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Chamonix Alps 1B • June 13-July 5, 2017

Full Hearts

July 5, 2017

Bon jour from Paris! 
Today was a day of difficult goodbyes. We (Annie and Wick) are so sad to see the students off, but so happy that we had the opportunity to get to know these awesome young people. Tears of joy and sorrow were shed, many group hugs were hugged, and we all bid each other goodbye (for now). Needless to say, the Paris airport is crazy hectic, but everyone kept their cool and navigated the terminal like a pro. We are so proud of our international travelers. 
This group has successfully grown into a family, and it was heartbreaking to disband. We all got so close to one another. We all grew so much. We all got closer to ourselves as well. Every student realized what they are capable of. This group of students was inspiring to behold and be among. We (Wick and Annie) could not have hand selected a better group if we tried. We have gotten to share such meaningful and beautiful experiences together, and the vivid memories we made will be indelibly etched on our minds for the rest of our lives. We truly believe that this trip has changed the course of every participant’s life for the better. 
The friendships formed on this trip are true. Although we only had 23 days together, our lives are now all intertwined, and we will always care for each other and maintain the family we made. 
Last night’s Moonup was so full of love and appreciation. We sat on the lawn below the Sacré Cœur and talked about the things we love about one another. It felt so good to bestow affection on those that truly deserve it, and to hear such kind things about yourself from people whose opinions truly matter was euphoric. 
Our hearts are so full from this experience, but also aching to say goodbye to so many loved ones at once. Thank you, parents, for raising such incredible people. 
Annie and Wick

We Came, We Saw, We Conquered the Tour Du Mont Blanc!

July 3, 2017

Greetings from Chamonix! 

We woke up super early on Tuesday in Cala Montgo and hopped on a bus to Gerona to catch our train to Lyon-Part Dieu. We all took naps on the train to Lyon, so the 4 hour ride seemed like nothing. We hung out at the Lyon train station and got lunch before catching another train to Geneva. From Geneva we took 2 vans up into the Alps. The drive was incredible! The limestone walls and jagged granite peaks are out of this world. When we arrived in Chamonix we checked into our hostel and Parker, Welby, Annie, Hadley, Helen, Jack, and Carter went to the grocery to get lunch for the following day’s hike. At dinner George delivered another one of his famous meal time speeches. For dessert the grocery crew surprised Wick with raspberry ice cream as an early birthday present!

The next day was Wick’s birthday and the start of the Tour du Mont Blanc with our amazing guide Maud! We woke up at The Chamonaird in France before making the drive to Italy via a tunnel THROUGH the Mont Blanc massif. We set out on foot making our way up towards the Italy-Switzerland border. The clouds were moving fast across the jagged granite peaks giving us a different view every time we looked. We arrived at the border which is on a pass overlooking Italy to the south and Switzerland to the North. Naturally Lily, May Fray, and Hadley all did splits on the border. Crossing into Switzerland welcomed rolling green hills due to the change in rock from granite to limestone. Hadley and George found us a nice lunch spot where we brought out Nutella, peanut butter, honey, and tortillas to make sandwiches. Maud, a Chamonix native, thinks our use of peanut butter is strange and unheard of. Post lunch we walked through a small farm where a family lives with their cows and produces cheese to sell to trekkers passing through. The rain held off until we had arrived in La Fouly, our destination for the night. We arrived in the early afternoon so had plenty of time to nap, grocery shop, play cards, and hang out. May Fray and Lily even decided to go on a run around the town!  The group all had a great time planning out how to celebrate Wick today and surprised him with Swiss chocolate, chocolate covered raspberries, and a notebook where they each wrote him a note for his birthday. We had a delicious meal of soup, curried chicken, and raspberry puddin’- complete with a candle in Wick’s. Maud joined us for Moonup tonight where we talked about our dream concerts and biggest fears. After Moonup, Will and Claire found a box of old film slides in our hostel room. Will set up the projector for us to get an idea of what life was like in La Fouly in 1993, lots of great shots of skiing, hiking, and Hotel Edelweiss in the snow. Such a cool way to end the night! 

