Field Notes

Midnight Sun 1 • June 12-June 25, 2018

A Final Farewell from Alaska!

June 26, 2018

Hi everyone, Findley and Mary Frances here checking in one last time!

On our last night in Anchorage, Jack, Cooper, and Kathryn helped us set up camp like clockwork at our campsite after we got off the long van ride back from Chitina. We then “carbo loaded”, as Jane called it, for dinner with Mac n cheese, pasta, ramen, and summer sausage. Sadie then helped organize snack bags for everyone’s long night of travel the next day. We then had some time to relax a bit, as Wills, Cade, Edward, and Bonnie enjoyed some frisbee time, and we got to hear all about the end of May’s mystery book! As we settled in to Moonup, Max finally deemed it a worthy occasion to bring out his camp chair, and it fully lived up to the expectations we all had. The next day we got all packed and ready to go, and then hit the Anchorage Farmer’s Market, where Reily and many others insisted on getting thoughtful gifts for family members. We then had our final banquet at the famous local pizza spot, and all headed off to the airport. Here we spent our last moments together, had our last Moonup, said our goodbyes and shared contact information, and all headed home our separate ways.

We truly cannot thank you enough for sharing your children with us this summer. Saying goodbye to them was easily the hardest part of the trip for us, as our trip quickly started to feel like family. We hope you all have a great rest of your summer, and we will always welcome all of your children to reach out for anything, we’re only a phone call away!

Sincerely,

Findley and Mary Frances


Ahoy from the high seas of the Chitna River!

June 25, 2018

This is Findley and Mary Frances here checking in.

We just got off the river today, and we had such an amazing time! May and Jack were incredible as LOD’s on day one – getting everyone packed and ready for our adventure. Max helped things move much quicker by assisting us in packing our group gear. Showing that he is a true team player. After Wills and Co finished the last of the cheese balls, we hopped on our rafts right outside McCarthy in Wrangell-St. Elias on the chilly Kennicott River, which comes straight out of the Kennicott Glacier!

We splashed through whitewater all day, eventually leaving the Kennicott River after it merged with the Nizina River. Then we found ourselves sailing through the twisting Nizina Canyon. It was breathtaking! That night we camped on a beautiful riverbed and had time to sit around a fire, while Jane and Reily helped lead us in our favorite group games, and Sadie tried her first banana boat at dessert! The next morning we popped right up and scooted down the river to a gorgeous campsite off the wide Chitna River, where Bonnie and Cooper became experts in bocce ball, and Cade established himself as the champion of rafting tug of war, a fun game introduced to us by our guides.

Our next few days were full of sunny weather and river giggles! We’re currently on our way back to anchorage for a final Moonup, banquet, and some surprises! While the drive is a little lengthy, DJ’s Kathryn and Edward have queued up jams ranging from Tarzan to 80’s rock hits!

We can’t believe two weeks have flown by and can’t thank you enough for sharing your kids with us this summer!!


Ice Climbing Adventures

June 20, 2018

MayF and Findley here to update you all on our latest excursion – backpacking through the tundra! We began our adventure Friday morning touring the Kennecot mines and learning about how everything was done back then. From there we hit the trail!

 

Cade and Jane were our LOD’s and they definitely set the tone for our five day adventure. Jane lead us in a Ronald McDonald chant to get us pumped up while Cade made sure everyone got a high five. We were at our first camp site in no time and feasted on Pad Thai cooked by our “Club Pad Thai” cook group whom, despite crummy weather, turned dinner time into a party!

 

The next morning, we rolled out of our sleeping bags and headed to the Root Glacier for some ice climbing! After learning about glacier safety and getting a tutorial from our guides, we were off! Bonnie was the first student to start belaying kids and she encouraged everyone all the way up! Sadie was the first to crush the toughest route in the group as well and Wills was the first to finish all three. After a few hours of ice climbing, we hiked back for a pesto pasta dinner to load up for a big day of backpacking! The next morning, we hiked down to the Root Glacier again, strapped on our crampons and walked across three miles of glacier ice! From there, we trekked up a glacial moraine and a few more miles of bush whacking. Jack was leading the way in the front helping set pace and ensuring everyone was getting enough to eat and drink during our breaks. May, our LOD, was essential keeping a positive group dynamic up and being the first to help someone put their backpack on. Reily played a huge role in group morale on the uphill section leading us all in the trail game “21”, a crowd favorite. When we got to our campsite, Edward, Jack, and Cade did a polar plunge into the glacially fed lake to celebrate our triumph!

The following day, we did a day hike to get a closer look at the Gates Glacier and even saw a bear! We didn’t get too many pictures because she was pretty far away but we did watch her go for a swim in some chilly lake water! On our hike, our LOD’s Edward, Cooper, and Kathryn were tasked with finding the way back to camp while the leaders shadowed, and we made it back safe and sound!

Our final morning was chilly but we picked up camp quick and boogied out in record time! When we returned to our front country site, Max was extremely helpful with getting camp set up and gear deissued among the group. Our night ended with a surprise dinner at the local McCarthy favorite, The Potato!

 

We’re off to raft tomorrow and can’t believe we have only 4 days of activities left. We are so grateful you’ve decided to share your kids with us this summer!


The Start of the Last Frontier Exploration!

June 15, 2018

Findley and May Fray here checking in after a jam packed first few days! Everyone arrived in Anchorage Tuesday night anything, but jet lagged and ready for action! Kathryn jumped in ready to go teaching the group a game while we waited on our other teammates arrive and get their bags. We then feasted on pizza and cheese balls headed to our first campsite. From there, we had our first Moonup discussing what brought us together this summer and how we were going to get the most out of the summer. Then we were off to bed!

The next morning, our LODs, Jack and Bonnie set the bar high! They helped us efficiently travel from Anchorage to our rafting put-in. We set up camp and our raft guides helped us get fitted for dry suits to stay toasty in the glacially fed river. Then after a short bus ride, we hit the water! Though it was Cooper’s first-time rafting, she led the group in strokes and even rode the bull on the front of the boat.

For dinner, we set up shop near the river in an open area to bathe in the sun and eat some barbecue chicken sandwiches. Sadie made a vegetarian option of barbecue beans and cauliflower that was the first to go! As the cook crew worked away, Max brought out the Hacky-sack and taught the group some games.

In our Moonup, we discussed the legacy we wanted to leave with our loved ones and were off to bed for a busy day of travel and backpack prep.

The next day, our stellar LODs Reily and Edward woke up everyone in the group with giggles and started the day off right. We packed into another bus and headed to Wrangell St. Elias National Forest. It was a beautiful ride as we listened to the playlist we curated as a group. We then took a bush plane in smaller groups from Chitina through the Wrangell Mountains and to McCarthy. We were able to scope out the Root Glacier and the Donoho Basin which we will be exploring over the next couple of days! In our down moments, Wills was able to fire off riddles and corny jokes to keep spirits high!

Before dinner we were busy with backpacking preparation and carb-loading with pasta! May knocked it out of the park helping determine portions and delegating tasks for the cook crew. Meanwhile, Cade and Jane took charge with group gear including personal trash bags with their own artistic flare!

We’ve had so much fun these past few days and can’t wait for backpacking and ice climbing tomorrow! Until then!


Students

  • Reily
  • Kathryn
  • Sadie
  • Max
  • Edward
  • Cade
  • May
  • Cooper
  • Bonnie
  • Jack
  • Jane
  • Wills

Staff