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Colorado Trail 3A • July 17-July 30, 2018

A Final Farewell

July 31, 2018

It’s hard to believe that just two weeks ago we were picking these kids up from the airport, only knowing the mere basics about them. Today we drop them off knowing the ins and outs of each one of them. For the last time, we watched the planes take these kids back home and we could not feel more honored to be a part of their lives. We’d like to take a few moments to share with you all what these kids have shown and taught us over the past two weeks.


It’s funny what you can learn about a person in only two weeks; what they like, what they don’t like, their favorite memories, plans for the future, and all about their past. It’s even funnier all that you can learn from a person in two weeks. Each of these kids brought something different to the group that was necessary, no, imperative to the functionality of the group. They are all so sweet and special and we are confident they will all be successful in whatever they choose to do with their lives.


Carly showed us how to be a true friend, always sticking up for everyone and having everyone’s best interest at heart. Stanton showed us how to be selfless, always making sure the group was taken care of before moving on to his own needs. Kate was fearless in the face of her fears and taught us to face every challenge with a smile. William taught us about the strength to overcome and how to live each day in the moment. Harris has a profound impact on anyone he meets. From his giddy laughter to his adventures spirt, he will always leave you with a smile.


Moondance creates a rare opportunity for these kids, away from their parents and the distractions of technology, to be their real, authentic selves. Ollie taught us all the power of a good leader and a good friend and how to balance the two. Will showed us the importance of creating a community that is honest and open, welcoming to all. Andrew was a rock for our group and showed us the importance of taking yourself out of your comfort zone and having new experiences. Lily taught us about acceptance of strangers and celebrating the differences to create lasting friendships. John taught us the power of laughing at ourselves and not taking ourselves too seriously. He truly created a safe, loving and welcoming atmosphere for everyone to share openly and honestly. Johnny faced every day with a smile and thirst for life and new adventures, teaching us to never sweat the small stuff. Ali treated every day as a new adventure and taught us to relish each moment, he truly lived in the moment.


We wish we could describe what each of these kids mean to us, but it would simply be an impossible task. We will carry them in our memories and hearts for years to come. We know they have changed our lives, and we only hope they can say the same.


As always,

Stay safe and have fun.

We know we will.


Bill and Emma

Rafting Rocks!

July 29, 2018

Today was truly one for the books as we had a great day out on the Arkansas River plowing through the Royal Gorge. And my what a gorgeous day it was. In the morning, we quickly munched down on some bagels and cereal before heading to the water. When we got to the river, like pros, everyone immediately went to get all geared up and ready for the day. Will and Andrew, as our leaders of the day made sure that everyone had everything they needed, all the gear and full water bottles. They made sure everyone was feeling alright and there was never any doubt about that because Harris makes sure to keep us all laughing and cheesing hard all day long. After getting the safety talk and all of our instructions, we hopped on the bus and hit the road headed for the river.

When we got to the river and split up into boats there was a big debate over who would sit in the front and catch all the action first. Ultimately John, Stanton and Andrew won out on one boat and Lily, Ollie and Carly won out on the other. Splash wars were almost certain to ensue as we pushed off into the class 3 and 4 rapids that awaited us. We started off surfing through some good class three rapids and some good leisure time where Kate and Ali were quick to ride the bull. Johnny kept us all in good spirits and paddling as a team with good instruction from the back of the boat. We coasted through the morning and stopped for a famous lunch of chicken, ham, turkey, or peanut butter sandwiches, cookies, and chips. When we pushed off, we were immediately greeted with some intense class three rapids and everyone was ready to rock and roll. We made it through unscathed and everyone went in for a paddle high five. Towards the end of the trip, William got a little taste of the guide role and called all the shots for everyone, yelling out all the paddle commands. The rains fell down but our spirits kept going higher until we rafted out of the gorge. We drove up to the top of the gorge and looked down at where we had been rafting. We went back to camp and whipped up chicken, mashed potatoes, and rice pilaf, our last home cooked meal. Overall, we had a fantastic day and now we’re moving on to our last day. We look forward to checking back in with y’all soon.


Until then,

Stay safe and have fun,

We know we will,

Bill and Emma

Rocking Out in Colorado!

