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Pacific Northwest 2B • July 6-July 26, 2021

The Final Farewell From PNW

July 27, 2021

Well, that’s all folks! We are writing this sad because our kids are all off to their respective hometowns, but happy because they’re leaving with new friends and memories. After three weeks together in the PNW, our group is definitely excited for some well deserved rest and, I’m sure, plenty of Cheerwine and Bojangles. As we drove away from the airport, the van felt empty without ten incredible people chatting and singing in the back. While we wish days were still full of music, laughter, bug spray, and group cooking, we are so excited for our students to return home to their families and friends to share everything that they experienced in July!Our past few days have been some long ones, but an excellent way to cap off our time together. After concluding climbing, we drove a few hours and allowed the kids to choose the last few meals that they would cook together for dinner and breakfast. The overwhelming favorite was grilled cheese, fruit salad, and a brownie scramble, which were cooked to perfection by Maggie, Simons, and Margaret. At this campsite, we were lucky enough to run into PNW A and hangout with Findley and Anna’s group that night. The following morning, Markley, Grant, Emerson, and Margaret blessed us with some bacon, egg, and cheese bagels as a last hoorah for meals cooked on the Coleman stove. After that, we set out for one of our last drives together. Upon arrival at the camp site, we did a big group clean of gear and the van, and then set off to shop for outfits for our banquet. Though everyone showed their creativity in outfits, a few favorites were those from Cooper, Charlie, Riley, and Grant. We enjoyed some pizza, laughs, and photos together, and then we capped off the night at Dairy Queen.When we returned to the campsite, we started Moonup and began recounting some of our favorite memories from the trip. Though Moonup usually involves one answer to questions, everyone from the group went around the circle multiple times to recount some of the great times we shared together. We decided we would miss Thatcher’s uncanny ability to have the best snacks, Grant’s animation in interactions, and Emerson’s question-asking ability, among others. We laughed and smiled until it was time for bed, and people still stayed up recounting our times together.It has been a pleasure and an honor being able to spend the past few weeks with your kids, and you should all be proud of the people they have become. Our guides regularly commented on our group’s helpfulness and respect, and the fact they were just flat out fun to be around. They will always hold a special place in our hearts, and we cannot wait to see all that they accomplish in life.

 

All the best, Nate and Sydney


Money's (Face) See, Monkey's (Face) Do!

July 25, 2021

Hello from climbing! Our group absolutely crushed climbing and had a ton of fun doing it. The night right before climbing we enjoyed some hamburgers, Mac and cheese, and brussels sprouts, all thanks to Thatcher and Grant who planned the meal and executed the cooking flawlessly. The first climbing day we got fitted for some official gear: helmets, climbing shoes, and harnesses. (Shoutout to Margaret for being the only one with a cool blue kids helmet)! After some safety information we quickly began climbing. We were taught how to belay, and Maggie bravely volunteered to be one of the first belayers, and she was a natural. Simons was one of the first to finish a wall and we could all tell she was a natural from the beginning. After everyone had given it a try, we headed to a new spot for a new adventure: rappelling! We had some nerves and excitement and a lot of laughs when Cooper was twirling in the middle of the air. Our guides assured us that having at least one rappel under your belt would make the legendary Monkey’s face climb seem more doable. Our guides were impressed with both our group’s positive attitude and physical ability. By this time our stomachs were rumbling so we finished climbing and chowed down on some yummy bagel sandwiches and fruit.

 

Our day continued to be pretty epic with a pit stop to a waterfall. We were able to zip line across and into the water; everybody loved this, especially Thatcher who zip lined at least 4 times. We then headed back to our campsite and began to prep for our breakfast for dinner feast. Cooper and Charlie killed it on cook crew this night and were impressively committed to cooking everything to perfection. The next morning, we got up early to beat the sun and begin climbing! We started on some walls that required less technical and precise moves and more big and bold moves. Riley was awesome at all 3 of the climbs set up and impressed us all with how well she followed the climbing lingo. We all loved watching Markley climb some of these walls because she was so steady and determined in her climb. Eventually, we all tired out and did some brief bouldering before a well deserved lunch.

 

Our group loved the waterfall spot so much that we decided to return. The water was so refreshing and everyone jumped in at least 3 times. We lost count with about 12 jumps for Emerson. We lingered here, just chatting by the water knowing this was one of the last times we would all be together just hanging out. Eventually we headed back to our campsite and left for Bend for dinner in town. We got burritos at a place with an interesting take on Mexican food, and the biggest hit was one with fried chicken and tater tots named after Grant’s hometown. After this, we did some shopping downtown before heading to our campsite to rest up before our last day of activity.

