June 30, 2021
And that’s a wrap! Today is airport today and we are all feeling sentimental. The kids are excited about returning to some creature comforts (chick-fil-a!!) and seeing family and friends, but mainly we’re feeling sad to say our goodbyes and end our adventure. The days will no longer be full of exciting activities, jamming out in the van, and eating and laughing over every meal together.
The past 24 hours have included big belly laughs and a few tears when saying goodbye. On our last full day we woke up to a leisurely breakfast of breakfast burritos- spinach, eggs, sausage, tomatoes- a true feast! We lingered over our food, knowing it would be one of the last times we would have just to be with each other. We then hit the road and started planning for banquet. In order to look our best for banquet, we headed straight to Goodwill. The outfits ranged from fancy prom dresses, huge dad shirts, and a spectacular all pink outfit (shoutout to Jordan)!! It was a little funny sitting in a restaurant together without our crazy creeks and camping bowls, but we had a ton of fun. We reflected on our favorite moments (summiting Desolation peak, long yummy breakfasts, climbing) and gave out superlatives. Some were silly (Georgia was most likely to know every word to every song ever created and Sayana was most likely to beat all the boys in an arm wrestling contest), while some were extremely accurate (Bays was most likely to be the most confident person in any room), and some were inside jokes (Cosi was most likely to be either a mermaid or a vampire). After banquet, we headed back to our campsite for a final Moonup.
The question of the night was a sweet and long one. Each person went around and said what they would miss about everyone there. Pope had us all laughing with his silly answers about everyone. We all agreed we would miss Turner’s ability to talk to anyone and make any stranger a new friend. We’ll miss how insanely helpful and thoughtful Elliot is, and we’ll miss Maya’s consistent kindness and sweetness. We’ll miss how hilarious Eve is and her genuine spirit.
It truly has been such a pleasure getting to know your kids the past 21 days. They are intelligent, hilarious, and mature. We have all had the absolute best time exploring Oregon and Washington together. We will miss the PNW spicemobile gang!!!
-Syd and Nate
June 30, 2021
Hello from climbing!
We are leaving Oregon with new confidence in our knots and our ability to stomach heights! The first morning we learned some basic climbing knots and safety protocol. Our guides were extremely friendly, and they were excited to hear that we had a wide variety of experience levels ranging from Elliot who climbs on his school’s team to a few kids who had never put on a climbing harness before. We had a few climbs set up and were told the levels ranged from mild to super spicy. Jordan surprised everyone from the beginning and absolutely crushed the spicy route.
The guides were especially impressed with Cosi, pointing out that she naturally had advanced footwork skills on the wall. Eve (who we now sometimes call girl boss) also crushed one of the more difficult climbs. We then did some scrambling to reach a rappel. Maya was super brave, scrambling across the rock and paving the way through a tight boulder. After working up a sweat, we munched on some lunch and headed to Bend to explore!
Per recommendation from our climbing guides, we hit up a local gelato store in Bend and we were not disappointed- friendly service, fun flavors, and huge portions! It was also nice to be in some AC with the record-breaking temperatures. After looking around Bend a bit more, we headed back to our campsite to whip up dinner: rice, lots of veggies, and grilled chicken. Turner is always helpful on cook crew and seasoned the chicken to perfection.
The next morning was another early one. After seeing what everyone was capable of, our guides set up some more difficult climbs. Always up for a challenge, Georgia tried one of the most difficult routes and absolutely killed it. Pope also quickly climbed up one of the spicier routes and we got some great action shots. Bays challenged herself and was persistent in completing a very tough climb. After some tricky maneuvers and tons of encouragement from down below, Bays was successful in reaching the top! We ended climbing before lunch and drove to a waterfall. Morale was immediately boosted after getting into the cool water. Sayana especially enjoyed the refreshing dip.
The next morning we woke up at 4 am to climb the legendary Monkey’s Face before it became too hot. After some initial nerves, everyone successfully rappelled across and down. It was absolutely epic. We are so proud of your kids and think the world of every single one of them. Can’t believe we have to say goodbye so soon!
