Field Notes

Colorado Trail 2B • June 30-July 13, 2018

Fond Farewell

July 15, 2018

Telluride had zero idea what was headed their way as we pulled up post backpacking. We felt a strange difference between the woods and this city. It took a little bit of adjusting for us to fully remember what it was like to live within and around society and not at our base camp in the woods. Our tummies were very much ready for a meal prepared in an actual kitchen so the hunt for burgers began. It takes a lot of patience and skill to maneuver a group of 15 hungry people through the delicate narrow streets of Telluride. We arrived at a lovely restaurant with a patio view of the massive mountains that surrounded us. We all let out a sigh of relief as we sat down at our table. Mick, Richard, Henry, Luke, Harrigan and Miller were instantly captivated by the first television they had seen in days. The World Cup was playing right next to us and everyone was excited to see how their teams were holding up. Hayne and Harrison completely unimpressed by the loud fans screaming and bright screen kept us entertained with their unique perspective and set of jokes. Everyone quickly became quiet as our food was served. Full, happy students is the greatest thing to witness as a leader and we were on cloud nine. We thought things couldn’t get any better until we ran into some cute little “dogos” as Richard likes to call them.  We surely stood out on the streets of telluride and thankfully we did. Two parents approached our group and were very curious about what brought this crazy little group together. We soon found out they too had a child on a Moondance trip, the exact trip that leader Caroline’s sister is on- Northern Lights. It felt great to run into some one a part of this massive moonfam, and even better that the group shined so bright that even strangers on the street wanted to know what we were all about. It was a proud moment for the leaders seeing how obvious it was that this group was getting the very most of this unique experience and truly living in the moment and allowing that to impact those around them. We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the quaint little mountain town. Ice cream was first on the agenda, after the girls split up to do some damage shopping, and the boys trekked further through the city in hopes of getting the full telluride experience. Sadly our time came to an end in the city and ironically enough it “rained on our parade” so we hustled to the van in hopes to beat the afternoon soak. We made it just as the rain was ready to fall and shut that chapter of the book and headed onward to the next campsite.

 

As we arrived to our new campsite we were blown away by the starlit sky. Henry quickly arose from his little van nap to this view and instantly started the campaign for everyone to sleep outside under the stars. To be honest it did not take any convincing as we all wanted to stare at the stars for hours. Moonup was held on the tarp set up with all the sleeping bags scattered around it. Sarah and Hayne led us as our LODs and asked the group “how do you think Moondance has changed you” the focus was quickly shifted as Luke and Harrigan shouted, “look up there’s a shooting star!!!”. We brought the focus back in to our Moonup question and ended the night with some shooting star hunting. As the giggles and stories started to die down we all faded away slowly under the stars and fell into a deep slumber.

 

The next morning we all awoke with the sun, it was so cool for the first thing to be seen all day was each other. Waking up so early gave us a lot of time to relax and unwind before the big day of rafting that lay ahead. Some people went for a run and a quick workout, some found a cozy spot in the shade to sit and chillax. Sarah spent her relaxed morning helping everyone with whatever they needed, something very commonly done by her. The group found such a natural balance. Harrigan and Miller opened up appoints for “therapy” and we spent the morning joking around telling them all about ourselves and getting some pretty good diagnosis from the two expert doctors. We loaded up the van and headed onward back to the ferocious Arkansas River.

 

