July 23, 2022
We are out of the backcountry, showered up, and headed north to Jackson, Wyoming! On to climbing we go!
Once in Jackson, we headed to Gros Ventre Campground! Our Leader of the day’s, Anna and Owen, whipped up some delicious fajita bowls. These bowls included an assembly line of chicken, rice, beans, salsa, cheese, lettuce, and hot sauce. Man was this meal a perfect filler upper before we started climbing early the next morning. SEP and I woke up the kiddos with some delightful music the next morning. We were on our way to Teton Village, as we planned to meet our guide at the Ranch lot in Teton Village. We took the Bridger Gondola up, and started climbing the rocks of the ski mountain. Owen, Pierce, and Sandy rappelled down and climbed back up, everyone was so impressed! In the afternoon we did an incredible pitch climb up a flat slab of granite. Campbell and Olivia persevered and reached the top of the mountain! After a tough day of climbing everyone was pooped. We returned to our campsite and relaxed before we headed to Jackson to explore! In town, Sandy and Pierce bought hilarious shirts, Quinn bought a hat, and the girls splurged at the lululemon pop-up shop. We ate a delicious dinner at Cutty’s and enjoyed our time together at the Jackson Hole Rodeo! Watching cowboys get bucked off horses and bulls was very entertaining! We finished the day off with a great Moonup and got some much needed sleep. We were ready to climb in Grand Teton National Park the next day!
We arrived at Exum HQ in the National Park early the next morning. We were assigned five guides and split up into small groups. These small groups were assigned based off of skill levels. Each group climbed up different pitches throughout the day. We finished the day of climbing off with rappelling as a big group. Everyone did so well! Once climbing was completed, we devoured some delicious ice cream and purchased more “goodies” in downtown Jackson! We returned to Gros Ventre campground and Sandy and Katie Perry whipped up some delicious quesadillas.
We are now in pursuit to Riggins, Idaho for some awesome rafting. These kids are amazing! Best way to finish up our summer with these kiddos!
Ben and SEP
Below are some words from the kids:
Campbell: hey guys! I hope y’all are having fun in Boston and don’t miss me to much. Can’t wait to see you guys soon. I’ve been having a lot of fun out west and am going rafting tomorrow. Love and miss yall. Campbell. Btw don’t be mad cause I already spent all the money … my b.
Olivia: hey y’all, how’s the dog? I miss her a lot. Give her some love from me.I’ve made all the guys string bracelets. Eliza, I cannot wait to see you. I miss you a lot. The rodeo was so fun and it made me want to be in a rodeo for barrel racing. Alrighty, bye mother, father, Eliza, and phoebe!
KT: hey y’all! I am having the best time!!!!! 😉I have the most fun group and counselors!! And mom and Sullivan I found y’all’s notes in my bag! Miss friends so much and can not wait to see y’all! Ok sis!
Owen: what’s up family, having a pretty sick time. Talk about it when I get back. On a 10 hour car ride from jackson hole to somewhere in Idaho. Love Owen
Pierce: hey mom and dad, I’m having a great time. I got a cool shirt.Love you guys!!
Quinn: Hey mom and dad. I miss you guys. I’m having a great time. Love Quinn
Sandy: hey mom and dad, I’m having a good time. I got a cool shirt and we are on a 10 hour car ride now. Love Sandy
Jack: Hey mom and dad, I’m having a great time. I’ve seen 2 moose. I’ve got a lot of cool clothes. Miss yall!
Anna: Hey family! It’s ram jam. I’m having the best time ever. Miss you guys like crazy! Tell Parker and sunny I say hey! Missing Parker and is insane duo. Happy late birthday dad. Hope you had a great day. Can’t wait to see y’all. Love you
MC: hey y’all! I’m having so much fun and it is so pretty! Tell George I said hi and that I miss him. We are about to start rafting. Miss you guys and love y’all.
Katie: hey yall! I am having so much fun. Right now we are headed to Idaho for rafting. Miss yall and tell Mabel and hairy I say hi! Love Katie.
July 13, 2022
Hey Folks! If you are reading this, that means you have safely made it back home! We already miss you dearly. Here is a recap of your last few days of the trip:
Rafting was a fever dream! The weather was hot but beautiful. The mosquitos were not too bad, so we were able to cowboy camp every night! Each night camping, we listened to the wise voice on Stephen Fry under the beautiful canvas of the Idaho sky. We were camping on the banks of the Salmon River, hearing the white water at night was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Everyone slept like babies.
We woke up the next morning and devoured some delicious breakfast casserole courtesy of our
wonderful guides. We were on our way! We arrived at Box Elder Campsite in Brigham City,
Utah. With the trip ending soon, SEP and I had a few surprises for the kiddos! We ate a last
dinner at In-N-Out Burger. This was some of the kids first experience with the famous burger
joint! Then we went to go see The Rise of GRU! I forgot how funny those minions are! Our last
moonup was a great success. People reflected on what the trip meant to them and re-entering
Moondance is special. Moondance brings twelve stranger and makes them lifelong
friends in a matter of fourteen days. Moondance is a trip of a lifetime.
BGW 2A: thank you guys for all the memories, we will forever cherish them. We hope to see
all of you guys soon!
July 11, 2022
Hello from the west!
