Trip Updates

Big Wild 2B • July 1-July 14, 2017

Farewell from Jackson Hole!

July 14, 2017

Hello to all of the Big Wild 2B parents for the final time. 

First of all Cecilia and I would like to say thank you for allowing us to lead your children on this once in a lifetime trip. We had an absolute blast as we cruised around the west creating memories that were raw, real, and earnest. We summited mountains, we rafted rivers, and backpacked and fished in the Wind River Range. The ability to share these sights and sounds with your children is something we did not take lightly. We hope they come home with a newfound sense of confidence, courage, and compassion. These students were each others biggest supporters and confidants and as leaders it is something we strive to create but these students did it themselves and rest assured these final goodbyes were not easy.  

As leaders we realize that every session is different but it is what makes each Moondance trip unique. We noticed that this group was spontaneous and lighthearted which made the days go by too fast! Sim, Clark, and Harry were always providing the group with positive energy each and every day! These guys produced a lot of laughs throughout the trip and I know these laughs will continue long after their time at Moondance!

The past couple days we have traveled far and wide back to Jackson from the Winds and have gotten the students ready to depart home. We have cleaned the van and U-Haul which is always a blast as all the students enjoy taking turns with the hose and scrubbing down our big ‘ol van! Brenda was super kind and gave everyone in the group friendship bracelets while we were driving down to Jackson which everyone will now have a unifying souvenir from their time together! David and Smith were the leaders of the day and were a massive help to Cecilia and myself. They exhibited great leadership and perseverance as they gave great directions in cleaning group gear and packing duffels all while keeping spirits high along the way. 

After cleaning the van and U-Haul we headed to our town day in Jackson which was a blast! We got to shop around town and get some souvenirs for our families and friends. Mallory got some great gifts for her family so I’m excited for y’all to receive them! Sally Maxwell also got some great gifts, including some jelly beans which some would say were either hit or miss with the flavor profiles we encountered. 

After shopping and seeing the sights in downtown Jackson, we ate our final dinner at Moe’s BBQ. Henry and Will stuffed themselves with pulled pork sandwiches and provided the group with enthusiasm and laughter as their slogan became, “Big Dawgs Eat First!” *We made sure they kept their manners in tact and allowed the ladies to eat first. 

After dinner, Sister and Harren lead a great final Moonup to culminate our time together. Our final Moonup question was, “what has been a defining moment in your life?” This was a great final question because it allowed everyone to truly support each other as each student shared profound responses. The poise and maturity this group embodied as they handled this question is something that I will remember forever. Cecilia and I will be forever thankful to be a part of that Moonup.

It has definitely been a trip of a lifetime! 

Thank you again for allowing Moondance to be a part of their summer! We hope to see them again in 2018!

Stay wild, 

Ben and Cecilia 


Wild Times in the Wind River Range

July 13, 2017

Big Wild 2B is coming at you live from the Pinedale Aquatic Center! We just wrapped up our backpacking and are stoked to be squeaky clean after our refreshing showers. 

The past few days have been an absolute blast. We set off into the beautiful Wind River Range a few days ago. After a few hours of tough backpacking we arrived at Diamond Lake, a stunning alpine lake with a view of snowcapped mountains and surrounded by wildflowers. Cook crew rewarded our hard work of backpacking with some scrumptious chicken and cheese ‘dillas. We all got some well-deserved rest and woke up the next morning ready to take on the mountains. We fueled up with some choco chip pancakes, and Sally Maxwell and Clark were the only ones who managed to flip them perfectly. Ben and I made more of a pancake mash. Once nice and full, we set off with day packs into the mountains! We arrived at Big Sandy Lake, which cannot be described in words– look out for pics and stories from the kids! After a nice long break, and a few snowball fights (yes snow in July), we continued onward and very much upward. The next portion of the hike was very steep and strenuous but everyone had wonderful attitudes and supported each other. Even though she has a fear of heights, Mallory absolutely crushed it! After many switchbacks, a trek through a magical meadow with a waterfall, walking over long stretches of snow fields, climbing over boulders, and a touch of route finding, we arrived at yet another magnificent alpine lake. We stopped here for lunch and photos. 

Although we were very tired from the hike thus far, the kids wanted to push forward. And so we went! Up!! We climbed a bit further to a saddle between two mountains and appreciated the snow and rugged peaks. The trip down was much easier and faster. Unfortunately, the soles of both of Will’s shoes fell off, but he powered through and had us all crying laughing from the incident. We worked up quite the appetite and cook crew treated us with some hearty southwest mac n cheese. 

