Field Notes

Big Wild : 2A • July 2-July 15, 2016

Sad Goodbyes

July 15, 2016

The last students have made their way through airport security, after a wonderful final day out in Jackson! We woke up Thursday morning in Glenn’s Ferry, ID to the smiling faces of our final LODs, Grace and Simon. After a quick breakfast, we hit the road with Alex and Kate belting out their rendition of “Miami” by Will Smith. We got into Jackson around 1:30 and grabbed a campsite at Gros Ventre, then thoroughly cleaned the tents we called home for the past two weeks. Ethan, Wheat, and Tommy were awesome, not only cleaning their tents but also helping others along the way! After some spike ball and much needed R&R, we loaded back into the van and headed into town for our final banquet at Pinky G’s. Jack impressed even the kitchen staff by downing 5 monster-sized slices of pizza, and after some huckleberry ice cream at Moo’s we were all ready for a sunset moon up at the base of the Tetons! Kiley and Rebecca offered some incredibly wise and mature thoughts on our two weeks together, and as the sun dipped below the mountain there was not a dry eye in the crowd.

Our final morning together started with Kathryn and Loni rousing everyone at 4 am, and as our team made their way through security, Molly and I realized how lucky we were to meet such a great group of young adults. Thank you parents for sending them our way, and we hope they had as much fun as we did over the past two weeks!

Best,

Hugh and Molly


Fun on the Salmon River!

July 14, 2016

Wow, we cannot believe that we just completed the final leg of the trip. It is true what they say time we 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! The ten hour drive to Idaho was a blast; our group says the car rides are one of their favorite parts of the trip. The group made a fun playlist of all their favorite songs and we spent the majority of the car ride jamming out to it. We spent our first night in Idaho at Ponderosa State Park. This was a wonderful campsite located by a lake. The leaders of the day, Wheat and Rebecca, decided to take advantage of the area and choose to have our moonup on the dock. That night a huge storm hit us but not even hail could bring down our spirits. The next day we met up with our raft guides and began rafting the Salmon River. Even though it rained all day, Kylie’s positive attitude kept us all cheerful and happy. Kate proved to be the most courageous one and volunteered to be the first to sit on the front of the boat as we battled the rapids!

 

After reaching our campsite we spent the rest of the day drinking hot coco and telling riddles by a campfire. On the second day of rafting the weather finally cleared up which made everyone excited and ready for a full day of rafting. On this day we went through some of the best rapids of the entire trip, our favorite was a class four called China.  Tommy was the first to fall in the water, but he had so much fun that he jumped in almost every five minutes after his first spill. Simon impressed us all by doing a back flip off the raft. That night we camped on one of the coolest camp sites of the entire trip. The site was made up of sandy beaches and basalt! Jack brought his spike ball set and we spent the afternoon competing in a spike ball tournament. Ethan and Wheat were the champions! Our third day on the river was full of fun activities. We began by exploring an old ranch where cowboys used to train for the national championship. Here we picked blackberries, cherries, and plums for our dessert. Not only did we get to explore the ranch, but we also went cliff jumping! Grace and Kate had the most fun jumping into the water and jumped off the cliff four times! After a long day on the river we decided to camp at the nature conservancy. Rebecca, Kathryn, and Loni decided to take advantage of the awesome site and spent the afternoon picking fresh fruit and looking for the wild turkey and deer that roam the area. We ended the evening with a hilarious sumo wrestling competition between Alex and Tommy.  We are now on the road heading back to Jackson hole. We are very sad to see the trip come to a close, but are so grateful to have one more day to spend together!

 

Shout outs:

Rebecca: hi! Rafting was so much fun! We went through lots of rapids and I got in the water so many times!

 

Kiley: hey fam! Rafting was awesome! I am having so much fun and can’t wait to see you soon!

 

Kathryn: hi fam! Just finished rafting and cliff jumping and it was really fun despite lots of rain! Can’t wait until Friday!

