July 24, 2022
Hello Norway families and friends!!
We’ve done it! Here’s a brief update now that your people are home safe and sound.
Last you heard from us, we were cozied up near Smørdham, letting the wind die down a bit before heading out in boats to check some crab traps put out by the warm-hearted property owners. An incredibly kind married couple and their son walked us through the experience of collecting traps and cooking crabs. In small groups, one of our hosts showed us through the informal museum she keeps up. It was a fascinating place filled with impressive history (the King of Denmark once visited many moons ago!) and examples of significant ingenuity. Ever wonder how they made buoys before plastic and rubber? Very creatively, that’s how.
That evening, we cooked and enjoyed a fish feast, featuring the crowd favorite of cheesy potatoes.
The following morning was an early one, for we had to make a local bus to the ferry, which we rode for 4 hours to arrive in Bergen—the beautiful seaside city you might’ve seen on Norwegian postcards. Bergen is so cool! We thoroughly enjoyed exploring town after checking into our hostel. Then, all the sudden, it was our final night, and time for banquet dinner. The unanimous vote was for pizza, which we all absolutely devoured. Some ice cream and a nice post-dinner stroll brought us to a magical final Moonup location. LODs did a great job facilitating a beautiful Moonup, and there was a sense of appropriate closure to this epic adventure.
The ensuing day or so has been a whirlwind of international travel, as you well know, but we are simply overcome with gratitude for these remarkable young people with whom we’ve had the pleasure of spending the past few weeks. Thank you Team Norway 2! And thank you parents, families, loved ones for making this experience possible for them. Thank you for being part of the Moondance family. We appreciate you so so so much. Signing off!
Runa and Davis
July 21, 2022
Hei hei!! It’s the girls here (Sarah, Josephine, Ruthanna, Caroline, Robin). Right now, we are sitting in Smørhamn in our cabins that we are staying in for the night.
Two days ago we arrived in Loen where we settled into our cabins right next to the Nord Fjord. 10/10 views of the fjord. Nathan cooked up an Indian feast with chicken tikka kabobs and naan bread. It was incredible!
The next morning was an early one because we had to head out for our Via Ferrata climb. We had the most perfect weather. It was definitely scary, but we all had a ton of fun. Ruthanna conquered her fear of heights and Hudson showed off his climbing skills. Once we got to the top, Robin and Sarah enjoyed some ice cream and we all took photos in front of the beautiful view. Then, we took a sky lift down and rode a bus to a Chinese restaurant. We had a variety of different dishes including rice, chicken tenders, beef with veggies, and noodles. Charlie destroyed the chicken tenders and Davis enjoyed his vegetarian meal. After dinner, the girls explored the town and looked at all of the cute houses. We then got back on the bus and drove to Davik where we set up camp for the next two nights.
When we arrived in Davik, we were greeted by Tulla the cat and a lot of sheep. We went to sleep, and we were able to sleep in the next morning! When we woke up, we enjoyed a nice lunch of pancakes supplied by Caroline, Ryan, and Nathan. We went to a nearby school playground. When we got there, we met up with our new friend Stein. Stein and Caroline showed off their impressive soccer skills, and then we headed to the beach volleyball court. With the help of Charlie’s serves, Mills, Grady, and Josephine killed it on the volleyball court. William was also an essential team member as he scored the game winning point. After volleyball, we went back to the campsite and hung out in a teepee while Nathan and Davis cooked up some pasta. The pasta earned an 8.2 on the “bussin” scale, which means that it was just above “bussin” level. We then had hot chocolate and listened to a Norse mythology story before going to sleep.
The next morning, we woke up and took down our tents. We headed out on a bus to the coast where we did a hike along a sea cliff. We enjoyed the ocean air and walked along the beach. The bus driver then picked us up and drove us to Smørhamn. Currently, we are waiting to go crab fishing before we eat dinner. Tomorrow, we will spend the day in Bergen shopping and exploring. See you all soon!!! And here’s a word from everyone expressing our thanks—
Ruthanna: Hei Hei! These last 2 weeks have been filled with incredible sites, lots of laughter, peanut butter, and so many memorable stories and activities. I am so thankful for this group of people that I am proud to call my Moondance family and Nathan of course. Also, thank you guys for letting me go on this unbelievable trip that has led me to experience once in a lifetime moments! I miss you guys and Hazel and I can’t wait to see you soon!
Sarah: Hey!! I’ve been having so much fun these past two weeks in Norway making lots of memories, seeing beautiful views, and making lots of friends. I’m so thankful and feel so lucky for this once in a lifetime experience! Love y’all and see y’all soon!!
Ryan: Hey It’s Ryan saying thanks to everyone who helped send me off to Norway. Thanks to everyone that helped me pack and get ready for this crazy experience I’m having a ton of fun hiking, climbing,and spending fun time with all these new friends. See y’all soon.
Grady: Hey mom and dad, thanks so much for sending me on this once and a lifetime trip! I’ve had so much fun with the group going through all sorts of unique activities. Love Grady
Robin: Hi Mom and Dad! Thank you so so so much for sending me on this trip. I am so thankful and I’m having the best time seeing Norway with this awesome group. I can’t wait to visit here with you guys some day! See you soon!
