Download photos from this trip log

Location: Sólheimar

It rained today, a steady downpour that started after lunch and is still dumping outside the window. Somehow, we made it to day 11 without getting really, truly soaked. We started our day by heading down to the yard for the daily meeting, but no one showed up, and we figured we had the time wrong. So we ate breakfast, then packed up and left Sólheimar to visit a nearby horse stable, where we rode Icelandic horses. They are the only horses allowed in Iceland and are characterized by their sturdiness, weathered appearance, and unique feet (still not sure what’s so different about them, but I know there’s something). Once the horses leave Iceland, they are prohibited from returning to keep the gene pool pure and disease-free, and no other breeds are allowed onto the island. Most of them were brown, some were sandy blonde, and some were black, and all of them were beautiful, if not a little wet from the drizzle.

We rode down a muddy trail through a stretch of lush farmland, past a creek, and through swollen mud-puddles that caked dirt onto the horses’ shins. We tried to get the horses to break into a tölt, which is a smooth trot-like gait only Icelandic horses can run; mostly, though, the horses did what they pleased, stopping to eat buttercups and take leisurely bathroom breaks in the middle of the trail. By the time we arrived back at the stables, I was sore.

We headed back to Sólheimar for lunch, which was soup. The rain started up around then. For service, Ben suggested we try a new system: six people working their butts off cleaning the sidewalk and three sitting inside drinking hot cocoa and eating cookies. Then, in ten minutes, three others rested, and the groups switched. During my breaks, I played the piano and listened to the thumping of Eric and Carter playing basketball. The rain loosened up the grass in the cracks in between the bricks, and within an hour and a half we had pulled up all the overgrown grass from the sidewalk and dumped it into the forest to decompose. Everything was cold and muddy and wet, the type of wet that soaks through rain jackets and goes straight to your skin, but we had finished.

We had free time for a while, and some people chilled at the house or went to play pool. I worked out. In the afternoon, we attended a seminar on DIYing soaps and cosmetics without plastic and harmful chemicals, and now we all have our homemade deodorant, cleaning solution, and sunscreen. I’m excited to test them out tomorrow; if they work, that’s a game-changer. For dinner, we ate pizza and then did an end of the day discussion. We all shared embarrassing stories: sleepwalking, sleep-hallucinating, rogue soccer balls, toilet paper mishaps, and the girl who couldn’t control her bladder.

And hey- in the time it took me to write this, the rain stopped.