June 22, 2021
A final hello from Utah!
We woke up at our campsite in Bryce and had a beautiful assortment of fruit and oatmeal for breakfast. After packing up camp we started off on our short drive to Park City. First order of business when we arrived in Park City was to clean the van. The team worked hard to take the trash out and vacuum the thing that had been our home for the past two weeks. It was refreshing to have it look better and smell better!
After that we spent some time at the local park. We had each kid do a course evaluation form, but more importantly a letter to themselves that will be sent to them later. This is an opportunity for everyone to reflect on the past two weeks and write their future selves. Next order of business, thrift shopping. For dinner tonight, we were going to go out to eat in Park City, so it only felt right to go to a thrift store and buy funny outfits to wear.
Michael showed out in a full tie dye jump suit. Sophie, Tatum, Taylor, Lauren, and Ella all wore old prom dresses and hit the town in style. We had to make one more stop before dinner…SHOWERS! We went to the local rec center and enjoyed nice warm showers. The boys played a quick game of basketball before we left. Brendan was relentless on defense and Alex was raining them in from behind the three point line.
At dinner, we enjoyed a wonderful pizza dinner and then ice cream from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. Everyone was happy with their Shirley temples at dinner and then their waffle cones at the ice cream shop. The drive from the campground was filled with lots of singing along to early 2000s pop hits. Before bed, Ella, LOD with Brendan, led our final Moonup of the trip. Everyone went around and said their highlights from the trip. It was heartwarming to hear everyone say something different. Jackson said the rapids day on the river, True mentioned playing mafia as a group, and Tatum took us back to our huge hike the day before. Everyone went to bed reminiscing and emotional with future nostalgia.
Before the airport, we had one quick stop to make. East High School, the filming location of High School Musical that is actually located in Salt Lake City and just so happened to be on the way to the airport. It only seemed right to stop and not only see it but have the girls walk on the same grass as Zac Efron. At the airport, everyone checked their bags and went through security. It was a sad time as everyone didn’t want to leave their new best friends.
As leaders, we want to say thank you to these kids for making this trip one to remember. Each person added something different and unique to the group and we will always remember this Colorado River trip.
Until next time,
Baker and Louise
June 21, 2021
We have arrived at our last national park, Bryce Canyon. Only an hour and a half drive from Zion got us to our campsite around lunch time. After a week of acclimating to the thick of the desert heat, we were honestly a little chilly upon a “brisk” 85 degree breeze in Bryce.
Around noon we claimed our new territory at the campsite where True set up his tent in record speed. Antsy to see Bryce Canyon, we performed a sandwich assembly line and hit the road for our first hike of the Navajo Trail. The hike was the perfect 1.8 mile sneak peak for our big kahuna hike tomorrow. With plenty of daylight left upon returning to the campsite, we decided to get crafty and tie dye shirts. Ella’s many summers of tie dying deemed her as our instructor and taught everyone the real tricks of the trade.
By 6pm, tanks were empty and ready to cook some burgers. Brendan impressed the group as the grill master and cooked all the sliders. We had to capitalize on the remaining daylight before we had Moonup, so the football and deck of cards were in full swing. Michael was relentless in playing ERS, beating everyone multiple times.
Anderson and Michael were our Leaders of the Day and presented the question, “where do you see the person next to you in ten years?” at Moonup. The creative juices were clearly flowing when answers ranged from Lauren practicing law to True traveling the world.
As the heat held off until the afternoon, everyone got their beauty sleep in preparation for our big hike on Sunday. Today we were going to conquer the fairyland loop trail. It is a whopping 10 miles full of absolutely incredible views. Breakfast was a little different this morning as we were unaware of Alex’s hash brown cooking abilities. They were a huge hit. We packed peanut butter and jelly’s and lots of water and started walking.
All carbed up, the group collectively had the best attitude we’ve seen on the trip. The energy remained immaculate with Michael leading the pack with haste along with Sophie, Tatum, and Taylor fervently singing California Gurls by Katy Perry. Five hours later, we returned home for some rest and relaxation. We can’t say enough about the groups attitude during this hike. 10 miles is a lot and they truly did amazing.
As soon as we got back to camp, everyone collapsed into a nice afternoon nap. Soon enough we were ready to start dinner, well, breakfast. Switching things up with breakfast for dinner. After Brendan’s superb work with the burgers, he gladly took the reins of the bacon. Jackson scrambled the eggs, Taylor picked out the MnMs from trail mix for some makeshift chocolate chips, Tatum and Alex were a pancake flipping duo, and the rest of the herd provided plenty of entertainment.
Tonight’s Moonup question was, ‘What are your favorite family traditions?” It was great to hear more about everyone’s background. Everyone slept well and we are ready, yet sad for our final full day together.
