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California 1B • June 9-July 22, 2021

Goodbye California!

June 22, 2021

Hi friends and family,

Today is airport day and we are about to leave the San Francisco airport after having exchanged some teary goodbyes. With a group as amazing and tight-knit as this one, this day has been bittersweet, especially after an amazing last couple of days.

Our campsite in Half Moon Bay was right on the beach, with beautiful trees, flowers and succulents adding to this campsite’s natural beauty. The nature there is so unique, and unlike anywhere else.

On our first morning in Half Moon Bay, we woke up early to some fog and grey skies. We headed out 20 minutes into Pacifica to surf, only to find that in Pacifica it was gorgeous and sunny as could be. It was a perfect day for surfing. We met our awesome surf instructors, who were exactly as chill and fun as you would expect from California surfers. We all squeezed into some wetsuits and were looking our finest and brightest. We took our boards to the sand to learn about different types of currents, how to stay safe, how to paddle, and get up on our board

After learning all of this on land it was time to put these new skills to the test! We got into the cold pacific, which felt surprisingly nice thanks to our wetsuits. Our guides helped us catch some waves and Frank was the first person to get up. Along with having the long-haired surfer look, he also had the skills to prove it. Sarah also went for almost every single wave that came her way–every time you looked over you would see her getting ready to ride another wave. Everyone took turns riding the surf and the kids did amazingly well for first-time surfers.

After surfing we went back to the campsite where we made some subs and rested before a short afternoon hike. On the hike Charles kept the group laughing with all of his jokes and Frank smoked Frazer in a race. We then stopped at an awesome ice cream shop on the water and closed out the day with some fabulous BBQ chicken quesadillas.

The next day we took some time to sleep in and cook a full gourmet breakfast. We had pancakes, eggs and bacon and headed to the car wash where all the kids helped take turns washing the van– they were all such great helpers. After the car wash we went back to the campsite where Frank and Wrenn cooked up some killer grilled cheeses/hot ham and cheeses before we hit the waves that afternoon. We learned about surfing etiquette and how to surf down the line. Jane looked like a pro and impressed everyone with multiple down-the-line surfs. Lillie also came out on day two looking like a seasoned veteran and ended up catching some awesome waves!

We then proceeded to go to the thrift shop where Crawford and Warren got a matching set of naughty/nice Christmas sweaters, and Hudson, Elle, and Jane all three got matching onesies.  Mia wore a hysterical child’s pajama romper and Katie and Julia dressed up like boys with a backwards hat and sunglasses. They nailed it.

We had a great banquet dinner at Old Princeton Landing where we played some giant jenga and cornhole. We then went back to the campsite after dinner for a pinata and cookies to celebrate Crawford’s birthday.  Crawford showed no mercy and went ham on the pinata and smashed it within seconds. It was simultaneously one of the most terrifying and amusing feats of strength we’ve seen in a while.

After his wrath was over, we all got together for our final moonup around the fire and shared special memories from the trip before our early final departure the next day.

Overall, leading these kids and getting to know them has been one of the most enjoyable and fulfilling experiences. We had such a fantastic group and we don’t know how we lucked out with a group as great as this one. We will miss them more than they know and hope to see them at Moondance in the future.

See Y’all Around Soon…

– Frazer, Warren, and Rachel


CAL 1B Floatin' their Megaboats in Tahoe!

June 20, 2021

**This post is delayed due to bad cell reception in Yosemite!

 

Greetings from Yosemite,

After two beautiful days paddle boarding and kayaking on the beautiful Lake Tahoe, we have arrived in Yosemite. The day we arrived at Lake Tahoe, Crawford and Julia were the LODs (leaders of the day). They went to the store with Rachel and Katie to help buy the groceries for the week. Meanwhile at the campsite, Frank, Charles, Sarah, Lillie, and Frazer walked down to see lake Tahoe while the rest of the crew hung out at the campsite with Warren. During the walk down to the lake we missed the turn down to the beach and ended up on a 3-mile hike to the next beach access. When we realized we had gone too far, Frazer asked the group if they wanted to turn around and find the beach access that we missed, but the group unanimously decided to continue the hike we were on—truly embodying the adventurous Moondance spirit. We continued on to the Lake Tahoe beach which was a clear deep blue lake with snowcapped peaks surrounding it. We could even see Nevada across the lake. After playing around on the beach, Wrenn helped navigate us back to the campsite for diner to reunite with the rest of the group.

