July 8, 2021
It’s crazy to think that our two weeks together have come to a close. Each day was filled with laughter, friendship, and memories that will last a life time! We are sad that our adventure in Washington has come to a close, but are excited that the kids walk away from this trip with a whole new set of friends and a Moondance mindset.
Our last day started out with a ferry ride back to the mainland. We sipped coffees and peered off the dock of our boat, out into the Salish Sea. The kids brought an energy to the morning that carried throughout the day and made a bittersweet day into a sweeter one. Once we reached Anacortes, there was a full on jam sesh in the car! Cat played some oldies that got the kids singing as we went on our way. Louise had solo performance to “How to Save a Life” that was truly inspiring.
We ventured to our next stop from the ferry – Goodwill! The kids all picked out wacky outfits for our final meal, smiling and running around as they rummaged through the racks. Sophie B. went for a funky straw hat and some heart print pajama pants. Coleson picked out a neon green traffic vest that really completed his beloved American flag head wrap. It was so fun to see the kids let loose in the store and just be silly. We loved their creativity!
After our Goodwill shopping spree, we drove to the campsite to do a few end of trip chores. The kids helped us clean up the Uhaul and all the dishes. They exhibited awesome expedition behavior and really had fun with it. Shout out to our LOD’s, Sophie S. and Fletcher, for helping to clean the van! Each kid got a well deserved shower, looking fresh and clean for our final banquet. After we were all cleaned up, the kids put on their Goodwill outfits and strutted their stuff around the campsite.
The kids walked into dinner confident and giggling. It was so fun to see all of them own their outfits and enjoy a few final hours with the group. One of the waitresses asked why we were dressed up and the kids responded, “Just for fun”. They truly were living in the moment! We munched on pizzas, talked about our favorite sports teams, and really soaked in our final meal together. Alex was very pleased with the restaurant choice, as pizza is his favorite!
After dinner, we all headed to beach for Moonup. A cool breeze had set in at the campsite, as well as a technicolor sunset. It was truly a sight to see and we were so thankful for a beautiful end to the day, as earlier the skies were filled with clouds! The last Moonup was sad, but also our best one to date. We had some celebratory Oreos and talked about our favorite memories from the trip. Some included Ford’s infamous phrases, such as, “Victor is my… nerd name!”, as well as Georgia and Taite’s infamous Nug Jug skit on Jone’s Island. There were belly laughs all around and it was nice to reflect on two well-spent weeks. Charlotte talked of how she didn’t want to leave and how she really came to love living in the moment. This encapsulates the beauty of Moondance, as all of these kids were strangers two weeks ago but now are the best of friends. They got a chance, on this trip, to know each other in a phone free environment and really got to savor their experiences together!
Airport day was filled with hugs and goodbyes. As our group peeled a part, the kids gave each other hugs and heartfelt goodbyes. We have so loved having your amazing kids with us these past two weeks. They blew us away with their courage, humor, and kindness. Washington would not have been the same without them and we will miss them so! Best wishes to all for the rest of the summer.
July 7, 2021
After an exciting leg of the trip on Washington’s mainland, we ferried over to the San Juan Islands with excitement for our few final days. The kids enjoyed the ferry ride a lot, especially our many Grey’s Anatomy fans. We played games on the boat and munched on snacks, soaking in some down time together before the bustle of our final leg of the trip. It was also the Fourth of July! We rode the ferry wearing festive beads and face paint. Georgia chose to have an American flag painted on her face, which really set the mood. Ford went with a red, white, and blue handlebar mustache – it was awesome!
The San Juan Islands give the phrase “island time” a new meaning, with its rolling farmlands dotted with sheep and towering hemlocks that line the roads. We took in the views as we rode to our campsite, singing Fourth of July themed tunes the entire way. Coleson stole the show with his backseat performance of American Pie!
After setting up at our campsite, we headed back into town for our whale watching tour. The captain took us on a lengthy boat ride- we could see Vancouver from the front deck! Mount Baker also sat in the backdrop of our whale watch (Hello Moondance Olympics trip!), its grandeur adding to the beauty of the ride! The kids watched the waters carefully, looking for puffs of mist and shiny dorsal fins. We finally found a family of orcas, and the kids looked on eagerly. They were so excited! Alex was especially pumped, sitting at the very front of the boat the entire time to try and catch a glimpse. We returned to camp after a long journey and fell asleep to the sound of fireworks, which was a fitting end to our festive day!