Until next time,
Louise and Baker
June 18, 2021
Hello from Mars!
After our big weekend rafting down the Colorado River, we have made Moab our home. Monday morning we had a late start from well deserved sleep. Today we hiked Arches National Park! Jackson led the troops the entire time up the trail. In order to beat the heat, we went swimming at a local pool in downtown Moab. Around 4pm, Louise caroled the group to make dinner plans and a grocery store run. Once the word nachos was mentioned, it was like moths to a lamp. That night, we orchestrated the trending nacho platter spread across an entire table over tinfoil. Taylor saved the day in perfecting the queso to pour over all the chips.
An early wake up call around 6am jolted our Tuesday to go rock climbing at the “Ice Cream Parlor” right outside of Moab. We got to hear incredible stories from one of our guides David who has climbed with Alex Honnold for those who are familiar with Free Solo. True absolutely dominated the four climbs as he was first to climb and eager to finish all four. Lunch was then our next mission. We called an audible and landed on a local diner, Milts. After a rewarding milkshake and burger, we walked and shopped around downtown Moab. Within 15 minutes of returning to the campsite, bathing suits were on to jump in the river. A huge round of applause to Brendan’s can-opener! Tonight dinner came with competition. A grilled cheese contest commenced with Baker and Louise as the judges. After serious analysis of presentation and quality, Anderson’s grilled cheese won with flying colors.
On Wednesday we went canyoneering! From ninja crawling through the canyon to repelling down from the top, we had another great adventure all before lunch time. Michael led the ropes (pun intended) and gave everyone a laugh regarding his experience at the infamous potato museum of Idaho. Ella also deserves a round of applause for having a great attitude. After getting soaked, the 13 of us then went to Rotary Park to have lunch and play cards. Alex blew us away with his strong card game performance playing ERS. It wasn’t long before we were stirring for a new activity and went to the Mill Creek trail for a short hike and a dip in the waterfall. Sophie’s adventurous attitude led her to be the first to jump off the cliff into the water. Everyone soon followed suit. Lauren and Tatum have been steady helpers all throughout camp. We had to take down our campsite where we had been for the past four nights and they were a huge help.
We woke up and travelled to Zion National Park and are so excited for these last five days!!
Until next time,
Baker and Louise
June 14, 2021
Hello from Utah!!
After a long travel day for everyone, we had an early start to our first full day together. The thirteen of us departed our campsite around 7:15 am all packed up and ready to embark on our 4-day rafting trip. We arrived at the Mild to Wild headquarters where we shortly unloaded and then hopped on a bus that dropped us off at our put-in spot at the Potash area of the Colorado river. Our fantastic guides Marcus, Jonathan, Levi, and Ara led us 20 miles down the river to our first campsite. After an efficient fire drill line of de-rigging the supplies, we played card games and set up camp. During these games, True’s awesome sunglasses were tried on by everyone as he convinced us that Whataburger is the best place in the world. We had the luxury of a salmon dinner with asparagus and rice prepared by our guides. Today was the beginning of having two leaders of the day. These leaders share lots of roles including assembling the group for the day and leading our Moonup held each night. Sophie and Brendan were our incredible first LODs and asked everyone to share one of their most fun memories in the past year.
Friday morning wakeup call was around 7:30 for breakfast burritos before a 26-mile ride down the Colorado river. The views were impeccable. Michael set a fast pace on a small hike where we saw ancient Native American petroglyphs. We arrived at our campsite around 4pm. Alex, Sophie, and Taylor deserve a gold medal for helping to run the fire line of gear from the rafts to camp. Before setting up tents and our quaint makeshift living room, we got to see Tatum’s insane cheer skills. We slept well during another beautiful night under the stars and felt ready for full day of rapids tomorrow!
Rapid day!! A great breakfast fueled us up for an exciting day. Lauren and Anderson were fantastic paddlers and led the way down some nice rapids! By the end of the day, we had all experienced what it feels like to move through class four rapids. Everyone also got to try steering the boats with the big oars. At dinner that night, Jackson, Brendon, and Alex decided to help clean up the leftover food by having a mashed potato eating contest. The contest ended with everyone needing to lay down and rest. The night was finished off with a couple games of mafia where Michael surprised everyone by successfully convincing everyone that he was not the mafia.
The next day was our last day on the river. We celebrated a successful rafting trip with milkshakes from Milts, a restaurant in downtown Moab. We got settled in at our campsite where we will be for the next three nights and enjoyed swimming in the river and playing frisbee. Ella learned how to use a camp stove and helped cook our pasta dinner. Bedtime! We are excited for rock climbing and hiking and all that is ahead!
Until next time,
Baker and Louise
June 9, 2021
Hello Colorado River Families!
The whole group arrived safely in Salt Lake 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