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

Bittersweet Ending

July 26, 2021

Hello again from the good ol’ Pacific Northwest! As I’m writing this, all of your kids have officially taken off and started their journey back to you. I cannot adequately express to you how grateful I am to have had the pleasure of leading each and every one of them these past three weeks. Before things get too sappy here, let me catch you up on the last couple of days.


Last I left you, we had just arrived back at our campsite after our sea kayaking adventure. We arrived just after lunch, so we had the entire rest of the afternoon to relax and enjoy ourselves. It wasn’t long before Annika was running around trying to get someone to jump in the water with her. It took a bit of convincing, but eventually Turner agreed to a quick dip. It turns out, Annika should’ve waited until Reese showed up, because she was ready and waiting to hop in as well! Eventually almost all of the students ended up in the water! Miles suggested playing king of the hill on a floating platform in the lake, and they all had an absolute ball! Caleb, Quinn, and I opted to watch from the shoreline which eating some snacks and playing some card games. After drying off a bit, and after Wallace and Jenks got in a few more rounds of their favorite card game “Spit,” the next item on the agenda was a group volleyball game! Everyone worked up quite the sweat, and post-game celebrations included another jump in the lake! This time, everyone hopped in! Before long it was time for dinner, spaghetti with a homemade Alfredo sauce and broccoli. We rounded out the night with our Moonup, and everyone went to sleep under the stars.


We woke up the next morning ready to pack up camp quickly in order to get on the road. We had an absolute feast for breakfast, including pancakes, cereal, fruit, yogurt, and granola. Everyone was super speedy this morning and finished eating and packing up an hour early! This gave us plenty of time to hang out a bit more at the campsite and play some games! We got in a few rounds of giant jenga, giant connect four, and giant chess before rolling out. We had another fun ferry ride followed by a road trip the rest of the way to our last campsite. We had a fun-filled evening planned for everyone’s last night, which started with a trip to goodwill! Everyone ran in to get fun costumes to wear to our banquet that night. All of the girls got matching patterned scrubs! After a quick wardrobe change, we headed to our next stop: a local pizza place for our banquet! We chowed down on all of the cheesy goodness our hearts desired! Before finishing up the trip, we had one more surprise up our sleeve! All of the students, but particularly Elsa, have been talking about a Dairy Queen run since day 1! We made a pit stop there for some blizzards on our way back to our campsite. It was Audrey’s first time at a DQ ever, and she loved it! Back at camp, we sat down in our circle one last time for one last Moonup. We all reflected back on this amazing experience and relived all of our favorite moments before heading to bed.


And that’s all, folks! We’ve rafted the Deschutes, rappelled down Monkey’s Face, conquered Desolation Peak, paddled with porpoises, and made lifelong friendships along the way. I want to thank you all profusely for sharing your kids with us this summer. We truly had such a special group and I am a better person for having known them. By the end, we really started feeling like our own little family. While we’re all pretty sad now after saying goodbye, I know that none of us would trade this experience for the world.


Signing off for the last time,

Claire & Chaucer

Sea Kayaking in the Sunshine!

July 24, 2021

Hello everyone!


We just finished up three exciting days of sea kayaking in the San Juans, and we can’t wait to tell you all about it! We had so much fun paddling, exploring, and relaxing in the summer sun.


Last you heard from us, we had just exited the backcountry and were on route to our kayaking adventure. The morning after our cookout, we loaded up into the van to catch a ride on the ferry! This boat would take both us and our van to the island of San Juan, where our next campsite would be. The ferry was a new experience for some of us, and we had a ton of fun exploring the boat while we made our way across the water. Soon enough, we drove off of the ferry and to our campsite for the night. We arrived early in the day with plenty of time to enjoy all of the amenities the site had to offer. We enjoyed some ice cream from the general store, played a few rounds of ping pong, and some students did some tie-dye! Reese even played a few rounds of tetherball! We worked up quite the appetite running around having fun and pretty soon it was time to start dinner!


