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Chamonix 1B • June 11-July 3, 2019

Final Update!

July 3, 2019

Greetings from Paris!


With our kids on a plane somewhere over the Atlantic, we are reporting live from a cafe in the 13th Arrondissement where we are reflecting back on our final days together as a group. After a stormy night in Chamonix, we woke up early to begin our travel to Paris. Wyatt, one of the LODs, took the lead and got us organized for the morning. We climbed into two vans and began the drive from Cham to the train station in Geneva. You could try asking about this van ride, but no one would recollect a single moment because everyone was sound asleep within seconds.

After arriving in Geneva, we all boarded the train directly to Paris. This ride was lovely, featuring card games, naps, and views of the French countryside. We arrived in the city around lunch and had our first attempt at navigating the Paris metro system. At this point, we were absolutely professional European travelers, so we made it to our hostel no problem.

After a truly scrumptious lunch at our neighborhood cafe, we set out to see the sights! Our first stop was to the Louvre. As we waited in line, Hayden and Della were the first to attempt the classic picture with their fingers at the top of the glass pyramid. To our utter dismay, we were told after a few minutes of standing in line that the museum was in fact sold out for the day. While this news came with an initial sting, we continued on our journey to the 278+ other cool things to see in Paris. After a walk along the Seine, we arrived at Notre Dame, which, due to the recent fires, was blocked off for construction. Though it was sobering to see the results of the damage, we were awestruck by its beauty. Andrea, sporting her SMU t-shirt, immediately drew every American in the area to our quadrant. Tom was proud and hopes he has inspired a future mustang.

After some showers at the hostel, we made our way to a local Mexican restaurant for dinner. We have to admit, we were pleasantly surprised by the taco selection in Paris. Maddie, a future travel blogger, captured some excellent shots of the group on the iconic cobblestone street, while Davis went back for a second burrito which he later regretted. Just as the sun began to set, we ventured to the Eiffel Tower. Della was perhaps the most excited to see it, we thought she might cry. Everyone lounged on the lawn and took in the view. Even Nolan, a self-proclaimed anti-Francophile, seemed to be settling into Parisian life. We decided to do Moonup on site, followed by of course, ice cream!

The next day we got an early start to hit the city. We took the metro to the Arc de Triomphe and, to blend in with the locals, sat at a brasserie and enjoyed some morning coffee and hot chocolate. We then made our way to the Arc where Lillie expanded our minds with a short history lesson (Thanks to the infinite knowledge of Wikipedia). We also enjoyed imitating the statues that are carved into the Arc. Peter stole the show by being hoisted into the air as he imitated an angel figure, while Wyatt, Davis, and Andrea would probably be considered the ensemble of the scene. The group then ventured to the Champs-Elysees where we explored the city’s finest shopping scene. Simran and Caroline decided to fully embrace the tourist stereotype and each bought a bright red beret. You go girls. This expedition was followed by crepes and a metro ride across the city to Montmartre, the highest point in Paris. Atop this knoll sits the Sacre Coeur, a famous church made of white marble. After our tough climbs in the Alps and the Pyrenees, this hill was mere confetti. We all sat on the steps and listened to a local street musician as we took in the view of the whole city in front of us.

Next to the church, there is also an area where artists and vendors set up tables where you can watch them paint or draw in real time. Miles decided to fully immerse himself in this experience and sat down for a portrait. We all watched as the artist’s hand moved briskly across the paper, creating an insanely precise rendering of Miles’s face. We couldn’t help but give the artist a resounding round of applause, we were so impressed.

After a long journey back to the hostel, we took 5 for showers and a quick tiger snooze before we were back again at the Eiffel Tower. We just can’t get enough. After we arrived, we were met by our honorary guest, Hayes Hitchens! We could not even believe that he traveled all the way from Nashville just to say hi. It was a real treat to hear from the father of Moondance. Will probably enjoyed this visit the most, as he answered all of Hayes’s questions with thoughtful, eloquent answers. We may have a future Moondance leader on our hands! After Hayes faded into the horizon, we enjoyed our final banquet dinner together at a nearby Italian restaurant. It was a truly jubilant celebration as we looked back at the many miles we had walked together (many of them in Paris). After such a beautiful meal, we could think of no other option than to venture up the Eiffel Tower for Moonup. With the lights ablaze, we zipped up to the second floor for a panoramic view of the city at night. Last night’s Moonup, led by Miles and Caroline, was extremely special. We reflected on our favorite memories, shared our favorite qualities about one another, and shared some laughs and some tears.