 

After a 5:00 AM wake up, we were on the Misery Ridge trailhead at 6 AM for a tough 1 mile hike into the Monkey’s Face. Everyone cruised up this steep climb and we made it there in just under a half hour. After this, it was time for the Monkey’s  Face. Margaret decided to be the first to attempt the traverse, climb, and rappel down the beautiful rock wall (not even pictures do it justice). After cycling everyone through, we finished with our MVP of the day, Charlie. He conquered some nerves and killed each section of the Monkey. And with that, our activities in the PNW were done! Now we head into Olympia for banquet and well deserved celebration. We look forward to seeing everyone at home so soon!

 

-Nate and Syd

 

SHOUTOUTS

Emerson: climbing was awesome, I killed it

Markley: hi mom and dad I did Monkey’s Face even though I was scared

Riley: I did every single one of the rock climbing walls!

Simons: hi mom and dad climbing was fun

Margaret: hey mom and dad I was the first camper to do Monkey’s Face

Maggie: hey miss you I love climbing put me in a climbing gym in Charlotte!!

Grant: Yo Pops I got into the monkey’s mouth

Charlie: hello mother and father can’t wait to see you guys

Thatcher: I jumped off a waterfall!!

Cooper: climbing was fun see you soon!


Deschutes Dreamin'

July 23, 2021

Hello from whitewater rafting! We started our adventure pumping up boats and packing up dry bags. Shoutout to Maggie for putting in some work pumping up the boats!! Half the group got some extra practice packing up boats while the other half began prepping for dinner. Cooper and Thatcher were on cook crew and killed it chopping some veggies and seasoning pasta. Dinner was perfectly timed with the sun going down and we all enjoyed the cooler temperature and shade of the evening. We went to bed pretty early in preparation for a full day of activity.

The next morning, we woke up early and enjoyed a breakfast of yogurt, granola, and fruit. We learned proper paddling techniques, what to do if we fell in during a rapid, and how to fit our PFDs and helmets. Feeling safe and prepared, we hit the water! It took no time for our group to begin sneak attacks. Markley was a popular target for throwing into the water, but she always a great sport about it. In between rapids, we stopped at a rock that was perfect for jumping in the water. Everyone was brave enough to jump, and Emerson even jumped 4 times! The fun continued later in the afternoon when we got the opportunity to get out of the boats and swim down a rapid we had just rafted. We all loved it so much that immediately afterwards most of us turned around and did the rapid swim again! Simons was content with just one rapid swim and found a cool spot to watch everybody float down. We arrived at our river campsite around 5 and chilled after a long day in the sun. While our awesome river guides prepped dinner, we played silly games like mafia and big booty. Shoutout to Riley for making it to the most final rounds in big booty!

The next day we celebrated Grant’s birthday early and got started on the river around 9 AM. After a few rapids, Charlie and Cooper were jumping from raft to raft trying to push people in. In one of the more impressive feats of the day, Margaret avoided one of these attacks by holding onto the perimeter rope and bending back almost all the way in the water. The day concluded with several class 3 rapids and awesome wave trains, and all of the students had a chance to “ride the bull” and sit at the very front of the raft to approach on the river head on. We finished our day with lunch overlooking the Deschutes, which was followed by a quick gelato stop in Bend and some meal preparation led by the students at Trader Joe’s.

While we’re bummed about the trip ending so soon, we can’t wait to finish strong with climbing at Smith Rock!

-Nate and Syd


Backcountry Bliss!

July 18, 2021

Hello from backpacking!

We are returning to the front country proud of ourselves, sore, and tired. The past 6 days have been full of challenging hikes, eno hangs (thanks to Thatcher for teaching me how to hang upside down), and back country meals. The first day we eased into backpacking with a short 3 mile trek, learning how to hike with our heavy packs. We rewarded ourselves with a quick dip into the lake and then began our first meal with whisperlites. Emerson was a huge asset to cook crew; she got the hang of setting up a whisperlite record fast. The next morning, we introduced the kids to the famous Davis- sautéed apples, cinnamon, and brown sugar all on a toasted pita with peanut butter. Needless to say, it was a hit. With full bellies, we hit the trail for another 3 mile trek. Again, we were rewarded with a fun swim as soon as we got to the campsite. We got creative with some water games and a log. Margaret was especially good at walking across the log without falling in. We entertained ourselves trying to have everyone balance at the same time, but to no avail. After some lighthearted fun and silly times, Maggie and Cooper gave a more serious lesson on expedition behavior. The next morning we woke up at midnight for a sunrise summit! Maggie and Cooper did a great job talking about the importance of staying together and staying positive. With a bit of nerves and a lot of excitement we went to bed early in preparation for our big summit.

Everyone woke up ready for the big day. We quickly fueled up on some oatmeal and hit the trail. Grant and Charlie led the pack and set a fast pace with their hiking poles and also some fashionable beanies. It was definitely different hiking in the dark, but we had an awesome mid-hike break stargazing. Shoutout to Maggie for spotting the most shooting stars. After hiking for hours in the dark and watching the sun slowly rise, everyone made it to the top and were rewarded with yummy candy bars. The last leg was very difficult, but thanks to positive attitudes from students like Simons and Riley we persevered! The hike down was much easier and we enjoyed some yummy pancakes. We had a leisurely afternoon; we slept, chilled, and swam.