Tonight’s meal was a bit different than usual because it was the night of the cook-off! Several days earlier, the students had divided themselves into two teams and begun the planning process to cook the best meal they possibly could on our camp stoves. They even had the opportunity to go to the grocery store for ingredients. We sat back and watched as the two teams worked their magic! One team opted for variety and made a few different appetizer-style items: garlic knots, pretzel bites, and pigs in a blanket. They topped of their meal with a yummy pudding and Oreo dessert they called a “mud pie.” Team 2 took their inspiration from a popular fast food chain and cooked up their version of Chicken Minis, complete with fries and a fruit salad. With bellies full of our students’ creative creations, we went to bed excited about tomorrow’s new adventure.


The next morning we packed up camp and our new dry bags before heading off to the harbor to meet our guides. They helped us pack the boats, geared us all up with spray skirts and PFDs, and taught us the ins and outs of how to paddle a kayak. With that, we hit the high seas! We had beautiful weather for the day’s paddle, and enjoyed taking in the scenery as we went. We saw a few blue herons, a bald eagle, and even a harbor seal! Seeing all of the wildlife has definitely been a highlight. Later on in the paddle we started seeing a lot of seaweed floating on top of the water. Upon learning that this particular kind of seaweed was edible, Miles was quick to take a huge bite of it! Thankfully, he didn’t have to eat much more of it because soon enough it was time for lunch! We beached our boats on the rocky shoreline and sat down to eat some delicious wraps made for us by our incredible guides. We hung out for a bit in the sun before hopping back in our boats to cross the channel to Jones Island, where we’d be camping for the next two nights. We settled in quickly to camp once we arrived. With tents and hammocks up, we chilled around camp until dinner. Wallace and Jenks even treated us to a performance of a dance they had been working on together! After dinner, we passed the time until sunset playing games in the field at our campsite. We got in quite a few rounds of sharks & minnows and capture the flag! About an hour before sunset, one of our guides took us on a hike to the other side of the island where we had a perfect view of the sunset. We finished the night with s’mores and Moonup before heading to bed.


I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say that our start to the next morning was absolutely incredible. We got to sleep in!! Everyone rolled out of their sleeping bags on their own time and was greeted by a delicious breakfast spread made for us by our guides! It was a much needed break, and all of us felt refreshed and ready to make the most out of the rest of our trip afterwards! After breakfast our guides took us on another hike, this time to some tide pools left behind during low tide. We spent the morning looking into pools and flipping over rocks looking for the coastal invertebrates we knew we’d find there. We saw so many different crabs, sea urchins, sea stars, and more! Our guides were incredibly knowledgeable about all of the different organisms and helped us identify them all. A personal favorite anecdote was when we learned how hermit crabs decide who gets an abandoned shell. Ask your student about it when they get home!


When hunger started to hit us, we made the trek back to camp for some lunch. Afterwards, everyone went down to the dock for a swim (or shall I say, a polar plunge)! One of our guides offered to take anyone out on the kayaks for a quick paddle around the cove, and Quinn and Caleb were quick to jump at the opportunity! Everyone else stayed back and sunned themselves on the warm rocks of the beach. We rounded out the afternoon with some more field games, including several more rounds of capture the flag. Turner, Elsa, and Audrey all scored points for their team by bringing the flag across the center line! After a delicious dinner that filled all of our bellies all the way up, we hopped in the kayaks for a sunset paddle! As we bobbed up and down in the water watching the sky turn every shade of pink and orange, the ocean treated us to two exciting sights! First, a momma and baby harbor seal popped up right next to our boats and hung out with us for a bit! A while later, a pod of porpoises popped up out of the water! We watched as their silhouetted fins dipped in and out of the water in front of the sunset. As if our paddle wasn’t exciting enough, one of our guides revealed that she had surprise brownies for us all to eat in our kayaks! It was truly an idyllic evening and a fitting end to a relaxing but fun-filled day. Annika finally even reached her goal today of making it through the entire day without a nap!


We woke up bright and early the next day to paddle back to the mainland. The current was working in our favor today, and we cruised across the water in a fraction of the amount of time it had taken us just two days before. The paddle brought us through a few spicier sections where we all had to work hard to keep our boats on track. Our seasoned kayakers took on this challenge without hesitation and made the trip look easy! We’re so proud of the growth and improvement we’ve seen from everyone in just three short days! After docking our boats at the harbor, we unpacked our dry bags and ate lunch by the water. Before we left, we had one more surprise in store for our students: ice cream! We made a pit stop at a local ice cream shop and enjoyed our frozen, well earned treats.