The following morning we woke up at the Hotel Edelweiss and it was FREEZING! Luckily breakfast was about to start so we bounded downstairs for some hot liquids. No more breadfast! There was a good ole breakfast buffet waiting for us to eat all we could, and eat we did.

After breakfast we packed up and hit the trail. Will, Annie, Lily, Jack, and Wick played a heated game of GHOST, the preferred trail game among the group, and Wick toppled Annie in the final round. The walk from La Fouly to Champex was another piece of cake compared to our long days in the Pyrenees. We were singing and joking the whole time on the trail. We passed through a bunch of tiny hillside villages on the way. One village called Praz de Fort was home to a particularly strange and creepy house with what must have been a record setting gnome collection. We stopped and admired for a while, but the gnomes began to look more and more menacing by the minute, so we left in a hurry before they had the opportunity to come alive and chase us out of the village. Crisis averted. Soon after Praz de Fort we stopped for lunch and it started to drizzle as we packed up and got back on the trail. We welcomed the rain with outstretched arms as it cooled us down, and that’s just how we roll. 

When we arrived in Champex we visited the surprisingly clean public bathrooms and stopped at the grocery to buy lunch for the next 2 days. Carter and Helen oversaw the grocery buy and stocked us with some goodies for the days to come. After we bought lunch we went to a coffee shop for some afternoon coffee and tea. Will took this time to take a nap, and we involved the barista in a little practical joke to make him think we had accidentally forgotten him in the coffee shop. That was the hardest we had laughed all day. After the coffee shop we checked into our hotel and took some naps

We set out from Champex with bellies full of bread and jam ready to take on the day. We headed out for Trient under a blue sky with the sun shining strong. Jack and Claire took charge of the group today and led us on our uphill climb. We encountered a sheep dog, a Saint Bernard, and a herd of cattle on the first half of our trek. One of the cows kept trying to lick Lily but luckily she managed to dodge him a few times. We began to notice patterns of horizontal lines across the faces of the sharp mountains in the distance. Maud explained to us that this is to help control avalanches on the mountains. We found a lunch spot where we had views of sharp peaks with fresh snow and the valley below containing the city of Orsieres. We feasted on peanut butter, Nutella, and honey tortillas with pringles, fruit, and pretzels. Carter and Will added some flair to their tortillas and threw in some dried apples and mango. As we finished up eating the sun went behind the clouds and the wind picked up making it noticing colder outside. Everyone at once dog piled together to try to stay warm. We looked ridiculous and no one could stop laughing. We even got Maud in on the dog pile of fun. We huddled together like this for a good hour while some people napped and some hung out. We had a few trekkers pass us by and just shake their head and laugh. When we decided we were warm and rested we hopped back on the trail only to be met with hail. The hail lasted a short stint until we arrived in a small town of Trient. It was our last chance to buy Swiss chocolate bars and we about cleared out their small convenience store. If you are ever in Switzerland get a chocolate bar called Ovalmaltine it is unbelievable. Our bags are fully stocked now as we head into France tomorrow.

P-Didds (Parker) and HDawgSwag (Helen) here comin’ atcha live from Argentiere, France! We have taken over Wick and Annie’s duties of trip updates for today. So here it goes … We arose from our slumber to the sweet sound of church bells from the pink church of Trient. Racing each other down the stairs to another delicious breadfast, we were pleasantly surprised by yogurt and cereal! We started our rigorous 900m ascent back into France, passing through Col de Balme with our heads in the clouds (literally). After a long morning of uphill trekking we were relieved to start the decent down the French side of the mountain. At the base of the mountain we found an open meadow and enjoyed a picnic of Nutella, peanut butter, and honey tortillas. George kept the group’s spirits high by sharing his life goal of having a pizza franchise, John Luca and Family’s. Soon after, we arrived at Hotel Coronne and enjoyed hot showers and comfy beds. Will, Jack, Welby, May Fray, and Claire accompanied us to the super market and bought lunch for the next few days. Hdawgswag made the incredible find of Ovamaltine spread to replace Nutella! YUM!!!!!! We retreated to the hotel and got ready for dinner at the local pizzeria. The group was stoked to have a hot pizza followed by ice cream sundaes. Will and Parker led an epic Moonup and discussed stepping outside our comfort zones on the trip. The night was filled with lots of laughs but everyone was quick to fall asleep to prepare for our final day on the Tour de Mont Blanc. 