The next morning, we rose ready to kayak. Our guides met us at the harbor, excited to get going. The kids packed their stuff up in dry bags, helped get gear into the boats, and suited up to paddle. The choppy waters made for a tough afternoon, but the kids really rose to the occasion and completed our first paddle successfully. All of the leaders were impressed by their determination to finish and high spirits throughout. Charlotte and Sophie B were stellar examples of this behavior, playing games to pass the time as they paddled in their boat. Our group also stumbled upon a pod of whales as we crossed the channel. Taite saw their blows of mist from afar and we are pretty sure they swam underneath us at some point. It was a thrilling experience to say the least and one that the kids will never forget.
We arrived to Jones’s island ecstatic- we had made it to our destination. The afternoon consisted of eating cheesy popcorn, reading books, and taking in the amazing ocean view from our campsite. The guides cooked us a pasta feast, followed by some brownies for dessert. Sophie S. said they were one of the best brownies she’d ever had and marveled at their fudginess. Our Moonup was one filled with many laughs. Each person talked about what kind of tree they would be, which prompted a lot of laughs. It was our best Moonup yet, the kids all laughing and talking about jokes from the trip. It’s crazy to see how far they have come in two weeks and how they have gone from being just a group of individuals to being a group of true friends.
The next day of paddling was short and sweet, all because of the kids’ speedy paddling. The conditions were perfect for sea kayaking- clear skies, glassy water, and tons of sunshine. We completed our paddle in record speed, with Fletcher being the most improved paddler of the day! We saw plenty of seals along the way and made it to the harbor tired, but also pumped— we had finished our final activity! The rest of the afternoon included ice cream, a post kayaking treat, and many laughs as we prepared for the big event of the night- the talent show. The kids grouped up and did skits, dances, and tricks. Louise prompted a group sing-along that got everyone going. It was so fun to see them all live in the moment and just let loose! They all were just being silly and being themselves, which speaks to the fun-loving character of this group.
We cannot believe how these two weeks have flown by and that tomorrow is the last day of our trip. Each kid has brought so much to the group and really pushed what it means to live in the moment. We are so proud of them and cherish our final hours together.
July 3, 2021
Greetings again from the beautiful North Cascades. It’s hard to believe we are already on day 9 of our trip and only have one activity left! Thus far, it has been a true joy to see the group progress throughout our adventure together. Timid hellos from day 1 of the trip have turned into the best memories and life-long friendships. We can’t wait to see how the group continues to grow even closer in our last few days together!
Before we officially began the rafting section of our trip, we enjoyed a morning of sleeping in and indulged in an extra special breakfast, called “the Davis.” This dish, comprised of apples (sautéed in cinnamon, honey, and pineapple juice), sunbutter, and granola all wrapped in a tortilla was a fan favorite. Taite was especially enthusiastic about the meal and even hopes to make it at home! After breakfast, the rest of our morning was filled with spike ball, reading, and a breezy hike around the picturesque Lake Wenatchee. During our hike, Louise filled us in on her entire life plan while Charlotte encouraged everyone in the group to stand on one end of the dock in a silly attempt to sink it!
Early in the afternoon, we loaded into our van to make the drive from Leavenworth to our next destination— the Skagit river. While the van ride included lots of reading time and small conversations, there were also plenty of jam sessions along our journey. Alex enjoyed reading his new books that he purchased at a bookstore in Leavenworth while Ford went into full performance mode to the song “American boy” by Estelle.
Finally, we arrived at our stunning campsite, Goodell Creek. Nestled under tall alpines and hemlocks alongside the Skagit river, this campsite surely made us feel connected to nature and its beauty. After a skilled tent setup session, we enjoyed our taco dinner. The evening concluded with our nightly Moonup, where we intensely discussed the “correct” way to eat an Oreo. Sophie S definitely had the most calculated and creative procedure for Oreo consumption: 1) split the oreo 2) use the side without cream to scoop cream off other side 3) eat cookie side with cream 4) eat cookie side without cream!
The next morning, we arose eager for the day of rafting ahead. While the Skagit river is a mild river with only one large rapid, there was never a dull moment in our day. Just about the whole float, a “raft war” persisted between our two boats. Coleson took full charge in his boat, using a water gun to attack the opposite team. Fletcher also embraced the day on the water, taking every moment he could to swim in the water while hanging off the side of the raft.
