July 13, 2018
Greetings from Jackson!
Big Wild finished up our adventures today with some teary goodbyes in the Jackson Airport. We ended our trip with a bang – back in civilization, exploring everything Jackson has to offer!
We finished up backpacking and headed to Pinedale for well deserved showers! Madeleine, Kate, and Franki showed off their volleyball skills while Eb, Phil, and Andrew played some basketball with Ben. Our group could easily field a soccer, volleyball, or basketball team any day.
Once we were sparkly and clean we headed back to Jackson to set up camp one last time! We drove into the bustling center of Jackson and headed for the thrift store to find some local treasures. Lilly, Madeleine, Lucy, Kate, Walker, Franki, and I found some bracelets and cowboy hats to help us blend in out in the Wild West. Phil put together a biker ensemble that was unmatched, complete with a leather jacket and reflective sunglasses. Michael pulled the trigger on a ski mask that brought out the true skier in him.
We completed our night in Jackson with our Banquet dinner that rocked everyone’s world! On the van ride back to camp we jammed to music one last time (Andrew’s singing will definitely be missed along with Zach and Michael in the front row crew).
Our final Moonup was full of laughs and stories, soaking up our last moments together. Ben and I had the best time this session and we will miss The Senders so much. Big Wild was everything we hoped it would be and more with such an amazing crew!
Much love and (as always) fully sent one last time,
Ben, Kit, and The Senders
July 12, 2018
Big Wild has returned from the wilderness that is the Wind River Range of Wyoming! We conquered the trails, lakes, and peaks of the Winds with an unmatched positive attitude and incredible confidence.
We began our trek with a full day and full packs on the trail! Michael and Lilly were our Leaders of the Day to kick off the last section of our trip and led the group well. Madeleine was positive reinforcement for the entirety of backpacking. She encouraged the entire group, her strong positivity never faltering. After over six miles on the trail, we arrived at our home for the next few days, a beautiful mountainside lake. The group set up camp (like professionals at this point) and explored! We enjoyed some hot pasta for dinner and got the good nights sleep everyone earned!
Our second day in the Winds was jam packed! With Franki and Andrew as our leaders, watches and water purification tablets in hand, we hiked through meadows and up to a snow covered saddle. Walker helped Franki out and carried the group backpack like the true friend she is. Once we reach the top we discovered a true Wyoming treasure: snow in July! Packs came off and we slipped and slid on the snow packed inclines. Kate, Lucy, and Lilly showed off their snow legs with some impressive runs, shortly followed by Zach, the north’s representative in our group. He had some of the most impressive no-sled-sledding runs of the day! Meanwhile, Eb and Phillip watched their friends from a nearby rock face, joining in the action after a few minutes.
We dined on personal pizzas as we took in the incredible view, simultaneously bathing in the sun while sitting in the snow. (Kate and Madeleine were especially excited by the sight of frozen water.) Once back at camp, the fishing mania ensued, and didn’t end until five minutes before we hiked out. Phillip landed more Brook Trout than he could count throughout our time in the Winds. Andrew, Eb, Lucy, Lilly, and Zach were no strangers to a taught line either. I would be proud to fish with any of them, any time.
On our final morning, Walker and Zach made chocolate chip pancakes to order (Walker even made a smiley face and Mickey Mouse complete with ears). We ate to our hearts content, packed up, and fished and swam in our lake one last time before hitting the trail out. We said our goodbyes to the deep wilderness, excited for the climb down, but we left knowing we still have so much to look forward to!
Jackson Hole here we come!
Ben, Kit, and The Senders
July 7, 2018
Big Wild reporting live from solid ground! After four days in the rafts we crossed state lines, merged rivers, and saw more shooting stars than we could count (and Walker may have witnessed a Supernova)! Our group absolutely thrived on the Salmon River and lucked out with impeccable weather.
Our first day on the river, everyone was excited and ready to get wet. Kate and Phillip were lead paddlers and kept the rafts movin! Michael was the first to get in the water with Ben, earning style points for his jump and during Bocce ball performances. Zach was always ready paddle at any given moment during the four days, paddle in hand with strong form. We paddled through some impressive rapids and Lucy rode on the front of the raft like a Cowboy Princess (soon followed by Walker, Eb, and Franki).