23 days and 101.5 miles later, we dropped your kids off in the airport having experienced a variety of unforgettable memories surrounded by unique individuals. As leaders, we could not have asked for a better group of amazing kids. More importantly, we could not have been prouder of the way that they came together as a group. This group was goofy and entertaining, but more importantly, they were inclusive and accepting. Moondance groups vary from trip to trip but this section in particular blew us away with their “team chemistry.” We are convinced that they will not only remain in touch, but continue to be wonderful friends to one another for the rest of their lives. There are already rumors of a Kili trip next summer! Congrats to your children for conquering the Chamonix 1B trip 2019! Pictures and videos to come!


Lillie and Tom

100 Miles and 100 Smiles

June 30, 2019

Bonjour Cham Parents!


After five bluebird days in the Alps, we have returned back to our base hostel in Chamonix, France!

We are writing this trip update from the third story of Le Chamoniard Volant which is diagonal to an absolutely breathtaking view of the COLOSSAL Mont Blanc. Countless paragliders plummet down every five to ten minutes routinely. It truly is unlike anything we have ever seen.

The first day was filled with action. To give you all some context, this is the day that we ate breakfast in France, lunch in Italy, and concluded our day with dinner in Switzerland. Not many folks can say they’ve eaten 3 meals in 3 different countries!

We traveled in an extended land cruiser defender through a thirty-minute tunnel into Arnuva, Italy where we initiated our Alps trek. Our guide, Philippe, a native to Lourdes, France, led us across the Grand Col Ferret, a steep climb that divides Italy and Switzerland. The climb was challenging, but we were rewarded with indescribable views of Mont Dolent and a knock-out panorama landscape of where we came from, Italy, and where we were going, Switzerland. Lillie hung in the back with the “Caboose Crew”, usually comprised of Simran, Caroline, and Maddie. This all-star female squad appreciates the slow-but-steady approach. (It truly does win the race). They like to think of themselves as the triumphant tortoises in a group of mostly hares.

Per usual, there wasn’t a quiet moment during the hike thanks to Nolan and Peter’s constant story-telling. Today’s hike was also filled with the most snow-traversing that we had encountered up to this point, even though it was arguably the hottest. Naturally, snowballs were constructed and launched with surprising precision. Wyatt “Wallet” Bradley, a dark horse, was crowned best assassin and drilled nearly every target he set his mind to. Della, Hayden, and Andrea mounted a valiant defense against the boys but were ultimately left empty-handed and slightly wetter than the rest of the group.

However, a series of wipeouts on the snow humbled the guys, and, as embarrassed as Tom was to admit it, he fell victim to gravity most often once again. All of your children have really made him reevaluate his athleticism. That being said, today was filled with lots of laughs which made the hike seem like a blink of an eye! We arrived at our hotel on a glacial river in La Fouly, Switzerland, where we were practically given the entire basement to ourselves. It was an awesome evening filled with our favorite card game, Cambio, views of the mountain dividing Switzerland, France and Italy, and Moonup. What a day!

We continued on the next day to Champex, Switzerland. The difficulty of the hikes were definitely starting to catch up to the group, and we were really proud of our group’s resiliency. You have raised some driven kids! Once in Champex, we were overjoyed to see a gorgeous lake. Nolan remarked how “it looked like someone had dumped a bunch of Dasani water bottles into it.” We soaked in some sun, grabbed a few z’s, and swam for the afternoon. Will probably crashed the hardest, as his sleepy baby face was truly adorable after he woke up.

The third day on the TMB, though not as taxing physically in regards to elevation gain, actually turned out to be our longest day in the Alps section. Today was roughly 10 miles on the trail! We started the day with a tough climb, but were rewarded with a stellar view of the valley and the town of Martigny below. Miles, always one to appreciate the views, reminded us all to slow down and take it all in. After a picnic lunch at the top, we descended to the charming Swiss town of Trient. Our tanks were refueled with a fondue dinner and lots of American enthusiasm as the United States Women’s soccer team walked all over the French!

