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Big Wild 3A • July 17-July 30, 2018

Down the River We GO!

July 25, 2021

Hello fans!

After a long day of travel, that consisted of karaoke and bracelet making, we finally arrived in Idaho to start our rafting adventure. The group was coming off two very physical and tiring activities, backpacking and climbing, and were thrilled to be floating down the beautiful Salmon River and enjoying each others company. We hit the water and immediately the games began. In a matter of seconds half the group was in the water or on their way in curtesy of James and Marley. After our boat wars ceased, we continued down the river and were all in awe of the towering, beautiful canyons that stood on either side of the river.

We had incredible guides for this trip and they are all extremely knowledgeable of the area. They shared facts about the canyons, wildlife, and told the stories of the Native Americans that once populated the land. The landscape itself is unique and caught many of our students off guard with how beautiful it was. Ginger even shared that she thought the views rafting were her favorite and the most beautiful of the whole trip. We pulled over on a white sandy beach for our first lunch. During this section we really emphasize the responsibilities of our leaders of the day and try to push the students to take initiative within the group. Our LODs, Eliza and Daniel, set the bar high and did a great job getting the supplies off the boat and setting up a delicious sandwich bar.

We finished our afternoon on the water with a surprise from our guides; they flipped one of the rafts over on the shoreline and transformed it into a waterslide. Everyone took a big running start and dove across the raft on their stomachs into the water. It was definitely a highlight of the day watching Alex slide across the raft on his knees playing the air guitar. Just when we thought the rafting life couldn’t get any better we ended the night with hamburgers, brownies and sleeping under the stars. It was really sweet to see as the students set up their sleeping mats in a circle, with their heads in the middle, so they could all see each other and talk. This group always makes the extra effort to do everything all together.

We woke up with the sunrise the following morning and enjoyed a leisurely morning with hot chocolate and tea. Catherine was one of our chefs that morning and made the most delicious cinnamon pancakes while Henry scrambled eggs – a perfect start to the day! Day two of rafting brought the much anticipated big class three and four rapids. The favorite rapid of the day was named China and the huge wave absolutely soaked the entire boat leaving everyone laughing. The boys were determined to push Sam off the raft after learning that no student has been able to all summer. After an afternoon of many sneak attacks and failed ambushes, the six of them were finally able to get him in! That afternoon, we learned the rafting version of tug of war and had a big, very competitive, tournament. After many rounds it became apparent that our groups tug of war MVPs we’re definitely Marley and Owen. Day three began with Ginger and Grace completing their tea taste testing and establishing the green tea as the clear winner.

After another relaxing morning and filling up on French toast and fruit we got back on the water. Shortly after hitting the river we took a pit stop at a jumping cliff. Hunter conquered her fears and took the leap – she came out of the water with a huge smile eager to jump again. We spent the afternoon playing games and listening to music – Janie kept her boat entertained and smiling with all her crazy dance moves and singing. It was agreed that our highlight of the day was a little excursion up the canyon we completed before lunch. The short hike up brought us to an incredible overlook of the Salmon River and Blue Canyon. After our packed day of activities, we were all very content enjoying our last night on the river with fajitas and s’mores in our crazy creeks beside the water. We were all sad when saying goodbye to our incredible guides and the Salmon River, but all agreed it was the perfect section to end our trip on.

See y’all soon!!

– BGWA3 Lily Grace & Sam

Rafting Rocks!

July 29, 2018

What’s new?

We have finished up our rafting section on the Lower Salmon River. As the currents of the river carried us on, much took place. For details, read on.

We started our section at Hammer Creek put in, meeting our guides and learning about the basics of rafting. Fitting life jackets and trying to figure out how to hold a paddle, we got straight on the river after an ample application of sunscreen. Out of the frying pan and into the flame, we found ourselves in the midst of a class three rapid only a mile into the float. We are proud to report that we escaped unscathed but slightly damp from the waves. For lunch, we enjoyed a lovely deli sandwich bar prepared by our skilled guides and leaders of the day. Dinner was charcoal grilled burgers with expertly prepared toppings and a Dutch oven brownie dish that topped off the day in the sun excellently. Playing bocci ball in the white sandy beach, we admired the sunset that ended the tirade of our neighboring star for the time. Sleeping on the sand was a treat, unbound by tents with an excellent view of some of the best starts in the country.

Day two started with a pancake breakfast and hot chocolate before we resumed progress on the river. Crossing into the Pacific Coast Time zone in the appropriately named Time Zone Rapid, we tried our best to pull our friends into the river while staying as sun screened as possible. Luckily we had refreshment eternally below us and did our fair share of swimming. After a taco salad lunch, we swam through a few rapids with the careful instruction of our guides. Those waves definitely looked smaller from the vantage point of the raft! Dinner was spaghetti with meatballs, peach cobbler for dessert. Sand football capped off the day. We slept under the stars once again, staring into the heavens with good company and full stomachs.

