July 26, 2021
Hello all! It’s hard to believe that our trip has come to a close, but the past few days have been the best yet! A few days ago we set out into the backcountry outside of the small town of Pinedale, Wyoming. On our first day of backpacking, the towering mountains and the winding creeks of the Wind River Range accompanied us on our 6-mile hike to basecamp. The LODs, Jared and Mary Stewart led us to our camp that sat next to Blue Lake, a beautiful blue body of water filled with trout. We set up camp and cooked a delicious meal of veggies and noodles.
The second day in the backcountry was the day we have all been waiting for… Summit Day! Our LODs, Keith and Lila Jane, lead us on the day climb up the Warrior One Peek. Gray was our ball of energy and would sprint up the mountain ahead of everyone. His energy was contagious! Although it was a long and steep hike, our group remained motivated, specifically because of Norah and Alex’s constant support and positivity. Keith also kept everyone laughing with his constant jokes and stories. We would not have summited without them!
Our group was also inspired to climb by Mary Stewart who volunteered to carry a backpack full of water bottles and snacks for the group up the entire mountain. Henry also persevered through the hike, resulting in a well-rewarded nap at the summit. The peak of Warrior One was by far one of the most beautiful views we have ever seen. The view was even better knowing how hard we worked for it. After a well-deserved nap on the summit and a brief photo shoot to capture the view, our proud and joyful group descended the mountain back to camp where we enjoyed an afternoon of fly-fishing and more naps.
On our third day in the backcountry, we woke up to a fresh breakfast of backcountry pancakes. With much trail and error, Lila Jane finally perfected our cooking skills by making the best pancakes any of us have ever had. The remainder of the morning was spent on Blue Lake, where AR was the first to catch a fish on a fly rod! Shortly after her, Ellen reeled in a fish while fly-fishing. The rest of the group basked in the sun and jumped in the lake. Once again, Ella’s love for jumping rocks resurfaced. I probably watched her jump off the rock over twenty times without a break! We finished the day with a short hike to our next campsite. On every hike, Edward was always willing to carry more weight for the group in his backpack. He is always thinking of others and volunteering to help! Our third evening in the backcountry was concluded with beef stroganoff and Moonup underneath the bug net. It is always so fun for all of us to sleep together underneath the net!
The next morning, we hiked out of the backcountry. This hike was entertaining and flew by for me, because Jared was by my side. I can always rely on him for the most interesting questions and conversations during our hikes! Ready for civilization, we headed to Jackson Hole, with our first destination being Creekside Market: the best sandwiches in Wyoming! During town day, the whole group shopped around downtown Jackson, and the boys even got to ride on a horse-drawn carriage! After celebrating the two weeks together at our banquet with burgers, we had our final Moonup. It was so sweet to participate in reminiscing about our trip together. This group is so special and became so close so quickly. Bo and I are so sad to see them go. This group has such a special place in our hearts because of these amazing kids!
July 21, 2021
Hi Big Wild 3B Families! We have some special shoutouts from the group!
Hey mom and dad love you! I’m having so much fun! Mary Stewart
Hey mom and dad it’s Lila Jane I miss you so much and I wish y’all were here love you bye. Lila Jane
Hi mom and dad I love you and miss you and I can’t wait to see you. AR
Hello I’m having fun. Bye, Gray
Hey mom and dad miss and love you, am having a lots of fun bye. Ellen
Hey mom dad and Ainsley miss y’all so much. Having so much fun and wish y’all were here. Bye, Norah
I miss the dog. ???? I’m having a blast! Henry
I am having lots of fun. I love my group and I miss my bed. Edward
Hey mom and dad and i guess the rest of the fam. I’ve been to like 4 different states idk. Bye love y’all. Alex
Hi mom and dad I miss you guys a lot. I hope buddy is doing ok. Love you Jared
Hi mom and dad I miss y’all. I’m having fun. Bye –Keith
Hey guys I’m having so much fun love y’all so much! Tell joy and doodles I said hi! Ella
July 21, 2021
Hey y’all! Boy do we have some exciting things to update you on. Today we finished our four day river trip in the Salmon River. It was by far the most fun four days ever! We met our raft guides, Meta, Tanner, Austin and Kurt, at the river and set off on our adventure. I had the opportunity to have Keith on my raft the first day, and he is by far one of the funniest people ever. He kept our raft laughing the entire 18 mile trip that day. On the other boat, Mary Stewart kept the energy up with riddles and talking about Marvel.
At our first campsite on the river, the LODs Henry and Mary Stewart cooked everyone a delicious meal of spaghetti and peach cobbler. We later had Moonup in the sand with the guides joining us. After just the first day of rafting, I could see how close our group has gotten and how welcoming they are for the guides to join our family!
