Field Notes

Pacific Northwest 2A • July 6-July 26, 2018

Sad Goodbyes from the Pacific Northwest!

July 26, 2018

“The best kind of people are the ones that come into your life, and make you see the sun where you once saw clouds. The people that believe in you so much, you start to believe in you too. The people that love you, simply for being you. The once in a lifetime kind of people.” -Kate Lattey

 

Wow, Jack and I can’t believe this trip has flown by! Our time in the Pacific Northwest has come to a close, but the memories, laughs, and new friends we have made will last a lifetime. Here is a recap on the last few days of our trip! On Sunday evening we traveled back to Washington. For dinner, the kids battled it out with a game of Iron Chef. The kids were broken into two groups. Group 1: Ellie, Caroline, Charlotte, Will and Robbie v. Group 2: Catherine, Hannah, Blake, Jack H. and James. Jack and I had the pleasure of being the judges. Charlotte, Ellie and Caroline made hash browns for an appetizer, while Will and Robbie made us delicious spaghetti with a side of garlic bread. James, Jack H. and  Blake made us spicy Cheetos burritos. Catherine and Hannah made chocolate chip pancakes for dessert. After much deliberation and recovery from a food coma, Group 1 was the winner of Iron Chef! This evening, Caroline and Will led a heartfelt Moonup reflecting on our favorite memories from the trip.

 

On Monday we headed to our last campsite, spent the afternoon preparing for our departure from Seattle. Once we finished packing we went to get ice cream for a well-deserved treat, which was so good!! After ice cream, we went to Goodwill to pick out outrageous outfits for banquet. Banquet was held at Dirty Dave’s Pizza Parlor, in which we splurged on over 4 large pizzas. Our last Moonup was filled with endless laughter and reflection on what this trip meant to each of us.

 

As trip leaders we cannot thank all the parents enough for sending your 10 wonderful children on this trip. We feel confident that this trip was as incredible for them as it was for us! Jack and I hope to see their familiar faces on Moondance trips in the future.

 

Until next time,

Kelly and Jack


Rafting Rocks!

July 25, 2018

Greeting from the Deschutes River!! The squad has left the Deschutes River after two spectacular days of paddling. It’s been extremely warm here but luckily the water was refreshingly cold. Many kids spent more time in the water than on the raft (cough cough Charlotte and Hannah).

 

Our rafting trip started off with Hannah and James being our leaders of the day. They pumped the crew up to spend the next two days on the river. Caroline, Ellie, Blake and Jack H. helped the guides pump up rafts and carry them to the water. With great communication and hard work we were on the river in no time. We floated down the river telling stories and playing games until lunch. For lunch we had delicious sandwiches with fresh veggies. After lunch, the afternoon was filled with water gun fights between the rafts and playing “king of the raft”. We stopped at a local rock spot called “jump rock”. Robbie, Will and Charlotte were thrilled to jump off the 20 foot rock into the river. To end our paddling for the day we were able to swim down a Class III rapid called Buckskin Mary. We camped next to the river that had incredible views of basaltic rock cliffs. After dinner, we played an intense game of mafia. Our Moonup this night was especially moving. Hannah and James prompted everyone to talk about the hardest thing they have ever gone through. Jack and I were extremely impressed on the willingness of each student to open up during this Moonup. It was quite an amazing moment! Everyone fell asleep looking at the calm starry sky and listening to the river flow.

 

The second day of rafting started off bright and early. Catherine, James and Will helped prepare a granola, yogurt and berry parfait breakfast. After breakfast, we played fun games to hype the group up for another day on the river. We were on the river early and ready to crush some gnarly Class III and IV rapids. Many students had the opportunity to “ride the bull,” which was sitting on the front of the raft through rapids. We were done rafting by lunch and ready to reflect on the past three weeks together.

 

Here are a few shoutouts from our group:

 

Charlotte: My favorite part of the trip was rock climbing! I am having so much fun and love my leaders.

 

James: The best part of the trip was climbing Smith Rock, I am having a very good time.

 

Robbie: My favorite part of the trip was white water rafting. I’m having a great time and love my group.