Pdidds and HDawgSwag 

(Parker and Helen:)

On the last morning of TMB hiking we got to sleep in until 9 am. When we went downstairs for breakfast we were met with the most epic buffet we have seen yet. Bread, yogurt, fine cured meats, glazed raisin breads, chocolate croissants, make your own hard/soft boiled eggs- we had it all. We couldn’t set out for the trail before making a quick pit stop at the supermarche for another jar of Ovalmaltine butter and a fidget spinner (probably the 15th our group has bought this trip). This time the fidget spinner was a gift for our lovely guide Maud as a token of our appreciation. We had a leisurely walk this morning from Argentiere to Chamonix through a shady forest. We took a break along the way at a park called Paraiso and paradise it was. We swung on swings, drank some smoothies, and sipped some ‘spressos. We strolled a little further until the forest opened up into a big field with an amazing view of the mountains around us. We stopped here and danced to “Alibaba and the Seven Thieves” and “Little Sally Walker” before playing a few rounds of Big Booty and Signs. Maud loved learning our games and Parker and Wick have held their own as the reigning big booties. The group was pleasantly surprised to find out that our hostel for the night was just a five minute walk. When we arrived at the hostel, Maud held a ceremony complete with laminated certificates and Pomp and Circumstance to honor the great achievement of hiking the Tour du Mont Blanc. The rest of the afternoon was spent playing Polish horseshoes, giving back massages, and listening to guitar in the park. May Fray impressed the group with some cheer stunts. After some chicken, Lily and Welby led the group in an amazing Moonup to conclude our final trekking session. We talked about what we could take away from our time in the mountains and what we learned about ourselves in the process. We laid in the park after Moonup to soak up our last night in the Alps. Claire and Will put their photography skills to use and played around with long exposures and light up fidget spinners to get some cool shots. We loved every minute in the Alps but are excited to wake up and venture to the city of love! 

Until next time, 

Wick and Annie


Paddling Through the Mediterranean

June 27, 2017

Hola from Costa Brava! The past three days have been chock full of sun, salt water, and sand stuck in our waistbands. 

On Saturday, we woke up in Lourdes, had a hearty breadfast, and hopped on the train. We made stops in Toulouse-Matabiau, Narbonne, and Gerona, Spain. We saw the other Chamonix group in Toulouse! We swapped stories and got each other pumped for our upcoming treks. Once we arrived in Gerona, we hopped on a bus to L’Escala.  We stayed in an area of L’Escala called Cala Montgo for the next 3 nights. We had 3 little bungalows all to ourselves, complete with our very own kitchens! Finally, we would be cooking for ourselves. Helen, Chambers, Parker, and May Fray cooked us burrito bowls that night. 

After our first dinner in Cala Montgo, we walked down to the beach for a quick swim and Moonup in the sand during sunset. During Moonup, we discussed the ways that we give and receive love and friendship. After Moonup, we took showers and got our stuff ready for kayaking the following day. 

Day 1 of sea kayaking! Will, Jack, Lily, Hadley, and Welby cooked us our first non-breadfast morning meal (eggs and bacy!). Sunday brought overcast skies and some short light showers, but that kept motorboats and beachgoers away from the beach, which was great for us. We started our paddle at Platja Castell and headed north toward Cala Montgo. Our kayaking guides took us through natural arches and little alcoves on our way to an abandoned boathouse for lunch. During lunch, George, Helen, Lily, May Fray, Welby, Parker, and Carter went for a swim to explore the alcove we stopped in. After lunch, we took a wide sweeping route back to Platja Castell and made it back in half the time it took us to get there. Will was brave enough to attempt a roll in his kayak, but found out it was much more difficult to roll the long sea kayaks than the river kayaks he was used to. After our paddle back to Platja Castell, we took a van back to Cala Montgo and went to the beach to throw the frisbee and swim after Carter, Jack, Claire, and George cooked us a delicious gas-inducing dinner. Moonup that night was a powerful one. Everyone gave very personal windows into their life and their personal struggles. When Moonup finished it was dark and we decided to go for a spontaneous swim in the Mediterranean. It was an inexplicably joyful night time plunge. After we rinsed the salt and sand off we went for ice cream and hung out at our bungalows before nodding off. 