We’ve officially made it back to our campsite for the night and everyone is settling in to enjoy the rest of the afternoon. Today marked the last day of our scheduled activities and we’re all definitely starting to feel a little sad that this incredible experience is coming to an end. However, I know I speak for everyone when I say that we are simultaneously absolutely overjoyed to have had the opportunity to meet and get to know each other under such cool circumstances. We’re gonna go enjoy our last few days together, and we’ll reach back out with another update once all your kids are on their way back to you.



Claire & Chaucer

Emerging from the Backcountry

July 21, 2021

Hello again! Long time no talk, everyone! I am incredibly happy to inform you that we have all emerged unscathed from the backcountry. We are full to the brim with summer sausage, tortillas, and stories to tell you! Sit back, relax, and put your feet up because we’re gonna be here a while.


Our backcountry adventure began with a productive day of preparation at a campsite near our trailhead. Everyone worked together to get everything done quickly and efficiently so that we could hit the trail worry-free the next morning. First on the agenda was a few different prep stations. We had Annika and Quinn making our GORP (or Good Old Raisins & Peanuts, though ours contained neither raisins nor peanuts), Wallace and Turner distributing personal ramen packets and granola bars, Audrey preparing everyone’s personal toilet paper rolls (if you take out the cardboard tube and flatten the roll, it packs better), Caleb and Miles topping off our fuel canisters, and Reese, Jenks, & Elsa helping with meal prep. A lot of our food comes in packaging that’s not super conducive to backpacking, so we take the time to repackage it all into ziplock bags. After all of the stations had finished their jobs, we took a quick break for lunch, complete with Oreos for dessert. However, our work wasn’t done quite yet! After lunch, we had a lesson on the “Duffel Shuffle,” in which we taught the students what to bring and what not to bring into the backcountry. We followed his up with a lesson on how to pack our backpacks and called ourselves ready to hit the trail!


We awoke bright and early the next morning and put our new skills to the test! Everyone packed their backpacks in record time considering it was only most student’s second time ever doing it! We all enjoyed our last front country meal together, and even chowed down on some poptarts afterwards. With backpacks and stomachs full, we loaded into the van and drove off to our trailhead! Upon arrival, we began the first section of the day’s hike – a short downhill section ending at a dock on Ross Lake, the body of water that we’d be hiking along for the next six days. We caught a ride on a water taxi and enjoyed the beautiful vistas of snowcapped mountains as we sped across the lake to our second trailhead at Rainbow Point. Once both boats arrived, we hit the trail for real! The day brought us a pleasant hike through towering trees and breathtaking shorelines. We chatted the whole way, thoroughly enjoying each other’s company after getting to know each other over the past ten days. Quinn treated us all to a few history lessons along the way, and everyone walked away from the hike a bit more informed about our world! About halfway through our hike, we crossed a scenic suspension bridge and stopped for lunch on the other side. Soon after, we arrived at our campsite for the night and set up shop! Once settled, we all took a short hike to the edge of the lake where we swam and relaxed in the sun. On the way back to camp, Mother Nature treated us to a rare sight: a black bear grazing on some berries! Thankfully, our crew was a good distance away from the bear and could enjoy observing it safely. Having been previously briefed on bear protocol, our savvy students knew just what to do in the situation! Back at camp after our exciting afternoon, we had a delicious burrito dinner and spent the rest of the evening playing cards and hanging out in the hammocks. We then had the night’s Moonup, cleaned up camp, and hit the tents/hammocks (Annika and a few others are trying to sleep out in the ENOs as many times as possible!) for the night!


