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Yosemite 4 • July 9-July 29, 2021

Farewell Friends!

July 29, 2021

The last of our kids’ flights are taking off, and we can hardly process that this wild, awe-inspiring summer has come to a close. It’s been an unforgettable adventure from start to finish!

 

For the last few days of our trip, we drove into San Francisco, stopping at the Golden Gate Park for flicks and the coastal town of Sausalito for coffees and shopping (shout out to Caroline and Grace for picking out the cutest socks for me!) After several weeks in the backcountry, it can be quite the culture shock to find ourselves back in “civilization”— we sure looked like we belonged more in the woods! After crossing the stunning Golden Gate Bridge, we drove to Pacifica Beach to meet our super rad surfer guides David, Russell, Gary, and Aidan, who was the age of some of our own students but no less impressive on the board. After a quick lesson on the beach, our brave kiddos threw themselves into the waves and surprised the instructors with how quickly they caught on. In fact, we were so good that the instructors brought out their surfboards and joined in; they later told us that it was the most fun they’d had all summer and that we were the best group of students they’d ever had!

 

That afternoon, we took Van Diesel for a necessary glow-up at the car wash, where Max, Beckett, Eliza Dunn, and Camp made washing the car look Ike a thrilling game of laser tag. Back at camp, Natalie and Grace opened up shop at the picnic table and gave Max and Beckett the freshest matching  mullets. After seeing the girls’ barber skills, you would have let them give you one, too! While Grace and Natalie were busy crafting their masterpieces, Caroline, Kate, Evan, Bennett and Charly  concocted the best pad Thai I have ever eaten in the backcountry; even the most diehard  meat eaters complimented Charly’s tofu. That night, we got vulnerable with one another and shared about moments or people that had changed our life perspective; not only was I impressed by how much life this group has learned in their young lives and taught me over this brief period, I was moved by how open we had become with one another. Thanks to LODs Bennett and Natalie’s thoughtful leadership, it was another truly impactful Moonup.

 

For our last day, we enjoyed a slow morning underneath the gorgeous redwood canopy with some delicious breakfast tacos. The winds were slower today, so the surfing lesson was all about having fun and trying ridiculous things, like running across all fifteen surf boards and surfing four people to a board. Grace and Bennet managed to land double or triple 180s, Spencer body-surfed the swells, and Drew and Kate ambitiously tried standing up on the same board. Everyone was able to get up and shred the gnar at least a couple times, making it look super easy and cool in their Mission Impossible-wetsuits. I especially loved when a big wave would roll in and all fifteen of us would line up to take it on; those of whose who fell would start cheering on those who had caught the wave all the way to the shore. I could always count on Evan cheering me on and asking if I was having a good time.

 

After another successful day surfing, we rewarded ourselves with a banquet at the local taqueria, Tres Amigos. We saw that the Olympic Games were on the TV and remembered that the outside world was indeed still there. On the car ride back, Ben and Spencer jammed out to the music, spitting almost every verse to the word. That night, after our last Moonup sharing what this group had meant to us, the kids camped out cowboy style under the stars in one giant pile of tarps and sleeping bags, reluctant to spend one unnecessary moment apart.

 

How lucky we are that saying goodbye today at the airport was so hard. Max and I will never forget this group of adventurous, goofy, loving, inspirational teenagers that we have been fortunate to call our students and even more so, our friends. We cannot thank you enough, parents and loved ones, for sharing them with us for a summer of countless laughs and memories. We know how eager you must be to see them again, and we are counting down the days until we are invited to the Yosemite 4 Reunion (location TBD, although Ben might propose Antarctica).

 

Adventurously yours,

Keely and Max


The Roaring Waters of the American River

July 27, 2021

Hello from the misty beaches of Point Reyes National Seashore!

 

These past few days we’ve left the mountains for the water, starting with a radical two days of white water rafting on the American River (we’ve been picking up the local lingo, as you can tell). Normally, we would raft the Middle Fork over two days, but our plans were diverted by an annual 100 mile horse race called the Tevis Cup that shut down parts of the river for commercial rafting. Instead, we would have to raft both the South and Middle Forks, covering almost twice the distance. Challenge accepted!

 

We arrived to our river campsite, Camp Lotus, after a long but fun travel day, driving past groves of olive and almond trees and golden grass fields dotted by cows. We made pit stops at the trifecta of all young and seasoned travelers— Love’s, Walmart, and Goodwill— to fill up on gas, snacks, and thrifted t-shirts. Despite having traveled all day, our bolognese pasta dinner that night was out-of-the-park with Charly, my fellow vegan, cooking up some mean meatless meatballs.