Our third day of rafting began with a French toast breakfast and led right into some of the larger rapids of our trip. Experienced at paddling, we conquered the waves with ease and style. Chicken curry salad was for lunch, we ate it while watching some large bull trout feed in our lunch eddy. After a quick swim, we floated to camp on a long flat section, again competing to pull each other off of the rafts to determine the true king of the raft. Dinner was chicken fajitas, excellently prepared and expertly devoured. With s’mores for dessert, we spent our last night of rafting marveling at a bright and full moon that made it bright enough to see like it was day out.

To cap off this update, we asked our students to provide us with some shoutouts:



Rebie: Hey Mom and Dad, I am having so much fun! I miss you. Love you. See you.


Will S: Hey Mom and Dad, Moondance is great and I’m having fun. Love you and miss you.


Carson L: Hey Mom and Dad, having a great time, see you tomorrow!


Annie: Hey Mom and Dad, I’m having a lot of fun!! Love and miss you, see you tomorrow.


Caroline P: Hey Mom and Dad!! Thank y’all for sending me on this trip it’s so fun! Love y’all and see you soon <3


Brooks H: Salutations family, I am thoroughly enjoying my time on Moondance. Adios muchachos. Love you!


Molly: Hey Mom and Dad, I’m having so much fun, hope things are good in the CLT, love u!


Caroline C: Hey Mom and Dad, I’m having a great time. Love you and miss you lots, see you tomorrow!


John M: Hey Mom and Dad, I’m having a great time on Moondance! Miss y’all and will see you tomorrow!


John H: Hey Mom and Dad. I’ve had an amazing time on Moondance. It’s been a lot of fun. See you soon. Love you.


Scott: Hey everyone! Moondance has been so much fun and I’ve had a great time! – Your favorite son


Will H: Hey Mom, Dad, and Teddy, Moondance has been really fun so far, and I miss you guys.


Hope all is well on all ends,

Riv and Liv

Rocks Rock!

July 25, 2018

Liv & Riv on the track –

We just finished up our climbing section of the trip and it was truly AWESOME! Our first day of climbing started off with an awesome view of a grizzly bear from the car on our way to Teton Village. Luckily that was an end to the grizzly part of the day. Before lunch, we covered the basics of climbing with our Exum climbing guides, from basic bouldering footwork to the necessary knots to keep us safe. John M proved to be an excellent shmearer, ascending steep granite slabs with confidence. John H showed us all how to get low with his power squats downshmearing. After a lunch straight out of the hometown deli, we decided to tackle a challenging multi pitch climb. Rebie impressed us all with her natural belaying skills, something Rivers was thankful for as her climbing partner. Molly ascended the rock with gusto not seen since the 80s. Will H was an absolute squirrel, showing some real potential out there. Shoutout to Caroline P (cportz) for having the most style while climbing. Annie looked like she had been born on a cliff, nailing some of the most difficult moves before the guides could even begin to explain them. Caroline C may need to reconsider her swimming career and set her eyes on Everest based off of how quickly she took to the knots, teaching others better than ourselves. Will S entertained us all during lunch, boosting spirits for the ascent. After a long day in the sun, we took the Bridger Gondola down to the illustrious Teton Village, picturesque as a storybook. We finished off the day with a few card games at our campsite, which Carson claims to have won (dubiously).

The second day of climbing we had our sights set high with a goal to summit yet another mountain: Cody Peak. We woke up early and had some yummy bagels before riding over to Teton Village in the van. We hopped on the tram once again and were lifted into the sky while watching the town below us become smaller and smaller. We reached the top of Rendezvous Mountain and set our eyes on the trail that would lead us to Cody Peak. Scott and Brooks were so eager to reach the top they practically sprinted across the mountain. We hiked a while before reaching our first technical part of the trek. Our guides hooked us into the mountain with John H. volunteering to climb first. He scrambled up the rocks and made it to the top before we even realized he left. The rest of the crew followed suit and in no time we reached the halfway point to our destination. We finished off the climb with pride and enjoyed lunch at the top of the world. Our descent back down was much quicker, motivated by the thought of scrumptious waffles from the shack at the top of the tram. After a quick stop to satiate our sweet tooth, we headed back down the tram. We said farewell to our climbing guides and went on our way to the laundromat! Most of us threw a few loads in the machine and while we waited for the clothes to get clean, we played a few crazy rounds of Mafia. Our clothes came out nice and warm so we ran back to the van and drove out to Jackson Lake for a swim to cool us off and the view of a lifetime. We spent a few hours splashing around in the water before heading back to camp to make delicious burgers and get some rest before our long drive the following day.

