June 22, 2021
After our final two days following our trip on the Salmon River, we are ready to send your students home with smiles, stories and new experiences. On our drive back to Jackson we stopped in McCall for ice cream at the candy shop to celebrate our amazing and successful rafting section. Bridget tried a new flavor of ice cream that became the group favorite… huckleberry! Anderson and James took song requests from the group, fueling the even larger playlist that we called “the kid’s choice awards”.
After a long day of driving, we stopped for the night at a beautiful state park. We had a lovely campsite and grilled some bratwursts, courtesy of Zach! In the morning, we continued our journey from Washington to Jackson. We made coffee-shop style bagels and cream cheese for breakfast and listened to some pump-up music to get us going for the early morning drive. As we drove through the incredible landscape, the students played our favorite riddle, “the road trip game”. Will continued to stump the group with the riddle, while Adair, Eva, Ella and Ashley had some hilarious conversations.
We arrived back at our new campground, dropped off our U-Haul, then headed into the town of Jackson Hole for some much needed (or maybe not!) civilization. Our first stop was the trusty ole thrift shop for some wardrobe changes prior to our final banquet. Notable red carpet outfits included Zach and Anderson with red leather vests and gold chains. Ella chose a black fedora while Ashley went with the classic wrangler hat. Charlie found a Green Bay Packers tie, and what we thought were a pair of women’s basketball shorts. Morgan picked a Chris Stapleton-esque straw hat! After our wardrobe change, we cruised the streets of Jackson hitting up all the sights and stores.
We hopped back in the van and headed to our final banquet dinner at a mouth-watering Mexican food restaurant. We filled up on our choice of entrees and several baskets of their famous chips. After dinner we went back to camp and Eva broke out her new camera to have a final group photo shoot ! We had an amazing final Moonup and prepared for our early flights. Thank you all for sharing your most prized possessions with us, and we hope to see them at Moondance once more!
-Lg and Sam
June 21, 2021
Hello from Idaho!
After our long, but fun and entertaining road trip from Jackson, Wyoming to McCall, Idaho we finally got our bathing suits on and began our rafting adventure. The group was coming off two very physical and tiring activities, backpacking, and climbing, and were thrilled to be floating down the beautiful Salmon River and enjoying each other’s company. As soon as we hit the water Anderson and Will revived the notorious “Going on a road trip” riddle and stumped not only our whole group, but our rafting guides too! It became a race to see who could solve the riddle first! As we continued down the river the group looked up and around at the incredible landscape that surrounded us on every side. The students were mesmerized by the towering red cliffs that stood like walls on either side of us and were met with tall green rolling hills that seemed to go on forever. Our rafting guides were incredible and shared facts about the landscape around us and told stories that explained the rich history of the Native Americans that once populated the area. As we paddled on, we approached a ledge with a massive log perched on top and it was perfect for our first jump into the river! Eva was the first of the group to head to the top and take the leap; her massive smile and excitement was a clear indicator that this was a highlight of the day. The group worked up an appetite after their many, many turns jumping off the log so our LODs for the day, Anderson and Adair, set up an incredible sandwich spread with fruit, chips and cookies. We ended our first day with some fun small rapids to warm us up for our big, class four rapids we would be facing the next day.
Our second day began by packing up camp and having a hearty breakfast of scrambled eggs, pancakes, and hot chocolate. We wasted no time as our first big rapid was just around the corner from our campsite. Ella was a little nervous to hit the first rapid because it was her first time ever rafting, but she conquered her fear by siting in the front of the boat and taking the waves head on! It was so fun to see the students faces light up with excitement and thrill as they paddled through their first class four rapid. We got to our camp early so James and Charlie started up a big game of Horseshoes that quickly became a tournament. We ended our amazing day lined up in our sleeping bags across the beach as we slept under the stars. Our last full rafting was arguably one of the best days of the trip. The weather was cooler than the first two days and the energy was at an all-time high. As the “rapid runner” and “slammin Salmon”, the names of our two boats, headed down the River, the group learned a new rafting game from our guides where two of them stand across from each other on the sides of the boat, connect the ends of their paddles, and slowly lean back over the water having to trust the other. Ashley and Morgan mastered the technique and finally found the perfect balance after lots of trial and error. Another highlight of the day was exiting the Salmon River to merge onto the Snake River where we connected our boats to form one “mega boat”. The students had fun jumping from boat to boat and being all together. When we arrived at our final stop of the day the group was wiped out from the long, fun day in the sun and Charlie and Bridget both fell asleep, face in the sand, under the umbrella. We laughed as they woke up to a half sandy face and confused look. We then took a quick sunset hike to a hidden orchard where we found the most beautiful lush, green field tucked behind the arid rolling hills with rows of cherry, apple, and mulberry trees. The group stood below the cherry tree as Zach and Anderson dropped them down for everyone to try. We had the perfect end to our last day with s’mores and a football game on the beach. After a few practice runs, the students mastered the art of the perfect golden marshmallow! We were all sad when saying goodbye to our incredible guides and the Salmon River, but all agreed it was the perfect section to end our trip on.