 

The next morning, we met our fresh-faced and hilarious rafting guides, Kate and Violet, who were cousins and loved to remind us how much they loved each other. For many of the students, it was their first time rafting, but no one showed any trepidation or fear as we set off down the South Fork! In fact, what began as a peaceful raft outing turned competitive quickly with a full-fledged water fight of paddle splashing between the two boats, Sir Charles the III and the Viking Miking (named after our favorite mountain guide, Mike). Natalie even challenged strangers’ boats to splash duels, resulting in battles from all sides that the Sir Charles, alas, could not win. Everyone was wet before they’d even jumped in! After a successful first day, we relaxed at camp, played card games and Mafia, and enjoyed a meal that the guides cooked for us, a new luxury that we now don’t take for granted. In between our Italian feast and Dutch-oven brownie, we competed in a pterodactyl tournament, a game that Bennett introduced to us. The goal is to keep your teeth from showing, which creates the perfect pterodactyl face, and get the other person to laugh first. After several showdowns, and no doubt terrifying our guides, Beckett took home the prize, while Spencer may have won the most interpretative imitation. The rest of us laughed so hard that we literally spit up our water.

 

Prehistoric shenanigans aside, that night was one of the most deep and thoughtful Moonups we had ever had, thanks to Ben and Kate’s question, “if you were to give a Ted Talk, what would you give it on?” The kids’ answers blew me and Max away with their thoughtfulness, intelligence, and concern for others, whether it was raising awareness on how to be a more ethical consumer for the environment (Charly), increasing diverse representation in school curriculum (Eliza Dunn), or the power of positivity and  active listening (Evan and Drew). We stayed in our circle for almost an hour afterwards continuing the conversation. These are the nights that Max and I live for as Moondance leaders. Unfortunately, with a big day of rafting ahead, we had to go to bed at some point, but I believe we could have kept listening to one another for hours.

 

The next morning, we woke up bright and early to start on the Middle Fork, where we would face our first Class IV rapids. Guided by the fearless Jessie, Keira, and Gator (which is his given name), we hit the iconic Tunnel Chute within the first fifteen minutes of rafting. Tunnel Chute was created by gold miners in the 1800s who tried to redirect the river’s flow, and it is the only rapid in the U.S. that takes you through a tunnel! Imagine Splash Mountain from Disney World but without the tracks underneath. All three of our boats made it down safely, although certainly not without submerging us entirely into the freezing cold water! Caroline was right when she said that it was probably the coolest thing she had ever done. After Tunnel Chute, the other Class III rapids felt like easy money, so we started to go down them backwards, spinning in circles, or with our eyes closed (of course, these were all the guides’ ideas).

 

After our adrenaline was nice and flowing, we climbed up a 25 foot rock that looked like George Washington’s face and jumped off. Evan was the first brave soul to go and  showed us how it’s done with an epic backflip. Every person got over their fear and made the daring leap! (Grace however didn’t even need a beat to hesitate before jumping in— she is fearless.) A few Class IV rapids later, we stopped for lunch on the side of the river and hiked into a canyon that led to a beautiful waterfall chamber. Once the rapids calmed down, we jumped in the water and floated down like otters on our backs. One of our guides pulled aside the boat so we could eat wild blackberries from the shoreside brambles.

 

Afterwards, we watched as our guides threw the rafts down a Class VI waterfall— if it weren’t for the liability laws against taking us down it, I’m sure some of these kids would have willingly plunged down it! During one of our last rapids, Ben almost fell out, but he held onto the raft with his feet alone and shocked all of us when he reappeared back in the boat as if nothing had happened. Kate became a river guide for the last rapid of the day, sitting in the back as the “rudder” and calling the shots. Six hours and sixteen miles later, we were exhausted, but we could all agree with Drew that it was some of the best rafting we had ever experienced.