The next morning, we slept in a bit then split into two groups. Cecilia led a group back to Big Sandy Lake because it was too amazing to not return! This group jumped into the 40-degree lake and dried off in the sun, then scrambled over some rocks. Brenda and Sister took this time to get everyone decked out with friendship bracelets and hair wraps. Harry managed to catch a (rather small) fish with his bare hands! Ben took a crew down the river to practice fly fishing. Sally Maxwell caught her first fish ever! Harren literally blew it out of the water and snagged 7 fish. The group overall tallied more than 30. We all enjoyed our last backcountry meal, pita pizzas, and had a nice long Moonup. The Leaders of the Day, Henry and Sim, asked a thought provoking question that helped the group open up and grow so much closer. We talked until the stars lit up the sky. Smith and David were super helpful when backpacking out, and volunteered to repack their packs in order to fit all of the group gear. 

We are headed back to Jackson for our last night and it is extremely bittersweet! We’ve had such a wonderful trip thus far and are not looking forward to saying goodbye. 

All the best, 

Cecilia and Ben 


Big Water on Big Wild!

July 8, 2017

Hello to all the Big Wild parents! 

First and foremost we would like to tell you all that it has been a pleasure leading your kids around the western United States.  It has been awesome seeing them grow as individuals by making lasting friendships with the other students as well as by conquering the natural world through activities such as rock climbing and recently, white water rafting! 

After our last night at the campground, we got up early and made our way across the states of Wyoming and Idaho in order to get to the Salmon River. The car ride was long, but Sim and Sally Maxwell provided the car with laughter and positive energy. We finally made it to Ponderosa State Park which is where we got to celebrate the 4th of July! Henry and Brenda made everyone fried rice which was the group’s favorite meal up to this point of the trip. These two also lead the group to the lakeside where we had a deep and meaningful Moonup. It was one for the books.

The next morning, we got up early and made our way to the Salmon River put in. Our guides were terrific! They kept us safe and sent us through the biggest and fastest water in the lower 48! Sister and Smith seemed to enjoy the rafting more than anyone else. Through every rapid, they had the biggest smiles of the group. That night we had the “best dinner ever” (the rafting guides made the food). Anyway, the next day Will, Sim, and Harry all battled each other for points. Points are received when that person answers trivia correctly, identifies wildlife correctly, exhibits good teamwork, etc and whoever gets to fifty points first gets the prize.  Sim started out with only six points on our second day of rafting and beat out Will and Harry. Will and Harry provided the two rafting boats with constant laughter and great energy on the calmer sections of the river. David and Clark lead the group in Moonup that evening and asked the question, “Who is your biggest role model?” This was a great Moonup because it allowed us all to grow even closer and open up about other parts of our lives. It was, in a word, awesome. 

Harren and Henry were the next day’s Leaders of the Day. They did a great job in leading activities and were integral in setting up tents and helping set up camp. The water on the Salmon was a little slower this day, so we had a nice time playing games on the rafts as well as knocking people off! Safely, of course. This night we played a game of capture the flag which got intense, but it was definitely a highlight of the trip. 

Today we ride out of the river and journey onward to the Wind River Range! Today is also Mallory’s birthday. We have been celebrating all day, but we have a surprise birthday cake when we get to the campsite this evening. Shh! Don’t tell her.

We are psyched about backpacking, and we are ready to accomplish anything. 

All of the students are safe and having a blast!

 

Till next time, 

Ben and Cecilia 


Learning the ropes!

July 5, 2017

Howdy Big Wild 2B parents!

Thanks for sharing your teens with us for the next two weeks. We have had a busy few days here in Jackson, Wyoming. After gathering in the beautiful Jackson airport, we headed to camp. With some quick get-to-know-you and name games we went into town for some pizza and the rodeo! Harry and Clark took a ride on the mechanical bull and realized it is not as easy as it looks! After a long day, we were all very happy to go to sleep in our tents. 

The next morning, we met up with our climbing guides from Exum at Jenny Lake in Grand Teton National Park. After a beautiful ride across the lake we began climbing school. We learned how to tie the bowline and figure 8 follow through knots, then we began practicing our belays. Mallory impressed the guides by catching on super quick to the belay technique. 

Once we finished up practice, we climbed up some boulders to begin our multi pitch climb. Even though we were sprinkled with some rain making the route trickier, everyone powered through and made it to the top! We were then rewarded with an awesome rappel down a steep cliff. 

