July 29, 2019
Bonjour Cham Parents from our final destination, Paris!
We departed Chamonix bright, early and filled with excitement to transition from a mountainous setting to one of the world’s most premier urban cities!
Having arrived a little past noon, we were fortunate enough to be able to squeeze in a packed itinerary for the afternoon. Following a delicious crepe for lunch, our first stop was the tallest point in Paris marked by the Sacre-Coeur! I think some of the group might argue that that staircase was the toughest hike to summit after 101.5 miles in the Pyrenees and Alps! Aldyn and Claire were, once again, overcome with the church’s immensity and unique detail. We reflected on both our experiences over the past 20 or so days and mustered up excitement for our final day and a half in Paris as we took in the view. From there, we walked down the block into the arts district where local Parisian street artists gather to sell their work as well as create self-portraits for those who have the patience to sit still for 15 minutes. Unfortunately for them, we were on a mission to see as much of Paris as possible, so we continued on after an unforgettable walk around the arts square
With a great start to our sight-seeing day under our belts, we transitioned over to Saint-Chapelle where Aldyn, Carter, Tommy, George, Mandi, Margo, Kit and Tom were willing to fork over the 8 Euro charge to see arguably the most beautiful stained glass windows in the world. Each of the 14 or so panels depicts a unique story. The first features scenes from the book of Genesis and circulates all around the chapel where it concludes with renderings from Revelations in the final panel.
The next stop was a rock’s throw away from Saint-Chapelle and came to be a group favorite, Notre Dame. Though the cathedral itself was closed off for construction, it was still incredible to walk the perimeter of the building. We also arrived on a day in which we could see where the new wooden columns were being placed! I think the group appreciated seeing exactly where the damage of the cathedral had taken place and the steps that were being taken to rectify the tragic fire incident. A brief photo shoot took place of the building and the River Seine in the background.
We returned to our hostel to freshen up for the evening where we enjoyed a Chipotle-style meal at a Moondance favorite called Bocamexa followed up with some of the best tasting gelato at Amorino. From there, George and Margo and we were off to bed shortly thereafter!
The next started early with a metro ride over to the Louvre Museum. Thanks to an old student ID from the University of Glasgow in Scotland of all places stuffed away in Tom’s wallet, the group was able to get in free of charge! We spent hours walking through the former French Royal family’s abode. Joe was particularly taken back with the Egyptian sculpture wing of the museum where he spent the majority of his time 🙂
After spending the majority of the day in the museum, we pushed on to a late lunch at a typical style French street cafe. Following a quick refuel, we were back on our feet to the Arc de Triomphe and the Champs-Elysees. Coleman and Louise shopped till they dropped on the iconic street and all the girls enjoyed a bounty of true French macaroons as we explored the city! The group bounced around from store to store on one of the most iconic shopping streets in the world and then reconvened at the Arc where we saw the eternal flame of the unknown soldier!
After a quick shower, we were on our way to the Eiffel Tower for our banquet meal! We got there with plenty of time to see a magnificent sunset, enjoy as much pizza as we could have asked for, and, naturally, an extended photo shoot. Margo worked on her bargaining skills with the local street vendors and, unsurprisingly, got well more than she paid for based solely on her ability to negotiate relentlessly(emphasis on relentless). We attributed her success to a previous summer she involuntarily spent at business camp instead of with Moondance.
We held a dance party in the Eiffel Tower Park and then ventured over to Haagen-Das for our last scoop of ice cream. Upon our return to the hostel, Kate and Aldyn led a memorable Moonup in which everyone reflected on their favorite memories of each person in our group.
To say this session was unforgettable is a massive understatement. Each of your kids brought a unique background to the group dynamic and enhanced everyone’s experience as a result. We were challenged across the 23 day stint, and we overcame those intense, long hikes because we supported one another blindly. This is a very special group and we can’t believe we have to return your amazing children back to you! We will never forget our summer in Chamonix!
Over and out,
Kit n Tom
July 26, 2019
Hi from Chamonix!
Checking in after completing all of our Tour du Mont Blanc trekking! We’re done with the first three legs of our trip and bound for Paris to explore and enjoy these last few days together. The time has flown by and we are definitely not ready to part ways quite yet.
We said goodbye to Spain and the beautiful Mediterranean Sea and hello to France and the mountains again! Making our way by van and train to the town of Chamonix, led by our LOD’s Kate and George, we prepared to hit the trail again and get our packs back on.
After a great night’s sleep in our hostel, we hopped in our vans and got ready to cross from France into Italy and then Switzerland all in our first day of trekking. We met our new guide, Bruno, and got to know each other as we started our trek on a steep incline feeling right at home with our legs burning. George and Joe got right in the front of the pack, eager to trek again.
We zig zagged our way up to the pass, and as we trekked through Switzerland we reminisced on our time in the Pyrenees as we started the new section of trekking on the TMB. Our guide was immediately impressed by our group’s trekking speed and how we gelled on the trail!
After a photo shoot with the Alps surrounding us, George slid on some snow as we headed downhill. Aldyn, Kate, Margo, Coleman, and Claire brought up the rear and entertained each other with their best southern accents. Margo’s was especially hilarious. With a few stops and constant panoramic views, we made it to our first town on our TMB trek: Lafouly! We walked through small villages of log cabins and beautiful gardens, every house looking very idyllic and natural in the mountain landscape. Everyone was so tired after a BIG first day back at trekking, and took a well-deserved afternoon nap. We enjoyed a fantastic dinner, getting to know Bruno more and already loving Switzerland!
The next day we had a great breakfast and got ready for another trek! We started the morning with Kate, Tommy, Tom, and Louise riding a small zip line swing with their packs on. After everyone stuck their landing, we were bound for Champex and looking forward to swimming in the beautiful lake in the center of the town!
The sun was shining as Carter’s steadfast walking helped empower the group throughout the day to keep on going! With one final uphill push, we got our first view of Champex and the glistening lake. We couldn’t wait to drop off our packs and lay by the water. The entire group relaxed in the grass by the lake as we watched paddle boarders and recharged in the sun.
More games of Cambio ensued back at the hostel and Claire and Margo diligently read their books on the back porch as we watched the sun set on another perfect little town on the Tour du Mont Blanc.
We awoke to another day of sunshine for our third day of trekking!! After fueling up, we followed Bruno along the trail ready for everything the day held as we headed for Triente. This day had some of the best views yet, looking out over all we had accomplished, and made the long uphill climb (almost) better than the downhill. We stopped for lunch at a wonderful picnic area with 360 degree views and happily ate our sandwiches and snacks.
On our descent to Triente, we made a pit stop for some fresh strawberries and raspberries Aldyn and Joe shared with the group and gave us the energy we needed heading into the last bit of walking for the day. Margo locked eyes on the famed pink church in the small town of Triente and we knew we were close to our home for the night!
We settled into our rooms and enjoyed the sunny afternoon as Claire layer by the river and read more of Pride and Prejudice (making great progress) and Claire, Coleman, and Margo went to find some photo ops. Kate and Mandi snuck a nap in with all the windows open and the fresh breeze lulling them to sleep. Aldyn, Margo, Kit, and Claire also worked in some photo shoot time with the pink church and mountains as the backdrop. Aldyn led us as we tried to mirror her dance moves. Claire and Margo followed along adding some flair of their own.
We had a laughter-filled Moonup under the stars as we reflected on some highlights and challenges of the trip thus far. We recounted endless stories from our time spent together and began to realize how much we had already accomplished. George remembered the first day of trekking in the Pyrenees, while Coleman and Louise looked back fondly on our time in the water in Costa Brava. We went to our bunk rooms and settled in for the night. We were anticipating not only our final full day of trekking, but, more importantly, LOUISE’s BIRTHDAY!!