We also did a leadership exercise in which we were able to place ourselves into certain leadership styles based on personality tendencies. Caroline, with superb self-awareness, pinned herself as a “relationship master”. With her caring and empathetic personality, we both agreed that was a slam dunk designation. Della and Peter led a successful Moonup afterwards and then we piled into our bunk rooms for the night. However, a couple of Tom’s personal highlights today actually happened after our “lights out” period. The first being Maddie and Simran letting him read bits and pieces of their journals — a feat he once considered futile, but after gaining rapport between one them, he was admitted to an exclusive leader-student friendship. The second happened later when he ran into Andrea on the way to the bathroom. They were both getting a little stuffy and overheated, so they went out on the balcony and were BLOWN AWAY with the stars. They could quite literally see the Milky Way galaxy. Andrea described it as “looking like an Oreo blizzard from Dairy Queen… like not a bad one, but one with lots of Oreo crumbles and only a little ice cream.” After a spell of contemplation, Tom pieced together the creative analogy and nodded his head in accordance. She is a regular wordsmith. So sage.

The following day was our final FULL day of hiking and easily considered the most demanding physically. We tackled 4300 ft of ascent and roughly the same amount descending the other side. It also marked our fourth border crossing! We started in Switzerland and ascended a stunning face. Lillie and Miles hung in the back and discussed Miles favorite topic (golf) and Lillie’s favorite topic (plant intelligence). What a dynamic duo!

The group’s teamwork was featured constantly. Davis, an obvious athlete and gifted hiker, really impressed us in his decision to slow his usual pace and supply constant encouragement to us slower hikers. Della and Hayden, usual bellwethers, also set a trend of slowing the pace. As a result, group chemistry peaked and everyone finished the summit to Col de Balme where we were awarded a heart-stopping view of the mountain we traveled 5,000 miles to see, Mont Blanc. The bulk of our Alps pictures and videos feature this view so hopefully you will all get a sense of what it was like to be at that pass at the end of the summer.

From there, it was quite literally all downhill. We descended to our awesome hotel in Argentière, France and HAMMERED a much deserved personal pizza per person and two scoops of ice cream. We did Moonup next to an old church and a gushing river. The sunset view of Mont Blanc rivaled the sunrise in Costa Brava as the snow reflected pinkish-orange hues. Imagine mashing orange sorbet with strawberry ice cream and drizzling it over a massive glacier. It looked something like that, but we didn’t eat it.

Today, we hiked through the Chamonix Valley back to Le Chamoniard Volant where we are writing this now, still looking at the TOWERING Mont Blanc. We inhaled burgers for lunch and explored the town of Chamonix. Will probably enjoyed this part of the day the most, as he purchased some slick Euro fashions that he just can’t wait to sport at home. Now your kids are practically hibernating after completing the hiking portion of the trip at just over 100 miles. What an epic accomplishment! We will feast like kings and queens tonight and then enjoy a half day of travel to Paris tomorrow. Tonight we will work up a loose itinerary of the places we plan on visiting during our day and a half in Paris and plan an unforgettable banquet night where special guest and fearless leader, Hayes Hitchens, is rumored to make an appearance.

Before we go, we feel it necessary to mention that last night Tom discovered that the girls on the trip were all tearing up at the thought of leaving each other. They reminisced on the 20 something days we have spent together, scrolled through all of the pictures, and laughed constantly. This group has been so special. Our little chickens. We will both miss them dearly and are already dreading the day that we have to take them to the airport!

We hope all is well across the pond! Only a few short days until you have your most prized possessions back at home!


Wishing you the best,

Tom, Lillie, and the entire crew!

Sunrises and Sea Kayaking!

June 25, 2019

Greetings from Chamonix! It’s nice to be checking back in with y’all after just four activity-packed days in Costa Brava, Spain!


Following our afternoon departure from Lourdes, we were taken via private bus to our new home, at L’Escala Beach, for the second leg of our trip and the next three nights. We arrived in Costa Brava shortly after a remarkable bus ride sunset as we traversed through the Spanish countryside. The group worked up a hearty appetite after a day filled with lots of travel and a customized road trip playlist; so we promptly made our way to a local hotspot and established Moondance’s favorite pizzeria just a skip and jump from our bungalows. Because we arrived on a Saturday night, the streets were filled with lots of live music and people! Adjacent to the pizzeria was a private quinceanera which we were lucky enough to overhear the music at a remarkable decibel.