 

After our rafting adventure, we were ready to slow down the pace and head to Point Reyes, which is a protected National Seashore with untouched beaches and abundant coastal wildlife. After a leisurely morning of sleeping in and eating breakfast burritos, we enjoyed a pita pizza picnic on the beach and a long walk down the shore to cliffs seconded in the fog. The kids even got to enjoy a private violin concert from Rebecca, a local octogenarian celebrating her birthday. Next we explored the quaint coastal town of Point Reyes and tried the local buffalo milk soft serve— yum! We wrapped up the night with a delicious BBQ chicken/jackfruit dinner (thanks to cook crew Caroline, Bennett, Charly, and Kate!) and marshmallows over a campfire. We also learned more about ourselves through an activity that showed us how we lead and contribute within a group. Unsurprisingly, our get-it-done man and U-Haul expert Spencer was the driver of the group, while Eliza Dunn was an obvious relationship master; Camp, who is always cool, calm, and collected, was an architect analyst, and our energetic Caroline embodied the spontaneous motivator perfectly! After three weeks of leading as both LODs and peers, it was pretty cool to learn the names for our leadership styles and talk about the differences that make each of us invaluable to the group dynamic.

 

It’s hard to believe that the trip is wrapping up, but we still have one last adventure ahead of us— surfing! Pretty soon, we’ll be hangin’ loose and shredding the gnar on Pacifica Beach. Until then,

 

Adventurously yours,

Keely and Max


Greetings from the Magical Mount Shasta!

July 24, 2021

Hi Everyone!

On Monday, we said our final farewells to the Yosemite Valley, packed our bags, and headed off to Shasta, a beautiful and… funky town situated at the foothills of its mountain namesake, which stands at a whopping 14,179 feet. The drive took a while, since Yosemite is roughly 300 miles away, so we made a necessary stop at In-N-Out to lift spirits with burgers, fries, and milkshakes (Charly and Keely, our resident vegans, went to Chipotle instead)! It was such a great treat for all of us, especially considering that it was around 100° for the entirety of the afternoon. Though our drive went long into the night, we pulled off to a rest stop in sync with the sunset, and Drew and Evan were sure to pull out their cameras and take a few flicks. It’s the little things in life!

We had a quick turnaround from Monday night’s campsite to meeting our guides in the morning, and Keely and I were extremely grateful for everyone’s patience and determination to get there on time! As always, Spencer and Eliza showed us their leadership skills in packing, organizing, and helping load up our U-Haul. After leaving camp, we went to Fifth Season gear shop to get helmets and fitted for mountaineering boots—two important pieces of equipment for our summit bid. We then met Trevor, Mike, Zach, and Jan, our awesome guides for the three-day excursion, and headed off to the Clear Creek trailhead to begin ascending Shasta!

After six days of backpacking, our hike that day was relatively tame for the entire group, but we still gained about 2,000 feet of elevation in just a few hours to reach our base camp (at around 8,700 feet). Due to National Park group limitations set in place for summit attempts, we split our group in two. Our LODs Caroline and Spencer were super helpful in motivating each new group, and everyone else showed their positivity and ambition as we inched closer to our summit day! Upon arriving at camp, our cook crew began making a hearty meal: loaded quesadillas in preparation for a BIG day of hiking. After Bennett diced and cooked the peppers and onions, Drew manned the tortilla-heating/cheese-melting station and Charly sliced the quesadillas for us—thanks, cook crew! Once dinner finished up, we went to bed shortly after—the guides requested a 2:30 AM wake up to start our summit bid!

Despite the early wake up call, everyone was thrilled to start our Shasta climb. We hit the trails almost immediately, and we were surrounded by some of the prettiest stars we’ve seen on the entire trip. Our LODs were all-star motivators Grace and Bennett, and our two summiting groups cruised up the mountain at a pace that even our guides said was impressive! It was an intense but rewarding morning for all of us. The night skies slowly shifted into a burgeoning orange sunrise, and we made a short but sweet hydration/nutrition stop to take it all in. It was truly magical.

Although we were making great progress towards the summit, hitting a pace of around 1600 feet per hour, the winds started to get extremely high and the guides voiced concern for going any further up to the summit. Most of the group reached the “Mushroom Rock,” an odd-looking landmark used as a pillar to block of winds at around 12,800 feet. Natalie’s determination and will power to get to this point was incredibly impressive, as was Camp’s, who pushed through with “sun-kissed” ankles! Winds were soaring at anywhere from 40 to 55 miles per hour, and the guides decided it would be too dangerous and/or miserable for us to continue our ascent. While this was a huge bummer for everyone—especially since we had such a speedy pace—the students’ positive mentalities allowed for us to cherish the incredible views off Shasta instead of dwelling on what could have been. Kate showed great maturity and leadership in this moment, continuing to motivate the group in a time when we needed it most. As a leader, I couldn’t be more proud of the group as I was in that moment. It was an unfortunate turn of events with the weather preventing us from summiting, but everyone seemed to realize that it was out of our control and it was best to just cherish the moment on such an incredible mountain. What an attitude to have about life!!!