We woke up to birthday songs and nothing but excitement!!! Coleman surprised everyone with her elevated morning energy and we went down for breakfast which featured actual buckets of Nutella. Everyone said what they loved about the birthday girl as we drank our hot chocolate and coffee and ate our breakfast. With a big day of hiking ahead of us, we started hyping each other up as we ate and packed up.
Tom and the boys led the charge up from Triente, with Kit and the girls following behind. The boys were eager for some speed and powered through switchback after switchback. True to form, George was really pushing the pace and they all got on board.
The girls took the hill slow and steady, hyping each other up the entire time and wishing Louise “Happy Birthday” every 20-30 seconds so she wouldn’t forget. The energy and support was at an all time high at this pint with Coleman and Kate as the lead hype women. When we all finally reached the top, everyone had a sense of accomplishment for finished the last uphill climb of the entire trip and doing it together. We ate lunch with a full view of Mont Blanc and down into the valley where our hotel for the night waited for us.
Tommy, Carter, George, and Joe hustled down the mountain, comfortable in their hiking ability at this point and excited to reach our destination. Throughout our TMB trek, we met so many people along the way who were enjoying the same journey we were. In each town there was a similar energy of community as we all challenged ourselves to get from place to place.
Finally, we walked into Argentière! After checking into our hotel, we explored the markets and small shops. Everyone perused the local antique outdoor street market in town, getting some old school treasures to remember our trek by. We got ready for our BIRTHDAY dinner for Louise, and enjoyed pizza, ice cream, and a raspberry cake for the big day! It was so much fun to celebrate such a special girl in such a special place. After dinner we walked around town and found the perfect grassy spot for another (birthday themed) Moonup. Carter and Joe brought the group together and we were visited by a few dogs too. We went to bed ready to sleep, but sad to be heading into our last day of trekking of the trip.
Day five of the Tour du Mont Blanc brought sunshine (of course) and excitement. The group enjoyed our walk along the river back to our starting point of Chamonix shaded by trees. Once there, we headed straight for town to get lunch and see the sights. Kit and Aldyn shared some cookie dough ice cream and a lot of laughs, while Mandi helped Tom get dinner for the entire group. A few souvenirs were picked out and we strolled through town taking it all in before we left the mountains headed for Paris!
We headed to bed knowing we had an early travel day ahead of us, but everyone was packed and ready to get on the train in morning! Although the Pyrenees, Costa Brava, and the Tour du Mont Blanc are now behind us, we still have SO much to look forward to. The group is so gelled at this point, we are ready to tackle Paris as a unit. Our crew can conquer anything and we are so ready to run around Paris and enjoy every last second together.
Tom n Kit and the Soybeans
July 20, 2019
Even though it’s only been a few days since our last update, we have accomplished so much as we truly found our beach in Spain!
We departed Lourdes after a restful and rejuvenating stay and started our journey to Costa Brava, Spain! Our bus ride was full of naps, games, and lots of music. Kate queued up some real crowd pleasers the whole group loved and made the time fly by as we made our way east then south towards the coast.
As we pulled into our home for the next three nights in Spain, we watched the sky turn from pink to orange and caught our first glimpse of the Mediterranean! Margo absolutely loves the Spanish style houses and wants to live in Costa Brava one day. She fits right in with her Spanish speaking talent, of course.
After settling into our bungalows, we headed towards the water. Our Leaders of the Day, Louise and Tommy, ordered pizza for the group on our way and we walked towards the beach ready for our first meal on the second leg of our journey. We watched an almost full moon reflect off of the sea as we ate. Louise, Carter, Tommy, Coleman, and George even waded into the water under the moon and the stars eager to get their feet wet.
We headed to bed after our beach front Moonup ready to get in some kayaks the following day!