We pulled into the parking lot very eager and excited for the much anticipated Royal Gorge. To our surprise the other Moondance session was rafting too! Our group was so excited to see other students their own age doing the same activities. We also were pumped to show them all our group chants and secret handshakes. After gearing up and receiving the safety talk from our raft guides it was time to split the group into two rafts. Derick led Andrew, Molly, Luke, Harrison, Sarah, Sheffield, and Miller. Matt had Caroline, Henry, Mick, Lara, Harrigan, Hayne, and Jane. Splash battles between the two instantly broke out as we hit the water. Before we knew it we were in the midst of the day’s first rapid. Both groups flew right through them with ease. Sarah and Jane even got to sit on the bow of the boat and guide us though the river. A calm strip appeared on the river and our guides gave us the play to jump in and SWIM! Harrison, Molly, Miller and Sarah were eager to swim and jumped right in making a huge splash that covered the other raft. Harrigan, Hayne, Jane, Lara, Mick, and Henry retaliated by jumping in right after us. The splash was continued until our guides called us back into the boat for the next rapids. The first half of the route really gave us the confidence and refresher we needed to tackle the epic royal gorge. Our guides treated us half way through the trip with a very satisfying lunch. And just like that we were off on the river again. This time approaching the gorge. As we entered the gorge we watched the walls grow steeper and steeper. Harrigan was especially fascinated. He would ask, “OK, so is this part the tallest we will see?” after each new bend and was completely in awe when we entered the portion of 1,000-foot walls. Before we entered the most serious rapid our guides pulled off to tell us their plan for success. We listened and entered the mindset to conquer the infamous “Sunshine Falls”. We entered and executed the guides plan flawlessly and made it out intact with soaked clothes. Even though the hardest rapid was behind us, we still had several more class IV rapids ahead that required our undivided attention. “Wall Slammer” was approaching and we adjusted our paddle grips and patiently awaited the next line of commands. Incorrect strokes can result in, you guessed it, boats slamming into canyon walls, so we all stroked in unison. As the team we were, our collective strokes allowed us to avoid slamming into said wall and we celebrated with a paddle high-five. After conquering two class IV rapids we continued the rest of the gorge rapids with graceful confidence. Jane attached the GoPro to her helmet and captured our success. We left the gorge and watched the walls shrink as the completion left us with pride. The final stretch was calm and allowed us to play and swim in the river, which was well deserved.

 

That night we celebrated our victorious day with a huge dinner- made by none other but the students!!! Iron chef was the name of the game and the competition was fierce.

 

Boys vs. Girls. One hour. Three course meal. Whatever food they can find. Annnnd GO!

 

Henry treated all of us to homemade sushi. We all starred with amazement as he precisely cut each ingredient and rolled them up to perfection. Meanwhile the boys started out strong with Richard’s creation of a vegan garlic bread that blew the judges aka leaders away in the appetizer round. The girls quickly caught back up with Hayne and Janes perfectly cooked pasta as their entree. Dessert round hit and it was a solid tie. The boys, inspired by Harrigan and Miller made some tasty banana pudding. The judges were more than satisfied and way too full. Our group wide food coma put us right to sleep.

 

All too fast we woke up to the last full day of the trip. Doing our best to ignore the sadness we fully emerged ourselves into the moment knowing that would keep our mind off anything else. Sheffield kept the group morale high with her energy. She was feeling very hyper and it was contagious. We felt very thankful to have someone so positive influence the group. We headed to what Luke liked to call the “country club campsite” after spending lots of time cleaning the van, group gear and packing for the airport it was time to SHOWER! Next stop was the thrift shop. Moondance tradition is to end the trip in crazy outfits and with yummy food so we had some big shoes to fill. The students went all out at Goodwill. The laughter could not be contained as we showed off all our new threads. Jane was dressed to impress in her wacky outfit. Harrison was dressed in “all red everything” and was busting some moves. We had yet another impromptu dance party and it very well may have been one of the best moments of the trip. Mick and Miller showed us all how to scooter like a pro, a purchase from the thrift shop that they were very proud of. We all loaded back into the van with our tacky mismatched group and headed to get some dinner. After banquet we got to let our ya ya’s out and run around the cute little city park. Next the leaders diabolical plan rolled out. They convinced the whole group that ice cream was out of the question. We pulled into a Safeway to “use the bathroom” and secretly bought ice cream for everyone to enjoy. Another dance party broke out and the night felt endless. Lara lead by example and showed us how to dance like nobody is watching, a lesson most people would benefit from. The results of iron chef were finally released and ……… THE BOYS WON. We got all our crazies out and danced our life away.

 

The final Moonup was held by Luke and Harrigan. They led us into a very special very sentimental Moonup. Their final announcement was that we were all to be LODs for airport day. We said goodnight one last time and crawled into our tents hesitantly.

