June 28, 2016
Hello friends and family!
We want to take this time to thank you for allowing your son or daughter to join our Moondance family. We cannot stress enough how special your child is and how much they added to the group. We are very sad to say goodbye to our group today, but are so happy to have ended on such a positive note. Yesterday was one of our busiest days. We began with a five hour car ride back to Jackson. Lainey’s music selection made the trip fun, and Connors jokes kept us all in good spirits. Our first stop back in Jackson was the car wash. Celie scrubbed our van while Ansley sprayed it clean. After all our gear had been cleaned we traveled to the thrift shop. Here the kids tried on hilarious outfits, Martha Ann and Claire took home the best dressed award. After every one put on their newly purchased apparel we met up with Hayes Hitchens in the park. When our conversation ended, we headed to The Bird where we ate our final dinner together. Here we dined on delicious burgers while gazing at the Tetons. For desert, we went to a famous ice cream shop called Moo’s, Joe and Alex picked the best flavors. When our town visit was complete, it was time to head back to camp and begin Moonup. Our leaders of the day, Camille and Henry, led our final Moonup. This was a wonderful time to reflect on the incredible experience we all shared. We got an early start this morning, but before heading to the airport we celebrated Jack’s birthday with doughnuts and ice cream. Our final 24 hours were a blast, and we are going to miss all the friends we have made but are sure they will continue outside of this trip!
Molly & Hugh
June 27, 2016
Howdy family and friends!
Wow we cannot believe that we just completed the final leg of the trip. Time really does fly when you are having fun! Our past four days have been spent rafting the Salmon River. This was one of our favorite components of the trip! We saw incredible views, traveled through three canyons, slept on beaches at killer camp sites, passed through three states, and rafted a few class four rapids. On the first day we conquered one of our favorite rapids, a class three plus called bunk hole. Camille got a powerful hit and ended up two rows back, and everyone but Henry got soaked. Ansley and Joe had the most positive attitude through the fun, big rapids! It was so fun and set a positive tone for the following days. We began our third day of rafting by hiking to a site where cowboys used to train to compete for the national competition. At this location we dined on fresh fruit and berries. Celie and Lainey climbed up a cherry tree and picked some of the best cherries we have ever had! One of our favorite parts of the trip was hanging out a camp. Alex led the group in a game of bocce ball, and Jack taught us how to skip rocks. Martha Ann and Connor’s hilarious impersonations and accents provided many laughs and became the source of countless jokes. Our raft guides taught us how to make some of the best meals we have ever made. Claire was quite the master in the kitchen! The outfitter gave us a couple of the recipes and I am sure she will replicate a few back home. Unfortunately, John had to leave early due to an illness; however, his departure showed how strong our group has become and we know the friendships that have been made will continue after the trip. We are sad to say goodbye, but could not have asked for a better trip and are so happy with the experience we have been given. This has been a fantastic trip and we could not have asked for a better bunch of kids to share it with!
Connor: hey everyone, we are currently in Washington. We just got back from our rafting trip, and are about to head back to Jackson.
Martha Ann: hello! We just got back from rafting and it was awesome! We really bonded throughout the whole trip and I don’t want it to end. Love you and see you soon!
Claire: Hey guys! We finished our rafting trip and it was tons of fun! It is almost the end of the trip and I am so excited to see y’all! I don’t want to come home though, sorry. I have made some great friends that I will miss. See y’all soon!
Lainey: Hey family! We just finished rafting and it was so fun, sad to have it end. The trip is almost over and I can’t wait to see y’all, but I have made so many amazing friends that I am really sad to say goodbye to. See you soon. Much love.
Celie: Hey guys! We just finished rafting which was so much fun! I can’t believe our trip is almost over, it has gone by so fast. But I am excited to tell y’all about how amazing this has been. I’ll see y’all very soon!
Alex: Hey fam! So we just finished rafting and I had the best time ever! The food was amazing, I got some of the recipes from one of the rafting guides that we need to make. I can’t wait to see y’all tomorrow!
Ansley: Hey guys! Today is our last day and we just got back from rafting. I can’t wait to tell you about it tomorrow!