The second day of rafting, the LODs, Ellen and Gray, woke everyone up with the smell of bacon and pancakes. We set off for the day with open eyes full of excitement. The rapids were much bigger this day to the point that both Keith and Gray fell off the boat. I’ve never seen the two of them laugh harder! Somehow, Jared found a way to sleep on every surface of the raft. When he wasn’t sleeping, Jared asked questions about rafting to the guides.
Personally, I have never seen a group of kids admire outfitter guides more. Tanner and Gray became an inseparable duo, like a mama duck with her duckling following right behind her. Lila Jane included Meta when she braided every single girls hair into pigtails. All nine girls in the group had matching braids! That evening, Chef Ellen and Gray grilled burgers and made brownies with the guides.
For our third day of rafting, Norah and Edward were appointed LODs. It was so fun to watch them work with the guides throughout the day. My favorite part of the day was finally seeing Henry jump off a jumping rock after two full days of him asking whether we get to do a jump or not. He was the epitemy of pure happiness. Norah overcame her fear and jumped off the rock into the Salmon river, and Ella maybe jumped into the river at least 10 times. Sweet Edward couldn’t jump off the rock because of a blister, so he took his job seriously when given responsibility of the water gun. No one was safe and dry when Edward had the water gun! Every time we got to the beach to set up camp, AR and Lila Jane were always so helpful. It is always a relief to have them on our trip.
Our last night on the river, we visited an orchard that was filled with apple and pear trees and wild deer and turkey roamed. Ellen and Gray were so excited when they saw a buck only a few feet away from them. As we headed back to camp, LJ and Ellen led the group in picking black berries for the guides. After Moonup, the boys led an attack on the girls which led to each and every girl in the water. Alex attempted a counter attack and was able to put Jared and Keith in the water.
Overall, the past few days have been nothing less than amazing. We were so sad to leave the guides who became a part of our little family. Currently, we are driving through Idaho, jamming to music and filled with excitement for our next adventure!
July 17, 2021
Bo and I have been waiting all summer for this group of kids to join us in Wyoming, and we can’t believe we have had them for four days already. Time flies when you’re having fun! This group has been busy laughing, challenging themselves on rock climbing and making friends. Our first day together they instantly clicked and became close friends. We spent the evening swimming in Jackson Lake, eating pizza and gazing at the Grand Tetons. At Moonup we shared our goals for the trip and selected Lila Jane and Edward as the first LODs (leader of the days).
Our first morning, Lila Jane and Edward helped cook us a delicious meal of eggs Benedict before our first day of climbing. We met our guides at the Teton Village and rode the gondola up to the peak where we practiced bouldering, spotting, and tying knots. Mary Stewart won the knot tying contest by a land slide, and Gray led the group as they climbed the rock wall at the village. The best part of my day was when Ella was hesitant to rappel down the mountain, but then courageously rappelled like a boss! We ended the day swimming at a remote beach on Jackson Lake and rewarded ourselves with hamburgers, corn on the cob, tater tots and SMORES!
The next leaders of the day, Ella and Keith, woke everyone up to the smell of pancakes. We began our second day of climbing by riding a boat across Jenny Lake to Hidden Falls. Gray and Ella were chosen to climb the most challenging wall of the day an absolutely crushed it, Edward and Norah climbed a rock wall side by side, and Henry, Alex and Mary Stewart laughed the whole way up the mountain. Jared also overcame his fears and rappelled down an overhanging wall. By far it was the most fun day!
After a long day of climbing, Ellen led the group in a competitive game of spike ball, and Norah distributed strung for everyone to make friendship bracelets. At Moonup, Jared and Ann Randolph were chosen as the next LODs for our travel day.
This morning began with an early wake up to start our drive to McCall, Idaho. Gray kept the energy up by playing a game of big booty and the front row, consisting of Mary Stewart, Ann Randolph and Ella killed it on aux. For breakfast, we surprised the group with Chick-fil-A and later made a giant sandwich spread for lunch. This afternoon we enjoyed the cool breeze of Idaho and swam in the lake at Ponderosa State Park.
After a nice shower our group split up into teams to compete in Iron Chef, a cooking competition lead by the two team leaders, Ann Randolph and Jared. With minimal smack-talk and maximum concentration, AR’s team’s fajita won the competition!
We’re headed to the river next and can’t wait to tell you how it goes! See ya later!
Emme + Bo
July 13, 2021
Hello Big Wild Families!
The whole group arrived safely in Jackson today, and are off on their adventure! 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 up to 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 shout out mid-way through! You can also follow us on Instagram, @moondanceadventures, to see more of what we are up to this summer!
– Moondance HQ