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Northern Lights 2C • July 6-July 26, 2021

A Final Farewell

July 26, 2021

This morning we unzipped our sleeping bags and climbed out of the tents we’ve called home for the last time this summer. After a good night’s sleep, we were well rested and ready to take advantage of every moment we had together. After enjoying some delicious French toast sticks and cold brew coffee for breakfast, we packed our things and set out to explore downtown Anchorage. We started off our journey with a trip to Trapper Jack’s Gift Shop, where we found the coolest Alaskan knick-knacks in town. Crafton and Jake found matching tie-dye shirts to wear home at the airport. On our way to lunch, we stumbled upon a little street festival with live music and local vendors. Mack picked up a local newspaper, reading aloud any highlights we missed during our time away from our phones. Jack and Callie both bough some tasty BBQ sauce, so that they could take home the taste of Alaska. Sydney and Caroline both bought some locally brewed kombucha to sip on throughout the day. After our stroll through the little market, we began our walk to the Lucky Wishbone Café, where we all sat together to enjoy our final meal as a family! Davis and Jordan ordered a fat stack of onion rings and fries to split at the end of the table. MacLeod and Emmy kept the table laughing as they cracked jokes and munched on chicken sandwiches and Oreo milkshakes. With full bellies and hearts, we returned to our campsite where we loaded up on the bus to head to the airport. As we all trickle through security and make our way home, we cannot help but feel overwhelmed with gratitude and contentment. This group was filled with such unique and lovely individuals that made this the trip of a lifetime. Thank you again and again for sharing your students with us over the past few weeks. They will be dearly missed.

 

Signing off for the summer,

Runa, James, and Corley


Northern Lights Iron Chef Champs!!!

July 25, 2021

Hello everyone!

Our crew has just completed our final sections of ice climbing and sea kayaking and these two activities were EPIC! Nothing but laughs in our group and the team dynamic is impeccable. During ice climbing, Jake and Jordan showcased their beastly climbing skills up the crevasse and over the glacier pond, it was truly impressive and awesome to see. The crevasse climb was by far the hardest to complete due to its lack of sunlight and overhanging pitches, yet there was no hesitation in the group to conquer the climb. Emmy never ceased to keep climbing the first three routes when the guides asked, and it showed how much she enjoyed the new experience and style of climbing. Despite her fear of heights, Caroline dominated the steep climb of the first day on the glacier. It was incredible to watch her push through and succeed all the way to the top of the glacier, truly awesome. In between our unbelievable days on the glacier our crew was set on playing a new, more intense style of hacky sack. This game struck competition in every single member of the gang and Mack climbed his way up the podium to earn himself team captain of iron chef along with the runner-up Jordan. On our second day of ice climbing, the most challenging climbs were to be completed by the one and only Callie Hutton. She showed no hesitation to tie up and rappel her way down the crevasse to soon climb back up to the group.

After an adventurous and relaxing few days at Nova, it was finally time to pack our gear, put on our rain jackets, and head to Whittier for the final stretch of our trip. During our Walmart run, MacLeod was quick to pull out her notebook to ensure that every craving we’d had during backpacking was satisfied. We were fully stocked with Oreos and chicken sandwiches for our ride through the tunnel. When we reached Whittier, we were pleasantly greeted with sunny skies! We decided to treat ourselves to a delicious dinner at the Swiftwater Cafe for some fresh fish. As soon as Bruno Mars song came along and Emmy was among the first to stand up and boogie down, sparking an impromptu dinner dance party!

The next morning, we awoke ready to explore the beautiful Sound. Dressed in our matching Helly Hanson bibs and jackets, we piled onto our charter and were carried away. Our leaders of the day, Mack and Jordan, led the pack as they paddled to our base camp near Applegate Island. When we arrived it was pouring rain, but with the help of Jack and Jake, a tarp city was set up over camp in no time! Once we got some warm food in our bellies, we all fell fast asleep and prepared ourselves for an awesome day on the water.

Jake and Caroline led us on our day paddle around Applegate Island. We leisurely made our way around the shoreline, searching for the picture-perfect beach spot to eat our lunch. We found the perfect spot where we could sit and watch all of the seals as they popped their eyes above the water to check us out. After we filled our bellies with tortillas and cheese and showered the beach for the coolest rocks we could find, we carried on with our paddle around the island. As we cruised along, weaving in and out of the rocks, Mack and Crafton spotted an eagle right overhead and watched as it launched itself from tree to tree. Sydney spotted a beautiful blue starfish resting on a rock, and she directed everyone to the exact spot where they could see it. As we made our way back to camp, we saw countless salmon as they leaped out into the air and smacked down onto the water.

When we returned back to camp it was time for the ultimate backcountry cooking competition: Iron Chef. Jordan and Mack were the team captains for the evening. Jordan’s team prepared a delicious gourmet mac and cheese with a cherry desert as Emmy, Jake, and MacLeod provided dinner entertainment. Sydney acted as head chef, whipping up some decadent chicken empanadas with Nutella churros for Mack’s team. While it was a tough call, the Nutella churros won Mack’s team the title of NLT Iron Chef Champions.