Caroline: Sup familia! Thank you thank you thank you for giving me this opportunity!! These views and moments are once in a lifetime! I cannot wait to share all my memories from levesbu to dovik. Love you so so much and see you soon!
Charlie: Hey Mom and Dad, thank y’all for letting me go on this trip. I have had a lot of fun on this trip and have met great new friends. I have done a lot of new things that I have not done before. See y’all soon.
Hudson: Hey mom and dad, I’ve really enjoyed my time in Norway. I seriously can’t describe to y’all how amazing this place is. The places I’ve traveled, the things I’ve seen, and the memories I have made will stay with me forever. I love y’all so so much and I thank y’all so much for giving me this opportunity. To my girlfriend Anna, thank you for pushing me to do this and to not be scared. Not a day has gone by that I haven’t thought about you. I can’t wait to see you and I love you so much. Thank y’all!!!
Brooks: Hey mom and dad, I’ve had such a good time in Norway. This country is the most beautiful place I’ve ever been to and I’m so thankful that y’all have let me go on this journey. I can’t wait to see y’all soon!
Josephine: Hi guys! Thanks so much for letting me go on this trip. It’s been a great experience and I’ve gotten to do so many cool things. I can’t wait to tell y’all all about it. Alex— I miss you and I hope you’re doing well. I can’t wait to see you when I get back. See you guys soon! I love y’all!!!
William: Dear Mom and Dad thank you so much for sending me on this amazing trip. I have had so much fun hiking, kayaking, and fishing with all of these amazing people. I love you so much and can’t wait to see you. Love William.
Mills: hello family. These 2 weeks have been super fun and memorable! I’m having a blast! Thank y’all so much for making this amazing experience possible for me, I’m so grateful! I love y’all and will see y’all soon!
July 18, 2022
By golly, the days are flying by! We are tuning in from Loen, where we will be climbing a mountain tomorrow by way of a Via Ferrata.
Earlier today, we took our kayaks out of Hjørunfjorden, the fjord we’ve called home for the past few days. On Saturday, we launched our boats from the quaint farming village of Urke. All students were in tandem kayaks, and right away it was apparent that all the teams were working well together. LODs Brooks and Sarah kept us in line and on track for our destination. After crossing the fjord, we followed the coastline to a farm where we would be staying for the night. Upon arrival, there was much work to do. Charlie led the pack, carrying load after load up the steep hill to where we would be pitching our tents. After setting up camp, it was time to cook a feast, which we did on an open campfire beside a rushing river. Pita pizza was on the menu, and certainly did not disappoint. Caroline pioneered an assembly line technique that had the cook crew churning them out like hot cakes. The look on Ruthanna’s face as she took her first glorious bite was priceless. Mills, Grady and Ryan couldn’t get enough, consuming an impressive (we think World Record) number. We slept soundly to the sound of wind over sea.
The following morning, the weather proved too intense to kayak! Rain was falling heavily, and we could see formidable white caps on the fjord below our camp. Hudson and Josephine, our trusty LODs, helped make the call to stay on land for the day, and instead hike up to a little cabin in the mountains above. We did so, and enjoyed a nice long hang in a cozy little cabin, sharing ghost stories and playing an epic game of Silent Football over lunch. After descending back to our tents, the rain and wind lulled us to sleep for a much-needed afternoon nap. Then, it was all hands on deck for another campfire dinner—spaghetti this time, featuring mackerel caught and cooked by William himself! Moonup and sound sleep followed.
Today, after taking off the fjord, we traveled from Urke to Loen, with a grocery stop on the way to procure items for our guide Nathan’s famous tikka kabob recipe. While en route, we enjoyed jamming to music, especially Robin’s favorite song: Electricity by Dua Lipa. It’s a banger, as they say. Ok, gotta go, almost dinner time! Be well out there, folks.
Runa and Davis
July 15, 2022
Hello our Norway friends and families!
It’s Caroline’s birthday!! We’re fresh off our trekking section (including a successful summit bid up Norway’s tallest peak!), and we’re enjoying a restful transition day to our sea kayaking put-in near the town of Urke. The last week has been action-packed and thoroughly joyous. Here’s a brief day-by-day synopsis followed by shout-outs from the team!
Last Sunday, we set out to hike the famed Bessegen ridge. It was epic! 11.5 hours of impossibly beautiful hiking brought us to our lodging at Memurubu. LODs Robin and Brooks kept our spirits high and legs churning for the finish. The next day, we awoke early to catch a ferry from Memurubu to Gjendebu, at the Western edge of Lake Gjende. From there, we began our 18km trek to Olavsbu, our first and only self-serviced hut. Self-serviced guys are stocked with shelf-stable food by helicopter once a year, and visitors prepare their own food. For us, it was a wonderful and authentically Norwegian experience. Caroline and Hudson were our LODs and facilitated Moonup atop a large boulder with an unrivaled view.
