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Big Wild 1B • June 13-June 26, 2018

Big Wild more than lived up to it's name!

June 26, 2018

Hello from Jackson Hole!

Big Wild wrapped up our adventure this morning at the airport surrounded by the Tetons! Our last couple days were everything we hoped they would be! We trekked out of the Wind River Range led by Finn and Sierra with blue skies and headed to town for a well deserved shower and a last night together in civilization! Our van ride to Jackson we sang louder than we had before (which was quite the feat). Sam and Thomas crushed song lyrics without missing a beat, per usual.

We returned to our first campsite, lovingly referred to as “home.” Robert, Jack R, Jack B, Faith, Ava, Finn, Sierra, and Lucy set up their final Eno hammock Society and Harrison, Sam, Thomas, and Charlie set up their tents for the last time. They became pros at camp set up and had their tents and hammocks up before Ben and I by far. We headed into downtown Jackson Hole for Banquet night! Our first stop was the thrift store where Harrison found some local treasures and many hats and accessories were tried on. Then everyone explored the bustling metropolis that is Jackson Hole.

The group blended in like locals after two weeks exploring Idaho and Wyoming. We headed to dinner at a local wood fired pizza restaurant where we sat at a real table with real plates and silverware. Faith and Ava were very excited by the feel of the metal in their hands and the napkins on their laps. Charlie and Jack B ate an impressive amount of pizza and we left full and happy. But we weren’t too full for ice cream! Robert got his hands on the local Huckleberry flavor (and bought some Huckleberry syrup in the airport for future reminders of Jackson).After we were totally full and walked every inch of the Jackson square, we headed back to camp to prepare for Airport Day and have our final Moonup. This was by far the longest Moonup we had. Everyone had endless stories and laughs to share. Jack R and Lucy made the group sentimental as we remembered our Bison Bruce, our endless jam sessions in the van, and the endless laughs on the rafts.

Ben and I are lucky to have started off the summer with such an incredible group! They made us laugh everyday and I wouldn’t have had it any other way! Big Wild definitely lived up to its name first session!

With love,

Kit Sommi

Backpacking in the Big Wild!

June 25, 2018

Hello from the Wild Wyoming Backcountry!Today we finished up the backpacking section of our incredible Big Wild adventure! We entered the wilderness of the Wind River Range in Wyoming and came out with a couple bug bites and whole lotta stories to tell. We set up base camp about two miles into our trek and explored the surrounding mountains, streams, and lakes for three days!

Before we headed into the wilderness with just the packs on our backs and our new friends, we camped out near some beautiful lakes where Jack R, Robert, and Charlie all caught Rainbow trout fly fishing! They gave our group some good luck for fishing when Jack B hooked a Brook Trout and Ben caught five fish at the alpine lake on our first full day. Finn and Harrison were our Leaders of the Day for the first full day in the backcountry and carried the group’s lunch food to our lake destination for the day! True champs on the trail.

There were some uncharacteristic activities for the (typical and non-Wyoming) end of June. Ava and I built a snowman at the edge of the alpine lake (promptly smushing it with her hiking boot minutes after completion). On the last full day, on our hike down from our incredible 360 lookout, an intense snowball fight ensued using the remaining slush on the mountain. Ben and I took a beating, and Faith and Thomas threw a few direct hits.

At the end of our third day of backpacking, Robert, Jack R, Ava, Jack B, Charlie, Faith, Finn, Lucy and I jumped into the snow melt river near camp. The water was shockingly cold, but everyone went for it! Jack R was the first in and Lucy was almost un-phased by the frigid temperature. Harrison and Sam kept our camp safe from marmots, (with help from Jack B and Thomas) chasing them around the open field of base camp. Sierra was one of our Leaders of the Day on the third day, along with Sam, and made the group chocolate chips pancakes (a fan favorite, surprisingly).

As we looked out over the Winds at the rocky peak of our hike, taking in the lush meadows and towering peaks, we enjoyed our sandwiches and got a bit sad about another leg of the journey coming to an end.

We said goodbye to the wilderness and hello to Jackson Hole and our final days with this amazing group!

Greetings from the Salmon River!

June 20, 2018

Ahoy land dwellers from Idaho!Big Wild reporting live and well from the banks of the river after our four-day rafting adventure! We traversed the rapids of the Salmon River, sleeping in the sand underneath the stars, and enjoying hot meals as the sun sank beneath the crest of the canyons surrounding us!

Our first day on the river started fast and furious as we donned our life jackets and settled into our second homes for past four days: our rafts. Lucy immediately hopped on the front of my raft while Jack B followed suit on Ben’s. They led us off the launch dock and into the Salmon! Charlie headed up the paddling commands from our guide and set the pace for most of the trip, not afraid to get a little wet along the way.

