July 5, 2016
Hi there Moondance pals,
It’s Janie and James here and we wanted to wrap up our time here on PNW with one last update. Yesterday was a jammed pack day, beginning with a sunrise ferry ride from the San Juans to the mainland. We then drove three hours to our last campsite for the session, where we ate our final lunch full of our favorite meal, tortillas and peanut butter!! After our drive we had a great time cleaning the van and gear and getting our things together for our departure. We celebrated all of our fun times and great memories by purchasing some lovely outfits at the local Goodwill and ate at Old School pizza. Plus, we celebrated the 4th of July a little early by toting some temporary tattoos and patriotic beads. After dinner we enjoyed a final Moonup right on the water with the sun setting and fireworks going off in the distance. It was purely magical. It was a sad morning full of tearful goodbyes and heartfelt hugs, but we have successfully sent all of the little bambinos off to their perspective homes. From the bottom of our hearts we just want to thank all of you parents out there for allowing your kids to come hang out with us for three weeks. We had the greatest time getting to know each child and being able to witness their growth as a group, but more importantly their individual development and journey of self discovery. We had an absolute blast with all of them and once again we can’t thank you enough for sending them our way. We are quite sad here in Seattle, but thankful we were able to have the best three weeks with these kids and gain lots of new experiences. For one last time, we’re sending all of y’all lots of positive vibes and Happy Fourth of July!!
Janie and James
July 3, 2016
Hello there readers,
Greetings from the San Juan Islands! Yesterday we wrapped up our three day sea kayaking trip and a great time was had by all. On Thursday morning, we woke up and met up with our guides, Claire and Rider, and started paddling from Friday Harbor to Jones Island. Jones Island is one of the least frequented islands but it was absolutely gorgeous. At Jones island we played lots of ultimate frisbee, lied in the sun, and enjoyed spending time together. Ford and William even made friends with another group at our campsite who they challenged in a big ultimate game! We ended the day with an awesome Moonup led by Wyatt and Raleigh and watching an absolutely beautiful sunset. Day two of kayaking was a little bit cooler and cloudy so we decided to do a day kayak around some more of the islands like McDonnell. We all enjoyed exploring the islands around us and playing in the tide pools. While exploring we discovered Shelby and Emme’s interest in jellyfish and Christian’s mission to find as much sea glass as possible. After dinner, we all sat around the campfire and enjoyed some s’mores and talking about where we saw everyone in 20 years. Our last day of kayaking was an early one, but definitely our best one yet. Will and Sierra were a dynamic duo on the water and lead us into our landing harbor. The group was driven to complete it with force and efficiency. We blew the kayaking guides expectations out of the water 🙂 and made it to Roche Harbor in no time at all. Don’t worry, Powell kept us all feeling lively and entertained while things got tough. Although we had some whale sittings, we unfortunately did not see any, but we knew they were out there! Our past three weeks have flown by way too fast but we are so thankful for all of the wonderful experiences and people we have met!
June 29, 2016
Hi again folks! We have officially returned from our 6-day, 5-night backpacking trip – what a time we had!!
We started off by taking the water taxi to Rainbow Point on Ross Lake and hiked about 4 miles to our first campsite called Devil’s Creek. The first few miles of the hike offered us a sense of seclusion amidst the towering fir and pine trees before opening up to sweeping vistas of the lake and surrounding mountains. After we set up camp, Sierra and Shelby inspired us all to go swimming in the very, very chilly water, but man did it feel good! The next morning we continued on our way to Lightning Creek, which was situated right on the water. That night, we went to bed around 7 pm because we woke everyone up at 11:30 pm so we could do our big hike up to Desolation Peak.
Our hike up Desolation was a long, uphill battle, but we all made it to the top, with burning quads and sighs of relief. During this climb, we gained 4,000 feet of elevation and even got to see some leftover signs of snowfall on the peak. We celebrated our success with a chocolate bar, and our LODs Ford and Emme decided to have a “Moondown” on the summit instead of our usual Moonup in the evening. After spending an hour on the top, we gradually made our way down and all took a long deserved nap. Meanwhile, Raleigh, Christian, William, James, and Janie attempted to treat the group by making pancakes, but after some mistrials, we ended up making the group some lightly crisped tortillas with chocolate chips and cinnamon sugar. The rest of the afternoon, we all hung out, swam, and spent an evening on the dock full of laughter from Powell’s narration of a round of Mafia.
The following day we woke up and walked six miles from Lightning Creek to Nightmare camp. During this hike, we definitely felt the aftermath of our 14-miler, but we continued to put our best foot forward and made it to the next campsite in record time. We settled into Nightmare camp and enjoyed our time with each other by sitting around with some hot chocolate and ghost stories from James and Wyatt. We woke up Monday morning and continued on our way to Hozomeen Lake. This hike was challenging, but with lots of encouragement and positive vibes we made it to this absolutely beautiful spot. The afternoon was spent swimming in a glacial lake and basking in the sun- even a usual hesitant Will jumped in! That evening we celebrated our last night of backpacking with a chocolate dessert and watching the sunset. Our final day was a quick one, but Powell kept us all entertained with his funny commentary and jokes. We even had enough time to walk to the international border between the United States and Canada, which was pretty sweet!