The group must have been missing breadfast, because the next morning we had muffins for our morning meal. This morning the weather was good enough that we could launch our kayaks from the beach five minutes from our bungalows. We wound our way up the coast along the rocky seaside cliffs playing twenty questions and singing songs. The morning was spent paddling through a few rock tunnels and into caves. Our kayaking guide brought his headlamp and lit up the blue-Gatorade-colored water inside the cave and pointed out some clusters of bats high above us. Kinda freaky but really cool. We made it to our lunch spot in great time and had plenty of the afternoon to chill there. Claire searched for sea glass while George, Wick, Carter, and Jack borrowed our guides diving masks to get a better look under the surface. May Fray led the girls in some post lunch water aerobics before everyone made their way back to the beach for a nap in the sun. After about an hour, everyone woke up ready to kayak back to the beach. When we made it there, May Fray, Parker, Jack, Will, Chambers, Annie, and Wick attempted to roll before putting up their kayaks for the day. We were all humbled by how difficult it is to do but got some good laughs at watching everyone attempt it. There was plenty of daylight left when we got back to the beach so we hung in the sand some more, went swimming, and got some ice cream. The bungalow resort has a pool that we can swim in so we capped off the afternoon with some games of categories, swimming races, and handstand competitions. Hadley, Helen, Carter, Lily, and Claire are currently making us dinner while we throw the frisbee outside of our huts. We’ll be sad to say adios to Cala Montgo bright and early tomorrow morning but we cannot wait to start our next adventure in Chamonix!!

Moondancing through the Pyrenees

June 25, 2017

After a long flight to Paris and then Geneva, Wick greeted us at the airport excited to show us around. We took the train to the center of town, grabbed some lunch at the supermarket and walked to our hostel a few blocks away. After a short nap to keep the jet lag at bay we ate our first hostel dinner (that was far better than expected), then walked to the nearby Parc Moynier to take a dip in Lake Geneva. The water is incredibly clear in the lake! Soon some clouds started to roll in so we retreated to the lawn just below the natural science museum of Geneva and Carter got everyone involved in some frisbeeing while the clouds dumped rain on us. When the showers ceased, we held our first Moonup on the steps below the natural science museum, and Helen and Will were officially crowned as our first pair of LOD’s (leaders of the day). After Moonup we went back to the hostel to rest up for the long travel day ahead. 


We woke up early, ate a quick breakfast, and hopped on a train to Lyon, France. The views on the way were incredible! We played cards and got to know each other a little better. The Lyon train station was crazy hectic! We caught a train to Montpellier, then to Narbonne, then to Toulouse, then finally to Lourdes, soaking in the French countryside along the way. Mary Frances (“May Fray”) and Claire took the opportunity to practice their French with a father and son circus duo on the train and got us all excited to attempt to learn some more of the language. We stayed at a cozy hotel in Lourdes and met some of the kindest locals imaginable. They even offered to buy our pizza! We held Moonup in a quiet park with the Château fort de Lourdes looming in the distance. During Moonup, we discussed ways we could make the most of the days to come, and Parker and Jack were bestowed with LOD powers for the following day. 