The next morning, we all awoke excited for what the day would bring us. Everyone was taking really well to backpacking and has truly been enjoying our trip so far. After packing up camp and eating breakfast, we gave a lesson on maps & compasses so that every student knew how to use them when it was their turn to hold the map! We then hiked back up to our trail and continued our journey. Today’s hike took us deeper inland through the trees, and we were all sure to look around and take in our moss-covered surroundings. At one point, we came across a wide, fast-moving river that we got to cross by walking over a log! Arriving at our campsite, we could not contain our awe at the place we were going to spend the next two nights. Our campsite was tucked into the trees right on the water, and we got to enjoy the sound of the waves lapping up on the shore throughout the rest of the afternoon and evening. We set up camp, made ourselves lunch, and settled in to enjoy the rest of the day. Caleb even got out his special double UNO set and got the whole group involved in a rousing game! We had an early dinner, Moonup, and bedtime today in preparation for our next day of hiking: a sunrise hike up Desolation Peak!


Desolation Day began with a 12:00am wake up call for our students! We wanted to beat the heat as well as try to make it to the summit for sunrise, so that called for an alpine start to the day. To make hiking in the dark even more exciting, we surprised everyone with over 100 glow sticks as they roused themselves from their tents! Everyone decked themselves out in glowing necklaces, bracelets, anklets, etc. After purifying our water bottles and eating a quick oatmeal breakfast, we were ready to hit the trail! Knowing we had a long day ahead of us, several students were quick to jump in with entertainment for us all! Miles led several rounds of a call and response he had learned during a glow parade at one of our previous campsites. Chants of “summer’s here and so are we!” echoed through the trees. Reese chimed in with a song about a moose named Fred that she had learned at her old summer camp. Lastly, Turner filled in the gaps with solo performances on his mini harmonica. With all of the musical talent to distract us from our throbbing feet, we made quick work of the hike and made it to the summit by 5:30, right in time with the sunrise! We proceeded to spend the next four hours hanging out on the summit. After celebrating our success with some surprise Milky Way bars, we all settled in for a nice long nap. After an hour or so, we woke up to find that we had been engulfed in a cloud! We spent the rest of our time on the summit eating GORP, taking lots of pictures, and even getting in a round of ninja! The clouds cleared just in time for our hike down, and we all began to file back down the mountain. It was really cool to see the same path we had just taken in the light. On the way down, everyone pointed out landmarks to reminisce about different parts of our hike up. Audrey pointed out all of the places she took naps during our breaks! We finally rolled back into camp around 1:00 PM, clocking us in at 12 hours round trip. Everyone took a quick dip in the lake before enjoying a delicious pancake brunch and some well-deserved naps. We lazed away the rest of the afternoon and evening playing cards, hanging out in the hammocks, and occasionally jumping back into the lake. We rounded out the evening with some backcountry pizzas, Moonup, and bed to rest our tired bodies.


The next day began with a much slower pace in order to give ourselves a little break after our big push the day before. We had a leisurely hash brown breakfast, packed up camp, and hit the trail once again. Today’s hike started with a pretty significant uphill section. All of our legs were sore and tired from hiking Desolation, but that didn’t stop this impressive crew! We cruised up the hills easily with not a complaint to be heard. The trail soon rewarded our efforts by mellowing out to a nice flat path through a tunnel of trees complete with a beautiful green moss carpeting the ground. We continued our hike, crossing a few bridges and enjoying our incredible surroundings, and soon arrived at camp. Our camp for the night was a secluded clearing in the woods right next to a rushing river. We all settled in for pre-dinner naps after a long day. Soon enough, we were awoken by Wallace and Jenks, who had made us all quesadillas for dinner! We enjoyed our meal together riverside before heading back to the hammocks to hang out before bed.


The next morning marked our last full day in the backcountry! To make the most of it, we ate and packed up camp as quickly as possible and hit the trail. We had a relatively easy hike this day, and the students passed the time by playing round after round of Contact, a new favorite hiking game. Our crew absolutely crushed this hike, completing the 5.5 miles in just under 3 hours! We made it to our next campsite before even stopping for lunch! At camp, we took care of some business first by setting up tents and eating lunch, then got to have some fun! The night’s campsite came with our own private lake, and we were quick to take advantage! Everyone jumped right in and swam around in the shadows of the mountain peaks in the distance. We spent the rest of the afternoon doing as we pleased, and finished the day off with a lakeside Moonup.


