July 30, 2023
We have all safely made it back to the great land that is the United States of America, yet are still met with a tinge of sadness as our incredible two weeks have come to a close. We are so grateful to have had the opportunity to spend this time with your kids in Iceland and will remember this trip well into the future. Our last few days were jammed packed, beginning with a wild snorkeling adventure between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. KJ and Megan led the charge into the 38 degree water first, inspiring the rest of us to do the same. Mickey proved to be quite the fish, plunging up and down through the water and flaunting the fact that he was born with gills and we weren’t. We headed to the farm campsite that night where Bryce and Gray took us to the secret cliffside hot tub that only the locals know about so we could all enjoy a gold ole fashioned Icelandic soak. Much needed for our old bones I’ll tell ya that.
The next day we had a beautiful start with some delicious pancakes to kick off Isabella’s birthday celebration! We then took off on a beach hike through the fjords, where Nate and James had a rock skipping competition along the coast. Twas a radical time and we were greeted with some much-needed sun to top it all off. That night we were able to relax inside the farmhouse and watched The Menu while enjoying cake to round out the birthday. The next day we woke up early and stormed the beaches to take off on our epic sea kayaking adventure. Sarah and Hollis charged in first, wowing us with their pro paddling skills. Intimidating to say the least. Kate found herself becoming friends with all the seals we discovered along the way and even bestified one that we named Potter! Halfway through, Bennet showed us his skills and did a full roll, plunging himself into the cold water. Andrew took to the many jellyfish along the way and found himself singing them sweet lullabies.
We then headed back into Reykjavik to explore the town and grab some pizza for our banquet dinner. We played some games of pickup basketball and enjoyed the last hours we were able to spend together. This truly was an unforgettable trip, and we hope the kids keep you all updated with the many stories from these two weeks!
Connor and Skyler
July 27, 2023
We started off Day 10 bright and early ready for our first water activity – Rafting! The boys and girls split into two teams with Nate nicknaming himself Thomas Jefferson and claiming the boys boat for the USA. We paddled through the first set of rapids with ease, enjoying occasional splash wars. About half way through the rafting session we stopped at a cliff for a quick break and cliff jump. Bennett fearlessly led out as our first jumper with everyone else following!
We jumped back into the rafts and headed down the river. As you all know every good rafting day must include at least one raft war! Keeping with the tradition the boys and girls boats rallied for battle. James led the first attach against the girls boat, jumping from one to the other. It was a hard fought war with swimmers on both sides. After both Sarah and Gray were captured by sniper Mickey Captain Marvel Megan leapt into action to save them from the boys boat. In the end all team members were returned to their respective boats and we raced off for the take out point. The boys boat put up a valiant effort trying to catch the girls but we’re no match for their speed and precision. Captain Kate and Kelly Jane lead the girls to the W in the final sprint to shore.
After rafting we relaxed in the base where Andrew showed off his guitar skills and we feasted on burgers and fries! We ended our rafting day with a trip to the local dairy farm Efstidalur for an Icelandic staple – ICE CREAM! Bryce had the most popular flavor combo of chocolate and mocha! To end our night we made a quick pit stop to the Strokkur Geyser.
Day 11 started with a huge surprise, a day hike to the actively erupting volcano Fagradalsfjall. This particular volcano has only been active for a month and is the third eruption in three years for Iceland. Once in the parking lot we strapped up our hiking boots and set off for our 6 mile hike in, Hollis and Isabella were especially excited for this hike and to see the eruption site! After three hours of rocky roads, rolling hills, and switch backs we made it to the top and celebrated with sandwiches! Seeing the the magma bubbling from the crater and the lava trails left in the dirt was an indescribable experience. Three hours later we were back in the bus and headed to Bónus for a re-supply on snacks!
We are so excited to see what the last few days of our trip holds and cannot wait to tell you all about it!
Skyler & Connor
July 25, 2023
The past several days have been jam packed with throwing down some radical milage on trail. Our dogs (feet) are screaming, and we are so excited to be in a warm hut for the night playing plenty of cards and listening to some great tunes. We set off on a small warm up hike the first day, prancing through the trails until we reached our golf course looking campsite at Strutur hut. We had an opening feast of salmon pasta that Bryce absolutely tore apart. The salmon was a hit to say the least. Salmon on trail? Only our infamous Bulgarian guide Zach could pull that off. God bless him.
The next day was our biggin’. 15er. That’s right folks – 15 miles in a day. Mjolk and granola was our morning fuel before we set off onto the trail. Andrew and Megan were chosen as our fearless leaders of the day for this hike and kept group spirits high throughout our 7.5 hour day. The kids were machines, trucking through the entire hike at a blistering pace and almost never asking for a break. Toward the end of the hike, we were greeted by the glorious presence of one of Iceland’s famous hot springs – which we learned was the perfect temperature for bathing only because the pool was made from a mix of glacial river water and water that had been heated by the magma underneath the surface. Bennett was the first to plunge into the spring and was met by the pungent sulfuric smell of such a pool.
The next day we woke early and set off again for our next hike. This was one our most beautiful strolls, as we made our way past the black volcanic sand plain hemmed by the icecap of Myrdalsjokull. Isabella crossed the frigid rivers with no hesitation, showing us all how it was done. Just as we were cresting the arrival of our campsite, Zach decided we had hiked too fast (how is this possible – I do not know) and took us on an epic detour. By detour, I mean he hooked a sharp left and went straight uphill, leading us to a near impossible summit. But that’s not all. Upon reaching the first summit, we continued to hit four more, testing just how strong our calves really are. Nate found a time capsule at the top of one and signed Moondance 2023 inside, forever leaving our mark on the highlands of Iceland. Upon arrival to camp, we playing an epic game of ultimate frisbee, where Sarah and Grey absolutely dusted the rest of us. Then, Hollis swept us in a soccer match, twisting every single ankle the group has, leaving us all in the grass crying.
