June 22, 2021
One last hello there from Colorado River A!!
Yesterday was a day to remember! We woke up early to kick start our last 24 hours together. We quickly peaked at Payson Lake in the morning before hitting the road to Park City. The music was blasting, the chats were rolling, and everyone was soaking up the last day together. Ellie and Mary took charge on the cleaning of the Uhaul and gear. They were both cleaning queens to say the least! Everyone pitched in to help with some much needed cleaning from our 2 weeks in the desert. After we accomplished some cleaning, we headed into town to grab lunch. Allie was thrilled to eat some fresh fruit from the grocery store, and many high remarks were shared about the hoagie buns!
After lunch, we headed to the car wash where William and Brennan took charge in ensuring our beloved van looked spotless. It’s safe to say she hasn’t looked that good in a while! Next, we all wrote letters to ourselves and filled out a little paperwork. Kaitlyn and many of the girls especially took some time to reflect and write themselves letters that will be so fun to open in a few months!
Finally, after the work was done, the even more fun part began! We all headed to a local thrift store and bought clothes for the banquet dinner. Ham and Yates led the charge in getting the boys to buy old jackets and hats for dinner. The boys looked mighty spiffy! Jack, however, may have taken the cake for best outfit with a classy jacket, fedora, tie around his head, and cane. Jack had everyone dying laughing!
The girls’ outfits did not disappoint either with Abby and Larken coming up with the idea to wear collared shirts and backwards hats. They looked pretty awesome! After the thrift store, we all took much deserved showers and put on the new fits. We headed into town to Davanzas for some delicious pizzas and burgers! Billy couldn’t stop talking about how good it tasted. We shared a lot of laughs at the dinner table, took a lot of pics, and even managed to save a little room for dessert afterwards!
The views of Park City did not disappoint. After dinner, we walked around town to grab ice cream and hit some souvenir stores. Everyone was able to grab any last-minute souvenirs that they wanted, and everyone devoured the delicious ice cream!
With full bellies, we piled into the van and blasted our favorite songs of the trip, on the way back to the campsite. Everyone was singing at the top of their lungs; it was a great way to end the trip for sure! We ended the night with a heartfelt Moonup, arguably our best one yet. We all stayed up late not wanting the fun of our trip to end, but sadly airport day has arrived. We all hugged goodbye, exchanged numbers, and talked of when we will all be reunited!
Thank you, parents, for allowing us to spend the past two weeks with your awesome kids! We love them so dearly and look forward to the day we can reunite with them!!
With love always,
Nate and May May
June 21, 2021
Happy Father’s Day from the Colorado River!!
After a week of anticipation and excitement, the long-awaited rafting trip has finally occurred and it is safe to say that it did not disappoint. We woke up early on Thursday, packed up camp in Moab and met the guides to hit the river. We had a quick drive but hopped in the rafts no later than 9am and were on our way. The first day was more chill, allowing time for everyone to get used to the river, reapply sunscreen time and time again, and even fit in a couple quick naps with the sound of the river putting us to sleep. Martin, Seth, Jonathan, and Christian, our river guides, motored us down the river for about 3 hours before stopping for lunch. We pulled over to a small beach where the guides set out a delicious deli bar. The LOD’s, Mary and Billy, were the first in line and got the group excited for some new meals. We even had kettle cooked chips and cookies! After lunch, Yates led the crew up the beach and encouraged everyone to float down the river with him (life jackets on of course) which made for some great fun. After drying off, we hopped back on the rafts for a few more hours of chilling in the sun. Larken kept us entertained by instructing a friendship bracelet making session. By the end of the rafting trip, we all had them!! Once we got to our first campsite and settled in, hamburgers and hot dogs were served up to some hungry stomachs. Brennan, Ellie, Larken, Jack and William decided to go for an evening hike in Canyonlands which turned into a beautiful sunset watching opportunity on top of the canyons. Boy did we get some good pictures! The rest of the evening consisted of Moonup and some good late-night chats by the river.
The next morning was an early one as we had a full day of floating down the river again. We woke up to eggs, bacon, and orange juice which was a GREAT surprise. Once we packed up the rafts, everyone lathered up with sunscreen and hung out for a few hours. Some took naps, others played cards and everyone else just hung out and talked. Floating down the river was a great opportunity to really get to know one another. We stopped at another beach for lunch where we dined on “uncooked pizzas” – a river guide classic. We only had about a twenty-minute boat ride to camp, which gave us the whole afternoon to hang out and swim. Most of the group took part in a game of football on a nearby island, wearing everyone out for the rest of the day. This worked out well considering the next day was the first day of rapids!!
Ellie, William, Brennan, Ham and Allie volunteered to be in the paddle raft, which turned out to be some hard work! Everyone else hopped in a raft and held on tight to the fronts of the raft, getting soaked all day! We went through 22 different rapids, ranging from Class II to Class IV – we got the FULL experience! After making it through the rapids, we relaxed at camp and took some personal time to reflect on the day. Kaitlyn started journaling for a while, encouraging a few others to do the same. A group of 10 played a fun hacky sack game which took a solid hour! Shoutout Abby for winning!! The night came to an end with a very reflective Moonup question and a great star gazing session. We really took in all the beauty of Cataract Canyon and were very sad leave. Today, we got off the river and shuttled back to Moab to pack into the van for a quick drive to Payson Lakes Campground. We are headed to Park City tomorrow morning for our last day together 😭 we are going to live it up!! In the meantime, here are shoutouts from your kiddos!