Another awesome pick-me-up for the group was what our guides described as scree skiing, or “scriing,” which is how all of us quickly got down the mountain. It consisted of leaning back in our hiking/mountaineering boots and sinking down into the scree (loose rocks), and it was a highlight for all of us. Ben seemed to apply his skills from the regular ski slopes quite nicely. As a result from all of this “scriing,” we ended up getting back down to base camp in just two hours (~4000 feet of decline!). Much like his ascent, Beckett remained in the front of the pack during our descent, which is a testament to his mental grit and fortitude. Exhausted from our summit attempt, everyone took a nap or relaxed in the shade for the rest of the day, and we were in bed early to continue back to the trailhead in the morning.

After a short hike back to our van, we returned to the town of Mount Shasta and spent the afternoon eating at an awesome taco shop, checking out the local thrift stores, and observing the interesting spiritual groups of Shasta at a bizarre store called Soul Connections. Everyone remained in high spirits, both excited for rafting and reminiscent of our beautiful journey on Shasta. I think it’s important to note that due to significantly lower snowfall, high winds, and 105°+ temperatures throughout the last six months, Mount Shasta looked completely different from its usual form, and as a result, our group was forced to take a more difficult route to the summit. Despite all of these factors, these thirteen amazing students showed amazing strength, courage, and discipline, and Keely and I are so incredibly proud. Even though we did not reach the summit, we took on this great challenge and took it in stride, and that’s all we can ask!

We will now begin our 2-day rafting section on the American River, which will be a splash of fun for all of us! We can finally relax and put the backpacks down after 9/10 days of backpacking. Can’t wait!

Until next time,

Max and Keely


Backpacking in the Books!

July 20, 2021

Hello from glorious Yosemite Valley!

 

The past six days have been full of stunning views, group games of mafia, delicious back country meals, and starry skies that would take your breath away. Despite it being many of our group’s first experience backpacking, they rose to the challenge in every way. After saying goodbye to our beloved van Van Diesel and starting on the trail, we passed a gorgeous waterfall where Spencer, ever the Eagle Scout, showed us how to use his super cool personal filtration device. It was a long and challenging uphill hike, easily the most strenuous of the entire trip, yet Natalie and Evan were able to bond over their love of music and make me laugh even as I struggled to catch my breath. We were well rewarded for our efforts by a sprawling view of the pine forest below and five-tiered waterfalls above us that spilled into small pools near the side of a cliff. While the group rested and filled up on water, our tireless LODs Eliza Dunn and Ben pushed for another twenty minutes to help scout out our campsite, which was atop a granite peak overlooking the valley below. Our first hike built up quite the appetite, but somehow we still were not able to eat all of the food we cooked up that first night as part of our Mexican fajita feast. Thank goodness Beckett, our hero of the night, was able to finish off the entire pot of quinoa without the slightest hesitation, earning himself the trail name Quinoa Cowboy. That night, we slept under a sky so full of stars that you could scarcely look up without seeing one fall to the valley below. Photography connoisseurs Drew, Evan, Ben and Spencer made the most of the starry skies by taking long exposure shots and teaching Max a thing or two about taking fire “flix.” Since that first lesson, there hasn’t been a night where the Camera Crew hasn’t stayed up to take pictures of the night skies, hoping to be featured in the next Moondance catalogue or National Geographic.

The next day, we faced one of our biggest challenges of the trip. Fallen trees had obliterated our intended trail, which meant that we had to navigate entirely based off of elevation and natural features from the topographic map. LODs Charly and Beckett, who had just learned to read a topo that morning, put their recently acquired expertise to use and were invaluable in helping us find new trails in the thick bush and forest, as well as staying behind to help others get through the gnarliest parts. They were natural leaders and courageous in the face of uncertainty. We finally reconnected with a trail and celebrated with our first of many PB and J lunches. Many thanks to Spencer, our self-appointed Master of the Bear Bins, who could tell us exactly which food item was in which bear can for the entirety of the trip. Considering there are 15 bear cans and 6 days worth of food, that is no easy feat! The rest of the hike was spent engaging in impactful conversations and dodging mosquitos as creatively as possible, resulting in most of us looking like some hybrid of lunch lady and Star Wars character. That night, we camped by our first of many gorgeous lakes and relished in the simple pleasure of ramen noodles before once again falling asleep to skies with more stars than dark space.