 

Caroline: I am having lots of fun! the best part of the trip was rafting miss you guys!

 

Catherine: Loving the trip so far! My favorite part of the trip is kayaking!!!!! Love and miss u guys!

 

Hannah: I have had so much fun these past three weeks and have taken so much from this trip! My favorite part of the trip was getting to the top of Smith Rock while rock climbing.

 

William: I’ve been having a great time, rock climbing was my favorite part of the trip, and my leaders are amazing. Can’t wait to see guys!

 

Blake: hey mom and pop, rock climbing was sick. Can’t wait to see y’all and Scout.

 

ellie: my favorite part of the trip was rafting, it was a lot of fun. miss you; having a blast.

 

Jack: hey mom and dad I just wanted to tell you I’m having a blast, love you guys so much!

 

With love,

 

Kelly and Jack


Monkey's Face!

July 22, 2018

7/14/18

Hello family and friends!

 

“Hiking is a bit like life: The journey only requires you to put one foot in front of the other… again and again and again. And if you allow yourself the opportunity to be present throughout the entirety of the trek, you will witness beauty every step of the way, not just at the summit.”

 

With sore bodies and stinky clothes PNW A has officially come off the trail and left the North Cascades National Park. There is much to be proud considering we backpacked almost 40 miles! Backpacking is undoubtedly one of the more challenging sections of this trip. Jack and I are very proud of how well each student adapted to living in the outdoors, free of many amenities of daily life.

 

Before we left for backpacking the group traveled to the ranger station in order to pick up our permits and bear-proof food canisters. Our first leaders of the day, also known as LODs, were Jack and Hannah. They were extremely excited to meet the rangers and review the 3-D map of our planned route. After we left the ranger station we headed to our next campsite to prep for backpacking. For dinner Charlotte, Hannah and Robbie made yummy burrito bowls that the group highly enjoyed.

 

The next morning started off bright and early with the new LODs, Catherine and James, pumping up the group for backpacking! We took a water taxi to the trailhead to start hiking. It dropped us off at a rocky beach that overlooked Ross Lake and beautiful snowcapped mountains. The first 3 miles of our journey were slow as kids needed time to adjust to the weight on their backs. Our packs were heavy; each individual had to carry group gear and personal gear, as well as six days’ worth of food. We took many breaks along the way to refuel with snacks and to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. When the group made it to our first campsite everyone was exhausted and ready to eat. Catherine, James and Will made a delicious chicken and rice dinner that the group scarfed down.

 

We had beautiful weather for our second day of backpacking. We crushed the four miles to our next campsite. As we approached our campsite we were greeted by a mama black bear and her cub! Blake was excited since seeing a bear was #1 on his list of goals. Once we arrived at the campsite Robbie and Caroline encouraged everyone to go swimming in the refreshingly chilly water of Ross Lake. For dinner Ellie, Caroline, Jack and Blake cooked a yummy spaghetti and veggie dinner. We went to sleep early to prepare for our alpine start up Desolation.

 

One of the highlights and most challenging parts of our backpacking trip was summiting Desolation Peak. We woke up at midnight to complete the 13.6 mile hike. Desolation Peak is 4,400 vertical feet climb to the summit. It was a wild time! Robbie and James pumped up the group during breakfast with their positive spirit and excitement for the hike. Charlotte continued to motivate the group during the tough ascend up the mountain. At the top of Desolation there is a fire tower for rangers to look for wildfires. The kids were thrilled to meet the ranger and look inside the fire tower. Before descending, the students enjoyed a treat: sour patch kids- a surprise addition for our backpacking adventure. After we made it back our campsite everyone enjoyed M&M pancakes and a good night’s rest.

 

Over the past week our kids were taught how to pack a pack, Leave No Trace (LNT) principles, Expedition Behavior and how to cook in the backcountry. Ellie was extremely helpful with preparing meals for the group. Some our favorite meals were backcountry pizza and pad thai.

 

After a nice day of rest and some refreshing showers, we are off to sea kayak the San Juan Islands!

