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British Columbia 2B • June 25-July 8, 2021

The Moments May Have Ended, but These Memories Will Last Forever!

July 8, 2021

Hello there everybody and early morning greetings from the Seattle Airport! It’s MC (leader) here for the final time.  We have been moving and grooving ever since we stepped off the kayaks, and man has it been quite the send off.

Yesterday, we woke up with intent and made a mad dash for Friday Harbor. Mary Claire heard that there would be an opportunity for candy, so naturally she was the fire under our heels. We quickly fueled up on bagels and oatmeal and hit the road for the harbor. Our LOD’s, Elsa and Hannah, were the timekeepers for the day and led the charge for an efficient souvenir shopping spree. They returned triumphant with all sorts of goodies. Charlotte and Reita frequented the local print shop while Ella and Luke went straight for the hoodies. Content from all the new items, we made our way onto the ferry, but of course we had to make a last minute trip to the boba stand where Elsa and Katy taught me all about the wild world of boba. While on the ferry, we reflected on our trip and wrote letters to ourselves. In these letters, the kids answered “25 things they want to do in their lives” and got to write a personal letter about what this trip has meant to them. They also seized this chance to document their favorite inside jokes and laughed all the way back to Anacortes.

After reaching the mainland, we made our way to camp and started what ended up to be quite an epic cleaning party. We split up into teams and danced along to 80’s grooves as we made everything good as new! After all of our hard work, we decided it was time to throw in the towel and have one last adventure before the trip came to an end. We set off for a banquet dinner when we realized that we were severely underdressed. Feeling embarrassed from our ‘fits, we decided to head straight to Goodwill to find some appropriate attire. After a quick shopping spree, I’d say we were quite ready to go. Our outfits were an eclectic mix of 2000’s fashion, boutique robes, nautical sweaters, and one very fancy suit vest worn by the one and only Louis Ford Garrard. Julius won the award for best flare item when he walked out in a bright yellow children’s bucket hat. Reita showcased her skills as a thrifter and came out on top for the best tie dye tank top I have ever seen. Luke, on the other hand, was far more impressed with the old cars that frequented the parking lot over the thrifting stop. Feeling confident about our new looks, we then stuffed ourselves full of pizza at the banquet and laughed until our stomachs hurt reliving our favorite moments from the trip. Luckily, we saved just enough room for some handmade ice cream at a nearby parlor. We returned to camp happy as some Washington clams and started to prepare our hearts and our minds for our final Moonup of the trip.

We made our way down to the rocky beach just in time to catch the vibrant sunset over the horizon. We started Moonup by singing “Yellow” by Coldplay. This song was particularly appropriate considering the sea of stars that towered above us. We laughed until we cried as we shared our top moments with the group and with the people sitting next to us. Some of the more popular memories included Louis pushing Caroline out of the raft, cooking hotdogs on the 3rd of July, singing our hearts out in the van, and a massive dog pile that had occurred not an hour before the Moonup actually began. Not quite ready to leave the moment yet, Henry got out his guitar, and we sang songs as we let the tears roll down our cheeks. We walked back to camp arm in arm and slept under the starry sky above.

We woke up bright and early this morning and have been at the airport ever since. As I reflect on this trip, I can’t help but smile and even grow a little teary eyed. These kids have truly leaned in and grown in more ways than one. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to get to know and love everyone in our special group. I know that these friendships will last a lifetime, and I truly do hope that we get the chance to cross paths again. Have a great rest of your summer everyone!