We got back to camp right before a rainstorm hit, and Henry and Will used their new knot tying skills to help Ben rapidly set up a sweet tarp structure keeping us all dry! We feasted on chips and salsa and fajitas for dinner. Brenda kept the group entertained with all the amazing games she brought (2 decks of cards, uno, and friendship bracelet string!) Afterwards we headed to the wedding tree, a glorious spot in the Tetons with a magnificent view of the snowcapped mountains. We held Moonup there and played a few games before heading back to camp for bed. 

The next morning, we went back to Jenny Lake for more climbing with the Exum guides. We split up into smaller groups to get more hands-on practice in bouldering techniques. We were then set loose onto the giant rock face to practice more advanced multi pitch routes, top rope routes, rappels, and bouldering. Many of these were very advanced and the Exum guides made it a point to tell us how impressed they were with the group overall. At the end of the hot day we jumped into the clear waters of Jenny Lake to cool off.

Before heading back to camp, a few students bought their fishing licenses and practiced casting in the Gros Ventre river. Harren was extremely helpful in teaching others who were just beginning fly fishing. 

For dinner Smith and Sally M. (who has been nicknamed “Charlie” for the trip) whipped up some tomato soup and deluxe personalized grilled cheeses. After dinner, there was a slight tomato soup spillage and David kindly jumped in to help the clean crew clean it all up and have us all laugh about it. The epic sibling duo Sister and Sim were wonderful leaders of the day all day and led a hilarious Moonup. 

This morning we set off for our long car ride to the Salmon river in Idaho for the rafting portion of our trip. We cannot wait to catch some rapids and are stoked to have Liza Reed from the office join us for this section! 

The past few days have flown by and we are so pumped for the rest of the trip!

-Cecilia (CC) and Ben (Uncle Ben)


Greetings from Jackson!

July 4, 2017

Howdy Big Wild 2B parents!

Thanks for sharing your teens with us for the next two weeks. We have had a busy few days here in Jackson, Wyoming. After gathering in the beautiful Jackson airport we headed to camp. With some quick get to know you and name games we went into town for some pizza and the rodeo! Harry and Clark took a ride on the mechanical bull and realized it is not as easy as it looks! After a late night we were all very happy to go to sleep in our tents. 

The next morning we met up with our climbing guides from Exum at Jenny Lake in the Grand Teton National Park. After a beautiful ride across the lake we began rope school. We learned how to tie the “bowline” and “figure 8” follow through knots, then began practicing our belays. Mallory impressed the guides by catching on super quick to the belay technique. 

Once we finished up practice, we climbed up some boulders to begin our multi pitch climb. Even though we were sprinkled with some rain making the route trickier, everyone powered through and made it to the top! We were then rewarded with an awesome rappel down a steep cliff. 

We got back to camp right before a rainstorm hit, and Henry and Will used their new knot tying skills to help Ben rapidly set up a sweet tarp structure keeping us all dry! We feasted on chips and salsa and fajitas for dinner. Brenda kept the group entertained with all the amazing games she brought (2 decks of cards, Uno, and friendship bracelet string!) Afterwards we headed to the wedding tree, a glorious spot in the Tetons with a magnificent view of the snow capped mountains. We held Moonup there and played a few games before heading back to camp for bed. 

The next morning we went back to Jenny Lake for more climbing with the Exum guides. We split up into smaller groups to get more hands on practice in bouldering techniques. We were then set loose onto the giant rock face to practice more advanced multi pitch routes, top rope routes, rappels, and bouldering. Many of these were very advanced and the Exum guides made it a point to tell us how impressed they were with the group overall. At the end of the hot day we jumped into the clear waters of Jenny Lake to cool off.

Before heading back to camp a few students bought their fishing licenses and practiced casting in the Gros Ventre river. Harren was extremely helpful in teaching others who were just beginning fly fishing. 

For dinner Smith and Sally Maxwell (who has been nicknamed “Charlie” for the trip) whipped up some tomato soup and deluxe personalized grilled cheeses. After dinner, there was a slight tomato soup spillage and David kindly jumped in to help the clean crew clean it all up and have us all laugh about it. The epic sibling duo Sister and Sim were wonderful leaders of the day all day and led a hilarious moon up. 

This morning we set off for our long car ride to the Salmon river in Idaho for the rafting portion of our trip. We cannot wait to catch some rapids and are stoked to have Liza Reed from the office join us for this section! 

The past few days have flown by and we are so pumped for the rest of the trip!

Until next time, 

Cecilia (CC) and Ben (Uncle Ben) 

 


Students

  • Harren
  • Will
  • Sally
  • Brenda
  • Smith
  • David
  • Mallory
  • Sim
  • Sister
  • Henry
  • Harry
  • Clark

Staff