-Nate and Syd
June 27, 2021
Hello from white water rafting! We are now confident in many new skills ranging from swiftly following paddling orders to the “dunk and giggle.” After driving through beautiful Mt. Hood, we settled down for camp in the high-desert along the Deschutes River. We started our rafting adventure by meeting our 3 guides and quickly gave them fun nicknames like JJ, Skat, and Matato (our group has given nicknames to every outfitter so far). The next morning was an early one. Our ticket to a yummy granola cereal fruit breakfast feast was a packed dry bag. After some safety reviews and protocol we were off on the water!
We were thrilled to hear that there would lots of opportunities to swim because it was HOT. After jumping in, we were shown how to get back in with the dunk and giggle. We were an enthusiastic group with no qualms about hefting people back into boats. After some practice, Georgia was able to wiggle her way back on to the boat with no help! Our raft guides were eager to teach us all the fun paddle games while we were on still water. We balanced on top of the boat while it was spinning (Eve was the best at this)! Partners stood on opposite sides of the boat and hooked paddles while leaning back. We also got some chill time just to lean back and float along the river. Cosi looked like a queen when she laid down and took a little catnap on the boat and got herself a nice Chaco tan.
We arrived to our campsite late afternoon and were treated to a delicious beef and veggie burrito feast. While we waited, we chilled in the shade and everyone worked on their bracelets. Sayana is especially talented at making bracelets, and she taught everyone how to do cool border designs. After dinner, we were treated once again with angel food cake and strawberries for dessert! At Moonup, Elliot was a leader of the day and had us all laughing with his story about the nug jug. We were off to bed early to beat the heat early the next morning. Beating the heat was a pretty consistent theme in Oregon, and we learned about extreme sun protection.
We awoke early to the smell of pancakes cooking. We quickly broke down camp, had a yummy breakfast, and hit the water! Pope had us all laughing on the still water wrestling people off the boats. Our first rapid was an intense one and everyone was excited and maybe a little nervous to later learn that we had the opportunity to swim the rapid! After some initial hesitation and nerves, everyone swam down the rapid and had a blast! Jordan and Maya especially liked the rapid swim. In still water again, the wrestling competitions continued. Turner and Bays were especially energetic in battling each other and then helping each other back in with the dunk and giggle. After a long day on the river, we reached our final destination, enjoyed a beautiful sandwich bar, and said goodbye and thank you to our wonderful guides. The guides told us they wished the trip was more days because our group was so fun and helpful. Off to climbing! We have loved hanging out with your kids and can’t believe we have to say goodbye so soon.
-Nate and Sydney
June 22, 2021
Hello from backpacking! We had a lot of notable moments in our backcountry expedition, and we took some great pictures to prove it. After a 3.5 mile day hike, we took a dip in Ross Lake (cold!) and looked up to see a bald eagle flying about 200 feet above us. Our first backcountry breakfast was leisurely and delicious; we feasted on warmed up tortillas with toppings galore: sautéed apples, granola, peanut butter and more. Other mornings were a bit more fast paced. The morning of our big 13.7 mile summit we woke up at midnight to catch the sunrise and quickly fueled up with some oatmeal and dried fruit. Eve impressed us all on the hike up, carrying her friends’ waters and snacks and not complaining once. Cosi hung near the back but we all knew she could have sprinted up the mountain if she wanted to. Everyone was able to summit and we celebrated with some well-deserved surprise candy bars! The boys all brought their sleeping bags and took a nap at the top. Elliot especially was fast to knock out after energetically encouraging us all to push through and reach the summit.
Most hiking days we had lunch on the trail for pleasant and long breaks. Lunch shenanigans included rapping contests with Bays as the star (apparently her rapping nickname is BoomBoom? We were impressed). Georgia and Eve would sing every lyric to Taylor swift songs, and Elliot would urge us all along so we could begin hiking again. While hiking, Pope impressed everyone with his ability to navigate and climb over fallen trees and Georgia kept everyone entertained with clever riddles. Through our whole trip, we had campsites without any neighbors, and the students took advantage of it. We laughed and told stories through beautiful sunsets while sitting out on the water. Turner especially loved all the lakes and thinking about what it would be like to fish in each body of water we came across. Maya loved to play any card game, especially uno once we arrived to a campsite. Jordan and Sayana were the leaders of the day on our last day of hiking and they killed it. Jordan held the map and Sayana boosted the morale with constant encouragement.
