July 28, 2018
“Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. “Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.” – Albert Camus (Mason picked this quote out)
Rejuvenated after backpacking by showers, chipotle, and ice cream, we made our way to the coast for our last activity. Early the next morning, we jumped on an early ferry to San Juan Island where we met our (AMAZING) guides for expedition kayaking! Ryder and Hannah (the guides) equipped us with dry bags and we headed back to camp to prep for our trip the next day. Mason, Camille, and Anna made us a pasta dinner with sausage and veggies while the rest of us soaked up the sunset view off the west coast of the island, overlooking the Canadian Landscape. Long after the sun had set, there was a lingering red-orange haze hovering over the horizon while we did Moonup on the bluff.
The next morning, after loading up our boats with food and gear, we set off out of the harbor toward our first island destination. As we pulled out of the harbor, Molly and Brooks were in multiple kayak races against Margaux and Peter that almost always ended in a bumper boat splash war. Eventually, the group pulled out of the harbor and set off for the open channel. We faced some really tough winds and strong currents for about 1.5 hours straight before stopping for lunch. We were so proud of the group for paddling non-stop through the surprisingly difficult waters! It was physically one of the most difficult moments of the trip, but everyone made it to the beach with positive attitudes. It was awesome to see how the group worked together through the few miles on the water.
After a bit of deliberating, we decided to spend the next few days on San Juan Island instead of expedition kayaking between islands. While some groups might have been disappointed, this group rallied together and made the best of the next three days! Everybody was excited to stay on the island and explore parts that we wouldn’t have seen otherwise. Zoe was back in full action, bubbly as ever, and we headed out for a day of adventure around the island. We did a day hike through historic American Camp overlooking the southern end of San Juan Island, and climbed all the way up to the top of a mountain overlooking the Olympics to the East! The group spent the rest of the day mastering the hacky-sack, running around camp, playing volleyball, swimming, and eating ice cream. Later that night, and as a surprise for the kids, Ryder and Hannah were able to get us on a whale watching boat through San Juan Outfitters! The boat had two naturalists who were marine biologist experts, and they oriented us with where we were in the islands and what kind of wildlife we were looking at. About an hour into the boat ride, we saw a pod of orca whales! There were a few pods together and it looked to have about 7-8 orcas swimming together. The orcas were HUGE! We even got the chance to watch them hunt a seal and attack it as a group. We followed the pod for a few hours, completely in awe, before turning back to the main island. On the boat ride back, we snapped a picture of the group’s infamous dog piles, in which Carly was snuggled with Camille and Zoe, piled on top of Margaux, Anna, and Maddox, with Brooks and Mason thrown in there somewhere, and a huge pile of down blankets thrown around to block the wind. Peter and Teddy, while not thrown into the dog pile, chimed in for our karaoke session on the windy ride back to the island, and it was a perfect end to a perfect day! Anna and Maddox decided that was their favorite part of the trip, and they were so happy to have had the chance to go whale watching and spend time out on the water. (I would say the group was in full agreement!!) In the end, it was awesome to watch the group make the most of an unexpected weekend, and Lucas and I are so proud of each and every kid.
For our last morning on the island, the group got sit-on-top kayaks and stand up paddleboards, and we paddled around a few of the smaller islands within the harbor. Peter, Teddy, Brooks, and Mason got in a huge paddle war, and their ultimate goal was to knock Molly off of the stand-up paddleboard. The rest of the girls were busy collecting crabs and having their very own seaweed war. It was such a beautiful morning exploring out on the water, and the best way to end an activity.
We are headed back from the islands, ready to spend our last few days together before airport day!
Molly and Lucas
July 26, 2018
Apologies on the delay, here is the climbing update!
“I believe that courage is all too often mistakenly seen as the absence of fear. If you descend by ropes from a cliff and are not fearful to some degree, you are either crazy or unaware. Courage is seeing your fear, in a realistic perspective, defining it, considering alternatives, and choosing to function in spite of risks.” – Leonard Zunin
Anna, as LOD, picked that quote for us as we faced the big Monkey Face climb this week!! It is safe to say that we all felt some degree of fear while climbing, however I was incredibly proud of everyone for getting on the wall and facing this fear. It is rare to see a group where all 12 traversed to the Monkey Face, climbed, and repelled down. Lucas and I felt like proud parents!