The next morning our LOD’s, Carter and Mandi, headed to the local grocery with Tom and Kit to get breakfast and lunch for the group! They whipped up eggs, sausage, and breakfast burritos for the group and they were a real hit. After getting our fill of breakfast, we suited up and hopped in our vans heading to our first kayaking spot!
After a safety briefing, we put on our life jackets, helmets, and kayaking skirts and got right in the water. We had perfect weather and the water looked so welcoming! Claire was immediately a natural, paddling with ease! The water was so clear, we could see the cliffs and rocks turn the water a lighter shade of blue. On the way to our beach side lunch spot, we ventured into some caves and paddled our way through mazes of rocks. We parked our yaks for lunch and enjoyed sandwiches, sun, and swimming as we gave our arms a break.
George and Joe explored the cliffs, climbing along the edge and getting the best views while Aldyn and Claire relaxed on water-sprayed rocks and looked like actual mermaids. Tom and Carter explored the underwater world with some goggles, looking for fish and enjoying the water’s clarity. After a little siesta time, we hopped back in our kayaks and headed for shore! We had some bigger waves on the way back that were fun to ride and paddle through, pushing us back to the beach.
We got back into our vans and scooted back to home base where we admired our tanned skin, got some well-deserved ice cream, and prepped for an amazing dinner of pasta with meat sauce and pesto with salad! Mandi and Carter absolutely crushed the meal prep with help from Tommy and Tom in the kitchen and Mandi learned how to cut avocados!
One of the many highlights of the day was our groups’ performances during our campground’s karaoke night. Led by Coleman and Margo and the rest of the girls, the group truly sang their hearts out. Tom and I knew we had a talented group, but they really blew us away with their natural ability to WOW on stage. The boys also showed their stuff with impressive confidence. Kate and Aldyn had their eyes glued to the screen as the words switched from English to Spanish and back again. They kept up pretty well and were cheered on by the crowd. Unfortunately no one in our group was discovered for their obvious talent, but we have no doubt that will not be their last show.
We headed to bed sun kissed and ready for another day on the water!
Getting an early start to the day, Claire, Aldyn, Kit, and Tom climbed over to the beach to watch the sun rise over the boats and the water. The sun peaked over the horizon as Aldyn and Claire took in a wonderful Spanish sunrise, promising another great day. Our LOD’s, Coleman and Claire, really showed their stuff and made our whole crew happy with a breakfast of pancakes topped with Nutella, bananas, syrup, and powdered sugar. What. A. Treat. Joe ate one of the biggest pancakes we’d ever seen, perfectly drizzled with syrup. Once full, we walked right down to our beach spot to begin our second day of kayaking!
Tommy and Aldyn opted for the double kayak, taking the sea by storm in tandem. Everyone felt more comfortable heading out for the second time and looked even better. We hugged the cliffs and the shore, exploring deep caves and crevasses as we paddled. Margo, Louise, Coleman, and Kit brought up the rear enjoying the cliff side views, really utilizing the GoPro’s waterproof feature.
Before stopping for lunch, we paddled through an incredible arch, the largest in Costa Brava! The water glowed blue underneath and we were greeted on the side by what looked like a pirate ship and we really felt like we were out at sea.
Our lunch cove was perfectly shaded and sheltered from the wind. We played some games of Big Booty and swam to our hearts’ content. Kate and Coleman napped on the rocks, looking like true locals. Margo, Tommy, Louise, and Carter swam and climbed around the cove with Kit, enjoying how easy it is to float in the salty water.
On our journey back to shore in our now familiar kayaks, the wind was at our back and we cruised our way in. Coleman and Claire fell into the water on the way back but jumped into their kayaks with grace and style. Once back at the beach we were still ready for more adventures, so we headed to another cliff side beach to swim and keep enjoying the water!
We swam out to a rocky island and climbed up to really get some air! Tom led the way and the group quickly followed. We have a group of professional jumpers at this point, ready for anything we could throw their way. Coleman and Kate had an especially good jump together as the rest of the group cheered them on from the water. George has proven himself a worthy and curious climber of all things climbable and continued to explore the rocky shore!