Callie and Davis were our leaders for our last day of paddling. They took us to an area called Picturesque Cove, and it certainly lived up to its namesake. Davis pointed out three Bald Eagles as they flew overhead. Callie led the group in a silent paddle that offered us some time to reflect and embrace the beauty of our surroundings.

The next day we caught the morning charter back to Whittier, where we were blessed with yet another sunny day! Caroline led the charge into the Log Cabin gift shop, where we all picked out beautiful pieces of jewelry hand-made by local artists. Crafton and Sydney got matching earrings. We all decided to enjoy the local eateries for snacks and lunch as we bounced back and forth between the ice cream shop, Lazy Otter Coffee shop, and Wild Catch Cafe. After our little feast, we meandered through the funky little town, poking our heads into the museum, and petting a local rain deer.

After we’d thoroughly explored Whittier, we loaded back up on the bus and headed back to Anchorage. Jake and Caroline whipped up some mean chicken and steak gyros for our last dinner together. After hot showers and many rounds of an intense version of hacky sack, Sydney and MacLeod rallied us back together for our final Moonup. As we sat in our circle, we all couldn’t help but feel so incredibly lucky to have spent the past few weeks together.

 

And now for the shoutouts!!!!

 

Caroline- I can’t wait to see y’all soon. I hope everything is great at home, I have so many stories to share with y’all. Love you

Hey Family,

So excited to see y’all soon. The end of our trip has been so fun and I am going to miss it. Finally getting showers and hanging out at camp.

Love, Crafton

Argh! GUYS! Sea kayaking and ice climbing was AWESOME. I’m definitely gonna miss all of this, but I can’t wait to see y’all and sleep in my own darn bed. The sleeping pad I had what honestly awful, HAHA! I love you guys, see you soon!

~ MacLeod

Hi everyone! We just finished our last two activities ice climbing, and sea kayaking! Everything was so cool but the ice climbing was by far the coolest thing I have ever done! On the second day they let us climb out of a giant crevasse in the ice which was very difficult and a little bit terrifying but awesome! Sea kayaking was mostly pretty peaceful except for the first day where it was cold and raining. That was. . . tough! See you all soon!

~ Jordan

Hey guys! I’m stoked to see you guys soon I miss you a bunch! This past week has been so cool and I can’t wait to tell you all about it.

-Sydney

Hey fam! Can’t wait to see y’all soon, we’ve had so much fun in the last few days sea kayaking and ice climbing! I’ll tell you all about it when I get home 🙂

Love, Emmy

Shalom. I love you to the moon and back.

-Mack

Hey mom and dad! Can’t wait to see y’all soon! Had an insane last few days out here. Make sure Cade is home so I can see him.

Love, Jack

Hi everyone! Ice climbing and sea kayaking was the coolest and most insane experience and i have been having so much fun with my group. This place is so beautiful but I miss everyone so much and I can’t wait to tell everyone all about it!!!

Love, Callie

Sea kayaking was really cool we saw a bunch of cool animals and others stuff we also went ice climbing which was so much fun.

-Davis

Sea kayaking was awesome. Lots of cool animals. It was great to learn how to use new gear during ice climbing, it was so cool. See y’all soon!

-Jake


Clear Skies, Full Packs, Can't Lose in Alaska!

July 18, 2021

Hello All!

We have just finished our rafting and backpacking sections of our adventure in Alaska, and are currently gearing up for ice climbing. Our group dynamic and outdoor skills have grown leaps and bounds since we left the airport, and we have been able to see the most incredible things because of it. Backpacking started off with quite the uphill climb to get into the Talkeetna high country and Jake showed the crew how to conquer steep terrain with ease. Once we emerged on top of the hike we were greeted with our first healthy dose of rain, and it took some real tolerance for adversity to get camp set up with good attitudes.

Our leaders of the day, Jack and MacLeod put their leadership skills to good use, getting things ready for dinner and keeping morale high. We then trekked on to an old hunters camp the next morning, where Jordan and Callie decided we needed a big ole bonfire to help dry our things out. They made the right call and we spent the evening drying out around the fire. Mack was a great help all day as well, his jokes kept the crew laughing through the muddiest sections and we were appreciative of his infectious positivity. The following day we made quick time to an old landing strip where we ate lunch, hung out, and played plenty of games to celebrate a solid day of hiking. Emmy and Davis helped the leaders scout Chitna Creek, which had been uncrossable earlier in the summer. It didn’t even go knee high!

We started prepping for the crossing by filling up on pita pizzas, a big hit amongst the team. Then came our pass day. The goal, hike nine or ten miles up and over Chitna Pass, our highest elevation of the trip. Goal completed! Our group moved efficiently to get into the pass, and after spending fifteen minutes of silence at the top we hiked down to our favorite campsite of the trek. Caroline showed exceptional leadership abilities on pass day, motivating the crew to keep moving when things got tough. Sydney, our LOD went the extra mile by helping fetch water and navigate all day. We were able to set up in a spot that night that allowed us a mind boggling view of the Boulder Creek valley below us, and we had the best night swapping stories from the day. The next two days followed Boulder Creek back towards our pickup point, and we were lucky enough to find hunter’s camps both nights. This made for easy camping assisted by existing fire pits to keep us warm.