Our first day at Smith Rock started with some introduction climbs at the North Point where the group learned how to tie themselves in and belay each other. It was awesome to see how the boys (Peter, Brooks, Teddy, and Mason) supported each other as they each attempted to climb the basalt wall. They were super encouraging and motivating, making it a great day of climbing. Watching Peter dance and sing on his way down while rappelling is one of my favorite moments of the trip so far! Brooks spent the days climbing nonstop, and was always one of the first ones to try a new route. The group decided that Teddy was a beast at belaying, but I would argue he was like a silent ninja scaling up the routes as well! While the boys bonded together and pushed each other, the girls absolutely dominated this week. Margaux was the only kid to crush the route with a mandatory hand jam, and we were super impressed when Margaux, Anna, and Maddox made their way through some gnarly 5.10 climbs the next day! Camille and Carly even lifted Zoë up off the ground to help her start a 5.9 climb on our second day. It was the best (and most entertaining) example of expedition behavior/teamwork we’ve seen on the trip so far! Shout out to Camille for being the first one of the group to rappel 40 feet down to the ground, dominating her fear of heights!!!
In the afternoons, we spent our time making friendship bracelets, napping, reading, and playing incredibly intense games of mafia. After our first day of climbing, we headed out to a local watering hole along the Deschutes river to cool off. I was shocked when the kids just jumped off the 20 foot cliff jump, one by one, with absolutely no hesitation! We swam around in the fresh Deschutes water, jumped off waterfalls, and laid out in the sun. It was such a beautiful day, finished with a perfect Moonup along the cliffs overlooking all of Smith Rock.
After fully sending some routes on the second day, we took time for a town visit in Bend. We went to a local food truck stop, fueled up on gourmet grilled cheese and burgers, and then went to get gelato downtown. (The best gelato I’ve ever had in my whole life!!!!) Camille and Anna led Moonup that night, where we all talked about someone that inspires us. With each Moonup, I can see this group becoming more comfortable opening up to each other and it’s really exciting to watch. We already love these kids so much!!
Today, our last day at Smith Rock, consisted of an early morning hike up Misery Ridge to the Monkey Face where we spent the rest of the day climbing. The climb started with a 30ft traverse across to the stand alone needle called the Monkey Face, where the climb starts. The first move was to climb out of the Monkey’s mouth and up a 5.7 pitch to the eyes, where they then rappel down to Lucas on the ground. Mason was the first kid to volunteer to go, and we were all impressed by his bravery and confidence! Each person in our group crushed the traverse and really pushed themselves on the climb! Despite the warm rocks and the holds were greased with sweat, nobody backed out! Even Carly and Camille, who were shaking with fear as they got to the monkey’s mouth, managed to push themselves out and onto the wall. It was such an incredible moment!! We were lucky to have guides that were very supportive and made everyone feel safe and comfortable. It was such a good day of climbing, conquering fears, and teamwork, and it will always be one of my favorite days of the trip (I can already tell!)
We are already headed North for the Cascades, and will be starting our trip into the backcountry soon.
Lots of love,
Molly and Lucas
Here are some quick shout outs to our biggest fans!! (aka parents)
I miss you all so much! The PNW is so beautiful and fun! I survived rock climbing:).
lots of Love, Anna
Hi mom and dad!! It’s pretty rad in the middle of oregon. I love to climb, I love my leaders, and I miss tobie -love largemarge
Hey fam! Sup, hows life, cuz it’s sickkkk over here, rafting and climbing was totally tubular. I miss Boston, hope to see you soon. Love you guys.
– ya boi (b-rooks)
hey mom dad and everyone else i’m having so much fun! i did monkeys face bye miss you – camille
hey mom it’s peter had fun rafting and climbing is oregon, it looks a lot like Texas – love peter
hey Mr/Mrs.Woodworth I love and miss you guys. I want france and I’m having loads of fun. ????????
Love, Mr. Thomas Edwin Wodworth
Mom I love and miss you incredibly and can’t wait to see you again love you lots Love, Mason
Hey Gaines fam,
I’m having an amazing time and it’s all worth possibly losing my position on snapchat DA. Remember to be nice to socks and feed her. I did monkeys face today and it was SO SCARY. Tell Margot and Risley I miss them.
love and miss you all, chubs.