 

-Kelly and Jack

 

7/18/2018

 

Hello from San Juan Island!

We are back from what was an incredible three days of sea kayaking with an extraordinary group. It is powerful to see how this group has broken out of their shells and come together as one. It is hard to believe the trip is already half way through!

After some much needed showers, ice cream, and relaxation from 6 days of backpacking through the North Cascades, we boarded a ferry to San Juan Island and were officially on “island time.” We met our guides Ryder and Cam in a nearby park to receive our dry bags and discuss the safety protocols of kayaking and what to expect. After our talk, the group played a quick game of pickup basketball in the park where James showed off his skills. The group then decided to explore the quaint town of Friday  Harbor, going through the local farmers market and looking in some of the shops. To beat the heat, Hannah, Robbie, Catherine, and Caroline bought the group water guns, and we returned to the park where a water gun fight commenced. Will bought the group a football and we headed back to the campsite at San Juan County Park and played endless games of football and ultimate frisbee with views of the ocean and the snow capped mountains of Canada in the background. We had a meaningful Moonup on the ocean during a magnificent sunset.

We awoke in the morning to the sound of the waves and excitement was in the air as we prepared for our first day of paddling. Ryder and Cam prepared us a delicious lunch in Friday Harbor and after our stomachs were full we headed out onto the ocean. There was not a cloud in the sky, giving us a clear view of Mt. Baker and the surrounding islands. Although there was a learning curve on our 7 mile paddle to Jones Island, the students did a great job, especially Ellie as it was her first time in a Kayak! The group made it to Jones Island with time to relax and feast on a Mexican spread prepared by our guides. Blake spearheaded making the group a fire and we bonded over some s’mores and Moonup. The group went to bed full and happy after a great day of paddling.

Our second day of kayaking was another perfect weather day. Blue sky and glassy water greeted us in the morning after breakfast for a leisurely day of exploring. Ryder and Cam taught us about the ebb and flow of the ocean and how it can affect our day of kayaking. They let Jack H. and Charlotte lead the group to Wasp Island for lunch on the beach, and they showed impressive leadership skills. The students were passionate about looking for Orcas, constantly scanning the horizon. Although we did not see any, we saw plenty of Harbor Seals and Bald Eagles over head which was quite the treat. Upon returning to Jones Island it was apparent this group is always looking for an adventure. Ryder took us for a hike around the island, teaching us about the unique ecosystem around us. Another delicious dinner and a game of ultimate frisbee during the sunset concluded a fantastic day of kayaking.

Today was the last day of kayaking and it was quite bittersweet. We were sad to say goodbye to Ryder and Cam, who after 3 days were a part of the group. However we had another spectacular weather day and the tide was in our favor. The group really showed Ryder and Cam our improvement as we cruised to our final destination. We had our final lunch with our guides in Roache Harbor and said our goodbyes.

Tomorrow we head to Oregon to prepare for rock climbing at the famous Smith Rock. Kelly and I are so proud of how this group has come together and it is an absolute pleasure to be their leaders. It is hard to believe the trip is over half way through but there is still some great adventure ahead!

Happy Trails,

Jack and Kelly

 

 

 

Helloooo from the deserts of Oregon!

The past 3 days have been incredible, to say the least. Our climbing adventure took us to Smith Rock State Park in Oregon. Once we arrived in Oregon, Catherine, Blake and Caroline found an awesome campsite that had unbelievable views of Smith Rock and the Crooked River. Will and James made us a delicious Mexican lunch that the whole group enjoyed after a lengthy car ride. After lunch, we headed to a local waterfall spot to cool off. Jack H., James and Charlotte filmed gnarly videos of themselves jumping off the waterfall.

The next day was our first day of climbing. Our climbing guides, Brady and Taylor, started the morning off teaching the students how to belay, tie climbing knots, and the basics of top rope climbing. With superb communication the group was belaying each other in no time! In the afternoon, Ellie tried a climb 3 different times.  With determination and perseverance, she completed the route on her final try. Ellie impressed everyone in the group with her ability to not give up. It was truly a WOW movement! In the evening we enjoyed a yummy chicken alfredo dinner made by Hannah, Robbie, and Charlotte.