July 27, 2018

They’ve done it again! These kids blew us away with their natural rock climbing skills, as everyone made it to the top of at least 3 crags over the course of these two days!

We started our first day on the rocks with an in-depth safety talk as our guides went over proper belaying techniques, climbing gear etc. The kids listened intently before they were ready to climb. Will and Ali were the first to hit the rocks and flew up the crag with little difficulty. Carly proved to be quite the mountain goat as she made it to the top of the most challenging route on her first attempt. As the rest of us eagerly waited our turn, Harris and our guide, Dan, kept us entertained with some riddles that had the whole group racking our brains. After lunch, Kate was ready for more and impressively climbed the remaining 2 routes like a champ! After we were all worn out from climbing we headed to Crested Butte for some well deserved ice cream!

Once we had reached our camp site for the evening, Johnny and William kept everyone entertained with an impromptu game of rock-bowling. As time came for moonup, Lily had the great idea to have moonup down by the water. We sat there taking in the beauty of mountains and lake before we started our most lively moonup of the session.

The next morning, Ollie fueled us up for the day ahead by preparing us a delicious sausage, egg and cheese scramble. We headed off to meet our guides and start our day! Stanton, our leader of the day, was the first one to gear up and head for the rocks, with everyone else following behind. The whole time Andrew encouraged everyone while they were climbing offering expert advise about which move to make next. The Colorado weather, as always, kept us on our toes but John kept morale high with his positive attitude and humor as we had to cut the day short due to rain. Rock climbing was easily a crowd favorite but we can’t wait to see what the royal gorge has to offer us tomorrow as we raft!

Until next time,

Stay safe and have fun,

We know we will.

Bill and Emma

Backpacking was a Blast!

July 26, 2018

Well folks, we’ve done it again and, as usual, these guys and girls amazed us with their strength and willingness to overcome. We’d like to give you all a glimpse into our past few days as we tackled the Uncompahgre National Forest. Even though we were visited by storms every evening like clockwork, the stoke remained high and we all had a wonderful time; feeling good as we thrived in the wilderness of Colorado.

We started off on a good note when we left the sand dunes, jamming to songs the whole way, while Carly serenaded us from the back. When we arrived in the forest, Will and Andrew hoofed it out front to set a pace that we were all comfortable with. With that pace we were all easily able to enjoy the wonders of the wild and the big mountains that surrounded us on all sides. We got to camp, set up our tents before the rains came, and feasted on chicken burritos that Stanton prepared for us. What a delicious meal that was.

The next day, the group tackled one of the tallest mountains around, and we were super impressed with how well they all did. Kate and Ali are mountain legends and left us all in the dust as we trudged behind them up to the beautiful mountaintop meadow. John kept us all laughing on the way up the hill with his wild antics and hilarious jokes. We were on the mountain at the right time, with all of the wildflowers blooming and the rain giving us our moment in the sun. When we got to what we thought was the top, Johnny and William decided that we weren’t done and pushed all of the guys to go further, all the way to the summit. We hung around for a while and took in the scenery before heading down the mountain. When we got back to the bottom, Ollie and Ali convinced everyone to go for a swim in the lake, and we drank lemonade as we unwound after the long day. As soon as we got back to camp, and as the guys relaxed in their Enos, Lily and Kate helped us in the kitchen to whip up some personal pizzas for everyone. They were fantastic and we all went to sleep with a full belly.

Our third day we enjoyed lounging around the lake until the rain came and washed us all away. We huddled in our camp and laughed and played games all day. Harris made sure to entertain us all day with his never ending jokes and wonderful stories. We truly made the most out of our day of rain. We finished our trip and rode to Telluride to grab some delicious burgers and fries, chocolate milk shakes and some souvenirs. A great time all around. We asked the kids if they had anything they wanted to say to you all. Here’s what they had to say.


Ollie- it’s been a lot of fun, come join the ride

Andrew- it’s been a lot of fun and can’t wait to see y’all! Ps what’s the cardinals score?

William-  miss you! go dawgs baby

Kate- Happy Birthday Quinn

Carly- hey dad, hope you had fun on your boys trip

Lily- having a blast, love and miss you!

Ali- hey mom having fun go Red Sox

Johnny- having fun (thumbs up)

Harris- I’m having a great time!

John- mom!! what’s the braves score??