Day 3! We geared up for our first day of trekking in the Pyrenees with the quintessential French mountain breakfast of lots of bread and jam. We got a detailed rundown of our route from Sacha, a dear friend of Moondance/multi-multi-national trekking guide. After that we piled into two vans and motored up to the Pyrenees while Sacha told us stories from his professional adventuring days. Sacha dropped us off at the Col de Tortes, the top of a popular Pyrenean ski resort, and bid us “au revoir!”.  From there we walked southeast to the Puerto de Bujaruelo (on the French and Spanish border) and stopped on the saddle for lunch while admiring the Pic des Gabiétous Orient and le Taillon above. After lunch we began our descent into the Bujaruelo valley towards the Pont de San Nicolas Bujaruelo (an 800 year old stone footbridge). We crossed several scree fields, switched several switchbacks and stopped to check out some abandoned huts on our way to the river. After 900 meters of descending, we finally reached the river with the Refugio de Bujaruelo on the other side, where we would be staying the following night. The river water was an unbelievable shade of bright baby blue! We considered stopping for a dip, but we had a few more miles to cover that day, so we continued on the trail to Torla, skirting the river, and passing incredible pools and falls the whole time. 


Torla is a lovely little village nestled in the valley above the river. The streets are cobble-stoned and there is no mistaking the antiquity of the buildings and people that inhabit them. In Torla we had the opportunity to show off our Spanish, and made friends with the kind people that lived there. We feasted rather fancifully that night at a restaurant that was once home to a legendary Spanish conservationist Lucien Briet, who spent his life exploring and fighting to protect the land we had been trekking through. We held Moonup in a tiny flower filled alcove in a quiet corner of the town and discussed things that we had learned that day, and how we could apply them to the next few days of trekking. During Moonup the LOD baton was ceremoniously passed to Chambers and Mary Frances. After that we showered and retired to our bunk beds. 


The next morning we started our day with another bread-heavy breakfast. Lily officially deemed this style of morning meal “breadfast”, a term which would end up getting a lot of use during our Pyrenean trek. After breakfast we caught a bumpy ride up to Ordesa Canyon to hike into the colossal chasm and swim in the falls at the opening. We made our way up the canyon in pairs giving everyone a chance to get some one on one time with someone in the group they may not have known as well yet. The water in the Pyrenees never ceases to amaze! It’s also frigid. Good thing it was blistering hot out! Jack and Will took the lead and jumped in the icy cold water. The rest of the group followed, each only lasting a few seconds until coming back to land to warm up on the rocks. We bathed in the falls for about 2 hours then hiked back out of the canyon all the way to Refugio Bujaruelo, where we passed the stone footbridge the day before. For such a remote refugio, Bujaruelo was bustling with outdoor activity! There were climbers, mountain bikers, white water kayakers, trekkers, and fisherman all seeking shelter at the old stone house. You could tell that thousands of adventurers had passed there over the past few hundred years. We hung out on the lawn, practiced handstands and other gymnastic feats, swam in the river, and watched in envy as the kayakers embarked from the footbridge. The refugio dinner was hearty, and the Moonup discussion was hearty as well. Chambers topped off the night by playing riptide on the guitar and everyone sang along. Claire and Welby received the honor of being LOD’s for our trek back to France. 


The next morning we set off from the Refugio de Bujaruelo up to the Puerto de Bujaruelo where we ate lunch 2 days before. The ascent up to the Puerto was a very challenging walk, and everyone pushed themselves to reach the saddle. We ate lunch at the saddle again, then began our walk into the Cirque du Gavarnie, and eventually into the village of Gavarnie, where we would be staying for the next 2 nights. Gavarnie is home to a 12th century church with a mysterious collection of skulls that supposedly belonged to a few Templar Knights. Our hostel owner, Christoph, expressed uncertainty about who the skulls belonged to, but they were certainly spooky. Dinner was delicious, and Moonup was full of scary stories. Lily and George would be joining forces the following day to lead our group through the day. 


Day 4 of our Pyrenean trek! We had set out plans to hike up to the Breche du Roland, an iconic gate atop the Cirque du Gavarnie (worth a search on Google images), but weather conditions and fatigue kept us at bay that day. We used this day to recharge and prepare for the remainder of the trek. We explored Gavarnie and had some quiet time in the church, but after a while we got the feeling that the skulls were watching us, so we left to play a few rounds of signs on the lawn below the church. We browsed the few stores around Gavarnie and most of the boys bought a trinket very unique to the town of Gavarnie to remember their Pyrenees trek- a fidget spinner.  After dinner at the hostel, we held Moonup and tried to count the waterfalls coming down from the Cirque de Gavarnie (the consensus was 14). Carter and Hadley received the LOD crown and tiara for our next day’s hike up into the cirque, and up to the Refugio d’Espuguettes. 


