June 26, 2021
Hello Big Wild Families!
The whole group arrived safely in Jackson, and are off on their adventure! We have heard from our leaders that the trip is off to a great start, and we cannot wait to hear more stories from their adventure.
Please remember our leaders and students will be unplugged during their trips but we will be posting up to three trip updates throughout the next couple of weeks! This will allow you to follow along with the trip and the students will also give a special shout out mid-way through! You can also follow us on Instagram, @moondanceadventures, to see more of what we are up to this summer!
– Moondance HQ
July 12, 2018
We have survived the rowdy rapids of the Salmon River and are on our way to the final few hours of the trip. Words cannot describe the beauty we experienced as we floated through the canyons of Western Idaho. Before we started our adventures on the river, we had a long travel day which also happened to be Marlowe’s birthday! In order to celebrate she created an expert playlist for the van ride that we all jammed out to for a few hours. After many miles on the road, we made it to our campsite in McCall, Idaho next to a serene lake where Loren and Sarah Welles quickly made their way to the dock for a dip in the refreshing waves. After a yummy meal of spaghetti and sauce, we gave another toast to Marlowe and devoured a delicious cake made out of cupcakes. After our tummies were full, the leftover frosting was used in an epic battle against each other and congealed white goo was thrown across each other’s faces, facilitated by Bowen. Charlie almost escaped the attack by hiding in the front of the van, but Coco caught him in the act and smeared his face with the icing. We all showered off our new war paint and slept well, anticipating our full day of water navigation the next day.
The next morning we drove a few hours to our put in at Hammer Creek where we met our river guides from Salmon Raft. They prepped us in the ways of the water, we divided into two groups, and we started our surf through the wave trains. We thoroughly relished every rapid as our guides made an effort to get us as wet as possible by maneuvering the boats sideways and backwards down the river. After an hour or two, we stopped on a beautiful white beach and set up a delicious sandwich bar with a side of chips and Oreos. We took some sweet time absorbing the sun’s rays (with extra sunscreen) and hopped back on the boats. Right after lunch we shimmied across to the other side of the water for some cliff jumping! Everyone in the group worked up the courage to climb up the ragged rocks and throw themselves off a log into the river twenty feet below. After a few more hours of floating and fighting currents, we made it to our beach for the night. The guide crew had us set up a fire line to get the materials further up the beach and throughout our entire time on the river, Jack and Warren were always the number one volunteers when anyone needed help. For dinner we ate another round of spaghetti and meatballs with an awesome dessert of peach cobbler.
Over the next few days we made major mileage down the Salmon, all while playing games on the boat with each other and the guides. A favorite of many was “Wheel of Misfortune” where one person would stand on the front of the raft while everyone else paddled in a circle in attempt to get them to fall into the water. We found another cliff jump and got some great pictures of everyone dropping into the river (Cate and Liza took some gnarly GoPro footage) and enjoyed the beautiful scenery of both Blue and Hell’s Canyon. We had the opportunity to see some native wildlife: ospreys, big horn sheep, and deer. At one point we even saw two deer swimming across a wide stretch of the river to reach the other side. On the third day, we stopped at a beach next to a nature conservatory and we were able to pick fresh blackberries, apricots, and plums. One night Evy and Bond helped the guides on cook crew and made some unforgettable cheeseburgers for the rest of the group. Every night we slept outside on the sandy beaches and counted endless shooting stars soaring across the night sky.
Our last day on the river was an early one and we tagged up all of our boats (named the Party Boat) and used a propeller to shoot us down the river at higher speeds. We reached our final destination of Hellar Bar, unpacked our dry bags, and said farewell to our beloved guides. We began our long journey back to Jackson but not without stopping for giant scoops of ice cream in McCall on the way! We are currently savoring our last bit of trip we have left before sending your kiddos back your way!
Here’s some quick shootouts:
Cate: Hi Mom and Dad! I’m having a blast! See you soon. Bye. ❤️
Coco: Hi Mom and Dad and Hayden, I really miss you and love you guys and I can’t wait to see you soon. I’m having so much fun, see you tomorrow!