The next morning we had blueberry and chocolate chip pancakes and started out adventure sea kayaking. When we were sea kayaking we learned that the Lake Tahoe is the second clearest lake in then United States! We kayaked in two person kayaks, and Frazer and Sarah’s boat tied itself to Crawford and Charles’ boat to make “megaboat.” To make matters even more exciting our kayaking guide Ben joined “mega boat” so now Frazer and Sarah (mostly Sarah, she’s a beast!) were pulling three boats—everyone was in hysterics as it was physically impossible to get anywhere. Meanwhile Wrenn and Mia sped ahead showing off their arms of steel! Our guides had trouble catching up! Later they did a demonstration of how to get back into our kayaks if they flip. Before anyone asked for volunteers, Julia and Jane offered to flip their kayak for the demonstration! Everyone was very impressed with them and they got back in seamlessly.

After kayaking was done, we hiked to Maggie’s peak nearby. Hudson was the speed demon and led the entire way to the craggy top. It was a 3-mile hike but very steep—it was a challenge for everyone (including the leaders), but the kids made it to the top with great attitudes and many said the hike/reaching the top was the highlight of the trip so far. On the hike we saw incredible views of Lake Tahoe and other crystal-clear lakes throughout the mountains. We even passed by some snow! One of the highlights of the day was watching Frank nail Frazer in the face with a huge snowball (after she had gotten him of course) that he had kept in his pocket until she was least expecting it.

The next day we celebrated Katie’s birthday with some stand up paddle boarding and a surprise ice cream stop on the way to Yosemite. We attempted to recreate “megaboat” with the paddle boards, which was a sight to see. Rachel pounced on everyone’s paddle board and began a trend of pushing everyone into the water. We each took turns splashing each other and pushing each other off.

When we arrived to Yosemite, we opened up some of Katie’s favorite cookies and lit a singing candle that sang happy birthday to her. We took the next morning to sleep in and relax after the long travel day before. We made some eggs bacon and hash browns and then went on a hike near bass lake where we stopped for lunch at a swimming hole along the way. Elle was one of the first to jump in and make a splash and the rest of the group jumped in soon after. We hiked the rest of the way out and got in the water again at bass lake where we slid down a rock slide. After taking a much-needed trip to the showers, we closed out the day with some watermelon, football, arm wrestling and star tipping.

Sarah – I miss you Dixie!

Frank – love you guys see you soon!

Charles – I miss you and love you! Can’t wait to see you soon!

Mia – I miss you and cant wait to see you in a week!

Wrenn – I miss and love both of you and can’t wait to see you next week!

Hudson- I miss you and I love you both! Can’t wait to see you soon!

Crawford- I miss y’all. We are rock climbing today and I miss the dogs! And I love you!

Lillie – hi mom and dad! I miss you!

Julia – hi mom and dad! I love and miss you! I’m having lots of fun and meeting lots of friends! Can’t wait to see you!

Elle – miss y’all and can’t wait to see you!

Jane – I met some really cool people. Give the family a tight hug for me! I can’t wait to tell you about everything when I get back.

Katie – I miss y’all! Can’t wait to see you!


Surfs Up!

June 20, 2021

Greetings from California!

 

We have arrived at day 11 and it is starting to hit everyone that the trip is coming to an end. No one is ready to leave, but we are all excited to take on our last activity: surfing!! On Thursday we arrived on the coast after a long but fun-filled car ride from Yosemite. Warren and Sarah cheffed up some delicious beanie-weenies for the group while everyone else played cards and took some much-needed showers. However, the clean didn’t last long as a whip cream war broke out at camp soon after. Charles lured Lillie into a sneak attack that ended with whip cream all over her and everyone else in sight! After cleaning up and enjoying some dinner, the whole group settled in for a thoughtful Moonup led by Jane and Wrenn. Each student shared their fears about the trip at the start and how their perspectives have changed since their time together. It was very moving.

