By Sophia Brady

Gullfoss waterfall in the canyon of the Hvítá River in Southwest Iceland.
Photo by Sophia Brady

This past August, a group of 23 current and former Davie County High School students, as well as six adults, went on a trip to Iceland through the high school. The trip, organized by Davie High social studies teacher Laura Kiricoples-Doub through EF Educational Tours, spanned six days. To say this trip was memorable would be an understatement. From fighting through jet lag on the first day to bumping into the President of Iceland himself, these students got to experience something that will create memories to last a lifetime. 

The group flew out from Charlotte, NC overnight to Iceland. Due to the four-hour time difference, students and teachers alike had difficulty adjusting, but the anticipation to get out and explore this country was overwhelming. On the trip’s second day, the group set out on excursions to national reserves with geothermal activity in the Haukadalur Valley. These geothermal sites had sulfur springs and large geysers that were active. Although these designated areas were for tourists, most geothermal sites are used to provide energy for the nation. 

Later, the group visited Thingvellir National Park, which is one of the few rift valleys in the world. The changing landscape of this park was breathtaking as it held lots of important historical meaning to the country. This day was spent almost completely outdoors, and the group learned that Iceland’s summer conditions are a little bit cooler than Davie County’s. Each person learned to put on lots of layers so that they could take in the scenery without being uncomfortable. 

A river in the Thingvellir National Park
Photo by Sophia Brady

On the third day of the trip, there was anticipation flowing through everyone as they embarked on a glacier hike. The Sólheimajökull glacier is one of the largest in the country, and students reported that seeing the different elements and the changing landscape of the glacial valley was indeed a once-in-a-lifetime experience. According to those who went on the trip, stepping foot on the glacier was mind-blowing. Because the ice is constantly changing, visitors to this site are on something that has been moving for thousands of years. 

On the fifth day, there was so much anticipation for the world-famous blue lagoon. The group woke up and drove the hour distance to the lagoon. Seeing the milky blue waters in contrast to the dark lava rock was truly breathtaking. After soaking in the lagoon and getting different silica mud masks the group left and embarked on a trip to see the home of the president of Iceland. This was quite a culture shock for everyone because there was no security walking up to his home. As the group was leaving, an unsuspecting man with no security was riding up to the residence on a bicycle. No one thought much of it until Junior Callie Wisecarver went up to him and asked if he was the president. After his casual response, “Yes,” everyone started gathering around him immediately asking questions and trying to take photos. He was glad to take pictures with everyone and was very welcoming of foreign tourists in the country. After getting on the bus everyone was in shock that their trip ended that way, but it was nothing short of amazing.

The student group poses with Iceland’s President Guðni Thorlacius Jóhannesson
Photo by Sophia Brady

Each student and adult who went on this trip had all of their expectations exceeded with this small island country. Iceland was pure untouched beauty, and each person on this trip was so thankful that they could experience this with so many of their classmates and friends.