After getting our fill of jumps, we skipped back to the bungalow to relax while George, Joe, Margo, and Tom headed to the beach in search of the perfect beach ball and some more time in the sand. Margo and Louise are still sporting their hats they bought in Torla, back in the Pyrenees, and they suited the beach just as much as the mountains.
Coleman and Claire, with the help of Kate in the grocery store, concluded our string of amazing meals in Costa Brava with a little fiesta! We had no shortage of quesadillas with steaks, chicken, peppers, salsa, queso, and guacamole! We came to truly love our beach bungalows and were sad it was our final night as our beachy selves. Margo, Kate, and Coleman treated us all to some interpretive dances to “A Whole New World” among other fan favorites, really coming into their own as performers, before winding down for the night.
At Moonup we thought about our other friends and family members who would love this trip and get as much out these experiences as we have. The group can’t wait to share their stories with everyone at home!
This morning after another sunrise enjoyed by Kit, Claire, Mandi, Carter, and Tom, we packed up, destined for the next leg of our adventure: the Tour du Mont Blanc! While we will most definitely miss the beach and the water, everyone is itching to get into their backpack and onto the trail again. We are bound for Chamonix ready to crush it and cherish these dwindling days together.
We can’t wait to get back at it and challenge ourselves on the TMB!
All the love,
Tom n Kit and the Soybeans
July 17, 2019
Bonjour from Lourdes!
We have had the most incredible past 10 days! This group has been nothing short of incredible and we are treasuring every single day we have together.
We began our journey in the beautiful lake front town of Geneva where we gathered everyone in the airport excited and ready to rock and roll! After checking into our hostel, we started to explore our first town together. Everyone decided we had to be near the water and in the beautiful sunshine to beat any jet lag before it caught up with us. We found the perfect place for our first (of many) swimming opportunities. Tom lead the way into the chilly water with Claire, Margo, Coleman, Carter, Aldyn, Joe, and Kit following shortly behind. The water was so refreshing and washed the travel day off!
After our wonderful swim, we regrouped at the hostel and had our first meal together. At dinner, Mandi was already laughing at Tom’s jokes and the group already started to gel. We had our first Moonup of the trip by the lake that we just couldn’t stay away from and we prepared ourselves for the first adventure: our Pyrenees trek! We went to bed tired, very proud of the U.S. Women’s Soccer team, and ready for our train day to Lourdes, France.
The next morning, we navigated our way through the train stations all the way to Lourdes from Geneva. Joe and George showed off some of their piano skills in the train stations alongside some very talented Frenchmen. Louise, Carter, Tommy, and Joe played intense games of Egyptian Rat Slap and Tom taught the group our favorite card game yet, Cambio. The group maneuvered the trains like pros. As we passed through the countryside, everyone was getting excited to reach our destination and prepare for the next day! After delicious pizza and a great Moonup led by our first Leaders of the Day, Kate and Carter, we headed to bed and had dreams of the Pyrenees!
We awoke in the wonderful town of Lourdes and had fresh baguettes, croissants, and jam before hopping into our vans to begin our trek. We met our incredible guide, and all around favorite person, Sacha. We unpacked some of our things at our first Reuter’s and began our first day trekking in the Pyrenees! The weather was a bit foggy and we braved some rain to get our hiking feet under us. We had our first encounters with cows and sheep who would become our daily companions along the trail. Everyone was pumped to get trekking and already blown away by the incredible landscape we were about to spend over a week submersed in. George and Joe followed closely behind our fearless guide Sacha as we trekked into the Cirque and higher into the clouds. Coleman, Aldyn, Tommy, Kate, and Carter talked about what they would wear if they were famous performers. Kate opted for a Carolina blue jumpsuit and Coleman went for a full rhinestone fringe dress.
We returned to our refuge from our trek and warmed up next to a fire and broke out the cards. Joe led the group in a few games of Mafia by the fire and we all played with a litter of puppies who really latched onto George and were playfully biting onto his socks when he would try to leave. We had Moonup in an authentic Yurt and everyone said what they were most excited for in the weeks ahead.
The next morning we woke up to a crystal clear day and a perfect view of the Cirque. After breakfast and visiting with Gayard, a local blacksmith, we started our second day of trekking! We went up and up beyond our refuge and into the Pyrenees. We stopped for lunch at the perfect swimming hole. The water was crystal clear and glacially cold. Carter jumped in with his GoPro and got great videos of everyone’s shocked faces as they emerged from the water. Claire and Tom swam up stream against the current and Claire made it all the way around leaving Tom in the dust. Margo, Kate, Coleman, and Louise ventured onto a stone bridge over the swimming hole and dangled their feet in the spray of the waterfall.
We continued our trek and began our first big challenge as we approached our first pass. Sacha led us up further and further until we were higher than the clouds. We took one of our many peanut butter breaks before our last push. The group took the pass step by step and we were so impressed with their readiness to push themselves right off the bat. We did our last push up to the pass in silence as we looked out over what we had already accomplished together and climbed our way to the top. Everyone was pumped when we reached the top fully submerged in the clouds, truly on top of the world. Kate and Joe led the way down to our refuge for the night, nestled under the peaks we’d just conquered. A warm meal of rice, sausage, pepper, and potato soup waited for us and enjoyed our meal after a rewarding first day.
The next day we were greeted again by perfectly blue skies and trekking temperatures. We had a day of downhill ahead of us as we headed from our sky high refuge to a quaint town. Our Leaders of the Day, Margo and George, amped us up for the day ahead as we stretched and took in the expansive view surrounding us. We couldn’t help but smile as we started our third day of trekking.
This day brought with it a change of scenery, from vast open spaces filled with cows, to more pine tree covered trails and waterfalls. The group crushed the downhill, enjoying the quiet the forest allows. Sacha led us to the most magnificent waterfall we had seen and after a wonderful lunch in the ever-present sunshine we climbed up the falls. After the scramble up a few brave souls ventured closer and closer to the spray. The water numbed you as you got closer to the bottom. Coleman, Claire, Margo, and Aldyn inched their way to the base of the fall with Kit and Tom. We yelped as we looked up and saw rainbows form right before our eyes. Exhilarated by the cold water and breathtaking experience, we climbed down to some huge warm rocks and warmed our bodies up before continuing our final push. We stopped along the way for a wonderful photo shoot with the waterfall in the background.
Once we got to town, we explored, played frisbee, and relaxed in our home for the night! Tommy and Carter had some impressive frisbee skills and Margo and Coleman showed off some equally impressive cheer routines. Tommy and Kit had a ping pong showdown in the hostel where Kit barely came out victorious. The group stopped in at a wonderful jazz concert performed by traveling musicians who are traveling along the same trails as our group carrying all of their instruments on their backs! We were so impressed. Joe really enjoyed watching them serenade the small cafe of people from around the world. We headed to bed after a wonderful Moonup as we watched the sky turn orange as it set on another perfect day in the Pyrenees!
On the fourth day of our trek, we knew we had a big day ahead of us as we prepared to cross from France into Spain! We had another pass day ahead of us and everyone was ready for it. We started by Sacha teaching the group a little history about the town and how people have enjoyed the Pyrenees for so many years. Then we started through the trees, emerging in open fields with a full view of the pass waiting to be conquered! The group pushed through together, never leaving anyone behind. Tommy, Margo, Aldyn, George, and Kate played the Cities game with Kit and the time flew by!