The next day we hit the trail once again, this time through the black sand desert as we made our way to Emstrur. It was, once again, a power walk. These kids don’t let up I don’t know what y’all are feeding them at home. Once we arrived at the campsite, Mickey took us up to the Grand Canyon of Iceland where we had another game of ultimate frisbee and had a wonderous moonup amidst the rolling green hills and jagged red canyons. The final day of trekking was both nostalgic and celebratory for our aforementioned dogs. It was a 10 miler from Emstrur to Thorsmork, having many different elements to the hike – both tough climbs and flat deserts. We sang many songs along the way and took plenty of sandwich breaks, making sure to soak in the scenery along the way. James and KJ hit us with LOD (Leader of the Day) chocolate at the perfect time, keeping spirits high to push all the way through. We had a celebratory dinner at the camp, feasting on Zach’s perfectly cooked lamb and potatoes.
Today we got a bit of a sleep in, before heading to see an infamous Iceland waterfall, where Kate led the charge to go behind it. Grey got some outstanding vlog footage from the spray as well. We then enjoyed the Icelandic tradition of hitting some geothermal pools before enjoying our first off trail meal at the Selfoss food hall. It was booyah to say the least.
We cannot wait for the rest of the trip and hope all is well at home! Below are some shoutouts from each of the kids so you can hear from them as well!
Until next time,
Connor and Skyler
Bryce: Hey y’all! I miss you a lot. I’m having tons of fun! The people in my group are awesome and I can’t wait to see you when I get back!
Kate: Hey Mom and Dad! I’m having so much fun, miss you all! I am staying warm don’t worry! 😊 love yall!
Isabella: Hi madre how is chui and abby? Are the cats ok? Can’t wait to see y’all!
Andrew: Hi! It’s been so fun. Hope to see you soon! Love you!
James: Hey guys! It’s been very fun! Love you hope to see you soon!
Bennett: Hello Sir John and Madam Kristin! I’m missing Olaf and I can’t wait to see you guys in Reykjavik!
Grey: Hi Mom and Dad! Hope y’all are doing well! Please tell Bruce I love him and I hope camp is going well! Can’t wait to tell you about it! Love you!
Megan: Make me a chocolate cake with chocolate icing, please. Love you and tell Duck I love him!
Sarah: Hey family! Miss y’all tons, having a blast but can’t wait to see y’all and tell y’all all about it! My back has only been hurting one day. Love you!
Hollis: Hey Mom, Dad, Andrew and Anna AND BODIE! I miss y’all so much! Connor is whooping my ass in Spades… but having the best time ever! Can’t wait to go rafting tomorrow. Love y’all – and Bodie especially.
KJ: Hey Mom and Dad! Having so much fun – miss and love y’all! We just finished trekking and about to go rafting. Can’t wait to see y’all soon!
Nate: Hey everyone! Hope camp was fun! My group is amazing, and my leaders are too! Our guide Zach makes some bomb food and tonight we had cod and rice. We just finished trekking and I’m looking forward to rafting tomorrow. I’m happy and healthy. Love, Nate. PS. Please remember to text me pictures of my flights home so I can make it out of Iceland!
Mickey: Hey y’all! Miss y’all so much. I’ll see y’all soon!
July 19, 2023
Velkominn til íslands!!
We arrived at the Keflavik airport and jetted off on our first adventure – The Blue Lagoon! This is one of the most visited locations in Iceland due to its geothermal spa and Silica rich waters. Once in the Lagoon Kelly Jane, Hollis, Megan, Gray, Kate & Sarah put on their Silica Mud Masks and posed for pictures. With slushees in hand the whole group continued to explore the pools. Once out we played a couple rounds of Ninja with Nate being crowned the ultimate victor.
We left the Lagoon and headed for our picnic lunch at Seldum, a local hot spring. We snacked on sandwiches and juice boxes while watching wild horses grazing in the field beside us. Of all the sandwich combos possible the groups favorite was led by Isabella’s sandwich – cheese and salami. After lunch Mickey, Andrew, Bryce, Bennett, James, and Nate found a hill to climb and decided to start trekking a little early. Armed with the group GoPro they set off for the top and we’re rewarded with some breathtaking views.
After lunch we loaded back up and headed to our home for the night! We settled in with about an hour of down time and then we’re off again! This time for dinner, we landed at a local burger spot called 2 Guys!
We capped off the night with our trips first Moonup! Our first night questions explored our B+ superpowers and how we wanted to grow during the trip. To wrap up the evening our first Leaders of the Day [LODs] – Hollis & Mickey – were crowned. After a jam packed and thrilling two days we went to bed!
We began Day 3 early and headed to a local bakery for breakfast, after getting our fill of pastries and croissants we loaded back up and headed out for our first activity – Trekking! Beginning at the Trail of Strutur we will spend the next 5 days trekking through the Icelandic Highlands. We cannot wait to tell you all about it!
We’re stoked to have this amazing group of students with us and so greatly appreciate you giving us the opportunity to meet and experience the beauty of Iceland with your kids.
Until next time,
Skyler & Connor
July 18, 2023
Hello Iceland Families!
We heard from our leaders and 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!