July 11, 2023
Final day in Bergen!
Well the kids have left us and although we are sad to see them go we feel so lucky to have shared this time together. Our last days together consisted of an Irish moonup, a ferry ride, a doctors visit, and a few little troll dolls.
After devouring the last meal cooked in Davik, the whole group took to cleaning the house and getting everything straight before our early start the next day. Spencer, Victoria and Lucy took on the kitchen while the rest of us when tidied the other rooms in the house. Once everything was squared away, we headed to our moonup spot, a grassy patch on the edge of the fjord, where Oisin and Nate led an Irish themed moonup. It began with some limericks and ended in a game of mafia with a special twist. Then we headed back inside for a relaxing evening. Kearney tried his first tea while we all read in the the living room. Then we headed to bed after a long and fulfilling day.
Th next morning we took the early bird ferry into Bergen. This was the biggest ferry any of us had ever been and as soon as we got on the boat nearly everyone fell asleep. After our rest, Charles and Liam got to playing cards and we all tried the food on the ferry.
In Bergen we found rainy skies and a beautiful coastal city with unique architecture, beautiful parks and the sounds of seagulls all around. Sara Catherine and Rachel split off from the group to get her wrist checked out. Everyone else found lunch near our hostel and then went to a gift shop where Margaret and Bella found some troll figurines to bring home as souvenirs. Afterwards Sara Catherine and Rachel reunited with the group and Sara got to show off her new cast which everyone signed. For our final dinner we went to a local pizzeria and then took a stroll through the fish market where we saw huge lobsters and crabs. As a final treat we all ate some ice cream at the dock before heading to the hostel for final moonup.
Charles and Kearney led us in moonup, with Kearney telling a great story to open the nug jug. We all talked about our favorite memories from the trip and reminisced on the good times before getting sleep.
Our flight to Oslo was early the next morning but we made it with plenty of time. We said goodbye to Lucy in the airport and then headed to our flight. We said goodbye to everyone else in Oslo. We can’t believe how quickly these two weeks flew by but we are glad they were successful and exciting. We are looking forward to hearing from everyone once they touch down!
Rachel and Travis
July 10, 2023
To pick up where we left off getting back to civilization, the group passed time while waiting for their pick up by playing numerous games. Kearney won our game of ninja. Spencer won don’t knock my rock, and Oisin tricked Charles and won poison dart frog. We finished off the waiting period with a card game of presidents and sunbathing in the road. A short van ride took us to the Norwegian city of Davik, where we arrived the cutest Airbnb ever. Needless to say, the group was pumped to make this our home for the next three nights.
Here, we were reunited with our duffels and repacked in the front yard for the days ahead. While doing this, we listened to a phenomenal playlist curated by the group, under the beaming sun. Once reorganized, we headed to the local school playground where an intense game of soccer took place. Charles and Kearney were deemed captains, with Kearney’s team taking the dub in the end. Despite the loss, Oisin made multiple crazy saves as the goalie. and Bella enjoyed participating in her first ever soccer game. Everyone went on to tackle the obstacle course, where Spencer showed off his rope swing moves. We then shifted our focus to the volleyball court. There, we played the local Norwegian guides in a game of beach volleyball. The Moondance team secured a victory after a long-fought battle. Everyone enjoyed the game, especially the guide’s groovy music they played on their speaker. Returning home, we all took our first showers out of the backcountry. Feeling the cleanest we’d felt in days, we headed to the local restaurant where the group devoured a HUGE bowl of pasta Bolognese and bottled sodas. We ended the meal with classic Norwegian Waffles and chocolate cake. The night ended with a gorgeous Moonup on the dock and lots of poker.