Ben and Phillip led fishing charge at our riverside beach camps! Phillip caught SIX small mouth Bass while teaching Eb, Andrew, Madeleine, and Walker his fly fishing skills. Andrew hauled a small mouth bass in as well!
We jumped off of some riverside cliffs and everyone’s form was very impressive. Lilly jumped without hesitation but with her GoPro gripped tightly in hand of course. We swam through many rapids on our third day raft bound. Eb, Phillip, and I led the group in synchronized swimming routines as we floated through rapids and let the eddies spin us around. Franki, Kate, and I made a human raft with our six sets of limbs which was surprisingly comfortable and functional.
Big Wild crushed the river section of our adventure filled with great food, countless rounds of Bocce, and an endless number of jumps (and pushes) into the mighty Salmon River! Now we are back in the van headed for backpacking, ready for a new challenge and some hang time in the van of course.
Shout outs to all pets at home, they are very missed!
Miss you Mom and Dad! I’m so sorry I told them all about Tank and Bear. – Lucy
Hi Fam Jam! ILY AND IMY! The trip is lit and I love my Leaders! – Kate
Hi Gabi! -Franki
Hi Mom and Dad and Charlie! Love and miss you! -Lilly
Hi Mom and Dad! Love youuu -Walker
Miss and love you Mom and Dad! – Madeleine
Hey Mom, Dad, and Lex! I’m loving the trip! Miss you guys. -Zach
Miss you guys! -Andrew
Hey Fam! Miss y’all, having fun! – Phillip
Having so much fun, love you guys! – Eb
Hello family I miss you! -Michael
Kit, Ben, and The Senders
July 3, 2018
Have you ever been stuck between a rock and a hard place?
Well, Big Wild has been for the first two days of our trip, but in the best way possible! We kicked off our adventures with two incredible days of climbing in Teton Village and deep in the Teton National Park! Once the whole crew arrived on Saturday we set up camp, grabbed some pizza, and headed to a favorite local lookout to eat our first meal together. We sat and took in the beautiful view of the amazing sun-covered mountains we would soon climb all over. After we finished up dinner and we soaked up the view as much as possible, we headed into Jackson Hole for the Rodeo! Madeleine was especially excited about the night’s entertainment and requested country music hits for the whole drive (she chose great ones). The rodeo was packed with a great crowd and Lilly and Lucy headed into the ring to chase sheep in hopes of snagging a bandana tied around their necks. Unfortunately they didn’t get their hands on the bandanas, but they represented our group amazingly well!Our second day was filled with excitement as we learned climbing knots, stepped into harnesses, and belayed each other all day! Zach was a shining star on the climbs. He was quick and smart with every step. Eb and Michael were impressive belayers, helping others in the group up the multi-pitch climbs! Franki and Phillip were our first Leaders of the Day and did an amazing job, finishing off the first day with delicious tacos. Phillip expertly cooked the meat while Franki blew the group away with her guacamole.
After a good (and well earned) night’s sleep we began our third days with hot bowls of oatmeal and prepared for a big day of climbing and rappelling! The whole group was very impressive today, conquering multi-pitch climbs, harder belays, and a big rappel to finish off the day! Kate crushed her climb, reaching the top with a smile and getting everyone excited to rappel. Andrew brought up the rear of my climbing group, demonstrating composure and skill as he unclipped the group gear along the route while still climbing! While we were waiting for our boat across the lake back to our van, Walker was met (for the first time in her life) by a chipmunk at her feet. She left climbing having conquered the mountain, both up and down, and with a new friend!Tomorrow morning we head for Idaho and days of rafting! We are leaving Jackson having conquered climbing and ready to wrangle some rapids!
With a whole lotta love,
Kit n’ Ben
July 2, 2018
We heard from Kit and Ben, and the trip is off to a “wild” start! Stay tuned for more updates from the leaders over the next few days.