July 28, 2016
Hi again readers,
Today officially marks the end of our Pacific Northwest session and it was one for the books! After an early wake up call, we took the ferry back to Washington and got ourselves and the gear all cleaned up. We then went to Goodwill to purchase some fancy outfits for our big night out on the town at Old School Pizzeria and then went to a park to watch the sun set over the water and participate in our final Moonup. There were plenty of laughs and even a few tears as we reminisced over the past three weeks spent together. This morning was tough for all of us but we want to thank you all for allowing this awesome group to spend their summer with us! Here are some more thank yous we would like to share:
Thank you Mom and Dad for the best trip ever! Thanks Janie and James for being so amazing!! -Cat
Thank you Mom and Dad for signing me up for Moondance! It was amazing! Thank you James and Janie for a great trip! -Maya
Thank you Mom and Dad for signing me up for this trip! I had so much fun. Thanks Janie and James for being amazing leaders. -Melissa
Thanks Madre and Fadre for the best summer trip! I had so much fun and want to go back next year. Thanks Janie and James! -Preston
Thank you Mom and Dad for signing me up for Moondance! Thank you Janie and James for giving me the best summer of my life! -Madison
Thanks for the trip of a lifetime Mom!! I had the best time. Can’t wait to tell you all about it. See you in Seattle! Xo Aubs
Thanks so much Mom and Dad for spending money on me to have this amazing trip! Love, Will
Thanks Mom and Dad for sending me ok this trip it’s been great. -Spencer out
Can’t express how thankful I am for having parents like you who would send me on such an amazing trip, Mom and Dad. -Love, Ryan
July 27, 2016
Hi again friends,
We have just completed our last portion of the trip, sea kayaking in the San Juan Islands! After taking the ferry over to the islands, we prepared for our three day adventure by doing some laundry, meeting our guides, and participating in Iron Chef. On Sunday, we woke up early to do a six mile paddle from Friday Harbor to Jones Island. While kayaking we saw harbor seals, bald eagles, and harbor porpoises. Once we arrived at Jones Island, we got to all hang out and go explore the island. Ryan and Spencer led the group in a big game of frisbee, while James and Aubrey found a starfish and named him Diandre. That night we ate a big meal of ground turkey tacos and enjoyed brownies while watching a beautiful sunset. The next day was our long day that included an eleven mile kayak from Jones Island to Stuart Island. We completed the paddle in record time, despite some wind and current pushing against us. We enjoyed lunch on Gossip Island where we ran into an Atlanta family who were Moondance alums! While beaching, Madison and Janie did a polar plunge into the chilly waters, but it was totally worth it. We paddled the rest of the way to Stuart Island and had an early pasta dinner so we could go catch the sunset on the west side of the island. While hiking to the sunset spot, we stopped at the Stuart Island school, which just recently closed in 2013. We adventured all around and played a couple games of knockout which Will and Preston won. The sunset that night was the prettiest of the trip and truly took all of our breaths away. It lit up the whole sky and was the perfect backdrop for Moonup. We walked back to camp and ate some s’mores and went down to the water to look at the bioluminescent algae, which we had been quite curious about. Our third day was the toughest paddle but our group did very well and kept the positivity up all throughout the journey. Melissa and our guide Molly were leaders of all the fun games we played on the water which helped distract us from the task at hand. Catherine and Maya lead the kayaks with their strong paddling abilities and synchronization. The weather was clear and sunny the whole three days which is better than we could have asked for. We’re starting to wind down our time here in the Pacific Northwest but are excited to have the best day yet!
July 24, 2016
Hi again readers,
We have officially completed backpacking through the North Cascades and we are so excited to share our stories with y’all. We started out taking a water taxi across Ross Lake to Rainbow Point and hiked 3.4 miles to our first campsite, Devil’s Creek. After setting up camp, we were able to swim in the lake and soak in the rays. While swimming, we went looking for any hidden treasures buried at the bottom of the lake. Will found us a walkie talkie, a sock, and a metal bracelet. After swimming we enjoyed a big Mexican feast and a good ole Moonup and went to sleep. The next day our group backpacked from Devil’s Creek to Lightning Creek. This was another shorter day, only about three miles, but we all enjoyed our hike and even learned a new fun trail game called “contact”. After a dip in Ross Lake, the group went to bed super super early to prepare for our sunrise hike up Desolation Peak. Unfortunately due to weather we weren’t able to hike up for a sunrise, but we didn’t let that stop us! The group woke up around 7 am and off we went up Desolation! We got to the top around 1:15 after a long and treacherous 6.8 miles. Madison and Melissa sent waves of encouragement to the group the whole way up and kept the group’s spirits high. We arrived at the top, ate a King Sized Snickers, and soaked in the gorgeous views of the Cascades and basked in all our glory and triumph. We took lots of pictures, snagged some GoPro footage, and even found a restroom Aubrey had told us about that overlooks some of the Cascades (you’ll have to ask the kids more about this later). After about an hour up top, we hiked down the Peak and poured into camp feeling very accomplished and very worn out. Our group went swimming again and although some didn’t want to, Preston made sure that everyone got in the water, one way or another. A delicious dinner of Ramen Bombs was in order and a good nights rest was well deserved. The next day was Janie’s 23rd birthday and the group made it one that she will never forget! This hike was a tough one because of the aftermath of Desolation, but our group took it on with force and determination. We hiked around 6 miles with some steep uphill parts to start but we crushed it and did it with a positive attitude. This night we stayed at Nightmare camp where Maya told us some scary stories and our cook crew made some scrumptious Mac and Cheese. Don’t worry, we were able to wade in the river at Nightmare where Ryan was the first one in the 50 degree water. We woke up the next day for our last big day of backpacking which was another 6 miles, but it was not as hard of a challenge for our experienced backpackers. Catherine and James led the way, telling stories and laughing all the while. When we arrived at Hozomeen Lake we were taken aback by how beautiful this campsite was. Our afternoon included lots of lounging and relaxing and splashing around in the Lake. That night, we sat by the lake and enjoyed a breathtaking sunset while our LODs Spencer and Aubrey led us in a deep and meaningful Moonup. Our last day was a quick and easy one where we went back on the water taxi and got to see all of the land we had covered over the past six days. The end of backpacking was celebrated with some ice cream from Cascadian Farms and a big can dance party. Here are some shout outs from the Moondancers themselves!