Momma I miss you so much! Happy late birthday!!! Have fun on the river! Love you so much-Maddox
Hi Mama and Daddy- I’m having so much fun. Rafting and climbing was awesome and I miss you guys so much. love, Margaux
July 21, 2018
Hellloooo, we are covered in dirt, sweat and maybe a few tears (@Desolation) but the crew of PNW 2C has made it off the trail and out of the North Cascades. Backpacking was phenomenal! We were blessed with 6 days of sunny skies, warm weather, and crisp cool water to swim in. Here’s a quick recap:
It took a few days of travel to get from rock climbing to the cascades but once we arrived it was full steam ahead. We spent a whole day prepping and learning all sorts of skills that would be put into practice once we ventured into the backcountry (stoves, bear safety, setting up a tarp, water filtration, etc). The next day we hit the trail and hiked a mile down to where the water taxi would pick us up and haul us to the trailhead. The first hike was a cruise under the fearless leadership of Teddy and Carly. We set up camp, ate some much anticipated Ramen, swam at the lake, played king of the log on a floating log nearby, and had Moonup on the shore next to our newly made Australian friends.
The next day we woke up to a beautiful sunrise and hiked along rocky cliffs to our next campsite at Lightning Creek. We swam and relaxed for most the afternoon before a dinner of pasta and sausage and an early Moonup to give us the rest we needed for Desolation the following morning. We woke up at midnight and set off under a milky starry sky under the aid of our headlamps. 7 miles of trail and nearly a mile of elevation gain stood in the way of us and the coveted firetower lookout (Jack Kerouac’s former residence) atop Desolation Peak.
Peter and Anna were chosen as LODs for this day because of their enthusiasm and attitudes. Camille and Carly told some great stories to pass the time as we hiked uphill. Anna did a phenomenal job motivating the crew and after 5 long hours we reached the peak just as the sun was peeping over Hozomeen Mtn to the east. Margaux literally sprinted the last 100 yards to make it up in time. Mason, Carly Teddy and Anna were asleep before I could take a full look around. Zoë and Brooks played an intense game of cards at 6100 feet above sea level. Jim, the forest ranger showed us around his 100 square foot home and taught the kids how to look for signs of wildfires (he even made me some of the most delicious coffee I’ve ever had).
The group ate some surprise candy at the top, signed the guest book, said goodbye to Jim, and started down the mountain. We returned to our camp, (saw a beautiful large brown bear on the trail!) and ate some delicious Oreo pancakes (thanks to Molly!) whilst we swam and napped the afternoon away.
The next day was a tough one physically. We had 6 miles mostly uphill and had pretty sore legs from Desolation. Brooks and Maddox pushed us hard and we eventually got to our creekside campsite. We slept well after a round of hot cocoa and apple cider.
Margaux and Mason were LODs on the last full day of backpacking. It was a nice hike and we hiked it spread apart from each other for personal reflection and introspective thought. We rolled into camp at Hozomeen Lake with the entirety of this pristine alpine lake to ourselves. Teddy, Margaux, Brooks, Zoë, and Mason set out and swam across the lake (only to find it was a lot farther away then they originally thought). The rest of us swam, snacked on summer sausage and cheese, read our books, and journaled with a spectacular view before us.
The last night was bittersweet as most of the kids were pretty tired, ready to shower, and drink non iodine water….. but most of them admitted that backpacking was a pretty awesome, mentally and physically difficult, and very memorable experience.
We woke up early the last day and hiked straight to Canada!! Brooks, our resident Canadian Citizen welcomed us across the border singing “O Canada” and we ate Oreos as illegal aliens in a foreign land. We wrapped up our backpacking trip with a water taxi back to the van and drive to get some homemade ice cream right down the road. Backpacking had its up and downs but Molly and I really enjoyed watching everyone take every footstep with such boldness and enthusiasm, learning new things along the way— Such great attitudes all around! We’re off to the coast to begin our last activity: Kayaking in the San Juan Islands. Here are some shoutouts from the crew:
Hey fam we just finished backpacking and it was so fun I’ve never walked so far but I think it was the prettiest place I’ve ever been; I miss and love you guys so much- love Margaux
hi krums we just finished backpacking.I’m having so much fun and I hope all is well in nash. -zoë
Hi mom and dad it is me. I don’t know if you got my postcard yet. Love you guys! —— Mason.V
Hey family, we just went backpacking and it was beautiful. I miss you guys so much! LYTP-Maddox
Sup it’s ya boi, moondance is pretty lit we just finished backpacking it was cool. You guys would have liked the views. Hope to see you soon – B-rooks
Hey mom and dad, love you and miss you. I just finished backpacking. Love Teddy
Hey mom and dad it’s Peter we just finished backpacking, it was fun and we are leaving the north cascades to go sea kayaking- love Peter
Hey family!!! We just finished six eventful days of backpacking. Right now we’re on our way to get real food and shower. I’m very exited about that because my hair has reached its greasiness max. All of our campsites were amazing, one even looked like mako island.