Today, the group had the pleasure of getting to sleep in for the first time, waking up to Nathan, Travis, and Rachel cooking a fat breakfast. A spread of pancakes, potatoes, eggs, bacon, and strawberries was eaten by the group as they enjoyed their lazy morning. Once ready, the group began their day hike to the Trodda Peak in Davik. The group started off strong, but were challenged not long after. A steep uphill hike made for a tiring but rewarding day. Once the group reached the peak and signed the visitors book, Kearney pulled out the Norwegian flag we found and let it fly. We went on to eat some delicious tortilla sandwiches at lunch, where everyone was amazed as Victoria wore her puffer in the scorching sun to warm “up”!!! After wandering back to our house, the group went for a group dip in the fjord. The water was chilly but refreshing. Most people went to shower and chill after our busy day, but Lucy, Margaret, Spencer, and Kearney headed back to the volleyball court for a serious doubles match. In a best of three sets game, Lucy and Margaret smoked Kearney and Spencer. The teams were mixed up to give the boys a shot, and Lucy, Margaret, and Kearney all ended up taking home victories. Despite being the ultimate loser, Spencer still had fun! Meanwhile, Sara Catherine and Rachel were back home whipping up creamy mac and cheese for our cookout. Our backyard barbecue was thoroughly enjoyed by all, especially Liam who ate two humongous burgers. To top it all off, homemade brownies were brought out and gobbled up by all. The rest of the evening was full of mafia, cards, poker, and a dance party in the living room at the end. The group went to bed with full bellies and the black-eyed peas still playing in the back of their heads.
Everyone had a quick breakfast of yogurt and granola before heading off to the Hornelen Via Ferrata. Harnesses and helmets were distributed upon arrival, and everyone was off to a quick start. During the hike to the via ferrata, the kids caught up with their Norwegian guide buddies. Margaret talked with her good pal Stein, a local from Davik, as Lucy chatted up a storm with Folke, our Swedish guide. Once at the base of the course, everyone immediately realized that this was going to be a much bigger challenge than imagined. With Rachel, Liam, and Charles leading the way up, the group hoisted themselves up the highest sea cliff in Europe. Oisin and Sara Catherine had a great time together overcoming the challenges, while Margaret made sure to capture some awesome images of Lucy and Kearney, her cliff conquering buddies. It was a very intense and strenuous route, but also the sickest thing many had ever done. As everyone reached the top, Bella was there to greet them with a smile and some chocolate. Some well-deserved tortilla sandwiches were shared during lunch in the hut at the top. With views overlooking the fjord, blue skies, and a challenge, the group hiked down and headed home happier than ever. Immediately after getting home, the group busted into the house ravenous. So, some delicious dinner leftovers were pulled out from the fridge and found empty within minutes. After refueling and resting, Bella, Margaret, Lucy, Victoria, Spencer, Kearney, Liam, and Travis hopped into the fjord to clean themselves. While swimming, Liam found the biggest tick of the trip on his tummy. Meanwhile, Oisin and Charles slept, and Sara Catherine, Margaret, and Bella prepared our Greek inspired dinner.
We have enjoyed our last few days together and are sad to see your kiddos depart tomorrow. Here is to the best group ever!
July 7, 2023
This trip just keeps getting better and better! Today we’ve finished four days in the backcountry, two days hiking and two days hiking. We’ve all had lots of fun and learned some new skills. Liam is now a master at making and maintaining fire and Kearney proved to us all he is a master chef by whipping up 30 quesadillas on our second night.
After our triumphant day on Galdhøpiggen we traveled to Davik, stopping in Nordfjordeid to resupply and check out the Viking Museum there. Then we headed to our camp to pack our bags and prepare for the next few days. At our camp spot there was a cozy cabin with a fireplace and just enough space to cook and eat dinner. With the help of our guide, Nathan, Margaret and Bella whipped up some chicken curry with vegetables and rice followed by some ice cream and berry compote for dessert. Afterwards we all shared our funniest moments of the trip so far at a hilarious moonup and then we all headed to bed for our first night in the tents that we’d pitched in the yard around the cabin.
The next morning, we headed down to the beach to load our kayaks and start our journey down the fjords. Lucy and Liam struggled at first to learn to steer the kayak but with some patient instruction from our guides they finally got the hang of it. The first day of kayaking brought rain, wind and waves, but the group kept high spirits as we arrived at our lunch spot on a dock in the fjord! We pulled over our kayaks and feasted. As we headed back out to the water the rain started coming but the group kept the mood light with lots of singing and joking around. Margaret led an “I believe that we will win” chant as we approached the peninsula where we would make camp and the whole group finished strong.
Although we were all in Norway, we knew we had to celebrate the 4th of July, so we went with a classic campfire cook out. As an appetizer we all cooked hot dogs over an open flame, and then Spencer got started the burgers while Sara Catherine cooked up the buns and potatoes. We finished our celebration with roasted marshmallows and stories of our favorite 4th of Julys. Then we had a moonup that ended with a contentious game of mafia before we all went to bed.
