July 6, 2017
This is May Fray and Wright checking in for the last time! We had a very busy last 24 hours after our kayaking section wrapped up. The students all helped with packing and organizing all the group gear before we concluded the trip to the local thrift store in Olympia. All the students chose some awesome outfits to wear to our final meal which was a pizza banquet in a park in Olympia. The last Moonup was a moving one as always, and it was so great to end the trip with the group all together. Please know that May Fray and I had an extraordinary time getting to know and spend time with all your children. We as a group truly had an incredible trip. We hope all is well and wish everyone safe and happy summers and great starts to the school year!
May Fray and Wright!
July 3, 2017
Hey there from the San Juan islands!
Wright and May Fray here updating you after our final activity: sea kayaking in the San Juan Islands! After nearly a week of backpacking, we were all ready for a welcomed change of pace in the San Juans. We traveled east and set out early to begin our three-day journey. Our LODs Allison and Aiden were so helpful to us as well as the guides that we ended up ahead of schedule, meaning more time on the water! We stopped on a barrier island for lunch and arrived at our campsite soon after on Jones Island; a nonresidential island designed specifically for campers. Our campsite was complete with a large field for playing Spike Ball, trees for hanging hammocks, and a shelter for cooking meals. We were able to build a fire the first night with the help of Caulder and Charles as well! That evening, we stayed up later and traveled back out on the water to explore the bioluminescence of the phytoplankton as a result of the sunny day – major “wow” moment!
The next day, due to high wind speeds, we decided to opt out of a day paddle and spent the day exploring Jones Island playing leadership games, cards, and taking day hikes. Mila and Folger even discovered a trail that circled the entire island! Along with that, we caught up on some much-deserved rest and relaxation; we were on island time after all! Our LODs, Banks and Sarah were very helpful to our outfitters organizing dish and cook crews as well as some of the games! We were very impressed that Alex was always first to volunteer to help even before she was asked. We were able to get out on the water that evening for a sunset paddle around the island where we had a special nautical Moonup in our connected kayaks!
The next morning, we rose early to beat some anticipated afternoon gusts. We feasted on a breakfast burrito bar and were on our way! We cruised to Roche Harbor where Aiden lead the charge in his kayak and then was the first to help us organize our gear and the van upon arrival. We are currently en route back to the mainland and with island time behind us we are looking forward to soaking up every last minute of our time together!
June 29, 2017
Greeting PNW1C families,
Wow! What a week it has been in the Northern Cascades! May Fray and Wright here to update you all on our trip and we wanted to begin by expressing how proud we are of everybody. In the last six days, we backpacked nearly 40 miles, successfully submitted a peak, and picked up some new memories!
Our first two days were a little more relaxed to get everyone into the swing of things. Allison and Aiden kept spirits up and helped show everyone the ropes of backpacking from the get-go as our LOD’s. We learned about the leave no trace (LNT) principles including how to find a campsite, respecting wildlife, and how to properly prepare food. The second night we went to sleep early and woke up in the wee hours of the morning to summit Desolation Peak- a 13 mile trip! Though the hike up was steep and strenuous, our most spirited LOD Folger helped us arrive at the top in time to take a quick mountain-top nap before the sunrise. We watched day break exactly where Jack Kerouac did while writing Dharma Bums and felt inspired to say the least. After that, we celebrated with chocolate chip pancakes that Banks and Wright made for everybody and a much deserved nap.
While the following two days were not as vigorous as our Desolation summit, they were challenging nonetheless. Our LOD’s Sarah and Caulder kept our tired legs moving especially to our final campsite which was located right on the lake! We relaxed and celebrated a successful few days of backpacking at our lakeside campsite with swimming and some cheesy pasta bake. Charles and Alex lead our final backpacking Moonup discussing goofy embarrassing moments and our favorite part of the trip. Additionally, we wrapped up our “spotlight” series where students had two minutes to tell their life stories and another three minutes for everybody to ask them questions. Mila and Aiden definitely blew us away with their insightful questions each night!
Today we had a short hike to the water taxi and celebrated with a Cascadian Organic ice cream! Although this week proved challenging, we had a blast with each other and can’t believe we only have one more activity left!
More updates to come,
May Fray and Wright
June 22, 2017
Hello from Pacific Northwest Section C!
It has been a few days since our last exciting and adventurous trip update and we wanted to check back in! We’ve spent the last few days in Smith Rock, known in the climbing world as the birthplace of sport climbing. Everyone loved Smith Rock and the awesome climbs that it had to offer! We rose early in the morning to beat the heat climbing and chose to spend the afternoon at nearby Steelhead Falls and took a visit to the town of Bend, Oregon. At Steelhead falls, Caulder and Elizabeth were the first of the group to jump into the icy yet refreshing river encouraging the rest of the group to follow!