Miss you all, Carly.
hey everyone we just finished day 6 of backpacking!!! going to get showers and some actual food now. can’t wait to see y’all and eat some jalisco on thursday -Camille
Backpacking was so amazing! It’s like I was in a fairytale forest. It’s so good to drink water without iodine and shower. We’re on our way to Chipotle. Miss you tons!
Peace and Love,
Molly & Lucas
July 9, 2018
“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.”
-Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
Helllloooo from the wondrous desert of Oregon!! The crew has just gotten off the Deshutes River after a fantastic two days of paddling. It’s been toasty out here but luckily the water was icy cold and it seemed like some of us (cough cough Mason and Zoe) spent more time in the water than on the raft!
Before rafting we spent the night near Olympia after picking up folks from the airport. We munched down on pizza, played a pretty epic game of soccer and started the trip off in a great way. Maddox and Brooks were our first LODs (leaders of the day) and did a spectacular job getting the crew going, putting up and taking down tents, and keeping us on schedule as we headed to Oregon. Peter, Teddy, Carly and Zoe cooked for us on the first day. They whipped up some sausage, egg and cheese English muffins for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch (with a dope view of Mt. Hood) and some quesadillas with beans and rice for dinner. We had our first Moonup on the banks of the river with a clear starry sky overhead. We met our awesome guides, inflated the rafts, rigged up some gear, and prepped for the journey ahead.
The next morning we woke up early to get a full day on the river and get 27 miles downstream to where we would camp. Teddy and a Margaux served as LODs. Within a few seconds of being on the river most of the kids had opted to jump into the water. Camille and Zoe were in my boat and needed some friendly encouragement but we all were swimming before too long.
Since we were divided into two boats, the following hours became a mixture of friendly splashing war. It was sooooo much fun! Our raft guides were amazed to hear that this was our first activity and had assumed the kids knew each other for weeks already by the way they interacted.
During most of the rapids we were able to send a few folks to the front of the raft to “ride the bull” and face the river head on. Teddy was probably king of the raft by the end of the day due to his ability to sneak up and push them into the water. We stopped by jump rock and all took the 20 foot plunge over and over again.
After a full day of trying in various ways, Zoe, Camille, Peter, Brooks and Maddox (Maddox claims she was neutral but I have my doubts) were able to push me off the boat. A bit of a mutiny ensued, as I looked over and saw Margaux and Anna tossing Molly in the water at the same time. It was a blast!
For the last rapid of the day, our guides let us leave the comfort of the raft and swim through the whitewater. We swam out into the river single file like a group of ducklings following our raft guide (momma duck) and we were tossed around through the thrilling wave train before we swam to camp just downstream.
We camped on the river bank, ate some delicious red curry and rice, played a most intense game of Mafia and went to bed after a great Moonup.
The last day on the river was a continuation of the shenanigans and nonsense that kept us entertained and laughing constantly. We went through a series of class III and IV rapids. All was well and we cruised into our final destination right on time, got everything cleaned up and ate a final lunch before we waved our guides and the Deschutes River goodbye. Peter and Margaux (LODs for the day) were instrumental in leading the crew to unpack and load up the rafts.
The squad are headed to Smith Rock for 3 days of climbing in our van named “The Kidnapper” (they picked the name). Ahead of us there lies some gnarly rock just waiting to be crushed by this wonderful group. Molly and I can already tell what a joyous and crazy trip is ahead of us and we are so excited and thankful to be adventuring with these fun folks.
Lots of love,
Lucas and Molly
July 6, 2018
Hello Pacific Northwest Families!
We have heard from Molly and Lucas – All students arrived safely in Seattle and the group is headed to their first campsite. Stay tuned for more news from their adventures.