July 9, 2021
Final Trip Update Col 2A
That’s a wrap in Utah! We’ve had such a great time with your kids the past two weeks and had an emotional goodbye this morning. It’s hard to believe we only met them 14 days ago, because it feels like we’ve known them our whole lives. After we got off the river on Wednesday, the group headed back to Moab where we repacked our bags and headed to our second to last location. We drove to Payson Lakes Campground and had the BEST drive of the trip so far. Everyone was singing at the top of their lungs, with Robert leading the charge in the front row of the van. Throughout the car ride we laughed about funny moments from the rafting trip, one of our favorites being Simms dancing during the talent show to the sound of Davis playing the saxophone! One we got to Payson Lakes, we chilled out for a bit and soaked in the cool air. Emma and Margaret led a great Moonup with a introspective and reflective question that everyone enjoyed. Our Moonups just keep getting better and better! Everyone decided to sleep outside together instead of using tents, something that we love to see!
The next morning was a fast paced one. We ate a good granola and oatmeal breakfast before hitting the road to go to our last campsite near Park City. Once there, we cleaned both the U-Haul and the van. It seems like a boring task, but with the help of Wyatt’s jokes and great taste in music, the chores seemed to fly by. Next, we hit the grocery store and bought fresh deli meat and toppings to create the ultimate sub sandwiches! Ellia put her personal touch on the sandwich by adding Flamin’ Hot Cheetos to her sub and encouraged everyone to try it. After lunch we did something that everyone was looking forward to… thrift shopping! We spent about an hour in the Park City thrift shop while everyone tried on their best finds. Caroline immediately found a red prom dress and knew she had to get it. Parker also decided to go for the dress and found a sunflower skirt with a green sweater. It’s safe to say he won best dressed for the evening.
Once everyone picked out their outfits, the group was treated to a shower! It had been a couple days and was a much-needed refresher before ending the trip. Lila took the role of makeup artist for the girls and added eyeliner tattoos to everyone’s face. It really pulled everyone’s outfits together! We started to make our way to dinner when Addie decided the group needed to have a photo shoot while hitting the town. We strolled up and down Main Street, snapping pictures everywhere we could!
Dinner was definitely a highlight of the trip thanks to some amazing laughs and great reflections of the past two weeks. Afterwards we stopped for some ice cream to top off a perfect day. We headed back to our campsite for our final Moonup which was an emotional one to say the least! At the end of it, Anderson and Emma sang an ‘end of camp’ song which made most of the group tear up. We all slept outside again and soaked in the last couple hours with each other before heading to the airport and saying goodbye ????. We cannot thank the parents enough for sharing your kids with us for these past two weeks. We had an amazing time with your kids and we hope they had the trip of a lifetime!
Bye for now,
Nate and May May
July 7, 2021
Hello from the Colorado River!!
The long-awaited rafting trip finally arrived and was even better than we could have imagined! We woke up early on the 4th of July, with high spirits as we put on our fun Walmart bought red, white, and blue outfits. Robert and Caroline especially took the lead on the 4th of July spirit and put temporary red and blue hair spray in, along with glitter on their bodies, and tutus to finish off the look! We met the rafting guides early and hopped on the river with high spirits. The first day of rafting was more chill, as we motored down the flatter parts of the Colorado River. Many people took well deserved naps, Lila led everyone in making friendship bracelets for one another, and we just enjoyed each other’s company. Many swim breaks were in order with the heat beating down on us, but the beautiful canyon views around us made it all worth it! After a long day on the raft, we finally made it to camp on the side of the river in the late afternoon. We luckily found a shaded campsite to stay for the evening, and our amazing guides made us a classic 4th of July meal of burgers, hotdogs, and veggie burgers. They were divine! After dinner, we set out camp chairs and busted out red, white, and blue glow sticks. We snapped a lot of awesome pictures and laughed a whole lot. We finally ended our incredible day with our best Moonup yet. We became even closer than we already were, appreciating one another even more. Finally, we all laid our heads to rest after a long, tiring day. Everyone decided to sleep outside tonight, under the stars, pointing out the shooting stars and having pillow talk as we went to bed.