After making it out of the valley our group decided to hike all the way to the trailhead to give us an easy morning on our pickup day. Us leaders couldn’t be more proud of their initiative, and it was impressive to see them crush miles with a goal in mind. Making it to the trailhead a day early, we set up camp and were ready to go by the time our shuttle arrived. Our overnight whitewater section was an absolute treat after eight days in the backcountry. We spent the morning navigating class three and four whitewater, where Crafton impressed even the guides with her paddling skills and knowledge. The afternoon was an easier float towards camp, where we spent the afternoon resting, playing hacky sack and soaking up the sun. The guides cooked us an amazing meal and we went to bed with full hearts and bellies. Spending a night out on the river gave us a chance to unpack all we had learned about the Alaskan wilderness and our fellow teammates, and we all feel well rested and ready to get out on the glacier tomorrow.

Shoutouts:

Hello to my best friends Minerva and Brian (mom and dad), I love you both so so much. We just got done with backpacking and it was amazing, y’all would be jealous. We also went rafting and I got to row quite a bit but it definitely made me miss home a lot even though I was in my element. The sun never sets and it’s amazing and the rocks here are so cool. Miss you two and Jacob so so much! Give some love to the fur babies for me. See you in a few days<3

P.s. mom did you get Oregon figured out? Also say hi to Anna Elise and Sedona for me.

Love Always,

Sydney.

 

Yo, fam! I MISS YOU GUYS! Ugh, I miss the dogs, too. I miss Otis and Bruno being glued to my side at night haha. Backpacking and rafting so far has been absolutely bonkers. The views have been breathtaking, and I’ve made so many fun memories. Everyone here has amazing personalities and we all bounce off of each other; it’s epic. I can’t wait to tell y’all all about it when I see you…

-MacLeod

 

Hi everyone!! I am having the best time here and have made some really good friends so far. It is so beautiful here but I am still getting used to it being light all the time! We just finished our backpacking and rafting section and backpacking was challenging but so fun. I love and miss all of y’all a ton but I will be thinking of everyone while y’all are in big sky!!!

Love,

Callie

 

Hello family! I am having the BEST time in Alaska, the views are so wild!! Y’all would absolutely love it here. We just finished backpacking and it was so great, we saw a couple bears and a moose! I can’t wait to tell you all about it! Love and miss you guys so much, give the dogs love from me!!

Love, Emmy

 

Hi everyone! I miss you all so much but this is so amazing! Alaska really is the most beautiful place and we have already seen some amazing wildlife (BEARS)! We just finished our 8 day backpacking adventure through remote Alaska. It was honestly one of the hardest things I have ever done but absolutely incredible! We are about to start on the other half of our activities but I can’t wait to see y’all after! Say hi to my doggies for me and see you all soon!

Love, Jordan

 

Hi Momma, Dad, Layla, Kate, and the puppies. I miss y’all so much and I hope things are great back home. We just finished backpacking and it was crazy hard but the views were so so worth it. Good luck on your NOLS trip Layla and happy late birthday nana. Tomorrow we start rafting, see y’all in ten days. I bove bou!

-Caroline

 

Hey Mom and Dad! I miss y’all so much and I can’t wait to see the house when I get back. This has definitely been much harder and challenging than I expected but I have become closer with some of the kids in my group and I am having more fun. We just finished rafting and it was super chill and warm and sunny for once. We have been chilling out at camp more after backpacking and it has been nice to catch a break. Corley has been playing really good music. Tell Reid and poppy I miss them and I hope they are having fun at camp.

Love, Crafton

 

Hey Mom, Dad, and Cade! I miss y’all so much. To no surprise, I do not want to come home because I love it out here. We just got done with backpacking, and it was one of the hardest things I’ve done in a while. Tell Papa I said happy late birthday. Mom, as I expected, within 1 minute of getting to our campsite we saw a bear. Look forward to seeing you!!

Love, Jack

 

Hey everyone! Having a lot of fun. Alaska is so beautiful and the backpacking is incredible. Wish I had a rod with me! Can’t wait to see you guys but it will be hard to leave. I have lots of stories and things to tell you about when I get home. Tell my friends I say hey.

Love, Jake

 

Hi everyone I am having a good time I’m Alaska. I managed to complete 8 days of backpacking and 2 days of rafting. We are about to go ice climbing and then sea kayaking. I am excited to get home and go to the lake.

Love,Mack

 

Hey everyone, backpacking was tough but the views were the greatest thing I have ever seen, I’m still alive despite Alaska’s best efforts, ice climbing is going to be so much fun and I can’t wait for sea kayaking.

Love, Davis

 


Safe Arrival in Anchorage!

July 7, 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


Students

  • Callie
  • Caroline
  • Davis
  • Emmy
  • Eva
  • Jack
  • Jake
  • Jordan
  • MacLeod
  • Sydney
  • Mack Morris

Staff