Our third day was fantastic start to finish, probably because we kicked off the day with our favorite backpacking breakfast of all time: the Davis. Imagine perfectly toasted tortillas with warm almond/sunflower butter, granola, honey, and green apples sautéed in cinnamon sugar. The final result is something close to apple pie. Tummies warm and spirits high, we hiked until we reached a lake surrounded by rock bluffs and rested in the shade for another fantastic meal of pita pizzas, a lesson on Leaving No Trace, and more fire flix, featuring Evan’s backflips.

That afternoon, we arrived to the most magical lake and campsite, appropriately named Buena Vista for its stunning views of Yosemite Valley, including Half Dome. The lake was sparkling blue and crystal clear, surrounded by an amphitheater of white rocks and pristine forest for camping. Immediately upon arrival we let the dogs (ie the toes) hang loose and jumped into the water. The kiddos kept trying to devise ways to stay in this heaven on earth for one more day, even if it meant hiking double the miles later on. Little did they know that Max and I had secret plans all along to treat them to a well-deserved rest day. We shared the surprise after one of our most popular dinners yet, a sweet potato and chickpea curry, thanks to our stellar cook crew Charly, Bennett, Evan, and Kate. Evan and I had a conversation in Spanish while Kate made sure that the meal would not go under-spiced!

The next morning, we slept in and played several games of Mafia, with Grace inventing the most creative storylines, while Max made his famous m&m pancakes with the Maxketeers, Camp and Beckett. Afterwards, we braved the cold waters and swam across the lake to a high rock where we warmed up from the frigid water and meditated, looking out at the stunning view before us. Ben was the first to jump into the crystal clear waters from the rock and continue to do so seven more times, smiling bigger each time— he’s not used to this cold of water, coming from Florida! Bennet followed not long after with his GoPro, taking epic jumping and underwater videos. Afterwards, we chose our own adventures, with some of us choosing to swim back across the lake and the rest hiking back, stopping at a promontory to participate in another guided meditation by Max. Those of us who swam warmed on the rocks like lizards, where Drew made us laugh as hard as we may have ever laughed by making funny noises (like the young adults we are, we all followed suit). The rest of the afternoon was spent reading, journaling, talking, and getting closer to one another than seemed possible after only one week. As if the day couldn’t get any better, we ended it with a sunset hike to the top of a mountain, led by class A rock scramblers Grace and Beckett. There we saw the fiery ball of the sun sink slowly into the mountains and a blue-purple gaze descend upon Yosemite Valley’s granite beauty. For many of us, it was the most spectacular sunset we had ever seen. Later that night, thanks to LODs Kate and Evan, we reflected on how much pure joy and freedom we were able to experience here and while backpacking in general. Caroline and Charly talked about how they hadn’t heard themselves laugh out loud so much in a long time, and Natalie brought up how easy it was to be her most authentic self. Overall, Max and I agreed that it was one of the most special days we have ever experienced on a Moondance trip and perhaps in our lifetime.

The next morning, we woke up early, bracing ourselves for a difficult day of ten miles backtracking to our first campsite. However, whether it was the downhill descent or our increasing strength, the day flew by with good conversation and a silent reflective hike through trails of wildflowers. We arrived to camp early enough to swim in the pools under the waterfall and play even more Mafia games while making a dinner of red beans and rice (Eliza Dunn is the sweetest and therefore most unsuspecting player)!

The next morning, we hiked back down our first day’s trail to reunite with Van Diesel, cheering and getting cheered on   by other day-hikers who were probably wondering how long we had been in the wilderness (several months, they might have guessed from the cleanliness of our clothes.) After some revitalizing Gatorades, we bade goodbye to a fantastic backpacking experience and drove into the Valley for the first time, driving right under El Capitan, Yosemite’s iconic 3,000 foot granite wall, and Half Dome. That night, we camped in the Valley with the other Yosemite backpackers (one of whom gave us all his protein bars before leaving, like a mysterious backcountry Santa) and treated ourselves to the Valley Eatery’s delicious burgers and fries.

The only part of our Yosemite experience that we were missing was a bear encounter, but lo and behold, in our last few hours in the park, we ran from our oatmeal bowls to see a bear that was crossing a nearby meadow. We watched in quiet amazement as an adorable black bear lumbered across a log, safely away from the campsite and back into the wild.

After a successful and joyous week backpacking, we are ready to challenge ourselves with the ultimate outdoor adventure: summiting the 14,179 ft. volcano Mt. Shasta in the Cascades mountain range. The next time you hear from us, we’ll have earned our mountaineering bonafides and filled our Nalgenes with the purest glacial water you can find. Wish us luck!

