June 20, 2021
Northern Lights Crew just finished our backpacking expedition and wow, what an adventure!
We have covered some ground the last eight days and our team’s leadership and backcountry skills have grown leaps and bounds. George and Annika were our LODs (leaders of the day) for our first day in the Talkeetna Mountains and their positive attitudes and willingness to help other members of the crew carried us up steep hills until we broke through into the high country. The vistas were incredible and it was hard to find a tent spot that did not have postcard-worthy views. We also saw our first moose from a distance and it really hit us that we were in Alaska!
Our second day was led by Houston and Payton. Day two was marked by a seven mile trek through the mud and Houston’s strength was hard to miss as he inspired the team to dig deep and make it to camp. Payton’s humor kept morale high, even in knee deep mud. Jay and Kate kept us right on schedule for day three as we made our way towards Chitna Creek. We ate lunch at an old Super Cub landing strip in the shadow of the equipment that had carved it into the mountain. Kate made sure we ate efficiently so we could get on to camp, and Jay chose a perfect spot for our campsite.
While camp was being set up some of the crew hiked up the mountain closest to us to scout the way ahead and match landmarks to those on the map. It was awe inspiring to look down on the river valley below. After scouting our river crossing on day four, LODs Harris and Bee helped make the call to set up camp on the banks of the mighty Chitna to continue scouting for lower water levels on day five. Harris and Bee had us cracking jokes and really getting to know each other all day through Moonup although we still had not found a suitable crossing.
After waking up early in the morning day five and seeing that water levels on Chitna Creek had not fallen to safe crossing conditions we made the call to backtrack the way we came. Despite the setback, Chloe and Owen laid out all the positives of going out the way we came in over a massive pancake breakfast complete with all the fixins. After all we knew the coolest spots to camp, and got to see the beautiful places we hadn’t quite had time to see on the way in. On the way back to the trailhead, our team’s backpacking ability reached new heights as we covered ground faster and kept surprising ourselves with how quickly we made it to camp.
Day six had Sicily leading the pack as we followed moose trails back to the landing strip. We found huge caribou and moose antlers on the trail that we left where they were found (Leave No Trace) but took some amazing pictures. The Northern Lights group were old professionals by the time days seven and eight rolled around and were able to choose beautiful campsites that were only made better by the feasts that we cooked there. As soon as we got out of the woods, we were treated to a pizza party by Nova, our amazing outfitters before we started prepping for rafting. After such an amazing backcountry feat, rafting, ice climbing and sea kayaking sound like a breeze to the team and we couldn’t be more proud of what they have accomplished so far.
Shoutouts from the crew:
Annika- Hey Camille, Mom, Dad, and Mochi! Alaska is so incredible, and the backpacking was insane. The mountains are so beautiful, and we even saw some moose. We are about to go rafting tomorrow which is super exciting. I’ve met so many awesome people and learned so much about myself and the world. I miss you guys so much, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it when I come back. Also happy Father’s Day Dad! Give Mochi an extra treat for me! I love you all!
Bee – Hey Besties! I hope y’all are doing well! Alaska has been crazy, we just finished 8 days of backpacking and it was definitely an experience! I Please don’t kill my plants… love y’all <3 Happy Fathers Day Dad!
Sicily- hey mom dad and avery. I’m having such a good time in Alaska and I’m so glad you guys sent me here. We just finished backpacking and it was by far the hardest thing i have ever done in my life but we saw some amazing things and had such a fun time. I miss you guys so much and mom don’t forget to clean my room. Give Enzo lots of hugs and snuggles for me. Love you guys.
Owen- Hi. Alaska is good and I’m having a great time. We just finished backpacking and I’ve never been more motivated to get something done. But now there’s great parts ahead so that’s exciting. Tell Wyatt I said hi when he gets back. Love you. Happy Father’s Day, Dad, Papa Ben, Graham, and Jimbo
Harris-howdy y’all I am in fact alive. I hope everyone is dealing with my absence alright. Happy Father’s Day dad man and pop and love you mom and mimi. Hope you’re doing okay madz, you should be halfway through clone wars by now, and I hope you’re doing okay. I’ve never wanted a fat boys pretzel more then the exact moment half of my body was covered in mud in 40 degree weather. Hope Meredith and Russell get home okay. Love you all!
George- Hey! I’ve managed to not get eaten by a bear yet! I miss y’all a lot but Alaska is incredible. To Dad, you were right, it does not get dark here at all. To Mom, thank you for convincing me to bring so many layers. To Popu, I thought about your backpacking tips every day we were on the trail. To Nana, I miss your food a lot. To Datz, I’ve seen tons of interesting birds, I’ll need help with them when I get home. To Liza, give Mary extra love for me. To Mafe, I can’t wait to see you. I miss you and love you all, and happy Father’s Day Dad!
Payton – hey fam! hope all is well wake surfing everyday at the lake. i miss y’all a lot. i’ve made a lot of friends so far. we just finished our hiking portion of the trip and it was really hard, but it was great exercise. I have been eating food which is good too. all of my clothes are disgusting cause i’m covered in mud. i’ve learned to nature poop which isn’t fun but necessary. anyways, have a wonderful Father’s Day tomorrow Michael. Also to Yobob and Pops. I love y’all see y’all in 11 days.
Chloe- Hey Mom, Dad, and Noah! I’ve been having so much fun and everyone is really nice. Alaska is incredible and has not failed to amaze me. Y’all were right it doesn’t get dark, which I have learned to love. We finished our 8 day backpacking trip today feeling relieved, happy, and sore. The backpacking trip was probably the hardest but most rewarding things I have ever done. We have been cooking, reading, eating, sleeping and just playing games today. Tomorrow we start rafting and I’m very excited to not have to carry everything on our backs. Miss y’all lots and Happy Early Father’s Day!!
Kate – Hey mom and dad! Tell Barret happy late birthday, I was sad that I missed it but I guess she was out of town anyway so it was ok. Also happy fathers day dad. I love you and miss you. And mom happy early birthday. Love and miss you so much too. I am having so much fun right now in Alaska and made lots of new friends. We just finished backpacking and it was hard but definitely worth it and I feel very accomplished. I am taking lots of good gopro videos so that I can show y’all all the fun things that I did! I hope all is going well with the kitchen and it is coming along fast. Most importantly tell the puppies I miss them and will see them soon!
Houston – Hey Mom and Dad! Firstly, happy Father’s Day Dad! Love you and I’m sorry I’m missing it. We just got done with the 8 day backpacking trip and I feel like I, as well as everyone else, has grown so much. It was such a journey and can’t wait to tell you about it! Tell Bradley and Bennett I said hello and that I miss them. It is such a treat to experience the real Alaska with great people. Can’t wait to see y’all! Love you so much!
Jay – Hey Mom and Dad! Hope you’re doing well. I have been having so much fun in Alaska! Backpacking was hard but super fun and we saw something like 16 moose in the backcountry. We are all friends now and I love my leaders very very much. We have been camping in the most scenic spots; there are some really beautiful vistas in Alaskan wild. Can’t wait to see you guys, tell Deac I said hello. Love you.
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