The next morning we woke up early in order to reach Espuguettes before the afternoon storms rolled in. We had a few group members that weren’t 100% and needed some extra rest so Annie headed to the quaint town of Luz with Parker and Chambers while the rest of the group made their way to Espuguettes. We snagged breadfast and bid Christoph adieu, and started our climb into the cirque. The Cirque de Gavarnie is magnificent from a distance, and even more so when you are in the midst of it. The waterfalls are countless, and it seems like they spring out of nowhere. Once we were in the cirque, we ate a quick lunch then turned northwest and began edging up the valley wall that connects to the cirque. The trail was so cool! For most of the trail and we walked behind a curtain of water dripping from the overhanging slate walls. When the trail flattened out we entered the forest momentarily, then out into open hillside cow and goat pastures. We saw Espuguettes perched on a ridge in the distance as the rainclouds started to roll in. We turned on the afterburners for the last few meters of elevation right as the thunder started warning us to get indoors. There were three surprisingly stubborn donkeys taking shelter under the porch of the refugio, and we had to force them out of the way to get in. Once we were safely sheltered in the refugio, we sipped some hot chocolate and tea and played some hotly contested rounds of uno. We took a short nap before dinner and gorged ourselves on veggie soup and spaghetti. It was DUMPING rain that night, so we held Moonup in our private bunk room. Moonup was HILARIOUS and lasted longer than any Moonup we had thus far, and we all missed Annie, Chambers, and Parker dearly. Little did the group know they had actually eaten lunch in the Mayor of Luz’s house! George and Helen received the LOD honors for summit day! We hit the hay and got the rest we would need for our Pimené summit attempt the following day. 


June 21st, the longest day of the year! We woke up early, dined on breadfast, and chatted with the owner about his preferred route up the Pimené. He suggested heading for the nearby Petit Pimené, then walking the ridge that connects it to the main Pimené. The Petit was visible from the refugio, so the first leg of the route was clear, we just had to power ourselves up there. After several switchbacks we stood atop the Petit Pimené (2667m), and looked up at the Pimené (2801m). The ridge that connected the two looked like a razor’s edge from the lesser Pimené, but once we started the daunting traverse under George’s guidance, we felt very surefooted. The ridge was actually about 2 feet wide at its narrowest section. Reaching the summit was very rewarding, and we soaked in the panorama while we chowed down on some prosciutto sandwiches and some summit chocolate bars. We spent about an hour at the peak and took PLENTY of pictures. Helen led us on our way down, and on our descent we skirted the Petit on its eastern edge, crossing 2 snowfields along the way. On the descent we took a good gander at the Horquette d’Alans, a jagged pass that we would cross over the next day to enter the Cirque d’Estaube. The ascent and descent of the Pimené took about 6 hours including our hangout on the peak. At Espuguettes we napped and played cards. Dinner was delicious once again, and we held Moonup in the pasture during sunset. Will and May Fray were dubbed with the mystical LOD powers for our last full day of Pyrenean trekking. Once everyone was tucked in to bed, Claire took her camera outside and snapped some AMAZING long exposure pictures of the night sky above the refugio and Cirque de Gavarnie. In the land of Luz, Parker, Chambers, and Annie had a great day relaxing with some new friends and even went to a music festival called Fete de la Musique. On the longest day of the year there is always music all over France and it is a tradition for nearby towns and villages to gather together and celebrate their local musicians.


The next day we said goodbye to Espuguettes and the lovely family that runs it, and headed back up to the Horquette d’Alans. The view from the saddle was incredible, but the group was determined to push on to reunite with Annie, Chambers, and Parker in Maillet. On our descent into the Plateau d’Ailhet, we spaced the walking line out a bit and hiked in silence to allow ourselves some time for personal reflection while admiring the Cirque d’Estaube above. We reconvened at the Pont d’Estaube to eat lunch and Welby and Carter took a dip in the river. After lunch we made our way out of the valley and towards the Cirque de Troumouse, the largest and least visited cirque we would see on our trek. We saw the Lac des Gloriettes on the way, it was the bluest lake we had ever seen! May Fray and Will did an incredible job navigating when the trail faded and became almost non-existent. Before we knew it, we had stumbled upon the road that leads up to the Auberge d’Maillet so we headed up on our merry little way to find our friends!