William: Happy Father’s Day dad I love you so much and hope you have an amazing day
Jack: Happy Father’s Day, dad! Thanks for sending me on this trip, I’m having a lot of fun!
Brennan: Hello Family, I have been having so much fun in Utah I can’t wait to get home P.S. Happy father day Mike Garrett miss you so much.
Mary: Hey guys happy Father’s Day dad, I miss y’all and can’t wait to see you soon and tell you everything.
Larken: Happy Father’s Day Dad! I miss you guys and can’t wait to see y’all!
Allie: Happy Father’s Day Dad hope you are at the lake! Excited to see y’all, miss you
Abby: Happy Father’s Day Dad! Hope you have a great day today! I’m so excited to see y’all in Martha’s Vineyard!
Ellie: Happy Father’s Day dawg I miss you, see you soon
Kaitlyn: Happy Father’s Day dad! I love you so much, and I can’t wait to see you so soon!!
Yates: Happy Father’s Day love you have a great day can’t wait to see you soon.
Ham: Happy Father’s Day Dad! I love y’all and can’t wait to see you again.
Billy: Happy Father’s Day father hope you had a fun day.
Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!
Nate and May May
June 17, 2021
It’s been a hot one here in Moab, but that hasn’t stopped the group from having so much fun. We arrived in the desert on Sunday afternoon to a whopping 108 degrees! After grabbing A LOT of ice from the grocery store, Billy and Mary helped lead the group with tent setup. Everyone worked so fast knowing that ‘make your own pizza’ and Caesar salad was on the menu that night, with Brennan acting as head chef for the evening. Over the past couple days, Brennan has a new-found passion in life and is absolutely crushing it as the groups head chef! The pizzas were devoured in minutes, leaving plenty of time for dessert: Rice Krispie treats! Thankfully everyone got a great nights sleep knowing that we had rock climbing in the morning.
We woke up at 6:30 AM to try and beat the heat, and we were very successful! Ellie and Ham were the first to attempt the climb and both made it to the top so quickly! The guides were very impressed. Larken and Yates overcame their fear of heights and got on the wall, making us SO proud. Everyone learned how to belay and got a chance to be responsible for the climber which was a great lesson. Climbing ended around 12:30, giving us enough time to eat lunch in the park and go take a break back at camp. Everyone was pretty exhausted, so we took the rest of the afternoon to explore the town of Moab and hit some shops. The plan for the evening was to go back and make some quesadillas for dinner, but we had a different plan. As we were driving back to camp, we took an unfamiliar turn and ended up at a Moab staple, Milt’s Burgers and Shakes. The group was so surprised and incredibly happy to eat at a restaurant! After dinner, we returned to the campsite and hiked up to the top of the canyon for a great sunset and many games of Mafia. Ham, Kaitlyn and Abby were the storytellers for Mafia, creating hilarious scenarios and always keeping us on our toes. Everyone hit the hay pretty hard to try and prepare for canyoneering the next day.
We started our adventure deep in the mountains of Moab where we hiked for 2 hours before starting our first rappel. William was first into the Canyon, showing the group how it’s done. For the next couple hour, we walked through waist high water and rappelled down boulders to make our way back to the van. Jack and Allie helped guide the group down 3 different Canyon clearings and the outfitters were so thankful for their help. To finish out the day, the group had to rappel down a 100 foot high cliff! A few people were a bit nervous, but everyone made it down and has a great story to tell! Overall, canyoneering seemed to be a highlight of the trip so far.
Today, we tackled the famous Arches National Park! We started off the morning by showing everyone’s competitive sides in a game of ultimate frisbee in a nearby park. We had a scrumptious lunch, hydrated, and prepared for the heat of our hike to the arch. We took the hike slow, took A LOT OF WATER breaks, and with a lot of positive encouragement led by Ellie, we finally made it to the arch. It did not disappoint, that’s for sure! We snapped a lot of pics, took in the moment, and finally headed down. Not only was today exciting because of the arch, but today is also our famous Iron Chef dinner! The kids divided in teams and competed for who could make the best meal! It was a success to say the least. Tomorrow we are heading to the long-awaited rafting portion of the trip and could not be more excited! We will talk to y’all after!!
Until next time,
Nate and May May
June 13, 2021
Helllllloooo from Zion!