 

The next morning began with some nosy birds that Crawford kindly shooed away so that the rest of the group could enjoy our first morning of extra sleep in a few days. After a breakfast of oatmeal, grits and some fruit, our group headed out to explore beautiful Point Reyes. This area has a rich and unique ecosystem, and the park has over 150 miles of hiking trails for visitors to get up close and personal with all the Point has to offer. After a conversation with a park ranger, we learned some interesting facts about the area. The peninsula that the park is on is across the San Andreas Fault, meaning it is a part of the Pacific plate instead of the North American plate. How cool! The park ranger also recommended some hikes for our group, and we ended up walking along a beautiful grassy path with a great view of the Pacific Ocean. Julia and Crawford were LODs and they led he group with their excellent map skills. We stopped for lunch underneath a huge willow tree with lots of branches to climb and a nice swing to play on. Frank showed off his climbing skills yet again by immediately scaling the branches when we got there. For lunch Rachel showed the group her favorite camping snack: a summer sausage, peanut butter, and honey tortilla. Everyone was skeptical at first but after trying it a lot of people were pleasantly surprised. After lunch we let our food settle while we sat on the beach, and a few of us even spotted a seal! While we sat in the sand, Elle allowed some people to bury her which provided some laughs for all of us. Then we hit the trail again, this time tackling the much steeper half of the loop, but Hudson led the pack like a pro, impressing us all with his speed. We also got the opportunity to check out the lighthouse at Point Reyes and saw a lot of cows on our way there.

 

The next day we got to walk across one of the world’s most recognizable landmarks (according to Wren): The Golden Gate Bridge. It was very windy and foggy, but everyone agreed it was definitely worth it to spend some time at such an iconic spot. To pass time on the walk Frazer encouraged the kids to try to take things from Warren without him noticing. Katie was almost successful, but the group couldn’t hold in their laughter and gave her away. After crossing the bridge, the leaders decided to surprise everyone with a trip to In-N-Out! Mia and a few others got a chance to order off their “not-so-secret menu,” and then everyone got matching shirts. We ended the day with Moonup on the beach at our enchanting camp site in Half Moon Bay. Now everyone is fast asleep and ready to take on our last few days before we have to say goodbye.

 

Best,

Rachel, Frazer, and Warren

 


Rocked it in Yosemite and Now Rollin' on to the Coast!

June 18, 2021

Hello Family and Friends!!

We are currently en route to Point Reyes to explore the beautiful estuaries it has to offer! The past five days have been full of fun and laughs as we took on some amazing rock climbing around Yosemite.

We started the first day meeting our amazing rock climbing guides, Daniel and Kevin, and headed straight into the back roads to find some spectacular climbing spots. Upon arrival, we were eye to eye with our first challenge Yosemite had to offer. We made our way over to the large slab of sloping rock that was definitely not as easy as it looked. Three lines were set up and within seconds Hudson and Frank were flying up the rock like professionals. The standard had now been set and everyone followed. Crawford not only crushed the climbing, but also dished out amazing call outs to help others make their way up the challenging rock. Mia, Lillie, and Charles all found themselves in tricky positions on the rock and looked like they were about to come down, but they didn’t back down and, seconds later, found themselves at the top. After tackling three difficult routes, everyone made it all the way up! We wrapped up the day by playing many awesome group games, cards, and even walked down to relax by the lake before Frazer led her elite cook team of Wrenn and Sarah to construct some delicious pizzas.

Day two started early and the crew was ready to get back out on the rock and go after some more challenging routes. Our guides led us past our day one climbing site and took us to another beautiful climbing spot. Everyone was eager to give the harder routes a try and put everything they had into it. Jane and Katie got a little stuck, but learned how to take the leap of faith to a far ledge and landed with grace. Crawford and Frank were back at it and were putting on a show for us as they were up and down within minutes. Once back at the campsite, Warren whipped up some crispy grilled cheeses for all. Everyone wasn’t ready to call it a day and next thing you know, we were back at the rock water slide. Julia led the charge as she ran back to the top within seconds from splashing at the bottom. The last night in Yosemite was approaching and this was the third night for the Eno crew consisting of Elle, Katie, Sarah, Julia, and Jane as they slept below the clear sky of breathtaking stars.