The next morning, we arose to clear skies over the fjord and still water. We could not have asked for a better day to be out on the water. We spent the morning gliding through the water and basking in the sun. Over the course of the trip, we’ve been playing a word game where you have to get a certain person to say a specific word. Victoria took advantage of our leisure day on the water to trick Oisin into saying his word, leaving the rest of the group skeptical about if they would be next.
We docked for lunch and unpacked our kayaks just to repack them into our backpacks moments later. The next two days we would be camping out and hiking in Ålfoten. We started up the trail and soon found ourselves on a beautiful mountain lake with a wooden hut big enough for a few of us to sleep in. Everyone was hot and sweaty and decided to cool off in the icy lake. Oisin proved to be the most suited to the cold and stayed in much longer than anyone else could bare. That night we ate quesadillas, rice, and chocolate bananas roasted over the fire. Everyone went to bed full and tired.
Our next day would be our most challenging day of the hike. We walked for about two miles down the path we’d come from until we found ourselves at the edge of the woods. From there on we made our own path up and over the mountain pass where we enjoyed lunch with a stunning view before heading down to our campsite. We spent the afternoon lounging around the lake, playing cards, and swimming. After a warm meal, Rachel and Margaret led moonup where everyone had to compliment those sitting next to each other. It was a nice way to acknowledge how close we’ve all become. After moonup half the group went up a nearby ridge to look around the area and saw another huge rainbow!
Our hike out of the backcountry was short and easy, especially with our group who have become such strong hikers. Our outfitters picked us up at the trailhead and took us to our home for the rest of the trip: a beautiful home on the fjord with a kitchen and plenty of beds for us to sleep. We are currently enjoying the luxury of our new house and looking forward to the last bit of our trip. See y’all soon!!
Hey Mom and Dad I’m having the best time ever and Norway is sick!! We should definitely come back as a family. Thanks for letting me go on this trip miss y’all so much. Tell Porter I miss him too! Please bring Willys to the airport when u pick me up 🙂 -Margaret
Hey mom and dad! Thanks for sending me to Norway! I’ve had th best time and it’s so pretty here! Miss you both – Bella
Hey Mom and Dad! This trip has been some of the best weeks of my life. I’m so grateful for y’all sending me and can’t wait to tell y’all all the stories. I miss y’all so much and while I will be sad to leave Norway, it will be great to see y’all and Eliza again! – Kearney
Hey mom and dad, hope you guys are both doing well. Miss you both a lot but I’m having a lot of fun. I’ll be sad to leave but I can’t wait to see you guys in a few days. Love you both! -Liam
Hey mom and dad I’ve decided I’ll just skip my flight and get lost in the backcountry or Norway. Hope that’s ok with you guys. Hopefully coop made it to his trip and Andrew and Emilia had a great time w/ theirs. Love you guys and tusen takk- Spencer 🙂
What’s up mom and dad! I’m having a sweeeeeeeet time in Norway! Love my group and the things we are doing! We’ve been kayaking, hiking, and camping! Our summit day was sooooooo sick, and we just got out of the backcountry! I just took the best shower of my life and couldn’t feel better! Thanks for sending me! Love and miss y’all!
Hey Mom and Dad and Shepherd! I’m having an awesome time in Norway. The only thing that could make it better is if y’all were here with me. I miss you and the dogs lots and can’t wait to get home but also don’t want to leave because this place is so beautiful. I know I told you this last year but we definitely need to redo this trip together outside of Moondance. More!
Hey Mom and Dad! I am having the best time ever in Norway! We trekked to a lot of really nice hostels. We also climbed a glacier which was so much fun and really cold! It was really fun and pretty when we kayaked through through the fjords! Love and miss you guys so so much and I hope you are having a great time wherever you are right now.
Hi Mom and Dad!! I am literally having the best time ever in Norway!! Everything here is so beautiful, and everyone here is so nice!! We’ve been hiking a looooooot, kayaking, and camping, and we even got to summit a glacier (but y’all already knew that). Tell Harold thank you for me because I definitely needed the preparation. I miss y’all and the dogs so much!! Send my love to them and Nanny and Pepa!