We had beautiful, sunny weather for our second day of climbing. Our kids were enthusiastic to put their new climbing skills to work. We went to a new section of the Smith Rock called the Monument where the routes were longer and more technical. Jack H. and Will showed their love for climbing by completely crushing the morning routes! In the afternoon, we practiced rappelling for our next day of climbing. After 8 hours of hard work the group traveled to Bend for victory burgers and milkshakes. The groups’ favorite part of the day was stopping  at a local farm to feed alpacas! Once we arrived back to our campsite we watched the sun go down behind the beautiful volcanic tuff of Smith Rock. Two golden eagles flew right over our heads during Moonup. It was quite an amazing moment!

Today we woke up excited to climb the famous section of Smith Rock called Monkey’s Face. The climb began with a traverse. From the traverse, we climbed out of the monkey’s mouth and then up the monkey’s face. Once at the top, we rappelled down on our own belay device! Charlotte was the first to volunteer to go and she conquered the climb with grace. Hannah was hesitant to go at first, but with the encouragement from the entire group, she faced her fear and crushed the climb! Jack and I are incredibly proud of our kids for pushing themselves mentally and physically these past few days.

We are off to raft the Deschutes!

Until next time,

Kelly and Jake

 

 


Sea Kayaking Success!

July 18, 2018

Hello from San Juan Island!

We are back from what was an incredible three days of sea kayaking with an extraordinary group. It is powerful to see how this group has broken out of their shells and come together as one. It is hard to believe the trip is already half way through!

After some much needed showers, ice cream, and relaxation from 6 days of backpacking through the North Cascades, we boarded a ferry to San Juan Island and were officially on “island time.” We met our guides Ryder and Cam in a nearby park to receive our dry bags and discuss the safety protocols of kayaking and what to expect. After our talk, the group played a quick game of pickup basketball in the park where James showed off his skills. The group then decided to explore the quaint town of Friday  Harbor, going through the local farmers market and looking in some of the shops. To beat the heat, Hannah, Robbie, Catherine, and Caroline bought the group water guns, and we returned to the park where a water gun fight commenced. Will bought the group a football and we headed back to the campsite at San Juan County Park and played endless games of football and ultimate frisbee with views of the ocean and the snow capped mountains of Canada in the background. We had a meaningful Moonup on the ocean during a magnificent sunset.

We awoke in the morning to the sound of the waves and excitement was in the air as we prepared for our first day of paddling. Ryder and Cam prepared us a delicious lunch in Friday Harbor and after our stomachs were full we headed out onto the ocean. There was not a cloud in the sky, giving us a clear view of Mt. Baker and the surrounding islands. Although there was a learning curve on our 7 mile paddle to Jones Island, the students did a great job, especially Ellie as it was her first time in a Kayak! The group made it to Jones Island with time to relax and feast on a Mexican spread prepared by our guides. Blake spearheaded making the group a fire and we bonded over some s’mores and Moonup. The group went to bed full and happy after a great day of paddling.

Our second day of kayaking was another perfect weather day. Blue sky and glassy water greeted us in the morning after breakfast for a leisurely day of exploring. Ryder and Cam taught us about the ebb and flow of the ocean and how it can affect our day of kayaking. They let Jack H. and Charlotte lead the group to Wasp Island for lunch on the beach, and they showed impressive leadership skills. The students were passionate about looking for Orcas, constantly scanning the horizon. Although we did not see any, we saw plenty of Harbor Seals and Bald Eagles over head which was quite the treat. Upon returning to Jones Island it was apparent this group is always looking for an adventure. Ryder took us for a hike around the island, teaching us about the unique ecosystem around us. Another delicious dinner and a game of ultimate frisbee during the sunset concluded a fantastic day of kayaking.

Today was the last day of kayaking and it was quite bittersweet. We were sad to say goodbye to Ryder and Cam, who after 3 days were a part of the group. However we had another spectacular weather day and the tide was in our favor. The group really showed Ryder and Cam our improvement as we cruised to our final destination. We had our final lunch with our guides in Roache Harbor and said our goodbyes.