Our very last morning in the backcountry began with a scrumptious pancake breakfast before hitting the trail bright and early to catch our water taxi. Our crew made quick work of the hike through the woods and back down onto Ross Lake, where we awaited the arrival of our taxi with a few rounds of Caps. When our ride arrived, we loaded up into the boat and took off toward our van! As we sped along the shore, we tried to point out all of the trails, bridges, and campsites we had used throughout the last week. We even identified Desolation Peak from the water! It was really cool to get the chance to reminisce on our trip as well as get a new perspective on what we had accomplished. Back at the van, we unpacked our backpacks into our duffels, loaded the UHaul, and reclaimed our seats in the van for the ride to our next campsite. Little did the students know, but our adventure wasn’t over quite yet! We stopped along the way to grab some ice cream sandwiches, a fitting reward for a job well done on everyone’s part.


I’m writing to you now from our campsite on our way to our sea kayaking adventure. We had an incredible night, starting with a huge cookout to fill our bellies after a week of summer sausage and cheese. We pulled out all the stops: a charcuterie board, chips & dip, four different kinds of fruit, burgers with ALL the fixings, and even special limited edition salted caramel Oreos for dessert. Elsa was so excited about the fruit, she kept coming back for more and more until she said she physically couldn’t eat anymore! After a big cleanup effort by the whole group, we headed down to the beach to watch the sunset and have an oceanside Moonup. We’re one step closer to our sea kayaks, and we can’t wait to tell you all about our next adventure in a few days!


Talk to ya soon!

Claire & Chaucer


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

July 13, 2021

Hey everyone! Have ya missed us? We just finished up our three days of climbing at Smith Rock, and it was an absolute blast. Stay tuned to hear all about it!


Last we talked, our team had just made it to the campsite we’d be spending the next three days at. We arrived early and got to spend some time enjoying all the amenities our site had to offer, which included a playground and a pool! A few students even managed to get their hands on some slushies! As afternoon turned to evening, Annika hung up her hammock between two trees and the whole group hung out there. We read, we napped, we chatted, and overall had a great time enjoying each other’s company before beginning our rock-climbing adventure. 


We arose early the next morning to the sound of our watch alarms (and the tractor making hay bales next door) and packed our bags for a fun day of climbing! We arrived at Smith Rock to meet our guides, who quickly sized us all up for climbing shoes, helmets, and harnesses. After a lesson on how to put on our new gear, we hit the trail to find our first set of climbing routes! Our guides had set up three different climbs to start and explained to us the creative rating system they use to describe the difficulty of each route: the salsa method. They had set up one of each category – mild, medium, and spicy. We all got a lesson on how to properly tie in and belay, and then it was finally time to climb! Our team spread out between the three climbs, and everyone gave it their all. We were all super impressed by Quinn, who immediately sailed up the spicey route and proceeded to spend the majority of his time on the ground coaching his peers through their climbs! As the morning went on and everyone got through specific routes, our guides would take them down and set up a new one nearby, giving us the opportunity to try a bunch of different ones! After exhausting all the climbs in that area, we changed gears and set off on a short hike to where we’d learn how to rappel! The hike up was exciting in and of itself because we had to climb in and around openings in the rock in order to get there! When we got to the top, we all took turns rappelling down to the bottom where we all waited and cheered each other on! After we rappelled, we found a new spot to climb and sent a few more routes before loading back into the car to head back to the campsite. Back home, we passed the afternoon by relaxing in the hammocks again. We even set up a two-story hammock! Later on, after it got dark, we got word that the campsite was having a glow parade that night! Miles suggested we check it out, and most of the students joined in the parade around the camp! Soon after, we had a fun Moonup led by Caleb and Elsa where we all learned what each other’s superpower of choice would be. 