Naturally, a Macarena contest ensued shortly thereafter. Miles and Della were our final two contestants completing roughly 87 cycles of the dance to any and every song that was played. Meanwhile, one of the LODs, Will, was putting his Spanish tongue to use as he ordered and collected our pizzas with an elegant St. Louis-Spanish drawl (an accent unbeknownst to but well received by the local Catalonians). Eager to get to bed and embark on our first day of kayaking, we returned to our block of 3 bungalows for Moonup and hit the hay.

One of the best parts about the sea kayaking leg is that we get to prepare all of our meals: breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the duration of our stay. Because we arrived after the grocery stores had closed the night before, the responsibility fell on the LODs to wake up, go to the store, and cook breakfast for the group. Thanks to Nolan and Andrea, we were treated with an elaborate morning meal consisting of cheesy eggs, sausage, and fruit.

After fueling up for the morning and gathering our groceries for lunch, we walked five minutes down the road to meet our sea kayaking guides. We felt overwhelming comfortable in the capable hands of our guide, Pau, a local Catalonian and kayak enthusiast. Pau epitomized the term “Spanish bro” in every interpretation fathomable, and we hit it off with him instantly.

We were all in single kayaks except for two pairs, Nolan and Peter and Della and Hayden, who opted for the tandem kayaks. With double the thrust power, they remained in the front for the majority of the day. In Nolan and Peter’s vessel, the group was graced with a series of Pirates of the Caribbean Sea songs and excerpts which was ironic considering we were in the Mediterranean, but still entertaining all the same. Pau guided us through narrow, shallow passes, caves, and even tunnels. Davis marked our first capsize of the day and after poking fun at him for losing his balance, Tom was the next victim of the Mediterranean. He kept his mouth shut for the remainder of the voyage (it’s harder than it looks!).

When lunch approached, we paddled off into a unique cove with a lovely shore filled with boats representing flags from Spain, France, Italy and several other coastal European countries. It was inspiring to hear the diverse languages represented by the conversations overheard in the different schooners. We pulled our yaks ashore and feasted on homemade sandwiches and chips as we soaked in some rays.

Once back at L’Escala Beach, we bought groceries for the cook off between the three bungalows. The dish of choice was fajitas, and we were excited to see the enthusiasm that accompanied the competition! After close consideration, it was bungalow 1 consisting of Nolan, Della, Caroline, and Wyatt who walked away with the best tasting award; although, bungalow 2 including Peter, Maddie, Hayden, and Miles were awarded best presentation. Their dish could have been featured in a Guy Fieri special. Will was especially involved in the competition and spent the bulk of his time whipping up a homemade sauce. Unfortunately, it was not well received by the judges 🙁 but the effort was noteworthy.

This day was actually a Catalonian Holiday! So we went to the beach to enjoy a series of fireworks and each other’s company followed by an intense, yet fulfilling, Moonup question. We were so proud of our group’s comfortability and trust level with one another. It was moving to see individuals be vulnerable and confide in each other.

The following morning was a highlight for Miles, Hayden, Maddie, and Caroline as they were the four who accompanied the leaders to watch a morning sunrise on one of the cliffs contiguous to the beach. We compared it to watching a tangerine emerge from the water. We sat in silence for the duration of the sunrise. It was a great way to start the day!

We were really impressed with our newly elected LODs in Hayden and Wyatt as they kicked off the morning with another exceptional breakfast, were proactive in lunch distribution and clean up, and made several integral decisions to benefit the group throughout the day.

We met back up with Pau and his colleague Roger (pronounced Row-Share) to pile into two vans for a brief commute over to Tamariu Sud, a neighboring beach and home to Costa Brava’s infamous sea caves. The color of the cliffs were far more orange and the passes more scenic. The caves were indescribable. They were commonly considered to be the coolest part of the entire sea kayaking leg. We took a break for lunch in a much larger cove than the day before and swam around for the bulk of the afternoon. Davis, Della, Andrea, and Hayden rested closest to the water which made them the easiest targets to get dunked in the water! On the way back to L’Escala, we pointed out a handful of old castles nestled in the valleys and on the mountaintops of the coast and speculated about who might have once lived there.

With the assertiveness from the LOD’s, we also made a decision to do some cliff jumping after we returned to our bungalows. We were excited to have everyone muster up the courage to make the jump!

We concluded the night with quesadillas and Moonup!

A lot of the highlights from this portion of our trip occurred at the bungalows. The conversations that were had and the interactions among one another were obvious signs of unique group cohesion. We are continuing to learn more about each other and our individual and group strengths.