Best,

MC Smith + BCO 2B 🙂


San Juan in a Million

July 7, 2021

Hello everyone, Caroline here! We have had an amazing few days on the San Juan Islands, and I cannot wait to tell you about them! After a relaxing and scenic ferry ride from Anacortes to Friday Harbor, we went directly to meet our stellar kayaking guides, Mary and Kyle, who gave us our dry bags and shared their excitement for the next two days. We left the meeting stoked about our sea kayaking adventure and headed to camp to pack our dry bags and eat a delicious meal. Upon arriving to our beautiful campsite, Henry taught the group the “duffel shuffle”, and we all laughed as we went to extreme lengths, such as kicking and punching, to get our sleeping bags and pads into the dry bags. With our dry bags packed and stomachs full of pesto pasta, we headed to a breathtaking overlook to watch the sunset and have Moonup. Ella and Katy, our LODs, led us in a meaningful Moonup where the group shared some of their personal challenges. It was special to see how much this group has grown to trust and support one another, and I feel lucky to be a part of it! We all stayed on the overlook after closing Moonup to watch the most beautiful neon pink sunset, and then headed to bed to prepare for our exciting day of kayaking tomorrow.

We woke up early the next morning and fueled up on bagels and oatmeal before heading to the dock to meet our guides and start our sea kayaking adventure. Everyone helped load the boats, so that we could get on the water as fast as possible. Once on the water, our group fell into a steady rhythm of paddling with Luke and MC (student) leading the charge. Holding up the back were Henry and Ford who struggled to understand exactly how to steer their kayak, but what they lacked in direction they made up for in laughs that surely propelled us forward. As our lunch spot came into view around the corner, we were hit with some wind that almost blew us backwards. Hungry and tired, our group slowed down significantly. Noticing this low morale, Hannah and Elsa thought of the perfect way to cheer everyone up. The two girls began belting “Party in the USA” and “Love Story”. Their beautiful singing voices gave everyone the motivation for the final push towards lunch. After lunch, we hopped back into our boats and paddled a short distance to Jones Island, our home for the night. Just before arriving to camp, Charlotte was pleasantly surprised to see a baby jelly fish, which she had been scanning the seas for all day. Sweaty after a long day, the group was itching for a swim. Knowing a great spot, our guide, Kyle, showed us the perfect rock to jump off of. We then settled down for a delicious dinner and headed to a grassy patch with a stellar view for Moonup. Our LODs, MC and Reita, lead us in a Moonup that kept us all laughing as we shared embarrassing stories. Our bellies sore from laughing so hard and our arms sore from kayaking, we headed to bed, and all fell asleep as soon as our heads hit the pillow.

We were awoken the next morning with the smell of eggs and toast. We quickly packed up camp and stuffed our dry bags and sat down to enjoy the delicious breakfast cooked by our lovely guides. With our bellies full, we packed the boats and headed out on the water for a day of relaxed paddling and stunning views. Julius and Elsa led the group today as the paddled in perfect sync, and we all followed (very far) behind them until we returned to Roche Harbor where we unloaded our boats and headed to set up lunch at the picnic tables in the harbor. After some scrumptious barbecue sandwiches, we said goodbye to our lovely guides and headed to camp. Exhausted from two long days of paddling, the group was thrilled for a moment of rest before our whale watching tour. The warm sunshine and stunning horizon provided the perfect end to our trip to the San Juan Islands. We are cherishing our last few days together and are looking forward to more laughs tomorrow.

Love,
Caroline


Surfing and Sunsets in Westport!

July 5, 2021

Hi there!

 

Henry here with another update on the BCO 2B adventure!  Over the past few days, we have enjoyed a big change of scenery, moving from the glaciers and high rocky peaks of North Cascades National Park to the sandy shores of Westport.  After our drive to the beach, the group got their first taste of Washington State’s premier surfing destination and fishing town as we stopped by for some barbecue at the local hotspot, Aloha Alabama. Over barbecue and burgers, Mary Claire (Leader), Caroline, and I had a great conversation with MC (Student) and Hannah about how much they had enjoyed the rafting, and how close they felt they had gotten with the group over such a short time.

After our meal, we made our way to camp and settled down for our first Moonup on the beach with the sun setting over the Pacific.  Over the course of that evening, I could tell through the laughter and stories that they, like Hannah and MC, were feeling incredibly close with the rest of the group, ready to dive headfirst into the second half of the trip.

