Sagas and Myths, Fire and Ice

Navigate a volcanic and glacial landscape that feels like few other places on Earth to discover a culture and storytelling that evolved out of the land and that fuels new ideas about sustainability, energy, and climate change.
Harkness Travel Program - Iceland
Harkness Travel Program - Iceland
Harkness Travel Program - Iceland
Harkness Travel Program - Iceland
Harkness Travel Program - Iceland
Harkness Travel Program - Iceland
Harkness Travel Program - Iceland
Harkness Travel Program - Iceland
Harkness Travel Program - Iceland
In partnership with Atlas Workshops, Lawrenceville students will travel to Iceland for a serious trek in the highlands, along with exploration of Reykjavik and western Iceland’s coastal areas. We will engage in place-based learning about Iceland’s cultural and geological histories: the Vikings who originally settled the island in the late 800s AD; the current cultural, economic, and ecological makeup of the country; and the active and sometimes violent volcanic geology. That same geothermal activity means that Iceland has one of the greenest energy systems in the world - almost all of the country’s energy comes from renewable resources (geothermal and hydropower). Leading up to and during the program we will also read and discuss some of Iceland’s literary history; the Sagas of the Icelanders are some of the most strange and interesting medieval-era texts from Europe. The culminating event will be a five-day-long wilderness trek on the famous Laugavegur hiking path from the geothermal area of Landmannalaugar to the glacial valley of Þórsmörk and Skogafoss.
The weather in Iceland is chilly and wet, even in the summer. Expect temperatures ranging from 35-65˚F, and lots of rain or even sleet and snow in the highlands. If this type of adventure sounds exciting, then this is the trip for you!
Important Considerations / Student Expectations
Much of this program occurs in a wilderness environment, one often known for its "harsh beauty." Hazards exist from the land to the climate, conditions of which students will be instructed to navigate and manage as part of the curriculum.
Students will be responsible for setting up campsites, caring for their own equipment, and participating in meal preparation. Mastering these skills in the field will contribute to the teamwork and leadership that each member is expected to bring to the expedition. Students should be able to sustain a moderate level of exertion for hours on end rather than "quick sprint" fitness. Students on courses quickly realize that it's not about getting to camp quickly, it's about getting to camp efficiently with enough energy to carry on for the time it takes to build sturdy camps in exposed conditions and cook great meals.
Students should be prepared to carry a pack up to 40% of their body weight (most packs will weigh 30-50 pounds) on terrain that will vary from even trail to uneven off-trail travel and from horizontal to steep talus or snow.

All passports must be current seven months past the return date of any school sponsored trip. Please check and plan accordingly.


Sign-Up Instructions

Participation for all Lawrenceville Harkness Travel Programs is dependent upon a review of student applications, Head of House / Day Advisor Recommendations, medical fitness for participation, and financial and disciplinary standing. Seniority and gender balance is also considered in the selection process.
Application to this program is not considered complete until both of the following items have been submitted:
Head of House/Day Advisor Recommendation must be completed and submitted to Louise Wright by Monday, October 31, 2022.
Application Survey must be completed by Monday, October 31, 2021.


June 9 - 24, 2023



Includes all required vaccinations.

Gear List

Additional clothing and gear will be required for purchase. Some gear may be borrowed from Lawrenceville.

Target Student Population

This trip is open to all II - IV Formers.
Students will be expected to carry up to 40% of their body in a pack while walking over varied terrain for long-periods of each day.

Program Leaders

John Hughes
Director of the Harkness Travel Program
Bernadette Teeley
English Teacher

Pre-Trip Work

There will be multiple required meetings during the Winter/Spring terms to prepare for our program; students will declare topics / themes of interest for study and instruction while on the program.

Location Info