Once our splash-fest ended, we headed on our way to our next campsite near the Sauk river. With a large field to play in at our disposal, we enjoyed endless games of spike ball, cards, and monkey-in-the-middle. Dinner consisted of zucchini, broccoli, and pizza-dillas (a crossover of a pizza and a quesadilla), followed by a surprise round of hot cocoa and cookies. At Moonup we discussed what the wilderness means to us, and Sophie B offered some insightful thoughts, explaining how the wilderness involves unplugging and living minimally.
Our second day of rafting looked a bit different than our first as we paddled down the more engaging and intense Sauk river. Under purely sunny skies, the kids faced the river’s challenges with no fear or hesitation. Georgia paddled especially fearlessly, embracing the splashes she received while sitting at the front of her group’s raft.
Overall, it’s been an epic past few days here in beautiful Washington. As we trade our rafts in for sea kayaks, we continue to embrace the outdoors and the spirit of living in the moment. There is no where more perfect for us to enjoy our final days together that at our next stop: the Sam Juan Islands!
July 1, 2021
It’s been a toasty few days here in Washington, but that has not stopped our group from having fun and living in the moment. We left the sunny shores of Westport early Monday morning to travel to our next destination, Leavenworth! Our journey took us on a winding mountain highway, where trees towered above us and rivers winded beside us. The kids took the drive as an opportunity to rest after the action packed surf section and to get excited for the next chapter of the trip.
We arrived in Leavenworth and set up camp quickly. The kids have finally mastered tent set up and take down, which is so awesome to see! Luckily, our campsite sat right next to the shores of the beautiful Lake Wenatchee. The kids took advantage of the cool, mountain water and splashed around in it to beat the heat. Charlotte said the water was so cold that it felt like an ice bath! The kids also met a corgi named Lewis on the beach. He is the proclaimed trip mascot! We finished the night with a pasta dinner, complete with all the fixings. It was so nice to relax after a long day of driving and fill our bellies. Georgia has taken a particular liking to the chicken our cook crew makes, saying she needs the recipe for when she gets home.
Our first day of rock climbing required an early wake up call. We rose with the sun, eating our yogurt and having some whispered conversation. It was also an exciting morning, because it was Cal’s birthday! The kids sang him happy birthday on our drive into town and wore matching party hats. Ford kept his on while we rock climbed later in the day to keep the birthday spirit alive. We listened to birthday songs in the car and had a jam sesh. The kids brought great energy to an early morning!
After a quick hike up to the wall, each kid began to attempt the different climbing routes that awaited us on a granite rock wall. We sat and watched each other climb with a snow capped mountains as our background, which made for some cool pictures! Taite had a slow start to her first climb, but after she got going, she crushed each of the four routes! Alex became the group’s designated “master belayer”, getting so good that the guides gave him a pair of gloves to wear. Louise, despite being a little apprehensive about climbing, made it all the way up! It was awesome to see all of the kids push themselves and not be afraid to try climbing. The guides were so impressed!
We returned to camp after a warm morning climbing session and immediately hopped in the lake. The cool water revived us after climbing on the hot rock all morning and also worked as a semi-bath for us! We spent the afternoon reading our books, playing games of hangman, and eating lots of Goldfish. It was nice to have time to hang out and continue to get to know each other better. Sophie S. told us about her latest read, while Coleson lounged in his eno. We prepped a yummy pad Thai dinner and surprised Cal with a birthday treat! The kids decorated cookies for him and also very much enjoyed the sweet treat. It was well deserved after a long day!
The next morning, we rose again to climb. The wall was a little bit harder, but that did not scare the kids from going up. Each kid also had a chance to rappel, which was a fun new adventure. Fletcher especially enjoyed the rappelling and scooted down the granite wall with ease. It was a fun day, but a hard one and the kids had so much to be proud of after. We returned to our van dirty, sweaty and content. The kids got a well-earned shower after their rock climbing efforts! Sophie B. said that she felt reborn after her shower. It was nice to enjoy our clean hair and the nice breeze that blew through the campsite that afternoon, finally breaking the summer heat!
Today we also had a surprise – our local food stop at Muchenhaus! Muchenhaus is a Bavarian style sausage restaurant located in Leavenworth, matching the European decor of the town. We ate hot dogs and big pretzels, each kid leaving with a full tummy and a smile. It was a fun night to say the least!