The following morning, the group finally got to take a crack at riding some of the waves they had been watching the day prior.  After learning the basics and fundamentals, the group set out and almost immediately started getting up on the board, riding Westport’s waves all the way into shore.  Reita caught a hang of things right away, confidently standing up and shredding the gnar, then turning around to cheer on the rest of the group behind her.  After a great afternoon of everyone getting a feel of the waves, we returned to camp and got some well-deserved rest.

After some rest and relaxation after a long day in the surf, our LOD’s, Hannah and Julius got to cooking and made black-bean burgers for the group.  Once we had finished the delicious meal, the group stayed in our crazy creek circle, enjoying some great conversation together.  Eventually, Katy decided to break out her skill for back massages, giving everyone in the group a massage and receiving some rave reviews. With Katy leading the charge, the group made a series of massage lines, while the rest of the group continued to enjoy some great conversations and some great laughs.

One source of laughter was Charlotte’s photography of everyone’s hilarious reactions to Katy’s massages, which was usually followed by her rocking all the back in her Crazy Creek in laughter too.  Ford also kept the group laughing constantly with his steezy combo of flannel, cantaloupe shorts, and a bandana hat that almost everyone tried on too.  After enjoying the time together at the campsite, the group walked back down to the beach to enjoy another Moonup before getting some sleep.

On our second day, the group woke up well rested and ready to push their surfing skills to a new level.  After breakfast, we went back to the beach to start our morning in the waves.  When the group all got in the water, they picked up where they left off, pushing their abilities to new levels with each ride.  Ella and Luke advanced especially fast, moving to the point where they could paddle themselves into a wave, and they even surfed the same wave in together!  After riding a few waves into shore, Elsa noticed me taking pictures in the shallow water and surfed a wave directly at me, passing just a few feet beside me in the end.  Julius also made some large strides from day one, learning a better method to pop up on the board, which helped him to successfully surf tons of waves before the end of the day.  With the group thoroughly exhausted from all the fun of the morning, we enjoyed another relaxed afternoon full of naps in the sun, card games in our campsite, and great conversations.

I enjoyed talking with Julius about how he felt he had grown over the past day through pushing himself to learn and enjoy a great new skill in surfing.  He explained that he really enjoyed breaking down his movements in detail to figure out what he should change to improve.  The afternoon concluded with the group making hot dogs and bratwursts for our cookout, with some fresh watermelon on the side.  With our bellies full and feeling well rested, we returned to the beach one last time for our last Moonup in Westport.  Charlotte and Ford led the way with one of my favorite Moonup exercises, going around the circle complimenting the personality of the person to the right.  After another long day, we got a good night of sleep in anticipation of the 4th of July!

Today, we are enjoying the celebrations of the fourth as we make our way to the San Juans for the kayaking section of the trip.  Over the course of our time in Westport, I have seen the entire group accomplish so much both individually and as a group.  It blows my mind that a couple days in the surf in each other’s presence can bring a group as close as it has done.  I know we have plenty of time left, but the friendships and memories that have been made feel so genuine and lasting.  I can’t wait to see where this amazing group goes next.

 

Happy fourth everyone!


Rollin' Roooollin' Rooollin' on the River!

July 2, 2021

Hey there everybody, Leader MC here!

Man have we had the most fun-filled couple of days out here on the river. After saying auf wiedersehen to Leavenworth, we took a beautiful drive through the Cascade mountains towards the Sauk and Skagit rivers. We arrived at camp and were immediately in awe of the lush rainforest that towered above us. Inspired by the greenery, Elsa, Ella, Ford, and Luke took to the skies and hung up their hammocks in place of tents for the night. After a delicious BBQ meal prepared by our LODs, Elsa and Charlotte, we participated in another wonderful Moonup where we laughed about the day’s travels and even reflected on what color described the day best. We quickly retired to our tents and slept peacefully under the dreamy canopy above.