All meals were fantastic, and we’ve gotten to the point where Sydney and I are just accessories to cooking with students taking care of almost all prep and execution. Sayana, Jordan, Pope, Bays, and Georgia formed an iron chef team and started cooking meals together to prep for a front country cook off. They made us some BOMB quesadillas to fill us up after the Desolation summit. Eve, Maya, Cosi, Turner, and Elliot came in nipping at their heels the following night with chicken pesto pasta. The cook off is going to come down to the wire, to say the least. We are tired, but proud of our accomplishments and excited for Oregon!
June 15, 2021
Hello from kayaking!
Our trip started out smoothly with some well-deserved pizza after the airport. After some quick introductions and name games, we continued the fun with a lesson on how to properly set up a tent. We were feeling confident about knowing names until Bays created nicknames for everyone. Bays had us all laughing the first night as she confidently gave people she had just met funny nicknames.
The next day Sayana and Elliot were chosen as leaders of the day. Elliot got everyone talking with his creative question about favorite but gross food combinations! We then got our first taste of the beautiful Washington scenery on a fun ferry ride. Once we arrived on our island we briefly met with our kayaking guides. They explained our route to us, and the excitement continued to grow! Pope loved talking to the guides and they were especially impressed upon learning that Pope can successfully roll a kayak! That night we had a huge quesadilla feast for dinner. Eve was amazing at flipping the quesadillas for everyone and was patient and kind enough to make everyone’s quesadillas before cooking hers. The next morning was full of excitement as we met our guides at the dock. We learned about spray skirts and proper paddling techniques. After a delicious lunch on the dock, we began our adventure!
The conditions were near perfect with calm water and sunny weather. Everyone had a great attitude and worked hard to paddle towards our home base island. Sayana especially was a strong paddler, which encouraged everyone else. After a few hours of paddling, we arrived and we were immediately rewarded with some yummy chips and salsa. The food continued to be delicious with chicken burritos for dinner and s’mores as a yummy snack. It was hilarious to see the different ways the kids roasted s’mores. Maya was patient and diligent in getting her marshmallow a perfect golden brown, while Georgia had everyone laughing with her burnt to a crisp marshmallow. At Moonup that night Turner had everyone talking with his inquisitive question about what tree everyone would be.
The next day we had a leisurely breakfast of scrambled eggs and spinach with sausage and potatoes. We started our day with a short hike exploring the island. Our guides were extremely informative about the sea life that we were able to find in a tide pool. We saw starfish, crabs, and plenty of fish! Cosi loved pointing out all the different colorful fish she found. After fueling up on lunch, we headed out by kayak to explore. About an hour into our expedition, we hit some rain, but everyone remained positive. We headed in a bit early, but morale was boosted with some yummy hot chocolate! Pope and Georgia led a few lessons on lightening protocol and proper waste disposal in the backcountry to prepare for our backpacking section! The lessons were a great combination of creative jokes and helpful information. After another fun night of s’mores, we headed to bed early to prepare for our final big paddle the next day.
Our final kayaking day began with everyone in good spirits and no rain! We packed up camp and headed out early. The water was flat and beautiful. We passed the time playing the movie game STAR and spotting sea lions. After a full day of kayaking, we said goodbye and thank you to our amazing guides and began to prepare for backpacking. Jordan had us all laughing with his lesson and skit about vision and action in the backcountry. We are confident that we have a great group that will crush backpacking! Everyone says hello and sends their love!
All the best,
Sydney and Nate
June 10, 2021
Hello Pacific Northwest 1B Families!!
The whole group arrived safely in Seattle and they are headed to their first campsite! We have heard from their 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 at least three trip updates throughout the next few weeks. This will allow you to follow along with the trip and the students will also give a special shoutout mid-way through! You can also follow us on Instagram, @moondanceadventures, to see more of what we are up to this summer!!