Simran, who was sad to have missed the sunrise opportunity, led the charge to rally a second sunrise crew for the next morning! Everyone who had slept in the first morning took advantage of this second opportunity led by Simran, and as leaders we were more than happy for another 5:45 alarm — That tangerine sunshine truly never gets old.

We are headed to Chamonix right now and can’t wait to conquer the Alps! We love your kids and couldn’t be happier that they are with us!

Until next time!

Tom and Lillie

Heading from the Mountains to the Sea!

June 22, 2019

Hello Chamonix parents! We have just completed the first big leg of our trip, and first we would like to personally thank you all for sharing your amazing kids with us for these three weeks. This group is special, and we have been stunned by how quickly we have become close friends. Here’s what we’ve been up to for the past 11 days:

Most of us convened in the Atlanta airport, and after our flight to Paris, we were joined by the last member of our family, Caroline. From there, we headed to Geneva! We arrived in the afternoon feeling a bit jet lagged but excited all the same. Our first day was spent at the Geneva Hostel. We explored the surrounding area and found a nice spot at a park next to Lake Geneva to nap in the sun. Peter, Davis, and Miles were the only three brave enough to jump into the cold water, while Simran promptly began to journal. (Her goal is to complete an entry every day). After dinner at the hostel, we had our first Moonup and easily fell asleep after. The next day was a big day of travel, giving the group an opportunity to navigate Europe’s train system. Maddie and Davis, our first elected Leaders of the Day (LODs), did a great job keeping everyone on track. This travel day gave us time to get to know each other as we zipped through the Swiss countryside into France. Luckily, Wyatt is the only student who knows any French and quickly became a valuable asset to our team. We arrived that evening in Lourdes, just in time for pizza and Moonup.

The next morning, the fun really began. Our trekking guides met us at our hotel and drove us from Lourdes to Col des Tentes, a pass near the border between France and Spain. We stepped out of the vans and were shocked by the brisk mountain air. To add an extra challenge, it was also raining. However, these less than ideal conditions did not slow this group down…We geared up with our rain jackets and warm layers and began our trek. Our first day kicked off with a border crossing into Spain and a pretty rapid descent from the pass. Our guide, Anabelle, pointed out marmots scrambling across the grassy fields as we got our first real views of the Pyrenees- Talk about a WOW moment. After lunch by the river near Bujaruelo, we continued toward Torla, a quaint mountain town in Spain. Della and Hayden took their place in the front of the pack from the start, impressing us immediately with their speed and agility. By the late afternoon, the sun was shining, and we arrived at our Refugio. After showers and some stretching, we were treated to our first three-course dinner. Our second day of trekking was definitely one of the most challenging. We began with a steep ascent out of the valley to the Mirador de Calcilarruego. The barbershop quartet— Nolan, Davis, Peter, and Will— kept us all entertained with their four-part harmonies. Andrea also kept the energy up with fun trail games and, as always, her infectious smile. Even though the climb was tough, at one point, the always-positive Caroline remarked, “I’m actually enjoying this!”. At the top, we were greeted by some amazing views that continued for the rest of the day. Lunch soon followed, as well as a photo-shoot with the stunning cliffs and peaks behind us. During the afternoon, we continued further into the canyon (the largest in Europe!) and had a second climb up some rocky terrain to our refugio, Goriz. While some of the guys wanted to run the last leg of the hike, Miles hung in the back to really slow down and take in the views. We think his focus and appreciation for golf definitely translates to trekking. Once at the refugio, we celebrated with food and an absolutely stunning Moonup as the sun fell behind the mountains. At this point, we really felt we had overcome many challenges together, and we could sense that the group was already getting close.

The next morning, we descended from Goriz to the base of the canyon. Maddie, who loves going downhill, could not wait to get going. Once at the bottom, we were greeted by a herd of cows and a beautiful waterfall. You’d think the waterfall would be the main attraction, but no— This group headed straight for the cows. Andrea even laid down next to one for a photo! After some sunbathing by the waterfall, we continued along the river and into a beautiful forest. At the end of the hike we were greeted with a fun surprise – a perfect swimming hole! The water was bright blue, crystal clear, and also freezing cold. It was so thrilling to jump off of the bridge into the refreshing water. Della, as always, had no fear and was eager to jump in. After everyone had taken a plunge (or maybe 3), we enjoyed the sun on the rocks by the river. That afternoon, as we waited for the taxi we’d take from the trail to Bujaruelo, we discovered our passion for playing hacky sack. Davis, a soccer player, shows natural promise with this sport. After a short taxi ride, we made it to Bujaruelo, a quaint refugio with amazing food and views. We relaxed in the grass and enjoyed a few group games. That evening, as our French guide Anabelle was trying to learn how to spell everyone’s names, she was confused and thought that Wyatt’s name was pronounced like “wallet”. This trail name immediately stuck- We love Wallet!