We started off the first day climbing at the North end of the park. There were climbs that everyone was able to conquer to help them prepare for the famous Monkey Face on Day 3. Folger and Banks both seemed to have a natural talent at rock climbing and were quick to master all the climbs throughout the whole trip!
On our second day of rock climbing, Sarah and Mila were the LODs and provided everyone with much needed motivation and encouragement, especially with our afternoon hike! Both girls worked to ensure all were hydrated by leading the group in a series of hydration games.
Throughout the climbing trip Aiden used his GoPro and camera knowledge to capture some awesome shots. (And taught us a thing or two about GoPros as well!) He also was able to get up on the wall and do a little bit of climbing.
Throughout the 3-day climbing trip, Charles provided everyone with motivational words and was a real team player! “Chuck the cheerleader” lent a hand to multiple students within the group and encouraged everyone on their climbs. Furthermore, he also accomplished some awesome climbs as well!
On our third day, we hiked up to the famous Monkey Face with our LODs Alex and Allison leading the group! Despite the tough hike up to the Monkey Face, both girls were constantly smiling and in good spirits making them a huge help to the overall group dynamics of the day!
The Monkey Face tested everyone, but at the end of the day, everyone overcame the challenging parts and came out far more confident than before we started the day. Which was very fitting for our lesson of the day, “conquering fears.”
We are looking forward to backpacking and spending time in Washington next!
June 18, 2017
A big howdy from the Deschutes river! Its Wright and May Fray here to update you all on the first few stellar days of our Pacific Northwest Whirlwind. We hit the ground running driving straight through Olympia to the pine tree forests. The next morning, we had a big drive, where each student contributed three of their favorite songs to listen to. Our two Moondance Alum Leader of the Days, Alex and Aiden kept the energy up and helped explain some of the ins and outs of Moondance trips. We learned to pitch tents, backcountry cooking basics, and the ins and outs of Expedition Behavior. We broke up the drive with some fun ice breaker games such as the human pretzel, Rock Paper Scissors Evolution, and Mafia.
Excited for our first big activity, everybody was thrilled when we arrived at our riverside camp ground for the night. We relaxed and our first cook crew, Folger, Allison, Elizabeth, and Mila set the bar high with BBQ chicken sandwiches and veggies with some hot cocoa.
We rose early the next morning to meet our rafting guides and after a safety briefing, we were off! We spent the day rafting through 21 miles of columnar basalts, sandstones, and other evidences of previous ancient volcanic eruptions. Though the weather was a little rainy, Sarah helped warm the group up with a dance she made up. That night we played Mafia with our raft guides and feasted on burritos courtesy of culinary master Caulder. Banks and Charles also showed us what good EB (expedition behavior) is all about by being the first to lend a hand with cleaning the infamous bean pot. Smiles on their faces, they kept spirits up with Dobie Gray’s “Drift Away” that the entire group continued to sing through the next day. The sun was bright the next morning, and we crushed another 12 miles on our rafts learning about Moose, playing duck duck goose and the riding rapids. The weather was in full desert swing and we ended our rafting trip with a refreshing drip in the water.
We are thrilled to be on the way to Smith Rock for our next adventure climbing in Bend! We’re having a blast and can’t wait to see what Smith Rock brings!
Over and out,
Mary Frances and Wright
Father’s Day shout-outs:
Folger: Hey mom and dad! It’s me Folger here, having a great time. Just rafted the Deschutes. Hey Spencer, hope you’re having a great time. Happy Father’s Day, dad. From Folger.
Sarah; hey mom, hey dad! I hope you’re having fun. I hope Brie is well. Happy Father’s Day, I’m having a blast!
Caulder: hey mom and dad, miss you. Hope Ri hasn’t annoyed you too much. Happy Father’s Day, dad. I love you!
Mila: I miss you guys! I hope plop is doing well. Happy Father’s Day, I love you dad!
Elizabeth: hey dad, miss you, happy fathers fay. I hope Rusty is doing well. I love you! Mom- hey mom, love you and miss you- how’s fin doing? Tell nick I say hey!
Alex- hey mom I can’t wait to hang out in NY with you and I love and miss you!
Allison- hey I miss you guys! I’m having a great time. Say hi to Emily, Sarah, and the dogs for me. Sending love for Father’s Day.
Aiden- Hey! bummed I didn’t catch you all on the phone. Hope y’all are doing okay. Looking forward to seeing you guys in NY. Oh yeah, happy Father’s Day dad!
Banks- Hey I miss you guys. I’m having a great time! Happy Father’s Day dad- love you. Rafting rocks!
Charles- Hey guys, miss you love you all! Happy Father’s Day. I’m working on hydrating and am having a blast!
June 14, 2017
We have been notified by the leaders that all have arrived in Seattle safe and sound and the trip has officially kicked off! Be on the lookout for updates to come along the way as they explore the Pacific Northwest!
-Moondance Administrative Team