It has been a hot and sunny past few days here in Idaho! But don’t worry— we have all been wearing our sunscreen! Rafting has been a blast! Despite a few upset stomachs, group morale has reached an all time high! After teaching each other a few card games, there is lots of competition at camp! Maddie and Catherine have gotten in a few heated matches of “War” while Rossi and Fletcher go head and head in Texas Hold’em! Candy and chocolates have served as an excellent replacements for poker chips. Walker has been an absolute trooper amidst his stomach bug, and the rest of the group have been great support systems while staying healthy themselves. Lots of hand washing and hydration have saved the day! We had amazing weather during our rafting section along with some incredible meals! Some of our favorites were a French toast and sausage breakfast and pork loin with roasted potatoes and carrots! Everyone did a great job of paddling on the water, and Gavin even took a turn steering the boat! Zach sported his cowboy hat that he got at the rodeo on the river and looked like a true Idaho local! The guides were impressed. Sheldon, Sarah, Lauren, and Josie have loved sleeping under the stars the past few nights— especially when we fall asleep to the Harry Potter audiobook. The stars out here are absolutely incredible. We have been lucky to have had a few wildlife encounters the past few days. We have seen 4 different elk, a small black bear, a family of river otters, and sheep! It was so cool to see the elk walk through our campsite and the otters swimming in the river right next to us! Sammy had the chance to show his expertise in rock skipping, and even taught Rossi how to skip rocks! Once Sammy taught everyone, the group did a rock skipping competition and Sammy won off his 18 skip throws!!! We are staying healthy, happy, and hydrated here in Idaho. Tomorrow we head to Utah for our last night! Sad! The car ride will give us time to finish Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. We are excited!!!
Sarah Elizabeth and Ben
July 8, 2022
Yo yo! What’s up from Wyoming once again! We have departed the mosquito-infested backcountry of the Wind River Range and arrived in beautiful Jackson Hole!
Have we lucked out on the weather! Mother Nature is on our side for BGW 2A! After a tough couple of days in the backcountry of the Winds, the kids were very excited to get back to civilization and clean up. We headed for the Pinedale Aquatic Center. All of the kids swam, showered, and played basketball. Gavin, Rossi, and Sammy showed off their hooping skills. Once everyone was showered, we drove up to Jackson! Once we arrived in Jackson, we devoured a local food stop called Cutty’s. The chicken parm was a fan favorite! Catherine and Madi ate delicious cheeseburgers. Stomachs were stuffed! Cutty’s was a well-deserved feast after a tough couple of days. A fantastic Moonup was led by Walker and Josephine, as we bonded over funny moments in the backcountry. Climbing was in store for us the next day, spirits were high!
Climbing! Exum Mountain Guides once again brought the heat! The experienced guides took us up the Bridger Gondola in Teton Village, and we traversed over to where we would be climbing. We were taught how to rappel and boulder. Rossi overcame his fear of heights by picking a crazy cool line to climb up! Even the guides were so impressed! Sarah and Lauren flew up the flat slab of granite. Once afternoon hit, we finished up for the day. We took Bridger back down and went back to our campsite for some much need rest before we headed to town. Town Day! Sammy, Sheldon and Walker were ecstatic for a town day. The kids shopped around and explored Jackson. Man does Jackson have a lot to offer. Crazy cool shops, gourmet food, exquisite views, and many parks. After a long day, everyone slept like babies!
The “campers” were so pumped for climbing, as the climbing yesterday was so fun. Today, we met at Exum HQ in Grand Teton National Park! We split up into small groups and off we went! Fletcher and Zach summited a tough line. Everyone was in awe of the natural beauty of Grand Teton National Park and Jenny Lake. Everyone achieved summits in all of their climbs! LET’S GO!!! Now that we had a park pass, we explored all that Grand Teton National Park has to offer. We hiked two miles in to see the stunning Phelps Lake. Catherine, Madi, Gavin, Rossi, Fletcher, Walker, and Sammy trekked a hike to a 30 ft. jumping rock and jumped into the freezing, crystal clear water of Phelps Lake! We enjoyed delicious pizza from world-renowned Pinky-G’s pizza for dinner that night, and saw a spectacular fireworks show at the base of Snow King in downtown Jackson!
Climbing was a blast! We are now headed up to northern Idaho for some rafting! Everyone is so excited! Below are some messages from our campers to you guys!
Until next time,
Sarah Elizabeth and Ben
Rossi: Hey guys! I miss you so much but am having so much fun! Cannot wait to see you.
Gavin: hi guys! I am having a great time and can’t wait to see you!
Catherine: hey mom and dad. I am having so much fun and I cannot wait to see y’all! Love and miss you.
Maddie: hi mom and dad! Having so much fun! Love and miss you!
Sammy: hey mom and dad. I miss yall a lot! I’m having fun. Can’t wait for High Hampton! Love yall!
Walker: hey mom and dad and Ben! I miss yall and am having fun.
Sheldon: hi guys! I’m having so much fun making memories and experiencing cool things! I miss yall so much!
Lauren: hey mom and dad. I’m having so much fun and it’s so pretty here. I miss you and can’t wait to see you!
Sarah: hey guys! I miss yall so much. I’m having so much fun. Can’t wait to see y’all soon.
Zach: hey mom dad and Josie. I miss you guys so much and can’t wait to see you soon. This trip is so much fun and exciting. Hope everything is well at home.
Josephine: hey y’all! I miss yall. Give Rex lots of pets for me and tell Simon I say hey. Love y’all!
Fletcher: I’m having a lot of fun. