Trip Updates

Midnight Sun 3 • July 13-July 26, 2019

Hello from the Wrangells!

July 16, 2019

Although we just arrived 48 hours ago, it feels like we’ve been here for a week! Our amazing adventure started in the Anchorage airport where slowly by surely our entire group of 12 arrived. The group hit it off right away, chatting with each other and starting to get to know one another. We headed to our campsite for the night, had our first Moonup, and went to bed!The next day was a travel day to get all the way to McCarthy, Alaska, home of only about 30 people in the winter. McCarthy is at the edge of the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, the largest national park in the U.S., and is also quite remote and hard to get to. Our group piled in a van and drove all the way to Chitina, Alaska, specifically the “airport” which is simply a gravel landing strip! Everyone was really excited, and Helen was sure to call “shotgun” and wound up right next to the pilot in the cockpit! I think she may become a pilot one day! Everyone got to experience the Wrangells (well, some of them) from above, which is quite the unforgettable site. Cooper was able to spot a moose from over 5,000 feet in the air!Once we landed, our guides picked us up and took us to the nearby town of Kennecott, which used to be an old copper mind back in the early 20th century. We were able to go into the real copper mill which is 14 stories high! Our guide, Anna, taught us all about the way copper was mined and processed. Hardhats and all, we were transported to a different time, as we navigated each story of the mill.Our tour worked up quite the appetite, so the group dined on a lovely appetizer, while Winn, Josephine, and Millie Claire prepared incredibly delicious cheeseburgers with an awesome assortment of toppings. They might be starting their own diner when they return! Our Leaders of the Day (LODs), Winn and Elizabeth took us to a great Moonup spot right by McCarthy Creek, where we reflected on our day and looked ahead to our backpacking adventure through the mist beautifully rugged land. Today we started our day by waking up to some bagels with cream cheese, smoked ALASKAN salmon, and some fruit. After breakfast, we quickly got into gear and started organizing ourselves for the backpacking and ice climbing excursion ahead! We first learned the “duffel shuffle” where we emptied our bags and learned what to bring and what not to bring in the backcountry (minimalism is key!). Afterwards we learned how to pack and properly fit our big backpacks, so that it’s a little more manageable to carry the food we need to feed 14 people! Walker was one of the first ones to finish packing his backpack and to say goodbye to his duffel. The whole group was very efficient in sorting their belongings, and in no time we were off to Kennecott to get fitted for our ice climbing gear!After we were fitted for the ice climbing boots and harnesses, we set out with our guides and headed to our campsite at the gates of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, Amazon Creek! It’s a short hike, but the packs are heavy. Meg likely won the award for heaviest pack, but kept a great attitude the entire time. Our group did a great job in keeping the morale high and supporting each other with good spirits! Backpacking is also a wonderful way to get close with one another, and the group continues to open up.Once we arrived at the campsite we spread out our tents and began to prep for dinner and sleep! Our dinner tonight was “backcountry pad Thai,” cooked up by our cooking crew. It consisted of sautéed vegetables cooked by Pope, well-seasoned chicken made by Harrigan, and a nice peanut sauce cheffed by Mack. After dinner, Justin was eager to volunteer to go fetch water from the nearby Amazon Creek for the group which was greatly appreciated. Once we cleaned our dishes and stored the food in our bear bin, we headed to a ridge with an incredible view of the Chugach Mountains, the Root Glacier, and everything in store for the rest of our trip! We can’t wait to ice climb tomorrow, and the group is excited to try something new and eventually get deeper into the backcountry!

Until next time,

Max and Liza

Safe Arrival in Anchorage!

July 14, 2019

Hello Midnight Sun Families!

We heard from our leaders last night that all students arrived safely in Anchorage, and enjoyed some well-deserved rest at their first campsite. We can’t wait to hear more stories from their adventures. Stay tuned!

  • Moondance HQ


  • Cooper
  • Elizabeth
  • Harrigan
  • Helen
  • Josephine
  • Justin
  • Mack
  • Meg
  • Millie Claire
  • Pope
  • Walker
  • Winn