We awoke early the next morning and drove back to Smith Rock to meet back up with our guides for another fun-filled day of climbing! We got to start our day with a really cool hike across a river and through the woods in order to get to our climbing spot that day! Everyone had gotten pretty comfortable with climbing and belaying the day before, so we hit the ground running and got right into climbing! Wallace has improved her belaying skills a ton! We climbed as much as we could before the sun caught up with us, then moved on to another, more shaded, section to get in a few more climbs and rappels. Audrey is super stoked on climbing and gave a bunch of the harder routes a try (and absolutely crushed them). We ended the day a bit early today because it was our town day! We loaded into the van and set our sights on the city of Bend, Oregon. It was super good luck that we went on the day we did because we managed to catch the tail end of the Bend Summer Festival, or as we like to call it, “Bendfest.” We perused the streets and admired all the local art and food tents. At one tent, everyone got matching beaded bracelets and at another all the girls got matching t-shirts! To close out our town day, we picked up some burgers from a local burger joint and enjoyed them in a riverside park alongside a few rounds of frisbee.


Our last day at Smith Rock started at 4:00 AM to begin our journey to Monkey’s Face! We had to be hiking by 5:30 in order to beat the heat! The hike consisted of about a mile of uphill switchbacks, which our speedy crew managed to conquer in just under 40 minutes! As we rounded the final bend of the hike, we were greeted by the majesty that is Monkey’s Face. Monkey’s Face is a tall, pillar-shaped rock formation that resembles, appropriately enough, the face of a monkey. Our goal for the day would be to make it down to the base. To do so, we hiked to a rock outcrop that points directly into the mouth of the monkey. There’s a gap between the outcrop and the mouth, which we bridged by performing a Tyrolean Traverse. Our guides had set up a wire between the two spots which each of us clipped into. We then lowered ourselves below the wire and pulled ourselves into the mouth. Once there, we all exited the mouth to the right and did a short climb up the face to where another guide was waiting. This guide set us each up for a rappel, and we all rappelled about 60 meters down to the ground. It was truly an incredible feat, and I am proud to say that each and every student completed the entire challenge! I loved hearing them all shout words of encouragement to each other from all around! A special shout-out is in order to Jenks, Reese, and Turner for manning the camera all day and getting some sweet shots of everyone up on the rock!


Speaking of shoutouts, here are a bunch from our students to you:


Elsa – Hi Mom + Dad, I’ve been having so much fun, and I miss you! I also miss

Fitz + Percy so tell them I said hi. I love you all so much!


Wallace – Hi Mom + Dad! I am having an awesome time and have done so many cool things. I can’t wait to see you guys soon! And Doug + Annie. I love you so so much!


Jenks – Hey family, I am having a great time. Today we climbed the Monkey’s Face. It was so scary but fun. I love you and am having the best time. Love y’all so much


Miles – Hey mom and dad! Having lots of fun in PNW!


Caleb – Hey mom and dad! I’m having a lot of fun here in the PNW! Tomorrow we have an 8 hour drive and some packing and then the next day we’ll be starting the backpacking section. Both the white-water rafting and climbing were really fun and I can’t wait to tell you about it when I get home. Love you and see you soon!


Annika – Mom and Dad it’s lots of fun here. Making lots of new friends. Enos are great. Miss y’all


Reese – Hey guys, I love and miss y’all. I am having so much fun. It is a challenge though. Today we climbed Monkey Face a 400 foot rock. It was a full incline hike to get up, so worth it. Dad you would love it it’s absolutely unbelievable. Once in a lifetime. Love you more then you know. 


Turner – It’s great, love the people. Went down Monkey Face. Rafting was sick. Having a blast. The counselors are great


Quinn – Hi guys, I’m having lots of fun. Rafting was great and I saw two otters! Climbing was awesome. I did very well. Love you guys. 


Audrey – Dear Mom and Dad, I’m having the best time here! The people are awesome and the experience is incredible. So far we’ve done white water rafting and climbing, and they were both so much fun. I’ve made so many new friends and (partially) adapted to waking up early. Yesterday we woke up at 4:00am to climb Monkey Face (a super hard climb). I miss y’all so much and tell B, I miss her every day. Love you!


That’s all we’ve got for you for now! Tomorrow we’ll start the drive back up north to the North Cascades for our backpacking section. We can’t wait to tell you about all the fun we get up to!


Talk to ya soon!


Claire & Chaucer

Rafting like Never Before!