 

Parents, I’d like to personally thank you for sharing your most prized possessions with us and trusting in us. Allowing a young adult to find their path and try new things is such a blessing to witness. Once the mind expands it is hard to turn back. I want you all to know these students stepped far out of their comfort zone on multiple occasions and never turned back. Growth was beyond evident in multiple aspects of each participant. I could feel the love and respect our group had for the people who taught them everything. I do wish we could thank each of you in person for creating such beautiful souls. We drove away on that bitter sweet airport day with heavy hearts and an eerily silent, empty van. We couldn’t help but spend the next few hours only talking about the experience we just had. It’s hard to dwell on goodbyes when so many fantastic memories were formed. Andrew, Caroline and I could go on for hours and hours about this group of young adults. Since we’ve parted with the group there has been lots of time for reflection. It is apparent the growth that occurred in these 14 days. We feel so very proud of each and every student on this trip. I believe that it is not so much about the epic adventures, the rafting, the climbing, etc. but it is about how those experiences left you. How you felt when you overcame the “no way I can’t do that” and made it to the moment when you realized you did it and can do anything. We saw love and compassion, two traits that take you very far in life. I saw a light in every single student and I feel as if I’ve made lifelong friendships. Just remember Colorado Trail B don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened. Never stop believing and leaving your comfort zone. Farewell my friends, thank you for changing our lives and adding so many memories for us to carry with us forever. We love each and everyone one of you.

 

It’s not a goodbye, it’s a see you later.

 

Your leaders,

Molly, Caroline and Andrew.


Taking on Uncompahgre!

July 11, 2018

Colorado trail finally has hit the trail. The group awoke early with Uncompahgre in our sights. A wave of nervousness and excitement filled the group as we prepared for our four day trek away from society. We loaded up the van and headed towards the trailhead. Huge snowy peaks opened our eyes and it started to set in that we would be living among them. Jane was first to grab a bunch of group gear. She was eager to have the full backpacking experience. Harrison and Richard followed her lead and started filling their packs as well. And just like that our packs were filled and our little family was off to tackle the Wilson Mesa Trail.

As the gang started the first leg of the trail they had no idea what was to come next. Little did they know that Molly had snuck away earlier that day to hide a piñata down the trail to end Harrigan’s birthday celebrations with a bang. The group turned the corner and saw the candy filled hamburger hanging in a tree and lost it. Jolly ranchers and laffy taffy covered the trail and the crowd went wild. Miller was grateful for the sugar and used it as fuel to aid his hiking. We pushed onward up the steep hills and over the lush ridges. Richard made everyone around him crack up with some clever jokes on the trail as well. After the hardest section of the day’s hike, we were gifted with a picturesque view of the rigid mountains in the distance. Group morale was high and the trail conversations were in full swing. Jane started a fun game of “would you rather” and really kept us on our toes. Sheffield realized hiking was way more enjoyable when we distracted ourselves with chit chat and we all agreed. Finally after a difficult uphill hike we approached our campsite. A group-wide sense of relief and accomplishment was prevalent and we proudly set up ours tents. We stuffed our faces with chicken, potatoes and veggies to satisfy our well-earned hunger and went to sleep under the starlit sky.

Our first morning in the backcountry was simple and slow. Lara and Luke suggested we take time to enjoy the campsite and play some cards. Thus the latest obsession was born- Kemp’s. The group instantly fell in love with this card game. While the others were fully emersed in cards Hayne, Henry, and Molly went further down the trail in hopes of spotting some Colorado wildlife. After enjoying a relaxed morning some of the group decided to explore the national forest more. Sarah, Jane, Richard, Luke, Henry, Harrison, Hayne, Harrigan, Caroline and Molly set their aims high for rock of ages. Sheffield, Andrew, Mick, Miller, and Lara stayed back to continue enjoying the backcountry home we had created.

The hiking group, led by speedy Henry, zoomed up countless switchbacks until they finally were above the tree line. The views on top were indescribable. Richard jumped at the chance to take a picture with the view shouting, “take this for my mom!”. Unfortunately the weather was not in our favor and we decided to head back to camp before the afternoon storm rolled in. We were all glad that we adventured up and pushed it even if we had to turn back early.

