June 16, 2021
We are just leaving the rafting section of our trip and have so much to catch you up on. On our drive from Jackson Hole to the Salmon River, we surprised the kids with a local food stop! During the car ride, everyone caught up on sleep and sang their hearts out to some music. I don’t think Slater ever stopped singing and dancing that whole ride!
That night we camped at Ponderosa State Park, where Sofie and our very own Chef Ramsey (aka Miles) cooked us a tacos dinner and led us in a beautiful Moonup at the lake. As everyone was getting ready for bed, the boys were in a tent playing uno. This is when Jenna and Elli decided to prank the boys, which caused the boys to roll over in their tent multiple times. It was probably the funniest thing I’ve ever seen in my life. We still can’t stop laughing about it!
We started our first day of rafting with our LODs, Mac and Jenna, cooking us an amazing breakfast of cheesy scrambled eggs and bacon. Our raft guides, Tanner, Jasper, Austin, Esmae and Kurt, welcomed us at the Salmon River where we launched our next adventure.
The first day we hit mostly class three rapids and one class four. Thomas was first to ride the bull of the raft, resulting in getting soaked by some waves and the biggest smile full of laughter. The day ended as a giant game of touch football started among the kids. Lilly by far outscored everyone in the game. The guides were impressed with how close everyone in our group was and how well mannered they are. That evening everyone slept on the beach underneath the stars.
Our second day of rafting began with our guides making pancakes, eggs and bacon, with the help of Martin and Elli. The morning rapids hit us hard and we came GoPro ready! Sally streamed live with some hilarious commentary as she rode the bull through some rapids. We also had some rapid swimmers including Sofie falling off the raft and myself (Emme) getting pushed in. After our lunch break, the water calmed down and got deeper, and thus the raft wars broke out.
Leading the attack was Mac and Slater, easily taking over the opposing raft. Miles spent the afternoon steering our raft for a few miles. Our guide, Jasper, said she never saw someone pick up stealing a raft so easily! The kids spent the rest of the afternoon swimming at the new campsite and competing in a bocce-ball tournament.
The next day was a nice and easy day of rafting. Slater broke out his uno cards on the raft and the rafts competed in echo contests in the canyons. To finish the day of rafting, we surprised the kids with a jumping rock! Most everyone jumped rock into the water, including Elli and Jenna who are nervous with heights. We spent the rest of the day playing games, specifically pterodactyl. To all our surprise, Ella Barnes broke out of her shell by making everyone laugh and ultimately winning the game. Our last night on the River was spent making s’mores and enjoying Moonup with the raft guides.
This morning our LODs, Georgia and Thomas, led us in packing for the day. We then set out for the last four miles of our 70 miles rafting trip. The kids were devastated to leave the guides, because they became part of our family for the past couple days.
It is crazy that we are half way through our trip. Bo and I have absolutely loved every single second with this group. Time needs to slow down!
– Emme and Bo – Big Wild B
June 14, 2021
Airport day was the day that Bo and I have been waiting for so long! Finally meeting all your kids was more than we could have imagined. Their energy from the beginning was electric. New friendships were being formed, and we knew in no time we would all be like family.
Ever since leaving the airport, the Grand Tetons have always been in our view. They are absolutely stunning! We arrived at our first campsite and surprised the group with pizza for dinner.
During Moonup, we selected the first two LODs (leader of the day), Lilly and Thomas. Lilly demonstrated natural leadership since the moment she stepped off the plane. She is a friend to all, including everyone in games and conversation. Thomas is a calm and positive presence in the group. We knew he would be a great leader for the first day of climbing.
A sweet tradition that is unique to our group happened during our first Moonup. During Moonup we always ask a serious question to get to know each other better and answer it one at a time in a circle. After answering the question, Slater looked to the student next to him and restated the question. The group broke out into laughter, and now after each person answers the question, they ask the person next to them the question. This is a special moment for Bo and me, because it shows how close the kids are already and how much they want to form meaningful relationships!
Our first full day together was a rock climbing day! Lilly and Thomas woke up early and helped us cook breakfast burritos for the group. We met with the Exum mountain guys in the Teton National Forest and rode a water taxi over Jenny Lake to the base of the mountains. We learned to properly use harnesses and helmets, as well as tying knots. Immediately, Sally picked up these skills with enthusiasm and was able to help the other students with their knot tying.
It was really amazing to see how much our group thrived while climbing, especially those with reservations. I got to watch as Elli challenged herself by beginning the day not wanting to climb, to having no hesitation to climb a difficult rock wall. She conquered every boulder! Georgia and Jenna were the biggest cheerleaders out of the group, always encouraging everyone throughout the day!
Since the airport, our group has never stopped laughing. Everyone has such positive energy, but Slater is hands down one of the funniest people I have ever met. He is able to turn our group from low to high energy in just one sentence.
After spending the day climbing, we headed back to the campsite where we prepped for the rain. We used this opportunity to teach everyone how to hang a tarp and the proper lightening protocol. The rest of the afternoon we laughed and played a bunch of games. Miles by far is the best moo-off in history. No one could beat him!
After the games, the rain hit and we were all able to giggle under the tarp and cook burgers and corn on the cob together. Martin was a rockstar in the kitchen! It was such a fun moment! The rain stopped, allowing us to find a beautiful spot for Moonup with the Grand Tetons towering over us. Sally and Slater were chosen as the next two LODs for their encouragement during the first challenging day of rock climbing.
Yesterday was our last day climbing along Hidden Falls. Once again, we were able to enjoy incredible views on one side and the glorious Grand on the other. It was an amazing moment the whole group shared when we ate lunch, laughed together and gaped at the views around us.
Ella surprised us by leaving her fear of heights at the bottom of the mountain and completely crushing the rock wall. However, she was not the only one who encountered her fear today; Sally saw a moose on our drive to our sunset Moonup spot. Though her eyes widened in fear, she laughed about her fear of moose with the group and exclaimed that it was miles of improvement compared to her previous encounters.
Last night’s Moonup was by far the most beautiful view any of us has ever seen. Mac described it perfectly when saying, “my high of today is right now, this moment and this view”. His appreciation of our surroundings warmed our hearts and influenced the other students to soak it all in too.
At Moonup, Miles and Sofie were chosen as the next LODs. Sofie has been the most selfless friend in our group. She always volunteers to help clean or fill water bottles. She is a natural leader and amazing friend. Miles showed his leadership while climbing the past two days. He conquered those rocks with no hesitation.
Everyone was in such high spirits being together with such beautiful surroundings. We really couldn’t ask for a better group. It’s hard to believe that we met each other just a few days ago.
June 9, 2021
Hello Big Wild 1B Families!
The whole group arrived safely in Jackson Hole, and they are headed 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 trip 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!!