Tomorrow marks the halfway point of our adventure as we leave for our next section of the trip. We cannot believe how fast the trip has flown by and how much we have grown as a group. It has been so fun getting to know your wonderful kids and see them thrive as they push themselves to try new things and make new friendships. They are a fabulous crew!
June 28, 2021
Coming in HOT from Washington amidst sunny skies and some strong summer vibes! Our airport day consisted of many hellos and introductions. The kids trickled in one by one, each joining into the large group card game. After we rallied all of our troops and had a Chick-fil-A lunch in the Seattle airport, all 13 of us loaded into our trusty van, decorated with the words “Best Summer Ever!” on the windows. We headed on our way towards our first destination, Westport, with excitement despite the long travel day and early wake up times.
Upon arriving to camp for our first night, the group quickly learned how to set up tents. Shoutout to Sophie B, Sophie S, and Charlotte for being the first tent group to finish setting up their tent in our epic ‘tent race!’ We then had our first Moonup, where we discussed our animal sidekicks and their super powers. Georgia had the brilliant idea of having a chicken animal sidekick that would cook all her meals for her. Sleepy from the long travel day, we all finally snuggled into our sleeping bags and rested at our first campsite home, nestled into the Washington landscape.
The next morning, we started our first activity – surfing! We quickly rose and got ready for an adventurous day on the beach. The conditions for surfing were so perfect that everyone wanted to get in on it, evident by the beach’s packed parking lot! This made our guides especially excited about the day’s lesson and all of the surfing potential.
The kids then pulled on their wetsuits for the first time, Fletcher being the speediest of the group to get his gear on. Taite looked especially electric in her neon green wetsuit, perfectly contrasting her fiery red hair. After a safety talk and a surfing ‘boot camp’ on the Pacific Ocean shore, we all dived into the water. It was amazing how quickly the kids were able to able to stand up on their boards! Alex was the quickest to successfully mount his board, making the difficult water sport seem easy to onlookers.
Eventually our time in the water ended for the day, and we refueled with some sandwiches, chips, fruit, and lots of water. Ford was especially proud of the sandwich he made, loaded with all types of cheese! Feeling revived, we then headed on a leisurely walk to the Grey’s Harbor Light House. The ocean views and summer blooms took our breadths away and brought as all an immense sense of peace.
The day ended back at camp with games and relaxation. Coleson showed off his spike ball skills while some others made friendship bracelets. Dinner time came, and our BBQ chicken sandwiches, complimented by vegetables and roasted potatoes, hit the spot after an active day. We of course ended the day with Moonup and fell quickly asleep once again.
Our second and final day of surfing was epic— everyone stood up on their boards and did it with grace. Louise was even able to pull out some fire dance moves while riding the waves! Overall, we had an amazing time surfing and playing in the cold waters. We topped of our last day of surfing with a spontaneous afternoon of fun in the town of Westport. While we ventured to the marina simply to grab a cone of ice cream, we unexpectedly came upon a Pirate Festival! The kids had a great time admiring others’ pirate costumes, and a group of us even had a dance party to a live performance by the pirate band, Tempest.
It’s been a wonderful first few days of our trip, and we can’t wait to venture towards our next adventure, rock climbing!! Now, time for some shoutouts from the kids:
Sophie S: Hey mom & dad! Tell Brooks and Lindsay I love them, and I hope Charlie has fun at camp!
Ford: I miss you so much mom and dad! I’m having lots of fun!
Alex: Where can we surf at Cape Cod? It’s awesome
Charlotte: Hey mom, dad, and Sophie! Love you all and I’m having a great time!
Fletcher: Hey mom and dad! I’m feeling a little bit better! Love y’all! Rawr.
Coleson: I learned how to surf!
Louise: Hey mom and dad! I love you and I miss you! Tell Cash & Drew I love them and that I’m having a lot of fun. Oh and I danced on stage at a pirate festival!
Sophie B: Hi fam! I’m having so much fun. Love and miss you!
Taite: Hey madre & Padre! This place is amazing & I’m meeting some amazing people! Can’t wait to see you. Say hi to the animals for me. I love you!
Georgia: Hey mom and dad! I’m not too hot! I love you and I’m having fun.
June 26, 2021
Hello British Columbia Families!
The whole group arrived safely in Seattle yesterday and is 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