Will- love you guys!

Stanton- excited to see yall!




Until then,

Stay safe and have fun,

We know we will!


Emma and Bill


Zip zip zip!

July 22, 2018

Anotha day anotha adventure!!! We’ve been busy the past few days zipping across Brown’s Canyon to get the most amazing views and exploring the beautiful Sand Dunes!


Our zipline adventures across the Canyon were so much fun! We started off on the bunny zips to make sure we were all aware of the safety protocols. William was the first to hop up and take off once we reached the first cable while the rest of us eagerly awaited our turns. John, as always, had us all laughing with his goofy approaches on the cables. The first three cables were easy rides that had us ready for the bigger, faster cables at the end, that also happened to have the best view of the canyon. We had a warrior cry competition on the last cable and Ali showed us all up his warrior cry!


After zip lining we all loaded up and headed towards the dunes. We were all blown away by how big and beautiful they were when we got there that we just had to go explore. Will and Johnny took off up the dunes and began jumping down the dunes, soon everyone else joined in. Once we had worn ourselves out we headed back to our camp site for a delicious dinner of Cesar salad and spaghetti with meat sauce excellently prepared by Stanton and Harris. We headed to bed early so that we would be ready for the early morning wake up call to catch the sunrise.


The next morning we headed out under the stars up the dunes to get the perfect spot to watch the sunrise. Ollie took the lead and led us up to the highest dune. When we reached the top, Andrew decided to take videos of everyone running up and down the dunes with his go pro. The videos had us all crying laughing because of the endless wipeouts. While the boys continued to run down the dunes and back up, Carly, Lily and Kate bundled together to watch the sunrise over the mountains. We sat there in awe of the beauty we got to witness first hand. We spent about another hour up on the dunes doing gymnastics (with Kate’s expert guidance), running off the dunes and jumping around before we headed back for a huge brunch of pancakes, eggs, bacon and hash browns. We can’t wait for our backpacking section and the beauty we find there!


Until next time,

Stay safe and have fun,

We know we will!

Emma and Bill



A Quick Update from this Band of Radical Rafters!

July 20, 2018

Wow! Time has really flown since we grabbed this hilarious group of kiddos at the airport and started off on our adventures! We just finished up our white water rafting down the Arkansas River in Browns Canyon. We had a great time paddling, swimming, playing games and camping along the river.

Our put-in spot was luckily near some awesome waves that our guides helped us surf. Ali and Andrew were in the front of the first raft and got the best ride in the wave and were smiling ear to ear when the waves crashed over the front of our raft and completely soaked them! Any nerves we had were quickly washed away after surfing and we were ready to head down the river towards the rapids. Carly and Lily, the lead paddlers for the second raft, handled the rapids flawlessly, paddling together and staying cool, calm and collected. John kept us all laughing with his attempts to stay balanced on the outside tube while the boat spun in circles. On the other hand, Ollie impressed us all with his balance skills as he stayed standing while we all tried to knock him off.

Along the way, we stopped for a delicious lunch of wraps, fruit, salsa and guacamole. While we waited, Will got everyone playing a game he invented which was a combination of beach volleyball and dodgeball. Stanton and Kate were the star players and had everyone cheering them on by the end of the game.

After lunch we had a leisurely float down the river which allowed all of us to go swimming and float a while. Harris even earned some practice as a raft guide!

Once we arrived at camp, one of our guides took us on a short hike to get a beautiful view of the river. Afterwards, we decided we hadn’t had enough of the river and headed back out to swim and float some more. Johnny and William were anxious to break in their fly rods, but despite their best efforts have yet to catch a fish, which hasn’t bothered them one bit.

The following day we were ready for bigger rapids and were not disappointed! The group favorite was Zoom Floom, a technical class three rapid. By the end of the day we were all exhausted and ready for some delicious tacos for dinner.

We can’t wait for ziplining and the adventures that lie ahead.

Until next time

Stay safe and have fun

We know we will,

Emma and Bill

Safe and Sound!

July 17, 2018

Hello Colorado Trail Families!

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

Moondance HQ


  • Stanton
  • Carly
  • Kate
  • John
  • Ali
  • Will
  • William
  • Harris
  • Johnny
  • Lily
  • Ollie
  • Andrew