The next day we continued to challenge ourselves with a steep 6.5 mile hike. Everyone absolutely crushed it and we made it to our campsite early. If you couldn’t already tell, our group loves to swim so we immediately jumped in the creek even though the water was pretty chilly. Maggie and Margaret especially loved hanging out by the creek and chatted there all afternoon. That night we feasted on some chicken pasta to prepare for another 6 mile hike in the morning. The trek flew by as we were getting more experienced and our backpacks were becoming lighter. We made it to our beautiful campsite with plenty of time to hang out.

The next morning we were all hype to celebrate Markley’s birthday. She woke up to a Happy Birthday banner, lots of singing (in English and Chinese, thanks Cooper)! After finishing up our hike, we water taxied back and ate at a restaurant for the first time in 11 days. To conclude our update, we have our first round of iron chef, led by Simons, Riley, Cooper, Maggie, and Charlie. We’re looking forward to their menu of homemade chicken nuggets and French fries with Coleman s’mores!

Stay tuned for iron chef results and rafting updates!

 

Syd and Nate


San Juan in a Million

July 12, 2021

Hello from sea kayaking! Our group immediately started bonding, jumping in every body of water we could find, and engaging in some serious spike-ball competition right from the beginning! (Shoutout to Cooper and Thatcher for winning the tournament!) We started the trip by grabbing pizza from Paciano’s and heading to northern Washington. The next morning, we had our first cook crew and made some breakfast burritos before hopping on a ferry to the San Juan Islands. Upon arrival, we headed to our campsite and immediately started the previously mentioned spike ball tourney. Though Emerson and Margaret gave them a run for their money, Thatcher and Cooper came out on top before we started packing our dry bags for a three-day paddle.

Our guides, Bucky and Kato, were very impressed with our group’s skill, attitude, and manners! Our first day, we paddled 8 miles and saw a few seals on our way to an island. We stopped on a beautiful beach to enjoy turkey wraps and skip rocks (shoutout Charlie for more skips than I’ve ever seen) before crossing a channel. In the words of Kato, the channel was quite “sporty” and our group got a chance to do true sea kayaking while braving a few waves and getting wet! After crossing the channel, we arrived at Jones Island around 3 PM and started relaxing, followed by a hike around the West Side of the island to check out the beaches and foliage. Afterwards, we returned to a great chicken burrito dinner. Our kids immediately offered to help with dishes, and the guides were super grateful.

On our second day, we woke up early to a delicious meal of eggs and potatoes. After cleaning the dishes, we set out to paddle around the Wasp Islands to explore more of the area. Currents were strong, but our kids got a great workout in, and the guides were amazed at their physical and mental strength throughout the 2-hour paddle. With great weather and high morale, we headed back to our island to explore. We found some great tide pools and checked out a variety of crabs, fish, and other wildlife. Afterwards, the group split into two to hike and play mafia. Maggie, Margaret, and Simons went out on the hike and were rewarded with new views of the island and seeing another Moondance group. Everyone enjoyed chatting with some new friends and passing the football around. That night we feasted on pesto sausage pasta. Our Leaders of the Day (LODs), Markley and Charlie gave some great lessons on expedition behavior. They had some fun with it and put on a skit with the initials EB, standing for eggs and bacon, extra butter instead of expedition we continued our feast with some s’mores.

Day three began early to catch favorable currents. We ate some fantastic oats and packed our kayaks, then we set out back to a harbor. As opposed to day two, the currents were with us this time. As we navigated the ocean, we were able to bond and have great conversation. Before docking in the harbor, we capped off an awesome trip by seeing a bald eagle and enjoying a fantastic last lunch with our guides. After the U-Haul crew helped with packing the van (thanks Maggie, Thatcher, Markley, and Charlie), we headed to a harbor to get some ice cream and walk around a beautiful San Juan town for the last time. That evening, Grant and Riley treated us to a lesson on water purification and blister repair before cook crew whipped up some veggie noodles.

The kids just got their first lesson on meal prepping and shopped for our next dinner and breakfast, our last two meals before entering the backcountry. We’ve had so much fun getting to know everyone, and we’re excited for the next six days of backpacking in beautiful Northern Cascades. Stay tuned for more updates as PNW B keeps on crushing it!

 


All Have Arrived!

July 6, 2021

Hello Pacific Northwest 2B 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!!

-Moondance HQ


Students

  • Charlie
  • Cooper
  • Emerson
  • Grant
  • Maggie
  • Margaret
  • Markley
  • Riley
  • Simons
  • Thatcher

Staff