On Tuesday, Mills and Sarah guided us on our rocky voyage from Olavsbu to Leirvassbu. We had inclement weather and significant snow travel this day. Exciting stuff! The cozy, folk-art-adorned lodge at Leirvassbu was a welcome change from the previous night, and the baked salmon for dinner was exceptional. We hiked from Leirvassbu to Spiterstulen the following day.LODs Charlie and Josephine kept our pace steady, and even helped us spot some reindeer high in a valley! A warm meal and outdoor dance party were the main events of the evening.
This brings us to yesterday, our summit day! It was a truly blustery day in the mountains. We started early and made our way, little by little, through the intense snow and wind to the tippy top of Norway, Galdhøpiggen. The teamwork was impressive, and Ruthanna and Ryan proved to be the perfect leaders for the job. Today, Grady and William are keeping us tight to the schedule to be sure we make it to Urke with ample time to prep for sea kayaking tomorrow. What a trip!
-Davis & Runa
Without further ado, here’s what the people have to say:
Robin: Hei family and Tucker!! Norway is so beautiful and so awesome! I’m having so much fun and totally girlbossing out here. Norway has the best gluten free bread too. Miss you and love you guys! Ps happy birthday Dad!
Sarah: Hei Hei! I’m having a blast & so happy to be here!! We just finished trekking it was so beautiful! Also just ate lots of yummy pastries at Lom and saw ancient Viking churches. So excited for the rest of the trip! Love you all!!
Ruthanna: Hei! I’ve had the most insane time here and the views are unreal! I truly do feel like I’m living in a NatGeo magazine and the food, lodging, and culture is all so amazing! I miss you guys so much and give Hazel a hug for me. (Sorry for all the charges on my card there will probably be a lot more!)
Caroline: Sup! We just finished trekking through the mountains and staying in hostels(I’ve never walked so much in my life)!! It’s my bday and it’s going so super duper lit! Ttyl & ily
Josephine: Hi fam and Alex!!! I’m having fun in Norway. We just summitted a mountain and it was so cool but SO cold. The views here are insane. Mary sellers- i hope you had a great time in British Columbia and Alex- I hope you had a great time in paris. I love and miss y’all!
Charlie: Hi, I am having a great time and have met some great new friends. It is very nice here and the food is good. Miss y’all.
Grady: Hey family, having lots of fun hiking and bonding with the group. Looking forward to the kayaking to come as well. Tell sander hi and check in on Tyler for me, love y’all and see you soon
William: Mom, Dad and Davis Norway is so beautiful and the weather has been amazing. I am having so much fun and have met some amazing friends. Hope Davis is having fun with work and is staying safe. Can wait to see you. Love William.
Brooks: Hey Family! Having a great time in Norway, it’s beautiful here. Miss y’all.
Hudson: What’s up family! Norway is amazing. Never seen so many incredible views. Love and miss y’all. Anna, I love and miss you like crazy. I hope you are doing well. I can’t wait to see you soon!!!
Mills: hey family I’m having a really fun time here in Norway! It’s very pretty and I’ve met good friends! I miss and love y’all!
Ryan: What’s up fam. I’m having so much fun. Norway has crazy views I’ll show you all the flics. See y’all soon!
July 9, 2022
We made it!
Not only did all students arrive yesterday with all baggage (eventually), but we also made it safely to the haven that is our lodging of Gjendesheim. This glorious lodge lies at the foot of Jotunheimen National Park (roughly translates to “Home of the Giants”). Trust us, it lives up to its name.
Perhaps most remarkably of all, this intrepid crew seems to have beaten the jet lag, having woken up rested and ready for our first full day in Norway! We began the day with a thorough breakfast, and packed sandwiches for the solid hike to come. And did we mention it is Mills’ birthday?! Not only is it Mills’ birthday, but William also had a birthday yesterday. Naturally, we celebrated both today, beginning with a breakfast that featured party hats and kazoos along with well-wishing and reflection on the past year of life.
We spent some time reallocating and packing for the next week or so of hiking, then scampered up a mountain visible from the many-windowed dining hall of Gjendesheim. Here are some highlights: Hudson displayed his remarkable ability to scream like a goat. Caroline explained her fascinating equestrian life. Brooks described his interest in learning about cults (and affinity for dance moves). Sarah and Robin modeled inquisitiveness with endless friendly questions, which led us to learn about Josephine’s medical field aspirations. Charlie shared many a trail story. Ruthanna and Davis discussed the latest celebrity gossip. Grady, the basketballer he is, fancy-footworked his way up the mountain. Ryan couldn’t believe it all looked just like the photos that drew him here in the first place.
Back at the lodge, we enjoyed hot showers and feasted on a locally-sourced three-course meal featuring Jerusalem artichoke soup and delectable lamb. Yes, it was as good as it sounds. The lodge was even nice enough to provide some gifts for the birthday boys—local apple juice and candy! Then, we shared our very first Moonup as a group, which brings us to bed time. We’re off to sleep to rest for the first of many big hiking days to come. We couldn’t be happier. Take it easy out there. Ha det!
July 8, 2022
Hello Norway Families!
We heard from our leaders late last night that the group has landed safely and are in transport to their first site. The trip is off to a great start, and we cannot wait to hear more stories from their adventures.
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!