After a 5-star breakfast the next morning, we had another tough climb back up to Col des Tentes. Lillie stuck in the back with an all-star crew of Maddie, Miles, and Wyatt. It was so impressive to see this group encouraging one another, and Wyatt showed some real leadership as the LOD by hiking in the back to keep an eye on everyone. At the top of the pass, we took a two-hour break and enjoyed lunch and a nice French meditation (also known as a nap).  With the hard part out of the way, we spent the afternoon descending towards Gavarnie. Right after crossing the border, we came across a large patch of snow. With Anabelle’s guidance, we learned how to properly walk without falling. Hayden, also an LOD, really led the group with her technique, while Nolan, Peter, and Will took more of a downhill skiing/sliding approach. As we continued to Gavarnie, we were struck by our first views of the Cirque de Gavarnie, an impressive horseshoe-shaped cliff that is home to the Grande Cascade de Gavarnie, the tallest waterfall in Europe. It was an amazing day, and it ended with an even more amazing dinner of trout, pasta, salad, and fromage blanc at our hostel. This yogurt-based desert has quickly become Simran’s favorite, and she already has plans to make it when she’s back home in the States. That evening, we explored the quaint town of Gavarnie and enjoyed our hostel and its gregarious owner, Christophe.

Day 5 of our trek began with a hike to the Grande Cascade, a truly impressive waterfall. As always, the guys pulled out the hacky sack to get practice on some more difficult terrain. After lunch, we climbed to the beautiful Espuguettes, a hostel high up in the mountains. Because it is far from any roads, donkeys have to carry up all of the food from Gavarnie—so cool! We luckily arrived earlier in the day and had some time to enjoy the views and hang out together. Andrea, formerly a gymnast, surprised us all with her handstands, while Nolan kept us entertained with his outrageous stories. After dinner, everyone hiked further up for a view of the most beautiful sunset, and we all felt accomplished to see all of the mountains we had climbed thus far.

The next morning, Anabelle offered an optional hike to the peak behind Espuguettes. We were so proud of Nolan, Miles, Will, Simran, Della, and Caroline— It takes some will power to get out of bed at 6am for a tough climb! The view from the top made the extra effort well worth it, as we had a 360 degree panoramic view of the Pyrenees. Back at the hostel, we met up with the rest of the group and descended back to Gavarnie. Everyone enjoyed exploring the town, eating ice cream, and resting our legs for a few hours. Though we all agreed we could stay forever in that charming town, we had to continue to our next hostel, Le Saugé. We got there just in time for an amazing home-cooked meal, showers, and another photo shoot on the lawn.

After six days of almost perfect weather, Day 7 presented us with some rain and fog. Though it was tough at first to leave our cozy hostel, we all set off with light packs to do a day hike to Portaillou, a beautiful pass nearby. The fog actually added some neat elements to the landscape, and luckily the rain held off for the entire hike! We got back to Le Saugé in the afternoon and got to spend a few hours playing Cambio, our favorite card game. We also got to have a special treat – homemade crepes with chocolate and blueberries! It’s safe to say we felt right at home there. That night was our last in the Pyrenees, so our LODs, Maddie and Peter, decided we should all go around the circle at Moonup and say our favorite thing about our guide, Anabelle. We loved her big smiles, encouraging attitude, and prolific knowledge of roots and edible plants. Thank you, Anabelle!

Our final day of trekking was much shorter. We descended to the town of Gedre where we were picked up by our guides and taken back to Lourdes. We arrived yesterday afternoon with plenty of time for showers, laundry, and rest. To celebrate the end of our trek (and the Summer Solstice), we went out to dinner in Lourdes and enjoyed some live music. And let’s not forget, ice cream! We are so excited to head to Costa Brava this afternoon for our sea kayaking section, and we are so proud of what we have accomplished so far! We’ll check back in soon!

