June 14, 2021
Howdy hey, friends and family!
Greetings from the land where the summer sun never fades! Our crew just finished Moonup and I’m writing this update from our tent as birds are chirping all around and students are drifting off to sleep after a delicious backcountry dinner (be sure to ask your kids to prepare Frito Pie with all the fixin’s once they’re home).
We’ve just spent the past couple of days climbing the icy caverns of the Matanuska Glacier, and everything from Bowen’s MoonTalk (the Moondance version of a TEDTalk we’ve created) to the stunning views had me thinking about the blessing of this trip. It is a gift to be in Alaska with 11 phenomenal students while feeling a sense of our country returning to normalcy after the unprecedented 2020/2021 we’ve all experienced. We are all feeling a deep sense of gratitude to be outside together, laughing, and exploring the wilderness of Alaska without masks!
After students’ arrival to the Anchorage airport, we made our way to our campsite for our first night under the midnight sun. A classic “Pizza on the First Night” Moondance dinner had Julian feeling good about the time he’d spend in the Last Frontier. Runyon and Claire were chosen as our first Leaders of the Day (LOD’s) and our group felt ready to explore by the time we woke up.
We then transferred to our campsite north of Anchorage on our second day, and we’ve spent three nights up here. With the careful guidance of our outfitter, the Glacier Pilots (aka the NLT 1A crew) have become the world’s newest ice climbing enthusiasts! Our two days on the Matanuska Glacier were EPIC. James climbed just about every route that he could get his crampons into, Emma and Martha demonstrated incredible teamwork on the challenging terrain on the glacier, and Mae had us all laughing with her very specific sweet tooth cravings (the ice had her dreaming about ice cream). This ice climbing section of our trip proved to be the perfect avenue for our group to get our feet wet in Alaska and cultivate unity and friendship. There are *great group vibes*, as the students wanted me to assure you, and we’ve had a lot of fun along the way.
Just tonight we had our first rain shower. It was a light rain, but all the students huddled together under a tarp, sharing ghost stories and laughing. We were all cracking up as Harrison was standing halfway under the tarp and halfway outside it (trying to clean his curly locks). During this moment I had the thought that I always have during Moondance summers — “this is something special.” It’s rare that a group of strangers is able to bond so quickly and feel like we’re one giant outdoor adventure family. Eliza embodied this tonight when she responded to the Moonup question of “What would you spend $100 on right now?” with “buying treats for this group” (and a fur hat for dad back home). We’re out here, in the Last Frontier, getting to live out the magic of teamwork and dwelling together in unity. What a gift!
And we have so much more to look forward to — backpacking, rafting, sea kayaking, and many more lasting memories to be made! We’ll keep you updated as the trip goes along, and we hope you all are well back home. The students wanted me to include a note to say “they’re having a ton of fun, the food is good, and they miss you all!”
So, friends and family, we’re having fun! The food is good. And we miss you all in the Lower 48!
Here’s to a fun-filled ~10 days in the backcountry! Katherine, our Cleaning Crew Queen, and Bowen will lead us as LODs for our first day of backpacking tomorrow. We’re looking forward to telling you all about it once we’ve returned from backpacking!
Much love from the Glacier Pilots,
Mary, Joe, Lily, and the whole NLT 1A crew
June 11, 2021
Hello Northern Lights Families!
The whole group arrived safely in Anchorage last night, and they 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