The next day, we met our raft guides at the put-in of the Skagit river. The Skagit is known for its clear water and 360 degree mountain views, but after yesterday, it will forever go down for its epic raft battles. Captained by our LOD’s, Luke and Reita, our boats engaged in adventures fit for pirates. Ella and Hannah kept my boat moving with their military style counting, meanwhile the other boat kept it a little lighter with the celebrity game where Luke shared his love for Ed Sheeran. Ford showed us his wild side when he ran for Caroline to pull her off our boat to end the day in a triumphant win for my boat. Still in the competitive mood, we headed back to camp to play all sorts of games in the spacious lawn accompanying the campsite. MC and Julius played a one-on-one game of spikeball while Katy and Charlotte read their books hanging on the branches of the Red Maple above. After exhausting himself with the frisbee, Luke searched for flowers for Reita and Ella to braid into the girls’ hair. Hannah, MC, Ella, and Elsa joined Henry and I under the tree for an acoustic jam sesh ranging everything from John Prine to One Direction. After our afternoon of wanderlust, we devoured some fajita bowls cooked by our LOD’s and held another incredible Moonup under the starry Washington sky.

The next morning, we headed to the Sauk river, but after looking at it- we, along with the raft guides, decided that it was going to be too dangerous to raft that day. Lucky for us, we still had some unfinished business with the Skagit River. We excitedly turned around and screamed our hearts out to Taylor Swift until we arrived at the put-in for the Skagit. The games began immediately as I got pulled into the water before even leaving the eddy. We took some time to strategize and then put our plans to the test with Ella and Reita being the first to crawl into enemy territory. We sang sea shanties and yelled our Viking calls all the way down the Skagit. Needless to say, it was an unforgettable day of fun, laughs, and utter chaos. Tired from our rambunctious day on the river, we drove to our beautiful riverside campsite and relaxed while the leaders of the day, Ford and MC prepared a delicious Pad Thai. At Moonup, we laughed over embarrassing babysitter stories and shared our biggest fears with the group. In an act of symbolism, we ended Moonup by casting our fears into a stone and tossing it into the river to let the frigid water carry it away. Feeling a little lighter and a whole lot of love, we retired to bed feeling warm from all the day had given us.

Reflecting on the past couple of days, I can’t help but smile. This group is so full of love and light, and wow it has been a blast seeing everyone really lean in. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the trip has in store for us. From how it’s been going, I have no doubt that this group will surely make it an adventure. Now we are in route to Westport to go hit the waves!

 

Cheers! MC

 

Shoutouts!

 

Hey I’m doing alright hope everyone at home is good, happy birthday mom – Ford

Hi, I’m having a great time each campsite has been so beautiful and rafting was so fun! – Katy

Hi, I am having the best time making friends, rock climbing, and rafting. This is the most fun time at camp, I’ve had so far. Can’t wait to see what comes next. – Reita

Hi, I’m having a ot of fun at camp,  so far we have rafted and climbed. Next is surfing and ocean kayaking I love you guys so much and I miss you! – Luke

Hi I am having an amazing time! We went rock climbing and rafting, the rafting was super fun. Next we go surfing and sea kayaking and I am so excited! I love you guys and miss you, give Buck a hug for me! – Charlotte

Hey mom and dad I am enjoying Washington and taking lots of pictures. My favorite activity so far has been rafting. Say hi to Roofus for me! Ps good luck at Nationals miles Bye – Julius

Hi, I am having a lot of fun.  It is so pretty here.  I learned how to belay. We are about to surf, and they won’t tell us the location.  There are rumors it is Westport. Love y’all so much!!!!! – MC

Hey hey fam, I love y’all so so much! My fav activity is rafting and we are surfing tomorrow. Tell Blair hi for me and I miss y’all so much! – Hannah

Heyyy! Miss you both and the dogs tons. I am having the best time ever here, we have been rafting and climbing so far. I am definitely better at inner peaks climbing then I am at real climbing haha! The people in my group are amazing, tell Sam “Happy early birthday, hope camp is fun so far, miss you!” In one of those email things you send. – Ella

Hey Fam! Miss you all so much! I am having the best time ever! So far we have gone climbing and rafting. The views have been amazing too! My fav activity so far has been the climbing. I love everyone in my group they are all really fun. We are heading to surfing next! I can’t wait! I can’t wait to see you guys soon! Love you all! – Elsa


Rock Climbing Champs!