The next day, on Monday, we woke up early to coffee, hot chocolate, orange juice, and tea. Wyatt didn’t skip a beat on bee-lining to grab a couple cups of coffee! We had a relaxing morning as the guides made delicious egg sandwiches for breakfast. After we packed up camp, we again hopped on the rafts to motor further down the river to the rapids. We had a lot of swim parties along the way, with Emma always leading the train of hopping in the water to swim. Even more friendship bracelets were made, more naps were taken, and the day was full of laughs. We stopped along the way for personal pizzas for the lunch, receiving high reviews on a fun new lunch! In the afternoon, we continued down the river and stopped to do a quick hike up and over a canyon to the river on the other side. Anderson, of course, crushed this hike and led the group to the top! The view on the top did not disappoint, as we could see what felt like miles down the river each way. We hiked down the other side of the canyon, stopping to observe a lot of petroglyphs. They were awesome! We then hopped back on the rafts and motored on to our campsite for the night.
This campsite was the fan favorite for sure, covered with shade and a big beach. We decided to pass our time with a talent show, with everyone participating and presenting some type of performance. The raft guides even hopped in there and showed off some of their talents. Parker’s singing, of course, was a hit and the crowd went wild! After a lot of laughs and smiles, we wrapped up the day with another delicious dinner made by the guides and had another great Moonup. The group is crushing Moonup to say the least! With full bellies, happy hearts, and a little bit of nerves for the rapids the next day, we all fell asleep on the beach for the night.
Yesterday, we woke up to the sweet smell of French toast and fresh fruit! We were very spoiled by our guides on the Colorado River and had full bellies after every meal. This meal was especially important as we were beginning the big rapid portion of the trip today. Before everyone had to get serious, one of our rafting guides, Zulu, flipped his raft over and let everyone use it as a slide into the river. With a running start, Davis sprinted at the raft, jumped on it, and landed gracefully into the river. Once the group saw Davis crush the slide, everyone jumped in. We had two people throwing water on the raft to make it slippery, while everyone else gathered in a line waiting for their turn. We did this for about 45 minutes until all the rafts were ready to go. We had ten people in the paddle boats and four in what the rafting guides call “duckies.” Duckies are inflatable tandem kayaks which provides a much more exciting experience for those who are very adventurous! Margaret and Parker decided to hop in the duckies and never fell out! They did so well that the rest of the group wanted to jump in and try. Next, we had Lila and Ellia who went down some of the harder rapids, but with Lila’s kayaking experience they went through the rapids with ease.
Inside the paddle boats, Addie led one of the rafts in the front of the boat and paddled with such power that our guide could not stop complimenting her. The rapids got progressively harder as the day went on, which meant the group had some more challenges to face with every rapid we passed. At one point, we hit a rapid called Capsize so hard that two paddlers went swimming and were quickly rescued back into the boat! Simms was one of the swimmers and handled it like a champ. He flipped backwards and immediately knew to get into rescue position, floating on his back while one of the guides extended a paddle to him. That was the only time someone fell out of the boats the entire day, which we’d say is a great success!
After we finished the rapids, we set up camp on a small beach deep inside Cataract Canyon. The rafting guides made us a delicious steak dinner with sides of mashed potatoes and salad. For dessert, we had toasted brownies that were gone in minutes! The group didn’t stay up very late after Moonup because of how exhausting the day was. The next morning, we woke up, had Lox bagels and orange juice, packed up camp, and were on our way to the take out. Now we are driving to our second to last campground in Payson Lake! We’ll be back soon with our last trip update ????