Hey Mom and Dad,
I miss you and I’m having the best time ever. I’m about to go sea kayaking! Hey Leidle! My trip is better than yours.- Maya
Hey Fam! I’m having the best time eva! Can’t wait to see you in Seattle! Xo-Aubs
Hey Mom and Dad! I miss you guys so much. I’m having a great time! See you soon -Melissa
Hey family! I miss y’all and I’ll see you soon -Preston
Hey Mom and Dad! I miss you guys!! I’m having the best time! Can’t wait to see you guys soon! -Madison
Hey Mom and Dad. Just finished backpacking. Having a great time. Give Lola a belly rub for me. Love and miss you -Ryan
Hey Mom, Dad, Charlie and Liza,
I love you all and can’t wait to see you again -Will
Hey Mom and Dad, I am having so much fun. I love and miss you guys. I will see you soon -Cat
Hey fam, Miss you guys. I might see you soon. Love you and miss you. -Spencer.
July 15, 2016
Greetings PNW friends,
Our time at Smith Rock was jammed pack full of new experiences, tough challenges, and lots of memories, making it a great time all around! Our first day of climbing we had three different routes set up on a rock called Rope-de-Dope. On our first day, everyone climbed at least once and all of us learned how to properly belay a fellow climber. After a big first day of climbing, we went into Bend for our town day. We all poked around downtown Bend and found some cool stores and a couple of souvenirs. The next day we climbed at Student Wall, which proved to be a little bit trickier. That didn’t stop Will and Ryan, who were the only two to make it up one of the routes. But don’t leave out Preston, who had the fastest speed climb, with a time of one minute and fifty four seconds. The afternoon consisted of doing a 50 foot rappel down the wall to help us prepare for the Monkey’s Face. Despite thinking they couldn’t do it, Aubrey, Madison, and Maya completed the rappel like champs. Our last day was an early one because it was Monkey’s Face day!! We hiked up Misery Ridge to Monkey’s Face and took it on by storm. Ryan, Will, Catherine, Maya, Aubrey, and Madison all completed the Monkey’s Face with encouragement and positivity that Spencer, Melissa and Preston showed them. After the Monkey we all enjoyed some Huckleberry ice cream and reminisced on our time at Smith Rock. We’re really going to miss climbing and Oregon but we’re off to Washington to get ready for backpacking!
July 12, 2016
Hi there readers!
It’s PNW C here, and we just finished our epic adventures on the Deschutes River white water rafting. Despite a little rain, we rafted 24 and a half miles down the river in one day and it was a lot of fun. We played games, told riddles, and had lots of splash wars. Preston pushed Catherine in seven different times! At the end of our rafting day, we were able to float down one of the rapids we rafted called Buckskin Mary. Will and Spencer lead the charge on this one and were the first two in. Madison even decided to go for a little post Buckskin swim! For dinner, our cook crew of Ryan and Melissa prepared a plentiful meal of Asian stir fry and some strawberry short cake for dessert. Our LODs ended the day with a nice Moonup right at sunset that overlooked the river.
Today, we went down five different class three rapids that were full of big waves and lots of laughs. The group’s favorite rapid was Mr. Snappy, where our raft guides tend to get thrown from their boats. We ended the day with Maya being pushed in by her boat and Aubrey totally sneak attacking Janie and pushing her in as well. We traveled from the Deschutes to Smith Rock Oregon where we will be rock climbing for the next three days, including the Monkey’s Face. We’re all in good spirits here and we hope you guys at home are too!
Janie & James
July 10, 2016
Greetings Moondance family and friends!
This is Janie and James here and we are so excited to kick off our second session of Pacific Northwest! Our 9 excited students arrived to Seattle yesterday and we took a drive to Still Creek Camp that is right near the glorious Mt. Hood. After we picked up some Pizza Hut, we settled into the camping life by learning how to set up a tent, good expedition behavior, and more about each other. We ended our day with our traditional Moonup, which is our daily reflection time where we share a quote, debrief about the day, open up the “nug jug”, and then the Leaders of the Day (LODs) ask the group a question. We end Moonup with a second quote and two new LODs are chosen for the following day. We all woke up today to the light pitter patter of rain, but that certainly did not stop us. We had a big breakfast of English muffins, scrambled cheese eggs, and sausage. We decided it would be fun to pack a lunch and go on a day hike around Mirror Lake, which on a good day you can see the reflection of Mt. Hood on top of the water. We are now on our way to go white water rafting on the Deschutes for the next couple of days and we are more than excited. All of us are really looking forward to kicking off our trip with some white water fun and we will check back in soon!