Meanwhile, back at camp Andrew, Sheffield, Lara, Miller, and Mick chose to go on a hike with more of a focus on finding wildlife and plant life. We went on hike for a couple miles through fields of flowers and stands of aspen. After returning from the scenic hike, we found a cool spot next to a stream to dip our feet and play cards. We barely noticed time passing next to the water and before we knew it the other group returned.

After an afternoon apart the group finally emerged as one and the reunion was amazing. We spent the next hours sitting side by side laughing about everything and nothing. The entertainment was endless, this group can talk for hours and hours, the conversation flows so organically. Harrison made us all release a couple belly laughs with his funny stories. Sarah added to the pot by sharing some hilarious things that happened to her in the past. We were truly living the life and loving every moment of it.

Our tummy’s were more than happy with the dinner of the night, mac n cheese. We all indulged in the cheesy goodness. We even had a pot of vegan mac n cheese and Harrigan was a huge fan. As the night slowed down we transitioned into Moonup led by our lovely LOD’s Sheffield and Harrison. Before we knew it the day was done and we all crawled into our warm tents to enjoy our well-deserved sleep.

Day 3 arrived and the group was ready to push it. We all woke up early and filled up on a warm oatmeal breakfast prepared by Harrison, Mick, Sheffield, and Sarah. Today our goal was to try again with the hike and make it to the top of rock of ages. We started off making great time and were flying up the trail. Mick and Miller led the group up the rocky trail motivating everyone. About halfway up we stopped in a nice shady spot for lunch and fueled up for the last part of the hike. Once above the tree line we had a view of all the land. We could see for miles and miles. To our surprise Caroline found a giant patch of snow! Out of the blue am epic snowball fight in the middle of July erupted. Sledding, snow angles, you name it! Hayne quickly proved to us that she was not one to mess with- her snowballs were the strongest of them all. Jane showed Harrison her sledding techniques and soon they both were soaring down the patch of snow. We were all sad to say goodbye to our summer snowball fight but we knew it was time to push on. This time Lara led the group and we were off. We ended the hike with marvelous views as far as the eye could see. Creeks filled with fresh snow melt and a variety of wildflowers surrounded us. Luke took some fantastic pictures that he cannot wait to show his family. After a more than satisfying hike we decided it was time to go back to camp and relax.

After the epic hike and descent we were finally back at camp. Afternoon drizzles pushed us into our tents and created a perfect opportunity for a little nap. Once rested we all woke up to beautiful blue skies and an insane amount of energy. We feasted on some jambalaya and cous cous and preceded to let our energy out. Before we knew it an impromptu dance party came out of nowhere. Hayne blew us away with her wacky moves. Harrigan didn’t want to miss his chance and quickly started showing us how it’s done. Molly and Caroline even had a little dance off- the group just about lost it. We crawled into our tents for our finally night in the back country with huge smiles and happy hearts.

Overall my co leaders and I are astounded by this group. Backpacking is a difficult yet rewarding activity and this group really brought their A game. Henry truly showed a love and passion for wildlife and a sense of adventure. Jane shined her light and was a friend to everyone during the good times and the bad. Miller pushed himself mentally and physically. Richard has a kind heart and puts others first. Luke stepped out of his comfort zone and embraced the backcountry. Hayne let her silly side out and kept us smiling and entertained. Sheffield’s smile never left her face and it was contagious. Lara was free spirited and ready for whatever came her way. Harrigan wanted to do every hike possible and pushed himself to the limits without losing his smile. Harrison is the most positive dude, he never complains and always lights up the mood with his jokes and funny faces. Sarah is the kindest human, she is the definition of selfless and has really given backpacking and the whole trip her absolute all. Mick always gives a helping hand without hesitation. He carries peoples bags when they get tired, he is a natural leader and just makes us all so happy. We could go on and on about this magical trip and fun loving group but for now we must head to Telluride.

-Molly, Caroline, and Andrew


Rafting, Ziplining and Sand Dunes, Oh My!