May May and Nate
July 3, 2021
It’s been a warm couple days here in Moab, but that hasn’t stopped the group from having fun! We arrived at the campsite with a handful of groceries and some heavy appetites. For dinner, the cook crew made spaghetti and meatballs which was amazing!! Emma handled the cutting of the veggies, of course, while Addie cooked the noodles to perfection. The LODs delivered a thoughtful Moonup asking everyone about their passion in life. This gave us an awesome look into what motivates each and every one of us and brought the group that much closer together!
We had an eventful morning as it was Lila’s 16th birthday! We woke her up to some of her favorite goodies and a great breakfast of waffles and fruit! It just so happened that her birthday fell on rock climbing day, one of her favorite things to do. We drove about 30 minutes outside of Moab to climb with a company called Moab Cliffs and Canyons. Our guides, Kate and Aaron, were amazing and taught everyone some useful skills. Simms and Anderson were the first up the wall and scaled it within a matter of minutes. With four different routes available, everyone got their turn to attempt the rock and even had the chance to belay for the climber. It was a morning full of firsts and full of laughs! While people were climbing, Robert kept the group on the ground entertained while he told jokes and showed off his dance moves. Overall, it was one of the best activities the group had done so far. After we finished up, we spent the afternoon swimming by the river at our campsite and eating some great snacks. Everyone thought quesadillas was on the menu for dinner, but the leaders had other plans. We surprised the group with a great local food stop at Pasta Jays. Parker gets credit for ordering the best dinner of a meatball sub! To end the evening, Robert told the waitress that it was Lila’s birthday, so they surprised her with an ice cream sundae and a great happy birthday song.
Yesterday, we woke up early again and prepared for our day of canyoneering. Many of us didn’t know what to expect, but it’s safe to say that canyoneering definitely did not disappoint! We began the day with a hike up into the canyons. This hike was more challenging than we were expecting, but Caroline led the group and showed everyone how to safely climb up the rocks on the hike to get to the top! After we finished our hike into the canyons, we had our first slide down into the canyon. Everyone crushed this part, laughing as we all slide down into the canyons. With smiles on our faces, we tackled our next challenge of climbing down into a canyon puddle. Many people stuck the landing, many people fell in the water as well, and Margaret perfectly landed her descent into the canyon pool! It was impressive to say the least. Next, we began our first rappel into the canyon. This was a preparation rappel for our ending and was great practice. The guides were impressed by all of our initial rappelling skills, but especially Davis’ technique received a lot of praise from the guides. We all safely made it down from the first rappel, and had to hurdle a boulder in the middle of the path. The beached whale technique seemed to be the best way to get over it and created a lot of laughs from the crowd while doing it! We continued on in the canyons, finally climbing into a bigger canyon puddle and trudging through the water for a bit. We all went down into the puddle one at a time, and of course the people at the bottom found the humor is watching everyone sink into the water until they joined them on shore! As the day continued on, the laughs and smiles were flowing. Canyoneering was awesome for sure! Our last challenge of the day was to rappel 100 feet down a side of a cliff. This got the nerves going for sure, but thanks to our trustworthy and supportive guides, everyone conquered their fears. Ellia especially did an awesome job conquering her fears of heights, making it down the rappel with ease. Everyone couldn’t stop talking about how much fun the rappel was after they conquered their fears! To reward ourselves for our big day, we celebrated with some milkshakes from the famous Milts restaurant in Moab. Wyatt gave super high reviews of the milkshakes. We ended the day with a delicious nacho bar at the campsite and headed to watch the sunset at Dead Horse State Park. The pictures were beautiful, and we fit in a great Moonup while we were there!
Today, we woke up early and headed into Arches to make sure the park did not fill up before we got there. We received high reviews of the hike today, and even managed to miss some of the heat since we went so early. We cruised through the hike up to Delicate Arch, rounded the corner and everyone’s jaws dropped. Delicate Arch is outstanding! Everyone crushed this hike and could not stop talking about how much they loved it. The Park was packed, but we waited in line to make sure we got enough pictures under the arch for the memories. We even managed to get a round of applause from everyone at the arch who watched us take a jumping picture. We crushed it for sure! After the hike, we made personal pizzas and are having a more relaxed afternoon. Tomorrow, we hop on the river and could not be more excited! We will talk to y’all when we get back!!
