicious bakery and seeing the lighthouse that overlooked our sea kayaking route for the day, we started prepping for our overnight kayaking trip! Liam and Frances, our LODs for the day, both fell in the water before we even set off. Despite being a little bit wet, they both kept positive attitudes and kept the energy up for the rest of the day. Gunner showed off his kayaking skills and was flying around everyone! We arrived at an island in the middle of the ocean, our home for the night. We set up tents and made our way up a hill to have the best view of our surroundings. We looked out at snow covered mountains on one side and the beautiful ocean with scattered islands on the other. It truly was an amazing sight. The sun began to set, and it was definitely one of the most incredible views of the whole trip. After Moonup, all the girls crammed into one tent for our nightly girl talk! The occasion was made that much sweeter when Maddie brought out two chocolate bars that she had in her bag. Chocolate went flying and the girls devoured it within seconds.
Yesterday was a busy, but fun last full day in Iceland! It was Baker’s 22nd birthday! Lucy and Katherine sang “22” by Taylor Swift all day long. After sea kayaking back from the island, we had a birthday party for Baker in a sunny alcove in the forest. We grilled hamburgers, listened to music, and celebrated Baker! We didn’t have any forks, so we all ate chocolate cake with our hands, and it was a messy, but silly way to celebrate. Once we arrived back in Reykjavik, we were able to shower and relax for a few minutes. We walked into town together and got to explore the downtown streets of Reykjavik. Icewear, Iceland’s outdoor clothing brand, was an important stop for our group. Landon, Hugo, Gardner, Lucy, Liam, Sophie and Maddie all got Icewear merch and immediately put it on! We shopped around for souvenirs as we made our way to our banquet dinner! After a delicious dinner of pizza and pasta, we made a surprise stop for Ice-cream. Our last Moonup was a reflective one where we shared something that we have learned from this trip that we would like to carry into our lives back at home. Many of us agreed that living in the moment, without knowledge of time or the distraction of our phones, was a breath of fresh air that allowed us to connect deeply with those around us.
We have had the best time in Iceland! We are all on our way to JFK and will then say goodbye and go our separate ways as the kids fly back home. We will all miss each other, but these memories will last a lifetime! Thank you for trusting us with them and allowing us to spend time with them these past two weeks. We love each of them and know that they all love each other. Our goodbyes were tough, but we know that it reflects how much fun we had these past two weeks. Baker and I can’t wait to watch all of the amazing things that we know these kids with accomplish!
Hailey and Baker
July 21, 2022
We wanted to start this update by saying thank you for sharing your amazing children with us for the past two weeks. Baker and I have had the best time getting to know them, laughing with them, and watching them grow! Each person on this trip brings something different to the table, and we have all come together in the best way possible. This group is silly and fun, but we’ve also seen them create deep bonds that we hope will last a lifetime. It truly has been a pleasure watching this group come together.
The past few days have been a great addition to our Icelandic journey! The fun continues! We refueled our bodies after our long trek with a delicious pasta Bolognese, made by Sophie and our guide, Karl. The evening concluded with another fun game of truth or dare after Moonup. We have some pretty daring kids in this group!! You’ll have to ask them how they feel about maple syrup now!
The next day was a relaxing one, which was much needed. We spent the afternoon at a geothermal swimming pool! Nat, Landon, and Liam particularly loved the water slide! Katherine wowed us with her swimming skills, and we played pool games until we turned into prunes. We spent the night in a warm cabin with one huge bunkbed that was as long as the whole room. Gunner, Gardner, Liam, Nat, and Hugo all got matching Iceland shirts which they made into cut-off shirts, and they still haven’t taken them off!
The next day was our rafting adventure! On our van ride to rafting, we all belted Taylor Swift and the drive flew by. “You Belong With Me” and “Love Story” are the group favorites! Rafting was truly a blast. After crushing the rapids, most of the group decided to brave the water and jump off one of the biggest rocks! We all laughed at everyone’s screams as the plunged into the water, Landon’s “weeeeeee” was our favorite. Lucy, Nat and Liam spent more time in the glacier water swimming than in the raft! Gunner was able to push Katherine off and all of the kids finally got Hailey to fall off too! Maddie was one of our LODs this day, and her positive attitude and resiliency lifted the whole group up.