 

Adventurously yours,

Keely and Max

 


Rocks Rock in Yosemite!

July 13, 2021

Hello from Northern California!

Four days in, and it already feels like we’ve known each other forever. After breaking the ice with some airport games, thanks to our honorary camp counselor Caroline, we set off in our massive 15-person van with every seat filled and drove across the Bay Bridge, taking in the sights of downtown San Francisco, the Bay, and Alcatraz Island. After reaching our first campsite, an island on a river surrounded by wind farms, we learned how to set up our tents and how to disguise camp water with delicious Mio flavor enhancer. We then explored the river around the campsite like a massive amoeba, sticking close together. One thing I love about this group is how they travel and talk in one giant group rather than splitting up; you’d never know that some of them knew each other beforehand, but rather that we’ve all been friends for years.

The next morning, after a delicious breakfast of French toast and bacon/tempeh bacon (thanks to our meat masters Bennett and Kate!) we took off for Southern Yosemite Valley for the climbing and backpacking sections of our trip. We cooled down from the heat in Bass Lake, surrounded by gorgeous green pines, where we once again floated in a massive group circle. We got a show from Evan and Bennett, who impressed us with their synchronous tricks on the sand. Back at camp, we had our first home cooked dinner of enchiladas, which was a huge hit. Our first Leaders of the Day (LODs) and veteran students Camp and Kate did a fantastic job showing everyone how to do the job well; their question about who we look up to most in our lives was a fitting start for our trip, which is all about becoming the people we want to be by challenging and reflecting on ourselves.

The next morning, we met our climbing guides Benton and Daniel and drove high into the Sierra National Forest for our first day of climbing! For many of us, it was our first time climbing; however, it became apparent that this is a gritty and adventurous group. Despite it being his first time climbing, Ben climbed both walls like a beast, always keeping his calm demeanor no matter the difficulty of the move. Evan was explosive on the rock, Beckett was methodical, and Bennett was too fast for any of us to even catch up to him. Drew took turns between being a sports climber and a National Geographic photographer, making both look extremely easy. One particular rock face required extreme agility and flexibility; although it looked absolutely impossible to me, Spencer, our experienced climber finally got on the rock by leaping from another one and grabbing onto a crimp nearly invisible in the rock. Thanks to his encouragement, Evan was able to recreate the Spider Man maneuver. The girls were just as successful and impressive; Kate showed off her rock climbing prowess, as did Grace, who scrambled up the hardest rock face faster than anybody (maybe even the guide). Charly faced her fear of heights and absolutely crushed it, never once letting us see her sweat, and Caroline somehow kept us laughing from even the top of the rock. That afternoon, we cooled off again in the lake, this time with an underwater handstand competition, and finally came up with a name for our van- Van Diesel! For dinner, Camp and Beckett whipped up some delicious BBQ and baked beans, while a routine visit to the grocery store for ice and “potato salad” resulted in some surprise Klondike bars and vegan ice cream! That evening, LODs Caroline and Drew lifted our spirits by asking us what we loved the most about ourselves.

Our second day was some stellar slab climbing (more walking up the rock than climbing) without the first-day nerves and fear of heights. Eliza Dunn, with her always sunny and humble demeanor, scurried up the rock effortlessly with a smile on her face. Camp, Spencer, and Max climbed one route without hands like total (mountain) G.O.A.T.s.

That afternoon, we headed into Yosemite Park for the first time to pick up bear bins and permits, then learned how to pack our bags with the Duffle Shuffle. After our most fun moon up question yet— what would your B+ superpower be— LODs Natalie and Spencer showed that they could get down to business, too, as they devised a schedule and organized task teams for our busy day of backpack prep. Max and I are so impressed by the LODs’ and entire groups’ Expedition Behavior (EB) and they ways they always seek to help or lead. It makes us feel like we have a co-leader in each of them.

We’ve since packed our bags and bear bins and are ready to head into Yosemite for six days of adventurous backpacking. By the time you hear from us next, we’ll have soaked up sweeping vistas of the Valley, slept under the stars, and jumped in as many lakes as we can find.

Adventurously yours,
Keely and Max


Students

  • Beckett
  • Ben
  • Bennett
  • Camp
  • Caroline
  • Charly
  • Drew
  • Eliza
  • Evan
  • Grace
  • Kate
  • Natalie
  • Spencer

Staff