Tomorrow we head to Oregon to prepare for rock climbing at the famous Smith Rock. Kelly and I are so proud of how this group has come together and it is an absolute pleasure to be their leaders. It is hard to believe the trip is over half way through but there is still some great adventure ahead!

Happy Trails,

Jack and Kelly


Backpacking in the North Cascades!

July 14, 2018

Hello family and friends!

“Hiking is a bit like life: The journey only requires you to put one foot in front of the other… again and again and again. And if you allow yourself the opportunity to be present throughout the entirety of the trek, you will witness beauty every step of the way, not just at the summit.”

With sore bodies and stinky clothes PNW A has officially come off the trail and left the North Cascades National Park. There is much to be proud considering we backpacked almost 40 miles! Backpacking is undoubtedly one of the more challenging sections of this trip. Jack and I are very proud of how well each student adapted to living in the outdoors, free of many amenities of daily life.

Before we left for backpacking the group traveled to the ranger station in order to pick up our permits and bear-proof food canisters. Our first leaders of the day, also known as LODs, were Jack and Hannah. They were extremely excited to meet the rangers and review the 3-D map of our planned route. After we left the ranger station we headed to our next campsite to prep for backpacking. For dinner Charlotte, Hannah and Robbie made yummy burrito bowls that the group highly enjoyed.

The next morning started off bright and early with the new LODs, Catherine and James, pumping up the group for backpacking! We took a water taxi to the trailhead to start hiking. It dropped us off at a rocky beach that overlooked Ross Lake and beautiful snowcapped mountains. The first 3 miles of our journey were slow as kids needed time to adjust to the weight on their backs. Our packs were heavy; each individual had to carry group gear and personal gear, as well as six days’ worth of food. We took many breaks along the way to refuel with snacks and to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. When the group made it to our first campsite everyone was exhausted and ready to eat. Catherine, James and Will made a delicious chicken and rice dinner that the group scarfed down.

We had beautiful weather for our second day of backpacking. We crushed the four miles to our next campsite. As we approached our campsite we were greeted by a mama black bear and her cub! Blake was excited since seeing a bear was #1 on his list of goals. Once we arrived at the campsite Robbie and Caroline encouraged everyone to go swimming in the refreshingly chilly water of Ross Lake. For dinner Ellie, Caroline, Jack and Blake cooked a yummy spaghetti and veggie dinner. We went to sleep early to prepare for our alpine start up Desolation.

One of the highlights and most challenging parts of our backpacking trip was summiting Desolation Peak. We woke up at midnight to complete the 13.6 mile hike. Desolation Peak is 4,400 vertical feet climb to the summit. It was a wild time! Robbie and James pumped up the group during breakfast with their positive spirit and excitement for the hike. Charlotte continued to motivate the group during the tough ascend up the mountain. At the top of Desolation there is a fire tower for rangers to look for wildfires. The kids were thrilled to meet the ranger and look inside the fire tower. Before descending, the students enjoyed a treat: sour patch kids- a surprise addition for our backpacking adventure. After we made it back our campsite everyone enjoyed M&M pancakes and a good night’s rest.

Over the past week our kids were taught how to pack a pack, Leave No Trace (LNT) principles, Expedition Behavior and how to cook in the backcountry. Ellie was extremely helpful with preparing meals for the group. Some our favorite meals were backcountry pizza and pad thai.

After a nice day of rest and some refreshing showers, we are off to sea kayak the San Juan Islands!

-Kelly and Jack

 


Safe Arrival in Seattle!

July 6, 2018

Hello Pacific Northwest Families!

We have heard from Jack and Kelly – All students arrived safely in Seattle and the group is headed to their first campsite. Stay tuned for more news from their adventures.

  • Moondance HQ

Students

  • Will
  • Ellie
  • James
  • Hannah
  • Blake
  • Caroline
  • Jack
  • Charlotte
  • Catherine
  • Robbie

Staff