Until next time,
Nate and May May
Emma: Sup my dudes! Hope y’all are survivin’ n thrivin’. I’m having a great time with some really great people. Can’t wait to see you soon!
Caroline: Hey, I’m having so much fun and have made great friends! Can’t wait to see y’all. Love you!
Anderson: Hey guys, I’m having a great time with everyone and seeing some pretty cool stuff. Can’t wait to see you!
Lila: Hi! I’m having a lot of fun hiking and making new friends who I love so much. Can’t wait to see you guys when I get home!
Margaret: Hey Mom, Dad, and AP! I’m having such a great time here and I can’t wait to tell y’all stories from my trip. Say hi to the dogs for me! Love y’all❤️❤️!
Addie: Hi! I’m having a great time and exploring incredible places! I’ve met wonderful people who are so kind. I can’t wait to tell you all about it! Love you so much!
Ellia: hey dad and candy this is an experience of a lifetime. I’m having an amazing time. Also learning new things love you guys ????????
Simms: Hey Mom and Dad, I am having lots of fun and making new friends. Can’t wait to see y’all!
Robert: Hey mom and dad I’m having so much fun and having so many great experiences! I can’t wait to tell y’all all about it.
Parker: Hey, I’m having a really great time making new friends and trying new activities. See ya soon!
Wyatt: hey mom and dad. Miss y’all, can’t wait to see you guys and let you know how it was.
Davis: Hey mom and dad I’m having an awesome time and I am super excited to tell y’all about it.
July 1, 2021
Hello from Zion National Park!
After seeing Bryce Canyon, everyone thought the views couldn’t get better. We think Zion blew everyone’s expectations out of the water. Our first day and night was spent at a campground just outside of the Park. When we arrived, everyone was so excited to see ping pong tables and foosball available to play. Anderson led the charge on the ping pong table with her tennis background, and showed everyone how it’s done. Simms challenged Robert to a game of foosball and due to the table being a little broken, the winner is still undecided. After the games had been played, everyone’s appetites started to show. On the menu tonight was Mediterranean Bowls, something that grabbed the attention of so many people that we had to say no to some who asked to be on cook crew. That was a first! Margaret came through with her famous rice cooking skills, while Addie and Emma cut the lettuce and veggies. After heating up some chicken and pita bread, the food was ready to be served. This meal was an absolute hit and was devoured in minutes! Before Moonup, we surprised the group with an ice cream dessert and a visit to the local country store across the street. The most popular flavor was a local Huckleberry ice cream that was loved by over half the group!
Once we got back to camp, the Leaders of the Day Addie and Parker hit the group with some thought provoking questions. This Moonup lasted longer than normal because of how vulnerable the group was, which was so impressive since it was only Day 3. The next morning was an early one, waking up at 5 AM to get to our hikes on time. Due to the crazy weather, the girls tackled their most challenging, yet debatably favorite hike yet. With positive attitudes and high spirits, the girls hiked to the top of Scout’s Lookout for some jaw dropping views of Zion. The terrain was beautiful, and Addie’s jokes and high spirits really kept the group motivated. The trail talk was impeccable, with a highlight being Ellia teaching everyone a few Spanish phrases! The girls snapped some gorgeous pictures from the top of Scout’s Lookout and even nailed a jumping picture with Zion in the background. In order to get to the amazing view of the Park, the girls had to tackle a 2.5 mile uphill hike. After the hike was finished, Caroline led the girls to a quick dip in one of the rivers to cool down, and she bravely decided to completely submerge herself under the freezing cold water. It was refreshing to say the least!
