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!!