Marlowe: Hey fam damily! I miss everyone so much and I have so much to tell you all. Love you all and I’ll see Jamba tomorrow.
Bowen: Hey y’all! Camp is going great. I can’t wait to go home though. I miss you all and the dogs and even Sophie. I got so many videos and pictures I will show you them all when I get home.
Evy: Hey mom, dad, grant, and DASHY can’t wait to see you all tomorrow. I have so much to share. The trip has been so much fun.
Charlie: Hey fam. Camp was so much fun. I’m sad I missed aunt Ne and grandpa G but I’m excited to see you tomorrow.
Liza: Hello fam! I’m sandy. Bye!
Bond: Hi Mom and Dad. This trip was awesome and I miss you guys so much. Tell Lilly happy late birthday. I can’t wait to get back home and see you guys. Love you
Warren: Hey Everyone. I had a great time on the trip. All of my stuff is super sandy. I can’t wait to see you all tomorrow.
Jack: Hi family. I’m having loads of fun on the trip and miss you so much! See ya tomorrow!
Sarah Welles: Hi Mom and Dad. Miss y’all but I’m having a great time. All of the people here are so nice. See y’all tomorrow. Miss you Betsy, can’t wait to here all a lot your trips and tell Rocky I miss him!
Loren: Hey family. I had a great time here and I’m sad it’s almost over. I am excited to see y’all and sleep in anything but a tent. Love y’all and see y’all soon!
Keep a lookout for a final trip update after we send the Moon-children on their way back home.
Hang loose (or tight),
Liv & Riv
July 7, 2018
Liv & Riv reporting here: we’re having a blast! While we’ve been enjoying our sweet sweet time in Wyoming, it’s time for us to get a move on and hustle over the border to our western neighbor, Idaho! Between now and the last time we’ve talked a lot has happened so here’s a quick recap of our journey:
After finishing our exhausting yet incredibly rewarding trek through the famous Wind River Range, we jaunted over to Pinedale (population sub 2000) who’s city slogan is “as much civilization as you need”. We stopped at a local delicacy, the Burger Barn, where Loren impressively finished a giant chocolate milkshake, despite everyone’s doubts. Charlie and Warren also finished ginormous meals, probably ravished from the hike previous in the day. After finishing our food and licking fingers to ensure we could enjoy every last bit, we loaded up in the van and headed back to our home base of Jackson. When we arrived in the city, we had a few hours to clean up and play in the Jackson Recreation Center where Sarah Welles and Marlowe took advantage of every minute by slipping down the wicked water slide as many times as possible. All of the guys enjoyed a few games of basketball with Bond dominating the court. After some much needed rejuvenation, we headed to a new campsite next to Slide Lake! We set up our tents and prepared some delicious southwestern mac and cheese all before heading back to town to enjoy fireworks for the Fourth of July! After an explosion of a show we traveled back to our campsite and slept peacefully under the stars.
The next two days consisted of amazing climbing experiences facilitated by the world famous Exum Climbing in the Grand Teton National Park. Both mornings we grabbed our gear from their shop and took a ten minute boat ride across Jenny Lake where we hiked up half a mile to Hidden Falls. In the mornings we learned some basic climbing lingo and techniques while bouldering the local rock scene. Evy showed off her fabulous footwork by exemplifying the perfect way to edge in a crack system. After filling our minds with new knowledge of the climbing realm, we roped into varying climbs and scuttled up the side of a cliff! Coco showed extraordinary poise throughout the process all while facing her fear of heights. On the second day of climbing, Bowen and Jack were able to summit the cliff from what the guides called the hardest route up the mountain. Now they’re practically climbing professionals!
After our second day of climbing we rode home (the campground) in the van with anticipation for our delectable dinner, bacon cheeseburgers! Cate played an integral role on cook crew for the meal, slicing cheese like a longtime chef. While dinner prep was underway, Liza led the rest of the group in a game of ultimate frisbee until the aroma of cooking bacon took over and the whole crew gathered around the picnic table ready for the meal of a lifetime. After dinner, we gathered our bags up for an early rise in the morning and rested our eyes for a few hours before departing on our journey across Idaho to raft the Salmon River!
Well be in touch soon with news from our ride down the rapids!