June 28, 2021

Hello everyone, British Columbia 2B here!

 

We have had an action packed few days that I am pumped to tell y’all about! After everyone arrived safely in Seattle, we packed up our van, now named Gertrude, and headed east to Leavenworth to start our climbing section. When we got to camp, we chowed down on some delicious pizza and began our tent set up lesson. Henry, MC, and I are extremely proud of our tent set up skills, so naturally, we showed everyone how to set up a tent with our eyes closed.

After everyone built their homes for the next few days, we circled up for our first Moonup where we shared our motivations for doing a Moondance trip and selected Ella and Julius to be our first leaders of the day (LODs) for the following day. We then took our sleepy selves to bed to get a good night sleep before our first day of climbing!

The next morning, we got an early start to the day so that we could get a few good hours of climbing in before it got too hot. After a hearty breakfast of oatmeal loaded with peanut butter, granola, and bananas, we headed out to meet our climbing guides and gear up! Geared up and ready to go, we headed to Icicle Pass. After a short but steep hike up to the crag, we were finally ready to climb. Luke, Ella, and Elsa fearlessly volunteered to be our first climbers and scrambled to the top of the route. Ford went next, and although nervous at first, he was determined to reach the top and stayed on the rock until he reached the end of the route every time.

After trying a few routes herself, Mary Claire, took to belaying and expertly coached everyone up the rock. When the heat got to be too much, we packed up our climbing gear and headed straight to Lake Wenatchee to beat the heat. Everyone was overjoyed to jump in the freezing water to cool off. Cool and relaxed, we headed back to camp to cook a delicious dinner. Our LODs, Ella and Julius, assisted Henry in the kitchen. Ella chopped onions with the technique her dad taught her while Julius sautéed peppers and chorizo. He was shocked and excited by how easy it was to cook such a delicious meal and is looking forward to cooking it at home! With our bellies full of tacos, we circled up for Moonup and then went to be early to prepare for another full day of climbing.

We woke up early again on Sunday morning to hit the rocks before they got too hot! After breakfast, we loaded up the van and headed back to Icicle Pass. There, we found a shady base camp to relax at while the guides set up climbing and rappelling routes all around us! When the routes were ready, Hannah fearlessly chose one of the hardest routes as her first route of the day and reached the top in record time. Back down at base camp, Charlotte, Reita, Katy, and I had an amazing conversation about our favorite classes and teachers while we patiently awaited our turn to climb.

By the time the afternoon sun had reached its peak, everyone was exhausted, with the exception of Henry and Elsa who had just one last climb left in them. They fearlessly attempted the hardest climb of the day with a huge ledge. After multiple tries, both of them successfully reached the top and were applauded by the entire group. Sweaty and tired, we headed into town for some much needed ice cream. After exploring the Bavarian town of Leavenworth, we once again plunged into the lake before heading back to camp for the night. Once back at camp, our LODs, Hannah and Katy, cooked a delicious and filling spaghetti feast. They then lead us in an amazing Moonup under the stars that brought the whole group closer together.

This morning we took a few much needed extra hours of sleep and got off to a slow start. Our LODs, Charlotte and Elsa, flipped some delicious pancakes filled with sprinkles, and then we packed up camp. We are now headed east for our rafting section and are super excited to grow closer as a group!

Love,

Caroline


All Have Arrived!

June 25, 2021

Hello British Columbia 2B Families!

The whole group arrived safely in Seattle, 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 were up to this summer!!

-Moondance HQ


Students

  • Charlotte
  • Ella
  • Elsa
  • Ford
  • Julius
  • Katy
  • Luke
  • Mary Claire
  • Reita
  • Hannah Arberg

Staff