-Love, Sara Catherine
Hey Mom and Dad! I’m having an amazing time on my trip! We have a Scottish guide who is pretty cool and there are a lot of things that only we understand that we can talk about. The trip went by so fast and I can’t believe it’s almost over! See you soon!
July 2, 2023
Hallo! We are happy to report we have just completed a successful trip to the highest peak in Norway. Galdhøpiggen sits 2469 meters above sea level and our group made it up in 3 and a half hours! We could not be more impressed with the group’s enthusiasm and perseverance today. It was truly the cherry on top of an amazing week. Our first seven days in Norway have been jam-packed. We hiked a total of 28 miles, shared 19 delicious meals, and played a lot of cards all while being surrounded by unbelievable scenery.
All the long travel from the US was made worth it as soon as we arrived at our first mountain hut. Upon arrival, the group got to know each other over poker and cards. Situated on the edge of a pristine glacier lake, our lodging could not have been more ideal.
Each night of the trip brings three new courses of food. First a soup, followed by a hearty meal of local game, potatoes, and vegetables. No meal is complete without a sweet treat and we have had a wide variety of ice creams, cakes, puddings, and sorbets. The first night everyone’s favorite was the pumpkin soup. It was so good Kearney had five bowls! We ended the night with our first moonup and a much-deserved night of sleep.
The next morning the group started early with a day hike to warm up for our upcoming trek. After a few hours, Spencer and Liam took a dip in the lake to cool off in the frigid water but then the girls showed them up by getting in with much more composure. Lucy finally arrived late that evening in time for dinner and the beginning of the trek the next day.
Day two brought another early start to a long day led by LODs Samantha and Oisin. We hiked for 9 hours and encountered a steep ridge, some reindeer, a snow slide, and discovered our love for strawberry mellom bars. Charles raced up and down the mountain and was first to finish while Victoria and Bella led the rest of the group down the mountain. The next day LODs Margaret and Spencer worked together with the group to choose the route for our day hike. The group enjoyed lunch on the mountain top underneath the most magnificent rainbow, where some sick group pictures were taken! After the hike, the group headed to the lake for a polar plunge. Margaret led the charge, using the icy water to replenish her legs. After dinner, the group shared what drove them in an electric moon up. A few contentious games of presidents and Texas Holdem proved Charles’ prowess with a deck and the group ended the night with a bedtime story from Rachel.
We were able to take a day off from hiking on day 5 and explore a nearby town. There we tried the most delicious bakery treats and even got a chance to go on a zip line, something Lucy has been waiting for the whole time. Then we drove to our next location, a cabin next a half-frozen lake and surrounded by snowy peaks. At the cabin, we found a piano and some guitars and people took turns showing off their musical talent. Dinner that night was the best we’d had yet. It consisted of a salmon appetizer, beef stew entre, and an almond cake for dessert. We headed to bed early to rest up for our 9-mile trek the next day.
On day 6 we walked across a rocky terrain and through snow to get to a beautiful green valley where we could catch a glimpse of the peak we would summit the next day. After many river crossings and lots of mud, we made it to our lodge and enjoyed some much-needed showers. At moonup led by Sara Catherine, we all discussed a person who has had a big impact on us, and then Kearney and Travis finished the night with some music on guitar for all of us.
The next morning we woke up early and excited for our biggest day yet! It was finally summit day! We met our guide at the base of the hike and started up the mountain. The weather was cold windy and misty, but Lucy kept the groups’ spirits high with the word game and Travis taught us the movie game to pass the time. After an hour of hiking, we all put on harnesses and attached to a rope to cross the glacier. The weather worsened but our group continued to push through with a great attitude. Finally, after 3 and a half hours of hiking, we made our way to the top where we were able to celebrate in the mountain hut located there. Everyone enjoyed a much-deserved hot chocolate before we headed back down. On the way to the bottom, the weather cleared a bit and our group had fun walking/sliding down the snow. Back at the lodge we all showered and enjoyed yet another wonderful meal before moonup with our best view yet.
We have had such a great time with these kids over the last week and we can’t wait to continue to spend time with them! Thanks so much for sharing them with us!
Rachel and Travis
June 26, 2023
Hello Norway Families!
We heard from our leaders late last night that the group has landed safely in Oslo, with the exception of Lucy. They are excited for her arrival and to be together as a group! 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!