Liv & Riv
July 5, 2018
Howdy from the Wild West,
Our Moon-children have been settling in well to the ways of the Wyoming people as we just completed our 14-mile journey through the Wind River Range with our amazing guide Jace. Great friendships have formed over the few short days we’ve shared together and will continue to grow throughout the rest of our journey. After our initial meet-and-greet at the Jackson Hole airport, located within the Grand Teton National Park, our crew headed to our campground where we played some silly group games and got to know each other a little better. Bowen shared a special moment with Jack as they leaped into each other’s arms to win a game of Birdie on a Perch. With big smiles and hungry bellies, we grabbed a few pizzas and headed down the highway to find a scenic view of the glorious Teton Mountain Range while satiating our hunger with cheese and red sauce. Before heading to the Jackson Rodeo, a mini photoshoot took place with Loren directing the crew to the exact right angles for the perfect shot. After many poses, we jumped in the van and moseyed over to town. The rodeo began with a rodeo clown tossing a football to the crowd and Cate proudly made the catch and shared her hometown with the entire stadium. We were all impressed with the amount of cowboys able to ride bulls for extended periods of time and all our cheering tired us out. We made our way back to the campground and sleepily crawled to our tents shared with our new friends.
The next morning Charlie whipped us up some killer bacon with his new camp stove skills. We enjoyed bacon and cheese breakfast sandwiches before packing our backpacks in anticipation for our four-day excursion to the Winds. Our venture began with a quick stop at a park in Pinedale where we made PB&Js and made great use of the local swing set. Evy set the record for height on the swings with her feet practically touching the sky. After a quick drive, we arrived in the land of the mountain men, Wyoming’s Wind River Range. We greeted our friend Jace and slipped on our hiking boots and began our excursion deep into the wilderness. Warren practically led the group with his eager heart and quick feet. Right as we were getting into the groove of ambulating over the rivers and rocks, we reached our destination for the night. We were lucky enough to set up tents next to a bubbling brook and big open fields filled with rocks perfect for lounging in the sun. While the cook crew cranked out some stellar pasta with divine sauce, the rest of the group learned how to purify water from our nearby water source. We all shared a big meal together before heading off to our tents for our first glorious night of sleep under the stars in the backcountry.
We woke up with dew on the ground and excitement in our eyes for our big day of backpacking, but more importantly, backcountry pancakes!!! Liza helped prepare the breakfast of champions with her incredible flipping techniques. Shortly after cleaning and repacking bags, we hopped back on the trail for another full day of moving feet and watching views. We covered close to six miles all well singing classic Fergie songs and solving riddles. Marlowe and Olivia had an awesome side expedition and had the opportunity to climb the final hill not once, but twice! When we finally reached Blue Lake, our home for the night, tents were set up while fajitas were cooking in our backcountry kitchen. We enjoyed our Mexican inspired dinner and then got some well-deserved slumber, dreaming about our days to come.
The sun gently woke us and we stepped out of our tents to stretch our muscles, sore from the previous days mileage. We enjoyed some yummy oatmeal before heading down the hill we had conquered just the day before. We reached Big Sandy Lake and the courageous Coco completed the polar plunge in the chilly snow run off. We ate some sandwiches next to the awe-inspiring view of the mystical mountains before heading on our merry way to our campsite for the night. Five miles later, we reached another lake that would host us for the evening and almost instantly, Bond was out on the water catching some massive fish. We had a few hours of downtime where Rivers taught many of us how to cast a professional line (Sarah Welles quickly became an expert and had the biggest catch of the day) and we made a scrumptious dinner of stir-fry with the infamous summer sausage. We savored our last few hours in the wilderness by watching the starry night before sneaking to bed in our welcoming tents.
This morning we gathered up camp for the last time in the Winds and began our two-mile hike back to our van. Once we reached the vehicle we said our goodbyes to the legend that goes by Jace and headed out for our next adventure. We’ll be sure to keep you updated as our journey progresses.
Liv & Riv
July 2, 2018
We heard from Rivers and Olivia, and the trip is off to a “wild” start! Stay tuned for more updates from the leaders over the next few days.