We have spent the past two nights at a beautiful campsite right beside the ocean. Despite the fact that the sun never truly sets, we saw our first sunset of the trip two nights ago. The sky turned into amazing shades of blue, orange, and pink as we crawled into our tents for the night. Yesterday was a fun day of sightseeing! After a short hike, Nat and Liam enjoyed some of the best fish and chips at our lunch spot at the largest geyser in Europe! Our next stop was at a local horse farm! Sophie was a natural with the horses and we learned all about this special breed of Icelandic horses and enjoyed homemade rye bread that is cooked underground using the boiling geyser water. Chloe and Kate went back for seconds over and over again! We finished the day at an unbelievable waterfall. The water was many shades of light blue and turquoise and we were in awe! The beautiful blue waters matched the blue skies, and it was a fantastic day in Iceland!
Today we are exploring Snaefellsnes, a peninsula where our guide, Karl, grew up! Our first stop was at a gorgeous beach where we were able to look at seals! We were all mesmerized. I’ve never heard the group be so quiet, expect for Frances saying, “they’re tanning!” and Gardner adding, “this is so dope!” Needless to say, the seals were a hit!
Tomorrow we will head out to sea kayak to finish our journey together. If the last few days are anything like the rest of the trip, there’s no doubt in my mind that they will be anything short of amazing. I’m sure we will be laughing our way along the coast. Thank you all again for sharing these kids with us. They each play such an important role in making this group what it is! We love them and can’t wait to soak in these last few days with them!
Bless (goodbye in Iceland!),
Baker and Hailey
A few more words from the kiddos:
Liam: Thanks mom and dad! I’m having a really good time. I just fell down a hill.
Landon: Thanks for letting me come. Mom, this is a second reminder to book our flights back to the US.
Lucy: I’m so grateful I got this opportunity. I’ve learned a lot about myself and have fallen a whole lot along the way.
Katherine: Thanks for so much for sending me on this trip. I’ve had a really really good time.
Maddie: Thanks for the new teeth and this trip!
Chloe: Thank you so much for sending me on this trip. I’m having the best time!
Kate: I’m having an amazing time and am super thankful for this opportunity. Love y’all!
Gunner: I’m alive and thanks! I pooped today.
Nat: Thanks for letting me come on this trip!
Frances: I’m happy I survived trekking! Thank you for sending me on this trip!
Sophie: Thank you so much for sending me on this trip, it’s been amazing. I have great friends and great leaders!
July 18, 2022
Hello again from Iceland!
We have finished our trek and it was absolutely amazing. This is a special group of kids and the past few days have been filled with laughter and fun. After our first afternoon of trekking, we were greeted with a warm hut where we all got to sleep inside together! Hugo bought a red ball and we challenged him to keep track of it the whole trek. Despite a close call on our first river crossing, Baker and Gardner were able to save the ball and it survived the rest of the trek! We enjoyed burgers and Icelandic “yum yum sauce” which was a hit for everyone. The night ended with the first of many games of truth or dare. This game has been a constant source of entertainment and has ended with some pretty silly moments and lots of laughs. Kate was dared to put a worm on her tongue and she didn’t even hesitate!
The next day was our longest trek, over 13 miles. Lucy kept us laughing with all of her falls and Landon started a snowball fight war which lasted throughout the day. All of the kids loved walking over the snow while wearing shorts! We all soaked in the views of vast green mountains and snow-covered peaks. It was truly spectacular walking through this scenery with no other humans in sight. We finally got Nat’s bag and he’s turned into our group videographer, capturing all of the funny moments on his camera.
The next day of trekking was a special one because we got to watch an ultramarathon! The runners were on the same trail as us, and we got to cheer them on all day! Gunner, Liam, and Nat decided to name each runner and cheer them on by their new name! I’m sure the runners were confused, but we all thought it was hilarious! The day ended with hours spent in our big blue cooking tent. Lucy made popcorn for the group and it was delicious! We sang songs and Frances and Kate somehow knew the lyrics to every song. The day ended with a special surprise for everyone. Sophie and Maddie serenaded the group with Maddie playing the guitar and Sophie sharing her beautiful voice. The whole group was in awe.