 

Alex: hey fam!!!! We just finished rafting and it was tons of fun! I jumped in the water and almost shoved my leader in. See y’all soon!

 

Kate: hi everyone! Finished rafting today and you could say it was pretty awesome. It rained a lot but we cliff jumped so it was all good!

 

Wheat: hi fam! We just finished rafting and are now heading back to Jackson. Had a lot of fun on the Rapids. See you soon.

 

Jack: hi mom, Charlie, and dad. We just finished rafting and it was really fun. We went cliff jumping and hAd lots of boat wars. Love you.

 

Tommy: hey guys! Just finished rafting. It was amazing! I jumped off a cliff! See you Friday!

 

Loni: I just completed rafting on the salmon river for 4 days, and sleeping on a beach by the river. The Rapids were wicked and I loved it! Cya soon! ( forward this to mom)

 

Grace: hey fam! We just finished rafting for 4 days and it was so much fun. We went cliff jumping and slept on the beaches every night. Can’t wait to see y’all!

 

Ethan: hey family! We finished rafting for 4 days today. It was a lot of fun, we even went cliff jumping. Can’t wait to tell y’all about it. Love and see you soon!

 

Simon: hey mom and dad. We just finished rafting for 4 days in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. I went cliff jumping and played on the beach. See you soon!


Belay, Belay On!

July 10, 2016

Hello Moondance friends and families!

 

Currently, we are en route to some of the best rapids in the West, on the lower Salmon River in Idaho. Our team of amazing students finished two days of climbing with Exum Mountain Guides yesterday, and everyone had an absolute blast!

 

On Thursday, our leaders of the day Wheat and Kate woke everyone up early with smiling faces. After a nutritious breakfast of oatmeal and granola, we made our way to Teton Village for day one of climbing school! We met our guides Bill and Lynn at the gondola and quickly geared up before heading up the mountain. First off, Lynn and Bill taught everyone a few knots to stay safe, and with the help of Rebecca’s climbing experience, we were ready to go in a matter of minutes! Later, our guides gave a detailed belaying lesson so that we could attempt a multi-pitch team climb right off the bat. Grace and Alexis were natural belayers, and showing true leadership by helping out others when they had the hang of the technique. After some more practice, we split into two teams, one led by Simon and the other by Loni, and swiftly scaled an intermediate climb before heading back to camp for dinner, but not before some heartfelt goodbyes to our guides.

 

On Friday, LODs Tommy and Kiley got the group going bright and early, and we quickly made our way to Jenny Lake for climbing day two! After splitting up into smaller groups of two or three students and a guide, everyone got into the climbing mood by learning more specific techniques, which would come in handy later. Ethan and Jack both made it up some very difficult climbs with ease, and by lunch were itching to learn to rappel. Kathryn took the lead in the afternoon and fearlessly made her way down a major cliff in the blink of an eye!

 

After two days of intense climbing and a well needed sleep, everyone is psyched to get onto the river and bomb some rapids, stay tuned!

 

Hugh and Molly

 

Shoutouts:

 

Jack: hi mom, dad, and Charlie we rock climbed the past two days and it was really fun. Now we are driving to go to Idaho for rafting which I Am excited about. Love you.

 

Tommy: hey guys! We just finished rock climbing which was awesome. Now we are going to idaho. Tell the dog I said hi. Miss you all.

 

Wheat: hi fam, we just finished rock climbing and are now going to Idaho to go rafting. Miss you guys and see you soon!

 

Grace: hey fam! We just finished rock climbing for 2 days, and it was really fun! Now we are driving to Idaho to go rafting. Love and miss y’all!

 

Simon: hey mom and dad! We just finished rock climbing and that was fun. Now we are driving now to Idaho. See you soon!

 

Rebecca: hi! We just finished the climbing section and it was so much fun! Now we are starting a 10 hour drive to Idaho for rafting!

 

Kiley: hi friends and family! I am having so much fun. Rock climbing was amazing- the views were awesome! I miss and love y’all so so much! See you soon!