The sun began to rise and we were up and at it breaking down camp. An early start to our morning allowed for us to drive through the stunning Yosemite Valley before we headed to Point Reyes. As we descended into the valley, we pulled over for a fun photo shoot with Half Dome and El Capitan in the background. We had a blast as we ate lunch and looked up at the unreal cascading cliffs of the valley.

Rachel, Frazer, and I are amazed at how spectacular this group is and are blown away at how everyday beats the one before. We can’t wait to get back to the west coast and catch some waves in Half Moon Bay!

Also – HUGE shoutout from our entire crew to ALL the fathers for Father’s Day!

Until next time,

Warren, Rachel, and Frazer


Rafting the American River like Never Before!

June 12, 2021

Greetings from the west coast!

 

Our trip is off to an amazing start! This group is truly so much fun. It’s hard to believe that we’ve only known each other for a few days; it feels like everyone has been friends for years. Even our rafting guides were surprised when we told them that yesterday was our first full day together.

Airport day and travel time can be long, but our group handled it with grace and a great energy. Katie and Elle were our first arrivals and were both such good sports about waiting for the rest of the students to arrive. We were so impressed!

Once we arrived at camp the kids continued to exceed our expectations by seamlessly setting up tents after a quick lesson from us leaders. Then we enjoyed some pizza and settled in for our first Moonup. Sarah offered up her water bottle and headlamp as a makeshift night light for our group, which was much appreciated and lit up the beautiful clear night sky. After some brief introductions to Moondance expectations and traditions, the kids each shared their answer to our Moonup question, and we all shared some laughs. Then it was off to bed! 

We kicked off the next day with a delicious breakfast of bacon and eggs. Crawford stepped up and offered to cook his famous bacon for everyone and it was a hit. Then we started our first activity, white water rafting!

We met the rafting guides and set out on The American River after lathering up with sunscreen. The first half of our day was filled with class two rapids and flat water paddling to ease us in. One of our boats got stuck on a rock and everyone had to work together to get it off. The other boat had a chance to try out some games our guide introduced to us.

We stopped off for lunch to fuel up for the class three rapids ahead of us. The water was chilly but Hudson and Frank braved the big waves in the front of the boat for the second half of the day. Cold is just a mindset to them. Lillie also made her way to the front and had some fun jumping (with a helpful push) into the icy waters of the lovely American River.

After making it through the rapids, we went back to camp and played some games while our AWESOME outfitters prepared a feast for us. Charles helped set up spike ball and got a game going while Wrenn proceeded to destroy Rachel at a game of gin rummy. After yummy dinner of pasta, chicken, steak, salad, garlic bread, and brownies, we had a great Moonup and headed to bed full and exhausted. 

Day two of rafting started out early and with another delicious meal—sausage egg and cheese croissants. We packed up camp and hit the river by 10 am. Mia stepped up and tried her hand at the front of the boat to take on some serious waves.

We stopped for lunch on a rock island and Julia and Jane took an after-lunch dip in the water. Then we had our final and biggest rapid, Troublemaker; all the kids took it like the seasoned rafters that they are now. The rest of our time on the river was pretty calm but was made exciting by a war of trying to pull people in the water between our two boats. 

We are now on the way to Lake Tahoe for our first day of kayaking tomorrow. We can’t wait to see what these next few days have in store for us!

 

Cheers!

 

Rachel, Warren, and Frazer


All Have Arrived!

June 9, 2021

Hello California 1B Families!

The whole group arrived safely in San Francisco 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!!

-Moondance HQ


Students

  • Charles
  • Crawford
  • Elle
  • Frank
  • Hudson
  • Jane
  • Julia
  • Katie
  • Lillie
  • Mia
  • Sarah
  • Wrenn

Staff