July 7, 2018

Greetings from Colorado! We have been doing well and enjoying beautiful weather day in and day out. Our rafting section began with waking up early, packing up tents, and eating some delicious grits. Excited and full, we left to start our two day rafting excursion, being led by Sheffield and Miller who were the Leaders of the Day.

 

As we pulled in to the rafting company and began filing out of the van, our friendly rafting guides came out to meet us. Our guides showed us the ways of packing our clothes into dry-bags. Afterwards we put life jackets, helmets, and wetsuits on and packed into a van very similar to ours. This van took us up river where we would put our rafts in. After a twenty minute drive and a safety talk we pulled up and dragged our boats into the cool river.

 

As soon as we hit the river, we were in the middle of the “miracle mile”, which is a stretch of challenging rapids. It was clear that we had some very enthusiastic rafters including Mick, Jane, and Sarah. After we navigated through the mile of constant action, we found ourselves in a stretch of flat water. A splash assault led by Harrigan started a splash war that gave all of us relief from the sun.

 

We kept going for 6 miles through rapid after rapid. Lara, who was in the front of the boat, somehow got drenched in every rapid. After miles of thrilling rapids we pulled onto as shore where we ate guacamole and veggie/deli meat wraps. The group was full and energized for the second half of our rafting. We found the groove of paddling and did really well with the remaining rapids of the day. Before we knew it, we were at the camp for the night.

 

The group removed the gear and took a well deserved break before setting up tents. Soon after setting up, our raft guides taught us a balancing game that kept us occupied for a long while. Richard, Luke, and Henry showed some serious balancing skills. After everyone had a chance to try the game out, we started a hike up the hill behind our campsite. The hike gave us a wonderful view of the surrounding mountains and was loved by Hayne and Harrison, who were surprised by the views. After having fun hiking around the huge boulders behind our campsite, we all returned and found that our rafting guides had laid out appetizers and dinner!

 

Dinner was a tasty teriyaki chicken, vegetables, and rice with a desert of angel cake. Everyone was satisfied by dinner and sleepy from a day on the water so our moon-up came soon after. Miller and Sheffield led a great Moonup where we relived the action of the day. After selecting Mick and Jane as the new Leaders of the Day, we hit the hay.

 

There’s no better way to celebrate the Fourth of July than on the water. We woke up with the sun and filled our bellies with breakfast burritos, prepared by our lovely river guides. Fueled for the day, we broke down camp and put all of our belongings into dry bags. We conveyor belted our dry bags on to our trusty gear boatman’s raft. To kill some time before we set off we played a game Harrigan liked to call “around the world”. This game entails grabbing a partner, locking your paddles together, leaning back, and seeing who falls in the frigid water first.

 

After a few dips in the water we headed out to hit the rapids. We survived and thrived through many class III rapids like Zoomflume, The Staircase, and Widow Maker. After the major rapids the rest of the day on the water consisted of wishing other rafts a happy fourth and having splash wars between the two Moondance rafts.

 

Our rafting adventure concluded, but we still continued to celebrate the holiday. We took a trip to an alpine lake to take haven from the heat. We hiked and swam and once we were tuckered out we got ice cream! We returned to our camp site to relax, but rain rolled in. Normally this would dampen the mood, but instead we had a glow stick party inside the van and played “Party in the USA” by Miley Cyrus. Once the rain passed we had a 4th of July cookout to wrap up the day.

 

Since then, we have had a very eventful two days that started with a day of zip lining through a rocky valley and ended with a sunrise hike in the Great Sand Dunes National Park.

 

A deep sleep was much deserved after our exhilarating rafting trip and forth of July celebration. The group awoke feeling rested and satisfied- ready to start our next adventure. And just like that we were off and onto the next step. The days activity led us to a winding scenic dirt road. We arrived at a small building filled with zip lining equipment and two goofy zip lining guides named Brandon and Haley. After being shown the ropes on how to steer and stop properly, our guides led us past a wagon full of petrified wood and up a hilly path, which arrived at a platform overlooking the valley. Brandon and Haley told some cheesy jokes and fun facts about the local geology. Luke, Mick, and Andrew even stumbled upon a collection of petrified wood. With excitement and butterflies in our belly’s we followed the guides up to the first line of the day.

