July 9, 2021
Sadly, our time together has come to an end! We would like to thank you all for sharing your wonderful kids with us! The past few days have been packed full of fun. We finally said goodbye to our awesome raft guides (and the awesome food that they made), and got off the river! Fun fact- we actually crossed through three states during rafting! Washington, Idaho, and Oregon. After ending our rafting section, we stopped for Ice cream in a small town in Idaho. Nick tried huckleberry ice cream and loved it before we got back in the car for a fun drive. We listened to some new music and added songs to the group playlist. Eli made sure to give us many new songs to listen to. Miller, Coalter, Piper and Caroline all played Pictionary in the car as well – a group favorite!
While stopped for the evening at our campsite, Walter and Westbrook played an intense game of frisbee. Grace and Caroline tried bratwursts for the first time at dinner! The next day, we headed to Jackson for showers and our town day! Coalter kept the car laughing the entire way with jokes and impressions. After showering, we hit the town! We walked around downtown Jackson and Theodora, Caroline, Piper, and Lucy all bought Jackson hole shirts and sweatshirts. Another ice cream stop filled us up as we continued to shop ~ the group agrees: there’s never too much ice cream! We stopped by a toy store where Miller and Coalter bought yo-yo’s, competing to see who could achieve the best tricks. Our toy store stop was followed by a trip to an outdoor store where some surprise family gifts were bought by some of the students.
For our final banquet, we went to dinner at a Mexican place and everyone filled up on quesadillas and guac! After spending 5 days in the hot sun, Mexican food was a much welcomed comfort. The quesadillas were amazing and Theodora tried the famous Tostada salad. We finished the evening with a trip to a scenic overlook, watching the sunset for our final Moonup and music. We were extremely sad to see everyone go this morning, but we are even more excited to see all the things this group will accomplish in the coming years. Once again, thank you for sharing your kids with us; we hope to see them with Moondance next summer!
Sam + LG!
July 8, 2021
Hi BGW2A families!
After a long day of travel, that consisted of lots of card games and karaoke, we finally arrived in Idaho to begin 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. It was only a matter of seconds before everyone began throwing each other out of the rafts and attempting to take over each other’s boat. Miller made the most enemies, as he was the first one to instigate the pushing, and quickly cleared his boat out leaving everyone laughing in the water. After many sneak attacks and a lot of time climbing in and out of the rafts, we all found ourselves staring up at the beautiful canyon that encompassed us on all sides.
Throughout this section we passed through four canyons beginning in Green Canyon and ending in Blue Canyon. Our guides were amazing and extremely knowledgeable of the area. They shared facts about the canyons, wildlife, and told the stories of the Native Americans that once populated the land. The landscape itself is extremely unique and incredibly beautiful. As we floated down the river our right side was towering red rocks and arid rolling hills, while our left side was lush and steep. We pulled over for our first lunch at a white sandy beach and our LODs, Walter and Westbrook, set up a delicious sandwich bar with all the fix-ins and cookies.
Our afternoon picked up speed again when our guides taught us a popular game where two people 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. After lots and lots of trial-and-error Theodora and Lucy figured out the trick and impressed us all with their new skill. When we finally arrived at our first camp, the students learned how to set up camp on the river. They really took initiative as leaders on this section and were expected to help unload the boats, set up the kitchen and tarps, and help cook everyday. It was so impressive to see each of them step up and take on different responsibilities with confidence and without being told.
The first night we enjoyed our dinner of spaghetti and meatballs while being entertained by a competitive spike ball game. Piper was teamed up with Blain, one of our guides, and made an impressive comeback against Coalter and Westbrook, but lost by just one point at the end of the game. Exhausted by our exciting first day on the water and in the sun, the group had no problems falling asleep in the sand and under the stars.
Our second day began with a big breakfast of French toast, scrambled eggs and hot chocolate prepared by our LODs and cook crew. Day two was arguably the favorite day of the trip because of the class four rapids and prime swimming spots. Everyone loved the thrill of the big rapids and fought over who got to “ride the bull” (sit at the very front of the boat). It was hilarious to see Walter take on the waves and get the first splash. One rapid in specific, China, stood out to the group because of the massive wave that floods into the boat and soaks everyone. We continued down the river all afternoon and had a blast jumping in the water, solving new riddles, and playing lots of rafting games. That evening there was the most beautiful sunset that was the perfect backdrop to our cookout and s’mores night. Caroline and Grace, our chefs of the night, showed us the art of grilling hamburgers and mastered the perfect flip.
Our amazing day two concluded with s’mores, handstand contests, and a very sweet Moonup. The group was anxious to get day three going because of the highly anticipated cliff jumping section! Needless to say, it did not disappoint – they couldn’t get enough of it. Drained from the sun and jumping, Nick and Eli took a big afternoon nap as we continued to float, and not even a class three rapid could wake them up! Our last campsite was absolutely beautiful and had an incredible orchard tucked behind a hill. It was a dream of an afternoon – we sat under the trees for hours and searched for ripe apricots and blackberries to pick. It was truly the perfect way to say goodbye to the Salmon River and wrap up our last activity of the trip.