On our last day of trekking, Chloe and Kate led the pack with Hailey and encouraged everyone to keep going! Frances and Gunner were our LODs and kept the group’s energy up! Katherine kept all of us smiling with humor. Each one of these kids brings something different and amazing to this group. We are so grateful for each of them.
The best parts of trekking are the trail conversations and opportunities to get to know each person in the group. This group has bonded and become so close. Each night, the kids all get together and spend hours talking and laughing. Baker and I love getting to hear their stories and a recap of all the fun the next morning at breakfast. It makes us so happy to see how this group has gone from strangers to best friends in such a short amount of time. We are surprising the kids with a stop at a geothermal swimming pool today! The next few days will be filled with plenty more laughs and smiles, rafting, and sea kayaking. Time is flying, and we never want this trip to end. We’ll check back in with you all in a few days! In the meantime, here are a few words from our “squad”!
Hailey and Baker
Words from the kiddos:
Liam: hi everyone! I’m doing good. We just finished 42 mile, 5 day trek. I had a great time on the trek. See you soon. Love you.
Maddie: hey guys! Im really dirty but I’m good.
Chloe: hey guys I’m having the best time here! I’ve made so many new friends. Tell Allie to have to best last week in Italy and I can’t wait to see you guys soon!
Landon: I’m doing good. Hope everything is okay at home! Mom – please book our return flights to the US.
Gunner: I’m alive! Just took the biggest poop of my life.
Nat: hey everything is good! An arctic fox got my toe. just kidding!
Kate: we are partying it up with the elves! Having the best time. Love y’all and miss y’all.
Katherine: I love y’all so much! I miss y’all and I’m having fun!
Sophie: hey guys! I love you and I miss you! I’m having a great time in Iceland and I hope you had a great time on your trip! I can’t wait to see you soon, and I hope I won’t smell too bad. Say hi to Phoebe for me!
Gardner: yo yo yo
Lucy: hey! Having sooo much fun. I made friends!
Hugo: miss you, see you soon. I’m having fun!
Frances: I’m having so much fun! Love you!
July 13, 2022
Welcome to Iceland!
We landed to blue skies and warm welcomes from Baker who was waiting for us at the Keflavik airport! Our journey began as everyone started to arrive in New York. Lucy immediately brought the group together right from the start with her smile and a deck of cards! Gunner, Hugo, Liam, and Gardner all joined Lucy and Chloe in multiple games of BS while we waited for the rest of the group to arrive.
Our first day in Iceland was beautiful, fun, and relaxing! We started our adventure with a trip to the blue lagoon!
We spent the afternoon soaking up the sun at a nearby soccer field. We all participated in a fun game of World Cup, but our soccer stars Baker and Kate took home the win. We laughed our way through cartwheel contest, jokes, and a game of “head it or catch it” where you are supposed to do the opposite of what the person with the ball tells you. Gunner was our energetic caller, and we were all blown away by Landon’s hand-eye coordination as he dominated the rest of the group. We enjoyed pizza and our first Moonup together! Moonup is a special part of all Moondance trips where we close out the successes of the day and look forward to the journeys of tomorrow. We named our first LODs, leaders of the day, Nat and Lucy, and we can’t wait to watch them lead our group through the first day of trekking!
Today is another blue-sky day! We start our trek today and everyone is so excited! Sophie’s smile and Frances’ positive attitude have already been a huge help in bringing the group together! Maddie and Katherine started the French braid trend, and by now most of our girls are sporting the matching hairstyle! We are off to see a beautiful waterfall and start our trekking section! Baker and I are so excited to begin this part of our trip and watch this group come together. We know it’s going to me amazing. Thank you all so much for sharing your kids with us, they are full of energy, and we can’t stop laughing! More fun to come!
Hailey and Baker
July 12, 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!