We ended our backpacking trip the right way by going to Cascadian Farms and picking up a little ice cream treat. Everyone had a great time backpacking and learned some very important backcountry skills, while also getting to know themselves and each other better. Our group was positive, hard working, encouraging, and supportive, which is exactly what you want from a backpacking group.
We are now on our way to the San Juan Islands to go sea kayaking for three days. More to come, but for now we’re thinking of you all and sending positive vibes your way!
Janie & Jamie
June 21, 2016
Hi again friends!
After a bit of a rain delay this morning, we officially kicked off our climbing section and it totally rocked! We hiked about thirty minutes into a beautiful canyon where our guides set up three different ropes for us to climb. We climbed the whole afternoon and everyone was so happy because the sun finally decided to come out! Ford and Emme were our belaying machines and were often found giving encouragement to those who they were supporting. Wyatt and Christian were our two spider monkeys of the group who did a fourth extra bonus climb. We had some great views from the tops of the lines. When Shelby and William were at the top they said they felt like they could see the whole state of Oregon from up there. Following our big climbing day, Raleigh and Will made us some mean “loaded mashed potatoes” with lots of yummy toppings. We topped off the day by having our LODs, Sierra and Powell, lead us to a super cool Moonup spot that overlooked the rock we were climbing today and we then sat and star gazed for a while. Day two of climbing is coming up tomorrow and we can hardly wait!
Our second day of climbing was just as epic as the first. Instead of doing longer and easier routes, our guides lead us to a spot where we did three routes, only this time they were much harder. Everyone climbed at least two of the routes, but that third one was a little tricky so about half the group scrambled up. Christian and Will decided to try the “meat grinder”, an extra tricky route, even for our guides! After a quick lunch, we spent the afternoon rappelling down a 50 foot cliff and while everyone was a little scared, we all did it through encouragement and positive attitudes! We then went into Bend, Oregon where we happened to stumble across a little street festival with local vendors and some live music. Our LODs Ford and Wyatt lead us in a fantastic Moonup, where we watched an incredible sunset over the snowy mountains- a perfect way to end the day!
Then we had our big day: Monkey’s Face! We woke up at 5:45 and began hiking up Misery Ridge, a two mile trek up the mountain so we could go rappel 200 feet down the infamous rock head. William, Shelby and Raleigh lead the group charge down the Face, giving the rest of our group the confidence and inspiration to follow suit. Powell, Emme, and Sierra completed the monkey with skill and ease. After about 5 and a half hours, we are pleased to report that every person in our group made it! To celebrate our success, we stopped to get some very delicious huckleberry ice cream. We are so proud and happy that our whole group completed Monkey’s Face because it was one of our group goals! Next up, backpacking in the North Cascades!
June 18, 2016
Hi again Moondance friends,
We’re back from a stellar white water rafting trip on the Deschutes River here in Oregon! We all had a ton of fun and everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Yesterday, Raleigh and William, our two LODs (leader of the day), headed up two different rafting boats and helped our raft guides steer us down the river. While on the rafts, we played games and shared riddles, but more importantly our group discovered that Powell is always good for a funny joke, while Wyatt kept us entertained with his stories. Plus, thanks to Ford, we all have started to do the “dab” like Cam Newton and have even persuaded others we run into to return the “dab” we send them. After a long 25 miles down the river, with a handful of class three rapids, our group enjoyed a fabulous meal of quinoa and stir fry and then called it a night. Today, our LODs were Shelby and Will and they helped us pack up our campsite and continue our way down the Deschutes. This time, our trip was only 12 miles, but it was still packed with excitement and lots of awesome rapids! After our fantastic day on the river, we drove on over to Smith Rock where our cook crew of William, Christian, Sierra, and Emme made us a Mexican fiesta feast that sent us right into a food coma. We ended our day by having our Moonup overlooking the mountains that we will be climbing the next couple of days. Although we were very sad to say goodbye to our rafting guides and the river, we can hardly wait to do some spectacular rock climbing these next three days. More to come, but for now sending y’all positive vibes and good thoughts your way!
June 15, 2016
Hello Moondance Friends,
Greetings from Oregon! We are so excited to kick off our three weeks with good friends, fun times, and great attitudes. After gathering everyone at the airport, we scurried off to Still Creek Campsite where we learned how to set up a tent, the art of layering, kitchen protocol, and we scattered in some fun and helpful hints about camping out. We ended yesterday with the Moondance tradition of a good ole Moonup, which is where the group gathers together to talk about the day, share a quote, give each other compliments (aka nugz) and participate in a group reflection. This morning we woke up and our cook crew made us an awesome breakfast with sausage, eggs, and english muffins. We then did a small day hike on the Still Creek trail that includes some scenic views of Mt. Hood. Although it was a bit too cloudy to see Mt. Hood, we enjoyed a forest full of lush greenery and wild flowers. We’re now on our way to Trout Creek where we will meet up with our whitewater rafting guides and get ready for two days of being on the water. Sending lots of good thoughts and positive vibes y’alls way!