-Lillie and Tom

Here are some shoutouts:

Hayden- Hey family!  Just finished backpacking through the Pyrenees and the views were really pretty! Now I am about to go on a 6 hour bus ride to Costa Brava and kayak then I will backpack through the Alps! I am having so much fun and I love and miss y’all so much! Tell my friends, Katie, and John I say hi and I miss them!

Della- heyyyyyy family!!!!! I miss y’all so much!!! I’m having the best time in Europe! Today is day 12 so we’re over half way!! We just finished hiking the Pyrenees for 8 days and now we’re about to go to Costa Brava to sea kayak for 2 days. After that we will trek the alps and finish with site seeing in Paris. Tell trace Sarah r Sarah Mc molly Anna L Ella Shea Chaney Rainey mj Ella jaden katelyn and Mae I said hey!! Also tell molly to tell fruitcakes, lit memes and Molly uebe I miss them!! Also Oliver clarice and JW!! Can’t wait to see y’all love y’all all!!

Simran: Helloooo family! I just polished off a chocolate croissant, and, indeed, am living my best life here in Europe. Your notes were so sweet and I love the Paris envelope (I will be using it as a map when we go to the city at the end of the week). Let Papa know that all is better than well. Love and miss y’all, Simran

Maddie- hi everyone!!! I miss you all so much! We just finished hiking the Pyrenees which was insanely beautiful and an unreal experience!! Now heading to the beach. Tell Rachel to tell everyone at home ily and imy!

Caroline – Hey family!!! I miss you all so much! I’ve been having the best time ever! We just finished hiking in the Pyrenees for 8 days and will leave later this afternoon for Costa Brava. I’ve been eating an absurd amount of bread and ice cream. I’ve made so many new friends and the best memories ever (I’ve taken tons of pics). I hope everything at home is going smoothly. Tell my friends I say hi too! See y’all in 11 days!!! Love you!

Andrea- hi fam I love and miss you guys so much! I am having the time of my life and have made so many new friends and great memories. Tell Sam and the rat pack hello and that I miss them. See you guys in 11 days love you <3

Peter- hi family! I miss you all a lot! We just got back from the Pyrenees Mountains, it was a lot of fun. Next we are going to Costa Brava. I heard about the blues and am excited that they brought home the cup. I can’t wait to see you guys.

Davis- Hello Mom, Dad, Ben, Reilly, Scout, and Cooper!! Hope everyone is doing well at home. I am having such an amazing time hiking through the Pyrenees mountains. We are off the Costa Brava now to sea kayak for 2 days and then we are heading to the Alps to finish off this amazing tripMiss y’all so much. Tell everyone I say hello at home. Love y’all

Nolan- Hi family. I miss you guys and I can’t wait to be back for two weeks before being shipped off again. Say hi to baby jack for me and LGB!

Will – LETS GO BLUESSSSSSS!!!! I am having so much fun here, and I am making tons of new and amazing friends. I miss everyone so much and can’t wait to tell everyone about the funny stories from my trip. Tell Charlie and Anna that they will have so much fun on their trips, and that I love them and will miss them a lot. Anna: you will have so much fun; I know you will be nervous but branch out and you will have the time of your life! Charlie: I will miss our NHL games and floor hockey while your gone, but your trip will be amazing. Nani I love and miss you and thanks for all of your support and love you give me.

Wyatt – Hey Fam. I miss you guys but have had so much fun hiking in the Pyrenees. It had the most beautiful mountains and views. I can’t wait to see you and show you the pictures I got. I hope that Spencer is being his happy usual self. We are leaving for Costa Brava for kayaking and I can’t wait to see you in July!

Miles –  hey family! I miss you all a lot! We just got back from the Pyrenees, and it was a lot of fun. Next we are going to Costa Brava. I heard about the raptors and Gary woodland and am not happy about the raptors. I can’t wait to see you guys in two weeks!

Safe Arrival in Geneva!

June 12, 2019

Hi Chamonix Families!


We heard from our leaders, and the group has arrived safely in Geneva. We cannot wait to hear about their amazing adventures!


-Moondance HQ


  • Andrea
  • Caroline
  • Davis
  • Della
  • Hayden
  • Maddie
  • Miles
  • Nolan
  • Peter
  • Simran
  • Wyatt
  • Will