 

We found ourselves on the edge of a canyon overlooking a steep ledge that sunk deep into the ground. Jane stepped up first, strapped a go-pro camera to her helmet, and zipped over the deep valley, giving a whoop for joy. Miller followed suited and gave his best warrior cry as he flew across the gap. After everyone had zipped across, we excitedly shared and laughed before heading up the trail to the next. Henry discovered some wild bunnies running around and the whole group was in awe by the cuteness of our new little friends. Our guides led us up to the next line and yet again it was time to soar over the canyon. A total of 6 lines kept us busy for hours and the in between lines led to more jokes, games, and conversations. Henry really stepped it up and went first on the day’s biggest line and let out the loudest, victorious yell. The group followed and each person decided to make up a unique sound as they flew down to their friends. Our guides cracked up at how silly our group gets- laughter was contagious throughout the day and zip lining was definitely a hit.

 

We filled up our belly’s with a hearty lunch and zoomed off to our next destination. The much anticipated portion of the trip was finally approaching, the Great Sand Dunes National Park. Around mid afternoon we pulled up to our new campsite and the group was instantly blown away. Lara, Sheffield, and Sarah instantly pointed out our site had a front row view of the massive dunes. We played games for hours and prepared ourselves for the sunrise hike we were soon going to embark on. Molly, Mick, Sarah, Sheffield, Luke, and Lara went on a run around the campsite while cook crew worked hard to get food on the table. A golden sky guides their run and gave them a beautiful view of the sun setting over the dunes. They even stumbled upon a mommy and baby deer and were overwhelmed by how special of a sight it was to see. Hayne, Miller, and Henry blew us away with their cook crew skills. They made sure each of us were full and happy. The sun set and Moonup began. The leaders of the day, Richard and Hayne led us with the question “what is your happy place”. Each of us went around and shared and then we were off to bed.

 

The next day started just a little early, the group was up and going at 3 am. The goal was to make it to the highest dune in the national park, Star Dune, before the sunrise. Positivity and hard work led us up the dunes. Caroline, Harrison, Jane, Miller, and Mick lead the pack and found the best ridges under the stars to take us the tallest dune in the US. It rained the previous night, so the sand was more compact than anticipated. This allowed us to briskly climb the dunes. As the sun peaked above the mountain ridge it dried some of the sand and we began to sink back with each step. As the hiking became more difficult Jane and Andrew did what they do best, uplift each person with words of encouragement. Once Star Dune was the next closest peak Miller and Jane took off running to race to the top. Once we made it to the top “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” was played followed by a HUGE happy birthday song for our new teenager Harrigan! We celebrated out feat, admired the sunrise, and eagerly began sand boarding. The girls began to make Sarah into a human sand castle followed by a friendly sand fight leaving Sheffield, Lara, and Sarah covered in sand. They for sure earned the showers we would be taking later that night. Molly brought an inflatable ball and Jane, Sarah, and Caroline began to play soccer. Jane wrote Moondance in the sand and Hayne drew pictures in the sand for the hikers of the day to see. We had our share of playing and headed back down to the van before the sand became hot.

 

Back at the campsite we celebrated our climb and birthday boy with brunch! Upon Harrigan’s suggestion, we prepared fresh avocado spread, toast, eggs, sausage, and veggies to feast. After our deserved feasting we broke down camp and headed to our next campsite to prep for backpacking. Our next campsite was hill top overlooking a mint blue lake with showers and laundry. It was quite a treat. We had our final front country dinner or burrito bowls to fuel before backpacking and closed the night with a thirteen candled brownie cake and Moonup. We are excited to set off into the backcountry for four days and cannot wait to update y’all on all of our adventures afterward!


Colorado Trail 2B is off!

July 3, 2018

We began our first hike in the parking lot of the Denver International Airport. Duffels on our backs and backpacks on our stomachs we pushed and dug to make to the large vehicles lot. We piled into the van, put some tunes on, and made our way to our first campsite. The first day is typically anticipated to be quiet, everyone easing out of their shell, but not with this group. The minute they met in the airport no one held back. Right off the bat Harrigan was cracking jokes, Sarah beginning group card games, and Miller teaching us dance moves.