Jack: Hey mom and dad! We just finished rafting! It was so great and I can’t wait to see y’all!
Henry: Hello! We finished rafting, it was very wet and fun! Can’t wait to see you!
Joe: We are finished with rafting and are headed back to Jackson. Rafting was my favorite part of the trip. See you soon, love you!
Camille: Hi guys! Today is the last day:( but I know I will have an awesome time. Rafting was super fun. Mom and Maxine have a safe flight! I love you guys so much! See you tomorrow! Xoxo- C
June 22, 2016
Hello Big Wild Parents!
Our fearless team just finished two days of climbing with Exum Mountain Guides on the cliffs near Jenny Lake in Jackson! Our first morning was spent learning climbing knots, belay techniques, and general climbing safety and while many of us had little or no climbing experience, everyone showed drastic improvement within minutes! In displays of great teamwork, Connor, Celie and John used their knowledge of knots to help everyone learn their belays and hitches quickly so we could get out of training and onto the rocks. After lunch, we made our way to the Level 1 face, which consisted two belay teams working together to get each other up four main pitches. The lead climbers for each ropes team, Lainey and Jack, did amazing jobs both getting up the face and also belaying their groups. For those near the back of the line, Henry and Joe kept a smile on everyone’s face, cracking jokes until it was time to climb. Our LODs for the day, Martha Ann and John, did a great job maintaining everyone’s focus, as well as monitoring the group morale. Day one of climbing concluded with some chicken stir fry and another beautiful sunset at the feet of the Tetons.
Tuesday morning our LODs Joe and Camille woke everyone up and helped make an energizing breakfast before we headed back to Jenny Lake for Level 2 climbing. We split into smaller groups upon arrival and made our way to some more challenging climbs and rappels. Throughout the day the groups made their way around the park going both up and down some pretty challenging areas, but a highlight of the day came when Claire and her group rappelled down a 100 ft overhang! The final climb of the day came when Alex beat everyone up a slippery pitch in almost a minute, impressing even the veteran guides! Additionally, while Ansley had to hang back when the group went climbing, she never failed to keep a positive attitude and greet everyone in the van with a smiling face.
Next up, we make the long haul over to the Salmon River for a few days of whitewater rafting!
Hugh and Molly
Celie: hey fam! I’m having an awesome time here and it is so beautiful! We just finished rock climbing and now we are on a 13 hour car ride to go rafting in Idaho. I have taken so many great pictures and can’t wait to show you. Miss you!
Lainey: hey guys! I am having the best time and can’t believe a week has already flown by! We just finished climbing and are now driving to Idaho to raft! Miss everyone! Much love!
Alex: hey fam! I miss y’all so much you don’t even know. We went climbing yesterday and today are driving to Idaho. Yippee! 13 hours to go! Love and miss you. Say hi to lucky for me!
Ansley: hey mom and dad! I have been having a great time! I have been sick for the past few days, but got to explore the town of jackson. We are now driving to raft the salmon river. Cannot wait! See you soon!
Martha Ann: hi guys! We just finished 2 days of climbing, and we are now 4.5 hours into a 13 hour drive. Love y’all. Tell sitter and James I say hi.
Connor: happy birthday mom! We just finished 2 days of climbing and are now about to go rafting. It is really fun.
Camille: hi mom and dad! How is atl? Right now we are in a long car ride to Idaho. Can’t wait to go white water rafting! I live you guys so much. Xoxo.
Jack: hey mom and dad! We just finished climbing and hiking and now are driving to rafting. Love y’all and see you soon!
Henry: hello mom and dad. Mom did you buy dad the yeti he wanted, and have my cleats arrived? We are on a 13 hour car ride to Idaho. Love you!
John: hey. Having a ton of fun. Finished camping and climbing. Now driving to raft. See you soon. Love y’all.
Joe: hey! How are y’all doing? We are on a 13 hour drive to Idaho. See you on Tuesday. Love you!
Claire: hello mom and dad! We just finished climbing and are in or way to raft in Idaho. In having so much fun and have made a lot of great friends! Miss y’all and see you soon!
June 21, 2016
Hello from Jackson!