At our first riverside beach camp Sam and Faith, our Leaders of the Day, helped the kitchen crew whip up spaghetti, meatballs, and garlic bread, finishing off with some peach cobbler. Sam also led the charge against the beach bugs, running in circles in his attempt to eradicate our beach and keep us bug free (thoughtful and entertaining). After an evening filled with bocce ball, beach games, and full stomachs, we cozied up in our tents to get ready for a full day on the river. The group set up their tents in a “community” with their doors facing each other in a circle for optimal inter-tent communication.

The next morning everyone woke up to the smell of pancakes and bacon mingled with the smell of a fresh day on the river! With hot coco sitting happily in everyone’s stomachs, we loaded up the rafts and hit the rapids. Jack R settled into the front of the boat and crushed two of the biggest rapids of the day (impressing our guide with his ability to hold on as water hit from both sides). Our second day was filled with rapids, riddles, and paddling! We finished off the day with fajitas and a great night sleep beside the rushing river.

We all had a good feeling about our third day of rafting and we were right. Robert rejoiced as he saw the sun light up the mountainside and promptly got out his sunscreen. We lathered up from head to toe (braided all braidable hair) and packed up for another big day! Harrison was the first to jump into the water, soon followed by Sierra (we fell in together) and Charlie, despite the cool temperature. The sun dried and warmed us as quickly as we wanted.

We relaxed under 6,000 foot canyons at our beachy camp that night! Ava and Faith had the amazing post dinner and s’mores idea to climb the mountain behind our camp. Everyone followed suit. We trekked up the incline and watched the sun leave us on our final night on the river.

Our last morning rafting we got on the river early and stopped to see Native American pictographs on the riverside cliffs! On our second to last rapid of the trip, Demons Drop, Finn and Thomas were tipped from the raft, saving their fellow boat mates from falling in too. They were helped back into the raft by their friends, cheering and in awe! Rafting was a success and we are regaining our land legs as we head onto the final adventure of the trip: backpacking! We are so excited to get our boots and packs on and hit the Wind River Range!

Kit + Ben

Wyoming Rocks!

June 16, 2018

Greetings from Jackson!

Our Big Wild 2018 trip may only be on Day 3, but we are grooving like we have been together for a while! We began our trip in Downtown Jackson Hole, fully immersing ourselves in the community with the Jackson Hole Rodeo! The students loved the bulls and sheep and marveled at the “real life cowboys.”

Sierra and Charlie were our Leaders of the Day for our first day of climbing! They kicked the morning off by getting everyone pumped up to try something new and exciting (even though Charlie was instantly comfortable and impressive bouldering and belaying, and Sierra led her group through belaying exercises without hesitation). Once at the first of our climbing sites for the day, Sam and Thomas revealed their seemingly innate aptitude for knot tying.  Both Sam and Thomas knew which knots were coming next as we learned to tie into our harnesses and carabiners.

During the afternoon of our first day we took on some multi pitch climbs and we belayed each other. Everyone trusted one another to support them if they were to and Robert was so encouraging with anyone who was climbing. He was whooping and clapping for everyone as they reached the top. Finn never gave up the entire day. She completed all three climbs and got a little tan while doing it!

After our full day on the mountain, we came back to camp and our amazing cook crew took charge. Sierra, Charlie, Robert, and Finn created our first campsite dinner of chili, watermelon, and macaroni and did it with style. After dinner, we headed up to a lookout to watch the sun set over the Tetons and it did not disappoint. Jack R opened up our Moonup as the last rays of Wyoming sun fell behind the peaks. He encouraged the group to open up as well and led by example, as he did throughout the day. When the sun finally set, we headed back to camp to rest up for another big day of climbing!

We started off the day with some nice, hot oatmeal and egg sandwiches before getting our hands back on the rocks! We were joined at breakfast by a true native, a Buffalo we named Bruce. He watched as we built our breakfasts and we stared as he ate his, an honorary fifteenth member of our crew. Lucy and Jack B were our Leaders of the Day and stepped into the role increasingly as the day went on. Everyone went into the day excited and ready to challenge themselves even more than the first day learning the ropes (and the rocks)! The morning was full of bouldering, higher climbs, and good vibes. We hiked up to our climbing spot for the day and everyone eagerly jumped into their harnesses and helmets. Ava would barely stop climbing to eat lunch. She was all over the routes and climbed every single one like it was nothing (belaying people in between, of course)!

Just before lunch, Harrison started one of the hardest climbs of the day and worked hard to get started and figure the route out. He kept climbing and, along with every other climb he started, he finished and crushed it! Faith had the same attitude of determination in her harness. She finished up the rappelling for the day and smiled and laughed the whole way down (keeping the faith alive for our hike out).

We are having a fiesta dinner tonight before we depart for the next leg of Big Wild: rafting! The sun is setting on another beautiful day in Wyoming!

Kit and Ben


  • Jack
  • Lucy
  • Ava
  • Charlie
  • Faith
  • Robert
  • Jack
  • Harrison
  • Sam
  • Finn
  • Sierra
  • Thomas