 

Kathryn: hello fam! We are now on the way to Idaho for rafting (it’s a 10 hour drive) and I just finished climbing for 2 days! It was so much fun but I can’t wait to see you all!

 

Kate: hi everyone! Yesterday was our last day of rock climbing and it was so fun! Now we are driving 10 hours to Idaho to raft. See you soon!

 

Alex: hey fam!! We just finished our rock climbing portion of the trip and it was so fun!! I fell a lot but that’s okay because I had a great time. Miss y’all and see you soon.

 

Loni: hey! I just rock climbed for 2 days and learned how to belay and repel. I was climbing on real rocks outside on the side of a mountain! I really enjoyed it. Miss you guys, see you soon. ( again please forward this to mom)

 

Ethan: hey mom and dad! We just finished rock climbing for two days and now we are driving to Idaho. It’s gonna take 10 hours. Love you and see you soon.

 

 

Thanks, and let me know if y’all need anything else

 

Hugh


Backpacking was a Blast!

July 8, 2016

Howdy friends and family!

We have been having an incredible time out here in Big Wild Wyoming! We just finished our four day backpacking trip in the Wind River region. The trip was a blast; it was full of breathtaking views and even a few animal sightings! We have seen three deer, three moose, and countless buffaloes. We believe backpacking is one of the best ways to bond a group, and that is just what this trip did. We could not have asked for a better group and the students have all formed many meaningful relationships with one another. We spent our first night at a ranch where we slept next to an awesome lake. On our second day our fearless leaders Jack and Kathryn led us on our hike to our base camp. They did a terrific job and set a great tone for the rest of the trip. On our second day of backpacking we hiked up to an elevation of 10900 ft. Although we found it challenging the spectacular view was worth every sore muscle. Grace and Kylie’s positivity motivated the group to push on. When we returned to camp we all winded down with a game of cards. Simon proved to be quite the card shark! We spent our third day fishing and day hiking. Tommy caught six brook trout! On our day hike we followed a stream up a mountain which led to an incredible water fall. Rebecca made it up the mountain in no time. Loni took a little spill in the water but had the best attitude and even stated she was happy to take a shower. Our final meal was cooked by Wheat, Ethan, and Kathryn; they made a delicious pizza! During our moonup Kate kept us all up laughing with her hilarious stories. Our leaders for the last day of backpacking were Alex and Ethan, they led us out in record time. We hiked 7 miles in only 3 hours! Tonight we are heading to the rodeo and are all looking forward to it!

Shout outs:
Rebecca: hi mom and dad! We just finished the backpacking section and it was fun, but tiring. I miss you and tell everyone I say hi!

Kiley: Hi family!  We just finished backpacking which was super fun yet difficult! Live and miss you all!

Alex: hey fam! I’m having an awesome time so far. We just finished the backpacking potion of the trip! Miss you and see you soon!

Kate: hello family! Right now we are on the way to shower and then watch the rodeo. Life is Bueno.

Jack: hi mom, dad, and Charlie. We had an awesome time backpacking. Love you!

Tommy: hey guys! Happy Fourth of July. Everything is awesome here; the views are amazing! Say hi to the dog for me. Love you!

Wheat: hi fam! I just finished backpacking and am having a blast! Love you.

Grace: hey family! Backpacking was really challenging but really fun. We are driving back to Jackson to shower and go to the rodeo. Love and miss y’all.

Ethan: hey family! We just finished backpacking and it was really fun. Today we are driving to Jackson to go to the rodeo. Love you and see y’all soon.

Simon: hello mom and dad. I miss you. We just finished backpacking and it was hard but worth it.  Dad I want to go to cookout on the way home, thanks.

Loni: I just finished backpacking for four days. The views were incredible and I really enjoyed most of this portion. It was truly an amazing experience. I’ll tell you more when I get back. Miss you. (Please send this to mom). Love, loni

Kathryn: Hey family! I am having a terrific time on the trip. Backpacking was so much fun. Yesterday we saw some bison! I hope you are doing well. Miss you and can’t wait to see you soon!