– Lily Grace and Sam
July 3, 2021
After the group completed an amazing few days of backpacking we left the beautiful Wind River Range, stopped for a celebratory hamburger lunch, and headed to Grand Teton National Park for our climbing section. We settled down at our new campsite with card games and frisbee, but ended our day with a surprise visit to the Jackson Hole rodeo. Hotdogs and hamburgers in hand, the group loved watching the bull riding and especially had fun cheering Lucy on as she competed in the blindfolded dance competition!
Our first day of climbing was both exciting and challenging for the students. Our LODs, Walter and Coalter, led the group up the mountain to begin our day that was full of learning to belay, multi-pitch climb, and repel. The students picked up these new skills in no time and, in usual fashion, began creating competitions. Westbrook and Miller had the group on our toes as they repelled down, side by side, and raced back up to the top! They had many rematches and are still undecided and in debate about the winner. Lunch was extra special today as it was accompanied with a breathtaking view and a few rounds of two truths and a lie. Theodora had the whole group stumped with crazy, hilarious options and kept us guessing all throughout the afternoon. Two prominent goals of a Moondance trip is to push the students out of their comfort zones and to teach them valuable leadership skills that will apply to all aspects of their lives. With that being said, it was very special and so impressive to see the students encourage each other on every climb, radiate positivity through challenging times, and their overall willingness to challenge themselves both physically and mentally.
We hung up our harnesses and helmets for the day, but continued the fun back at at camp with a spike ball tournament and make your own pizza night! After many close games, it became apparent Piper and Coalter were the team to beat – needless to say the tournament is still in progress and the winners are still up for debate. After this amazing, jam packed day the group definitely worked up an appetite and had a blast making pizzas and watching Eli eat a record breaking number of pita pizzas!
Our second day of climbing began with m&m pancakes and a stunning boat ride across Jenny Lake. The students spent the day putting their new skills to the test as they each conquered challenging climbs. I was especially proud of Caroline as she faced fear of heights and never once shied away from a climb. On the other side of the mountain, Grace, Walter and Nick worked their way up one of the most challenging passes, Tree pitch and rewarded their success with a stunning view of the Tetons and Jenny lake. After these two incredible days of hard work it was only fitting to celebrate with ice cream from Jackson Hole Soda Fountain. We went to bed early and the group slept under the stars, instead of their tents, in anticipation of our road trip to our next adventure in Idaho – rafting!
– Lily Grace & Sam
July 1, 2021
Hi BGWA families!
After an exciting day of arriving in Jackson and meeting everyone, the group hit the road to Pinedale, Wyoming for our first night camping under the stars. We stopped on the way to pick up some delicious pizza that we ate as we watched our first of many sunsets! We went to bed early in preparation for the start of our backpacking journey. We woke up energized and excited for the day and began with the duffel shuffle, learning how and what to pack for backpacking, which the students picked up incredibly fast.
Packed up and ready to go the group began our first day trekking along the beautiful High Line Trail being led by our first LODs (leaders of the day) Theodora and Miller. They both did an incredible job learning to read the map, orient a compass, and leading the group to our beautiful campsite. Hungry from our long day of backpacking our first cook crew, Lucy and Caroline, learned to set up a whisper light stove and helped prepare an amazing Mexican meal of fajitas, rice,and beans! As the day was coming to an end, we gathered for our nightly tradition of Moonup and were gifted with an incredible sunset that had the whole group running up the hill to get a better view and capture the moment. It was a very special way to end our first backpacking day!
The next morning, we got to sleep in and have a leisurely morning. That afternoon we hiked to a meadow with small sprawling ponds that the students learned to fly fish in. It was also the perfect spot for our picnic lunch! On our way back we detoured to Boulter Lake, where we ended up spending hours swimming, climbing, and fishing. Some small fish were caught, but everyone was most impressed by Pipers fly fishing skills, as this was only her first time! On the other side of the lake Lucy and Westbrook got to show off their climbing skills as they lead a small group to the top of a red, rocky overlook that truly took everyone’s breath away. We ended our day with another delicious dinner prepared by Eli and Nick; they particularly liked and mastered the art of cutting vegetables.
Day 3 of backpacking started in Sam and I’s favorite way – pancakes! The students were impressed and amazed by Sam’s ability to flip not just one but three pancakes at once! We handed the bowl and spatula over to Miller who earned the title as our new pancake master due to his newly famous Mickey Mouse pancakes. The group then headed out for our day hike to Meaks Lake where we continued to improve our fly-fishing skills and played game. We were all excited and cheered Walter on as he reeled in a beautiful Tiger Trout – this was his first catch of many for the day! To catch a break from the sun, we gathered in shade and shared riddles that stumped the whole group. We were so impressed by Westbrook who solved one of the trickiest ones in just a matter of minutes. When we returned to camp a competitive card game of President took place and, despite some controversy, Coalter is our reigning champ! We ended our night with another amazing Moonup led by our LODs, Grace and Caroline, who kept us entertained with their theatrical introduction and insightful questions.
Although we are sad to leave the Wind River Range behind, the students can’t wait for our next adventure in Grand Teton National Park where we will begin our climbing section!
Until next time,
Lily Grace and Sam