The boys went on a famous hike in Zion called the Narrows. Our guide Noah was very familiar with the terrain and decided it was safe to complete a portion of the hike before the weather started. Since we are walking though a river, everyone strapped on their neoprene socks and waterproof shoes and began the journey. Davis and Wyatt led the crew as they were determined to get in the water and cool off. About 1.5 hours into the Canyon, a perfect swimming pool appeared and all the boys jumped right in. They enjoyed their lunch on top of a rock while drying up and took in the views. After snapping some pictures, the group turned around to avoid the inclement weather. After the boys returned to the outfitter store, the rain began to fall. The boys waited out the storm inside. When the group came back together we came upon Emma and Lila dancing in the rain, having the time of their lives!
The rain created some mudslides in the Park, which threw a wrench in our driving plans. Once we found a safe route, we took a detour through some neighboring towns to get back to our campsite. This drive was SO much fun and everyone was in such high spirits even after a long day. We even drove through Arizona for a bit! Once we got to our campsite, the LOD’s Emma and Davis hit the group with some fun Moonup questions to end the day. Now we are heading to Moab to start the next portion of our trip!
Until next time.
Nate and May May
June 28, 2021
Greetings from Bryce Canyon!!
We began the trip with airport day being eventful, with many students having to change flights and delayed luggage. However, everyone handled changes with ease and set an awesome tone for the trip! Everyone bonded quickly as we had a short drive to our new campsite. Before dinner, we had some time to play a couple of games and get to know one another. Emma immediately led the train on a hacky sack game that is already our favorite! The boys led a charge on going to explore the nearby lake, and Parker showed us his special talent of spotting animals in the wild. After a few games and exploring, we all shared a delicious dinner of pizza. It was a fan favorite! Similarly, after a long day of traveling, Ellia’s flight finally landed, and she was able to join us at dinner. She did not skip a beat in making friends and hopping right in the group! We ended the day by having our first Moonup, with our veteran moondance student, Wyatt, showing everyone the ropes. After Moonup, we all decided to lay our heads to rest and prepare for Bryce Canyon.
On Sunday, we naturally woke up early with the sun and time change. Chef Simms made everyone a delicious breakfast of Canadian bacon, English muffins, and fruit. After our tummies were full, we headed to Bryce Canyon. Addie worked as an aux liaison for the group, and we jammed to rock, country, and everything in between! We had high spirits going into Bryce Canyon for an afternoon hike. Anderson led the pack of the hike, not even huffing and puffing the whole way! Margaret snapped a lot of pics, taking in the beauty of Bryce. It’s safe to say that Bryce did not disappoint for anyone. After our jaw dropping hike, we headed back to camp to make some dinner. We made delicious burritos, with many people crushing their first-time cooking burritos! Many people played baseball and Robert thought of the idea of creating a giant combo tent for the boys by putting their two tents together. It got high reviews for sure! After dinner, we headed to Sunset Point to watch the sunset, and Caroline, aka the selfie queen, made sure we all took selfies with the beautiful background! After the sunset, we had a great Moonup led by our first LODs (leaders of the day), Caroline and Wyatt.
Today, we woke up early again and made breakfast. We packed up camp and headed back into Bryce Canyon for a different hike! Today, Lila impressed the group with her abundance of outdoor knowledge. We’re all working on practicing Leave No Trace! Today’s hike was a little bit longer and more strenuous than yesterday is, but everyone handled it like a champ. Thanks to Davis also striking up conversation with the park ranger, we decided to change the end of our hike to see the famous Bryce Point. It did not disappoint, and the ranger wasn’t kidding when he said it is the best view in Bryce! Now, we are heading to Zion National Park to do the infamous Narrows hike tomorrow. We couldn’t be more excited!!
Overall, all is very well here in Utah! The group dynamic could not be better, and we already love each of your children dearly!! Talk to y’all soon!
Until next time,
Nate and May May
June 26, 2021
Hi Colorado River 2A Families!
Almost all of the group has arrived in Salt Lake and they are off on their adventure! One more student is arriving late tonight and they are all excited to greet her! 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!