Chambers, Parker and Annie made the drive up to the hostel, Auberge de Maillet, to greet the rest of the group after a couple days apart. On the way, they stopped for a nice picnic lunch picked up from the local bakery and butcher in Luz and enjoyed the meal in the middle of the Cirque de Troumouse. 


After lunch they headed back down and enjoyed some cold cokes in a bottle until seeing the group in the distance. Everyone greeted each other with hugs and stories from the past couple days. We’re so happy to all be back together! Chambers and Parker brought the group chocolate bars from Luz to congratulate them on a job well done finishing the Pyrenees trek. On top of that Auberge de Maillet had a fully stocked ice cream freezer and fridge full of cold sodas- it was truly a celebration. The scenery here is unrivaled but it comes with its fair share of flies buzzing around. Helen practiced her zen at dinner by not swatting at or flinching from flies landing on her for a full nine minutes. The night was topped off with a great moonup and dance performance by Mary Frances, Parker, and Claire. We stuck around outside a little longer to take in the stars, hang out, and listen to some music courtesy of Wick and his guitar. 


We made our way out of the mountains this morning and back into the city of Lourdes. Jack and Claire led the group through the town stopping by creperies and ice cream shops along the way. Lourdes is known worldwide for the Sanctuaires Notre-Dame de Lourdes which is a major Catholic pilgrimage site. We had the chance to visit this site and bask in the beautiful architecture and mosaics that the churches had to offer. Everyone is pumped to head towards the Mediterranean tomorrow for some time on the water!! It will be a welcome break for our sore legs.


Stay tuned for shout outs from the Chamonix crew!


Hey moms and pops, have a good day! Miss you guys – George


Hey mom and dad!! I’m having a great time here. It’s beautiful. Miss y’all and the rest of the fam and miss you too Kate and others! the sunsets are wonderful:) cya soon!!! xoxoxo – Helen


Hey mom and dad! Miss you guys so much, I’ll take lots of pics. Happy almost birthday mom! :)) -Lily


Hi family! I am having a great time and it is sooooo beautiful!!! Love and miss you all! – Hadley b 


Hey mom and dad!! I am having a great time here and I have so much to tell you about! I love and miss you guys so much!!! Say hi to Maggie for me!



Hey family hope y’all are doing good! Also hey EC! See y’all soon 



Hey Mom, Dad, and Thomas! I am still alive and will get lots of pictures.



I’m still alive! See you soon. Happy early birthday mom!! Happy belated Father’s Day!

Turns out US dollars dont work. 



Hey Croot, Weenie, Mom and Dad. Miss you guys lots!!! See you soon:) Love you guys!!!!! Also happy birthday dad and happy Father’s Day!!! Also Hey Ab, Ando, Gus, Nathan and chomper, shurm and the rest of steph and the rest of the girls to. Miss you guys as well. 

– Welby 


Miss y’all lots!! I’m having so much fun:) Can’t wait to see y’all soon. Love and miss y’all!! 

-Mary Frances 


hey family and Janie!!!!! I’m still breathing hahaha miss y’all so much!!! Having the best time ever and loving the salt and PEPPER here;) love and miss y’all!! 

xoxo Parker 


Hey mom and dad!! Miss y’all so much I’m having so much fun! 🙂 see you soon love y’all<3 

– Claire

In the Air!

June 13, 2017

Hi Chamonix Families!

We’ve heard from the leaders and everyone’s en route! The summer has officially started! Once everyone arrives in Geneva, the Moondance Office will call all families to check in.

-The Moondance Administrative Team


  • Welby
  • Hadley
  • Helen
  • Carter
  • Parker
  • Mary Frances
  • Claire
  • Lily
  • Will
  • Jack
  • George
  • Chambers