 

The first long car ride was rewarded with pizza from a local pizzeria. Post pizza we arrived at our campsite, set up tents, and introduced “Moonup”. Moonup is a special tradition within Moondance where we essentially debrief the day and learn more about each other. We ask a question, choose the LODs, and open the “nug jug”. The first question was “why did you come to Moondance?”. After the responses it was time for me and my co leaders to choose the first LODs (Leaders of the Day). Every night a new pair of leaders are chosen based on leadership or admirable behavior they exemplified during the day. For the trips first LODs we chose Sarah and Harrigan. From the start we witnessed how selfless, thoughtful, and inclusive Sarah is. Sarah offers anyone and everyone something before herself and has patience the whole group could learn from. Harrigan facilitated the groups quick burst of their shell with his extra-extrovert personality, genuineness, and comedic relief. Then we opened the nug jug. This is a figurative jug that is opened each night by the LODs, often with a crazy story about how they found it that day. Once the nug jug is open the group gives “nugs” to compliment, celebrate an accomplishment, or give gratitude. We closed the nug jug and got a good night sleep to prepare for a day of climbing.

 

We met our climbing guides, geared up, and hit the walls. Jane, Sarah, Miller, and Harrigan fearlessly hit the walls first. Henry took to belaying and ended up belaying all day. He made every person that climbed feel safe and secure when they were on the wall, allowing them to confidently climb. After we got our climbing fix we headed to Crested Butte where we shopped and bought ice cream to reward ourselves for extending out of our comfort zones. After our quick stop in Crested Butte we headed back to our campsite. We unloaded from the van and admired a lake in the distance. It had been a hot day, so we all spontaneously decided to throw our bathing suits on to go swim in the subalpine lake. When we arrived to the pebbly beach Lara couldn’t contain her excitement and was the first to brave the frigid, but very refreshing, lake water. As Lara ran in Hayne, Harragin, Sheffield, and Mick followed. We enjoyed our polar plunge trip, but headed back to camp to cook a warm meal.

 

We learned that many students were eager and experienced cookers. Jane, Henry, Sheffield, and Richard were the first to volunteer for cook crew and made a hearty meal of sautéed peppers, onions, mushrooms, pasta, bread rolls, and broccoli, with a side of red or pesto sauce. With full bellys we graciously thanked the cook crew and had Moonup. The second LODs chosen were Luke and Lara. Sarah introduced Luke with a quote, “Some wish for it, I work for it”. Sarah choose this quote because she saw how hard Luke worked and pushed himself on the rock walls that day. Harrigan introduced Lara with, “A ship at port is safe, but that’s not what it’s built for”. Lara may have been hesitant at first to climb the rock walls, but with encouragement from the group and willpower to grow out of her comfort zone Lara conquered the rock walls.

 

The second day of climbing Richard, Mick, and Harrison hit the walls eagerly. Miller, Harrigan, and Molly crushed the hardest wall offered. We were tuckered out from climbing so we called it a day and had a well deserved lunch. We headed to the river to prep for rafting.

 

At our campsite on the Arkansas we explored and made rock walls out of the boulders we could find. Cook crew began their magic. They set out appetizers of chips, salsa, and guac for the ever so patient non-cook crewers. Dinner was served and we feasted on quesadillas, beans, chicken, and various accoutrements. We played a few games of mafia before Moonup. Harrigan, Jane, and Sheffield all took turns being the commentators/narrators and gave us some good belly laughs. The lower elevation provided a warmer climate than our previous campsite so we decided to lay out our tarps and sleep under the stars. It was the perfect way to end our first couple days.

 

Can’t wait to share more from our adventures! Til’ next time!


Off to a great start!

July 2, 2018

Hello Colorado Trail Families!

We have heard from our leaders and the trip is off to a great start! Stay tuned for more updates. We cannot wait to share stories from their adventures.

  • Moondance HQ

Students

  • Hayne
  • Mick
  • Lara
  • Sheffield
  • Luke
  • Miller
  • Harrison
  • Richard
  • Sarah
  • Henry
  • Jane
  • Harrigan

Staff