July 10, 2021

Hello everyone!

Greetings from the good old Pacific Northwest! I’m sure you’ll all be glad to hear that everyone has made it to their destination, and we just wrapped up our very first activity! Our adventure began when we all pulled up to our first campsite on our way down to Oregon. Everyone became fast friends, chatting and laughing the entire drive down! Once at the campsite, we passed the evening with a pizza dinner and a few games of spikeball. When bedtime rolled around, Annika was one of the first to pull out her ENO hammock to spend the night in, starting a trend that has yet to subside!

In the morning, our students slept in and rolled out of bed to the smell of bacon, egg, & cheese breakfast sandwiches prepared by our own Wallace and Miles, our first set of LODs (Leaders of the Day). We spent the rest of the morning and afternoon in the car on our way to Trout Creek, the spot we’d start our rafting trip from! We jammed to some tunes, took a couple of naps, and enjoyed the scenery until we pulled up to our riverside campsite. After feeling the desert heat, our crew was eager to take a quick dip. We found a spot on the riverbank where we could sit on the rocks in the water to cool ourselves off. The crisp water felt incredible in the hot summer sun. We dried off quickly after that, and all joined in for a few rounds of Mafia spearheaded by Quinn. We followed up the game with a safety talk from our guides, enjoyed a delicious dinner, and a Moonup under the stars.

The next morning, we woke up bright and early to meet our rafting guides for breakfast! We ate all the cereal, yogurt, and strawberries we could before loading up in our rafts to start our adventure! Once out on the water, our guides taught us the ins and outs of how to paddle effectively and read a river. A few of our students got so good at it that our guides offered up the opportunity for them to try steering! Audrey was the first to jump at this opportunity! She took the oars, sitting in the seat typically reserved for our guides, and steered us down the river effortlessly.

Later on in the paddle, we came to a long flat section of water, allowing us to relax for a bit. Jenks came up with a particularly creative relaxation position, in which she laid on her stomach, dangled her legs into the water, and hung her head down into the boat. The rest of us aren’t too convinced it was all that comfortable, but she swears by it! Right before we found our campsite, we pulled our boats over after rafting through our last class 3 rapid of the day. We all hiked back upriver to before the rapid began and got the opportunity to hop in the water and swim the rapid! Led by one of our guides in the front and spotted by our other two guides in a boat downriver, we had a blast bobbing up and down in the waves before swimming back to the boats. Once we all made it through safe and sound, we decided to float the rest of the way to our campsite. At the campsite, we had a delightful evening by the water complete with a dinner courtesy of our amazing guides! After dinner, one of our guides told us about a quick hike we could take up to an overlook above our camp. Reese, Turner, and Caleb took on the challenge without hesitation, and we set off for the trail! On the way up we saw a small family of deer, and at the top we could look down and see our camp! It was a great way to close out an awesome day.

We woke up the next morning to the sound of the rushing river and the smell of pancakes! We had a yummy breakfast, packed up camp, and hit the water once again! Paddling down the river, our students took every opportunity to jump in the water (and every opportunity to get their friends in the water)! During one section of flat water, one boat planned a “pirate invasion” of the other boat, trying to hop on and “invade” their boat! The other boat quickly realized what was happening and made moves to retaliate! Everyone was laughing and falling into the water, and Elsa was one of the first to successfully make it aboard the opposing boat! I think everyone made a trip into the river at least once during the game! After hitting a couple more class 2 and 3 rapids, we made it to our take out point. We helped our guides de-rig all the boats, loaded our own gear back into our duffels, and enjoyed a picnic lunch before hitting the road once again.

We’re writing to you now from our next campsite, where we’re gearing up for our climbing section! We can’t wait to hit the routes of Smith Rock, and we’ll tell you all about it in a few days!

Talk to ya soon!

Claire & Chaucer


Safe Arrival in Seattle!

July 7, 2021

Hello Pacific Northwest Families!!

The whole group arrived safely in Seattle last night! 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


  • Annika
  • Audrey
  • Caleb
  • Elsa
  • Jenks
  • Miles
  • Quinn
  • Reese
  • Turner
  • Wallace