We are making our way to Idaho to raft down the Salmon River and we’ll be sure to keep you updated after our ride down the rapids!


Liv & Riv

Off to a great start!

July 22, 2018

Hey there!

We just finished up an epic tour of the Wind River Range and are here to report back about our journey! It began in the Jackson Hole airport where our group first met and started forming friendships. From the first few moments we knew we had a special crew. After everyone arrived, we packed up our van with gear and hit the road. Our first stop was in Pinedale where we grabbed a few pizzas and hit up a local park to enjoy dinner with our newly made compadres. The food was devoured quickly and before we knew it we were back in the van again headed to our night’s destination. We arrived at a local ranch where we set up tents for the first time and had Moonup under the stars.

The next morning, our cook crew whipped up some delicious breakfast sandwiches with bacon and cheese before we packed our backpacks for the next few days in the Winds. We took a quick ride over to the Big Sandy Trailhead where we met our guide Jace who would lead us through the forest. With hiking boots on tight, we started a seven mile escapade to Blue Lake through the beautiful and scenic Bridger Wilderness. Will S. led the pack with our guide for the majority of the time, even during the final stretch of practically straight uphill trail. With sore legs, we finally reached the lake and set up our basecamp where we would be spending the next three nights. Chi-town (Brooks) prepared some killer fajitas with the help of the cook crew for dinner. After Moonup, we tiredly shuffled to our tents for a great night’s sleep.

We had the opportunity to sleep-in the next morning and opened our day with a short hike up a river to Lost Lake. We set up shop on some warm rocks and almost instantly, everyone ran into the water despite the frigid temperature. We all swam to a rock nearby but Caroline C, Will H, and Rebie joined the daredevil club and swam to an island across the lake with both leaders. Although the water was cold, the swim was rewarding and we were able to see large fish swimming below us. When we returned, the news of fish inspired John M to grab his fly rod and throw in a line and before any of us even blinked, he had hooked a brook trout and was reeling it in. While this was going on, Caroline P, Annie, and Carson jumped across rocks to reach an island on the east side of the lake and conversed for hours. We could hear them laughing all the way from our lunch spot! After a few hours of fun in the sun, we decided to travel back to our campsite and start a delicious dinner of vegetable stir fry. While the cook crew worked hard in the kitchen, Rivers took some guys down to the lake to teach a fishing lesson. Scott was an expert in no time and was pulling fish out of the water left and right. Dinner was delicious, and we fell asleep early in preparation for our big day ahead.

We woke up at 5:30 a.m. the next day and packed our day packs with snacks and water before heading off on the trail to the mountains towering above us. Our guide Jace led us through the forest and over rocks as we slowly gained elevation and got closer to our intended destination. After a few hours of hard work, Warrior 1 (the mountain) came into view and inspired us to pick up the pace to the top. We finally reached the summit with big (but exhausted) smiles and took plenty of pictures to document the occasion. After a quick photo shoot, Jace led a group of guys to another nearby peak while the rest of the crew played games at the top of Warrior 1. After a while, we descended to a local stream where we had lunch and rested before making our way back to camp. On the hike back we crossed over snow patches and glissaded down them. John H was a natural and sled down the hill at high speeds and impressed the entire group. When we finally made it back to camp, we had a quick dinner of noodles and red sauce before falling asleep in our tents.

We had another 5:30 a.m. wake up call to make our way out of the Winds and back into civilization. We champed the seven mile hike back and rewarded ourselves with scrumptious burgers cooked by the local lodge. After lunch, we said goodbye to Jace and made our way back to Pinedale to visit the local aquatic center. We all sprinted to the giant water slide and competed to see who could get down it the fastest. After playing around in the water, everyone took a much deserved shower and cleaned up after our long stretch in the backcountry. While we waited for Rivers to return from the grocery store, Molly led the group in a game of knockout on the basketball courts and managed to win two games in a row. We finished up at the aquatic center and drove a few hours back to Jackson where we quickly set up tents and then jolted down to the local rodeo! It was amazing to see the cowboys ride such rambunctious bulls and we all loved watching the cowgirls during the barrel racing. It was an exciting night but we were all exhausted from the days past so when we returned to camp, we all fell into a deep sleep.

We cannot wait to head over to the Grand Teton National Park tomorrow to begin our climbing section and we will update y’all again in a few days!


Ta ta for now,

Liv & Riv

Off to a Wild Start!

July 17, 2018

Hello Families!

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.

  • Moondance HQ


  • Molly
  • Rebie
  • Caroline
  • Annie
  • Brooks
  • Will
  • John
  • Carson
  • John
  • Caroline
  • Will
  • Scott