See y’all soon!!
BGWA1, Lily Grace & Sam
June 17, 2021
Hi Big Wild A families!
We just wrapped up an incredible climbing section at the Teton National Park. We started our first day of climbing with Sam’s newly famous m&m pancakes and scrambled eggs. Eager and excited for our new adventure our LODs, James and Eva, helped prepare the rest of the group by briefing us on the day, helping pack day bags, and inspiring us with a quote at morning huddle. When we arrived at Exum Climbing we met our amazing instructors and took a boat across the beautiful Jenny Lake. We then hiked to our first climbing stop, getting a mist of falling water from the towering Hidden Falls, to learn bouldering and belaying. Belaying was a tricky skill, but the group quickly caught on and Charlie specifically perfected the technique! After a few hours of practice, the group took a long lunch break under a shaded tree that overlooked the lake. The second half of the day consisted of putting our new skills to the test by multi pitching up the mountain as a group. They worked amazing together and everyone made it to the top with encouraging cheers as they took their final steps to the top! It was incredible to see their faces light up as many of them were uneasy and unsure if they could do it. Ashley went out of her comfort zone and overcame her fear of heights by conquering the climb! Exhausted, but feeling extremely accomplished, we surprised the group with an ice cream stop in Jackson Hole for their hard work and amazing attitudes. We ended the night with homemade pita pizzas, the favorite dinner so far, crafted by Morgan and Bridget. Our dinner was followed by a competitive game of Spike Ball that Anderson and James won. By our second day, the group was feeling confident and eager to continue learning and trying new routes to the top. The girls conquered the challenging multi pitch climb up Bat Slab to the top of Hidden Peak where they were blown away by the view of the Tetons and looking down at the long and daunting climb they accomplished. It was especially special for Sam and I to hear Eva and Ella discuss how they never thought they would be able to climb something so challenging – they were genuinely smiling from ear to ear. Our next challenge was a little different from what we’d been practicing because this time we were headed down the mountain. Repelling was everyone’s favorite as the group loved their new, faster route down to base. Zach and Adair both agreed that repelling was the highlight of their day and lead the way as the group descended. As everyone began to reunite at the bottom, they each excitedly shared their adventure of the day and reflected on their hard work. Will told many stories of his groups guide, Matt, and how he was challenged by the particularly hard climbs and the new technique of crack climbing. Overall, climbing was an amazing experience and truly pushed all the kids out of their comfort zones and expanded their confidence in what they believe they are capable of. We ended our night with card games and the development of a list of their favorite songs for a playlist to be the soundtrack to our eleven-hour journey to Idaho where we will soon start rafting!
– Lily Grace & Sam
June 14, 2021
Hello from Wyoming!
After an exciting and tiring airport day we headed to a beautiful campsite and enjoyed our first night camping together. We ate pizza, set up camp by the beautiful Soda Lake, and prepared for our first day of backpacking! We started our day early and headed to our trail head to meet our awesome guide, Justin, and start our backpacking adventure. Our first LOD’s (leaders of the day), Ashley and Zach, did an incredible job learning to read a map and use a compass to guide us to our campgrounds. They picked a beautiful spot in an open meadow that was surrounded by mountains and a creek. When we got to camp, James immediately set up a game of mafia and came up with the most hilarious scenarios. Meanwhile, Charlie and Zach were fly fishing in the creek and Charlie caught a cutthroat!
Our second day of backpacking consisted of a tough summit to Crow’s Nest. Despite the tough climb, Will kept the group busy by introducing the “going on a road trip” riddle that is still in the process of being solved. The kids were extremely encouraging and uplifting of each other, and they all agreed the view at the summit was worth the climb! On our way back down to camp, Anderson was filling his water bottle when he spotted a moose in the distance and called the rest of the group over to see. It truly was an incredible day of stunning views, bonding, and teamwork.
Our final full backpacking day was packed with an eight-mile round trip hike to Meaks Lake. We got an early start to arrive at the lake for lunch and to continue furthering our fly-fishing skills. Adair impressed us all with her newfound skill of fly fishing. The hike back to camp was beautiful and the kids especially enjoyed crossing a tall bridge that stood over the Big Sandy River. As we continued back and the energy was beginning to fall, Morgan and Bridget lifted the mood by singing their original song about the LNT (leave no trace) lesson that was taught throughout the week! We concluded our final night in the mountains with a delicious pasta dinner made by Ella and Eva and a mountain sunset backdrop. Everyone was sad to leave our backpacking section, but we cannot wait to get to Jenny Lake to start climbing!
– Lily Grace and Sam
June 9, 2021
Hello Big Wild 1A Families!
The whole group arrived safely in Jackson Hole, and they are off to their first campsite. We have heard from our leaders that the trip is off to a great start, and we cannot wait to hear more stories from their adventure!
Please remember our leaders and students will be unplugged during their trips but we will be posting at least three updates throughout the next couple of weeks. This will allow you to follow along with the trip and the students will also give a special shoutout mid-way through! You can also follow us on Instagram, @moondanceadventures, to see more of what we are up to this summer!