When we reached the top, we treated ourselves with our wonderful lunch and time in the sun! Aldyn and Mandi were amazed by the cliffs of yellow flowers that greeted us at the top, making the mountains glow in the sun. Tommy and Kate were especially excited to get to Spain and fully utilize their Spanish speaking skills. We then headed down the other side of the pass, deeper into Spain with our goal of an early evening swim in the river that ran right by our Refugio. Coleman, Claire (always one of the first to jump), George, Carter, and Tommy jumped into the clear water making quite the splash. As always, the water was cold but it felt good on our legs and feet after a long day of trekking and miles behind us. Tommy, Joe, George, and Carter engaged in the longest game of Uno the world has ever seen in the field by the river as they relaxed after some swimming.
We enjoyed one of the group’s favorite meals yet for our first in Spain! Starting with a chick pea and spinach soup and ending with delicious Flan, filled with some Aladdin song performances from Aldyn, Margo, and Tom, we were more than ready for bed after our Moonup led by Aldyn and our guide Sacha. We reflected on everything in nature and we are thankful for how lucky we are to be in such a beautiful place with so many amazing people. We ended this night so happy to be in Spain and looking forward to another great day.
Mandi and Claire took the lead on our next day, one of the groups’ favorites! We started the day looking at some local flowers and wildlife Sacha pointed out to us, like the Lovers’ Clover and enormous ant hills. The first swim stop of the day was the coldest water we had ever been in. This swimming hole had many places for us to jump in and really get some air. Our group was so encouraging as people took the plunge. Margo was so brave and jumped from the highest rock after Carter, Tommy, George, Louise, Coleman, and Claire did too. Claire joined Kit, Tom, and Sacha on a swim up current, pulling ourselves along the rock walls that engulfed us. After some sun soaking on the rocks and rock skipping, we headed to the next swimming hole outside our next stop for the night. Kate bravely submerged in the cold water and her face was priceless when she came out a new woman!
The beautiful Spanish town has been a favorite of the group so far with its cobblestone streets and unrivaled views. We had a great dinner right in the heart of town and finished with our favorite dessert yet of vanilla and chocolate ice cream cake. After a quick dance party in our bunk room, we headed to do our Moonup with a view of the mountains we had already crushed. We enjoyed a walk around town and took in the wonderful town we got to sleep in!
We prepared for a big day as we bused to start of our day of trekking! Before we left, Margo, Louise, Claire, Coleman bought Spanish walking hats that looked almost too good on the trail. Coleman and Tommy were our champion LOD’s for this BIG DAY. We traversed the canyon and we were cradled by cliffs covered in blankets of the yellow flowers we had come to know and love. We followed the river up to the base of the real challenge, our final ascent to our sky high refugio for the night! Carter and Mandi chatted the whole way up and Carter and Kate really pushed everyone up this challenging incline. When we finally got to the top, after many photos along the way, the group huddled among the rocks and listened to music together bonding over their favorite artists and truly thriving looking out over the greatest canyon in Europe, watching the clouds roll over nearby peaks. Coleman, Tommy, and Carter busted out some impressive dance moves in the setting sun after yet another fabulous dinner with pasta that was wonderfully similar to Mac n cheese.
As the sun set and the group quieted down, we waited for the stars together. Kate was especially excited for the unfitted night sky to reveal itself. Everyone looked up in awe as the light and sunshine we enjoyed all day faded, replaced with the brightest moon we had ever seen.
Margo and Kate led the group alllllll the way down the canyon on the next day of our journey. We cruised down what we had pushed ourselves up the day prior, and the whole group was so proud of what they had accomplished. We stopped at a wonderful waterfall where we napped and took pics under the spray. Joe and Kit climbed up the side to get a better look of falls and canyon below, trying to soak in as much of the view as possible. We treated ourselves to some ice cream at the bottom and made it back to yet another fabulous swimming hole!!
Going a day without swimming felt strange and everyone was so excited to get back into the cold water we are so used to at this point. After getting our fill of sun and swim, we went back to one of our favorite Refugios in Spain for some yoga and sleep in preparation to get back to France the next day!