After our great start to the trip in Bryce Canyon, we made the short drive to our campground just outside of Zion National Park. We had plenty of time to settle in and set up camp, with today’s LODs, Brennan and Larken, taking charge. Everyone is becoming a pro at setting up tents and it’s only day 3! Once camp was set up, the cook crew brought out some chips, salsa and guacamole to snack on while they prepared fajitas. Ellie was quick to show us her chopping skills as she cut up the peppers and onions. Billy helped cook the chicken and added the perfect amount of taco seasoning making our fajitas just that much better. Brennan took charge of the black beans and added his own little twist to them, spicing them up with whatever he could find. Finally, as everything was coming together, Allie put the tortillas on the griddle and served up everyone’s meal. And to make it better, those who wanted a burrito got a burrito making lesson from Ellie, really rounding out a great meal. The rest of the night was dedicated to Moonup, where Larken and Brennan asked what everyone’s pet peeve was – the groups’ answers received a LOT of laughs!
The next morning the crew had an early wake up call. Some were excited to get into Zion and begin exploring, others were still half asleep. By the time we rolled into Zion, everyone was wide awake as the views were incredible! It was awesome to see everyone staring out the windows, finding no time to talk to their seatmate because of how awestruck they were. When our guided hike in the Narrows began, the group spread out with our guides so we could navigate the canyons easier. This hike was unlike anything anyone had seen. For 4 hours we walked in ankle to knee-deep crystal-clear water, looking up at the massive mountains above us. We captured so many great moments on the camera and GoPro and can’t wait for everyone to see them! William, Jack, and Abby took the plunge into the deeper parts of the water where it got down to 50 degrees! Soon after, the group stopped on a sunny rock to enjoy the weather and eat some lunch. On the long hike back down the river, we encouraged everyone by telling them we had an ice cream stop planned! After we devoured the local ice cream, we headed back to camp where Ham and Yates led a group game of knockout. That was a great way to end an already great day!
After dinner and Moonup, Mary and Kaitlyn taught the group some new card games called Golf and Spoons. We played these for a couple hours until the group decided it was time to hit the hay. Ater an incredible time in Zion, we are currently headed to Moab to explore Arches and Canyonlands before the rafting trip begins!
Until next time ✌️
Nate and May May
June 12, 2021
Colorado River A here! We are leaving our incredible two days in Bryce Canyon and headed to Zion National Park as we speak. Since our first member of the squad stepped off the plane, there has not been a moment of silence. Our group has meshed unbelievably well, feeling like we have all known each other for forever!
As we waited for everyone to arrive at the Salt Lake City airport on our first day, the conversations were flowing with everyone eager to get to know one another. Ellie and Mary took the initiative to get a group circle going to discuss what music we should add to our road trip playlist. We’ve listened to a lot of old school classics, Olivia Rodrigo, and everything in between! We had a great drive to Bryce Canyon from the airport, but everyone was able to rest and hang out. When we got to our campsite, we learned how to set up tents, ate some delicious comfort food for dinner, celebrated Brennan’s birthday with some cookies and decorations (woo! Happy Birthday Brennan!!), and many people experienced their first Moonups. All our heads hit the pillow hard that night after a long day of travel and excitement for the journey to come!
Yesterday, the boys awoke early with the time change so we all had a little extra time to enjoy our yummy breakfast of eggs, bacon, and fruit. William and Allie, our two alumni students, were the first LODs (leaders of the day) for the trip. They both helped to get everything done in the morning and begin to show everyone the ropes of Moondance. After we ate breakfast and packed day packs, we quickly headed to the Navajo Loop trailhead where we tackled the Navajo Loop trail, Queens Garden trail, and Wall Street trail. Yates immediately got the group laughing with some sarcastic jokes, keeping the group motivated, and Abby provided guaranteed down to earth trail chats. Bryce Canyon was UNREAL. Words and pictures cannot even do justice the beauty of it. However, if anyone’s pictures can do Bryce justice, it may be Brennan’s. Brennan captured some incredible GoPro photos, taking pictures of everything!
After we finished our hike, we sat at the top of an overlook to eat our late lunch and avoid the heat. Next, we took a recommendation from a ranger and headed to the Mossy Cave waterfall to cool off and swim. William immediately discovered we could follow a trail behind the waterfall, giving us an impeccable view of it. We hung out at the waterfall for awhile, before heading back to camp for some snacks and down time. Ham instantly took over the speaker, playing us some of his favorite country and rock songs. Jack was quick to play the air drums next to Ham, cracking the whole group up. We ate, laughed, and admired Larken’s fairy dust hair while we called dibs on her making us friendship bracelets. We then ate dinner and watched a beautiful sunset at Sunset Point in Bryce Canyon. Finally, we did Moonup and Kaitlyn led us in some star gazing before bed! These are some of the best stars we have ever seen!!
Today, we woke up, packed up camp, and ate yummy breakfast burritos. We then headed back to the Navajo Loop trailhead and took on a more challenging hike of the Peek-a-Boo Loop, led by today’s LODs, Larken and Brennan. Today had us huffing and puffing, but Allie’s map reading skills ensured that we did not get lost and Billy’s one liners kept the group going and laughing. Now we are headed to Zion and could not be more excited!! More updates to come from us soon, but all is more than well here in Utah!
Peace and Blessings,
Nate and May May
June 9, 2021
Hello Colorado River Families!
The whole group arrived safely in Salt Lake City 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