We just got back from our stint in the Wind River Range, and it’s been an absolute blast to get out into the wild! On Thursday, our first leaders-of-the-day (LODs), Henry and Claire, led our fearless group into the South Wind River Range to our base camp under the snow capped Atlantic Peak. The hike in was longer than expected but everyone crushed it with smiles on their faces! We woke up early Friday morning to our LODs, Alex and Connor, banging pots and pans in lieu of an alarm clock. Camille, Connor, and Henry made the group some delish pancakes to get the day started, then we packed up our day packs and hiked a short mile to a glacial lake to the Northeast of camp. Prepping for the big climb tomorrow, we hung out on the rocks and fished all day. Celie showed some of the girls how to cast and by the afternoon everyone was throwing tight loops. The next morning cook crew made some oatmeal and we set off to try to summit Atlantic Peak, a few miles north of camp. Lainey and Joe showed incredible leadership the entire day, helping others up the rocks instead of pushing on themselves. After a long morning of climbing and a well deserved lunch, a group pushed on to the summit, and shortly after, made it the entire 12,350 feet! Everyone’s legs were shaky on the way down, but John and Jack kept everyone’s spirits high. The next morning we packed up camp and headed back into town, and during the car ride Martha Ann and Ansley absolutely dominated mountain trivia! Next up the team is going climbing with Exum Mountain Guides, and then onto Idaho to raft! Stay tuned!
John: happy Father’s Day. Love you. Just reached the peak, about to start climbing. Hope to see y’all soon.
June 16, 2016
Greetings Big Wild families! We have been having the best time getting to know your children out here in the Wild West. Things have been off to a great start, our first two days have been filled with many activities and lots of fun. On our first night we went to the rodeo. We watched bull riders, cowgirls, and pig chases. Alex, John, and Camille were brave enough to ride the mechanical bull! That was very impressive. It was a great bonding experience, and a terrific way to kick off the summer. We have been learning a lot as well. Our first lesson was how to set up a tent; Martha Ann, Connor, and Ansley set their tent up in record time. Celie’s experience in Colorado was incredibly helpful, and she was very knowledgeable about leave no trace principles. We even had a blast while waiting in the airport. Jack led the group in a game of mafia, and Joe proved to be quite the card shark. Both Henry and Claire were selected to be the leaders of the day. They have been doing a wonderful job, and have been a terrific help! We are currently on our way to the Wind River Region where we will begin our backpacking section. Lainey has been so helpful with packing, and volunteers to carry the extra group gear. We are going to have a lot of fun during the next few days. Stay tuned for our next post about the backpacking trip!
Celie: Hey Mom, Dad, Pierce, and Willow. I’m having an awesome time here! We are about to go backpacking and the weather is perfect! Love you!
Laniey: hey family! I’m having a great time here, everything is so beautiful. I hope everyone is doing well. Much love!
Ansley: hi mom and dad! I’m having a great time. The mountains are so pretty. We are about to go backpacking for 4 days! Love you!
Alex: hey mom and dad, I am having so much fun here! I miss you a a lot through. It is super pretty here and I wish y’all could see what I have seen. Anyways, again I miss you! Love you!
Henry: hey mom and dad, I am having a lot of fun being back in Jackson. It is a lot warmer than in the winter. Love you, Henry.
Jack: hey parents, having a lot of fun. Hope Memphis is good! Going backpacking. Love you.
Camille: hey mom and dad! I am having so much fun! We are about to start the backpacking portion of the trip, then climbing, then rafting! I love you guys so much! Xoxo- Camille
John: hey. Having fun. See ya in two weeks. Love you.
Claire: hi mom and dad! I’m having lots of fun here!! Hope y’all are doing well and Dallas is good. We are about to go backpacking! Miss y’all! Claire.
Joe: I’m having tons of fun so far, we are going backpacking later see you soon.
Martha Ann: hi mom, dad, James. Hope your having fun with James! We are going backpacking for 3 days in the snowy mountains. It’s gonna be fun! We went to the rodeo yesterday, which was exciting. I miss you, but am having tons of fun!
Connor: Hello! We are becoming adventure experts, and are beginning to learn to tell time by the position of the sun. We are about to go backpacking and went to the rodeo last night. Love you, bye!