We woke up ready for the uphill challenge ahead of us! We knew we had a good bit to push through before we completed our Pyrenean trek. As we headed up towards the border between France and Spain, we looked out over Spain and said our goodbyes to this place we had come to love so much and know so well. At this point our group cruises uphill together and we are so impressed with how supportive and constantly encouraging they are of each other. Each and every one of them has not only challenged themselves and succeeded but challenged each other as well.
With one final swim in a lake right at the pass, we said goodbye to first leg of our trip and immediately started getting hype for Costa Brava and sea kayaking! It’s crazy we are already heading back to Spain to spend time in the Mediterranean, but we still have so much to look forward to with a group any leader would be lucky to have.
Until next time much love,
Tom n Kit (Tim n Kim) and the Soybeans
SHOUTOUTS TO OUR PEOPLE STATESIDE:
“Hi family! I miss y’all so much but I don’t wanna come because I am in my element here. Everything I’ve done here has been mind blowing and I’m living my best life. Send horse clan my love and kind regards. See y’all soon! Tell Huntley I love him too. Peace out I love you all!” – Aldyn
“Hello family! And puppies and friends! I love and miss y’all so much! I am having so much fun here. Everyone is so sweet, and this is just going by way too fast. We are currently in a bus in the to the coast of Spain to kayak and catch some rays. I’ve got to say this hiking was quite difficult but i survived and had so much fun. Can’t wait to see all of you in the near future and have fun in Bham babes! Rawr XD.” -Margo
“Hey mom, dad and Holtie! I miss y’all lots and hope you’re having fun! My group is super fun and I’m having the best time ever. Holtie, I hope you have fun in Cali! Love you and see y’all soon!” – Coleman
“ Hey Mom and Dad! The trip is a lot of fun. Super challenging but so much fun. The Pyrenees were beautiful and Yiayia would love them. We just stayed in Lourdes and explored the Cathedral during a procession and it was incredible and you would have loved it. Going to Costa brava now and so pumped.” Love Tommy
“Hey guys. Just got out of the Pyrenees. there’s a lot of cows up there and sheep. A surprising amount of cows and sheep. Theey’re pretty cool. Love and miss ya.” -Joe
“Wazzam people on the way to beautiful Costa Brava, listening to some smoothie jazz. Resting after some long and hard but BEAUTIFUL hiking in the Pyrenees. The hikes were once in a lifetime and really made me notice and appreciate the world we live in. Bonding with the best people in the world here and getting to hike with my fam I’ve made from outside the real world.” -Love Carter
“Hey fam!! Just finished an awesome time in the Pyrenees. The mountains are amazing and the people are even better. I cant wait for the next part of the adventure and I never want to leave. love you all.” -Mandi
“Hey mom, dad, carter, and Val! I miss y’all but I’m having so much fun. We just finished trekking in the Pyrenees. I still have kayaking, Chamonix and Paris left and I can’t wait! Love y’all!” -Claire
Hi fam! It’s amazing here!! I’m having so much fun with all my friends. Y’all would love the hiking here. We’re on our way to Costa Brava after finished it our 9 day Pyrenees trek. Tell Drew ad everyone I say hi! Love y’all!” -Kate
“What’s up guys!! I miss y’all and the cats so much! The Pyrenees were beautiful, but also hard. Lol!! Y’all would love all the cool swimming spots and our amazing guide, Sacha. On the way to Costa Brava to kayak now, then to Chamonix to finish out the trip with a five day trek I’ve met the most amazing people and seen the coolest views. B-day is in 7 days. Love y’all!” -Louise
“Hey mom and dad! I having fun so far and we have been hiking from hostel to Refugio. The leaders are so fun and so are the other kids on the trip. We are leaving the Pyrenees and I’m so excited for what’s next.” -love George
July 7, 2019
Hello Chamonix families!
We are so pleased to tell you that all our Chamonix 3B students have arrived safely in Geneva, and their leaders are so excited to meet them. We can’t wait to hear about the Pyrenees next!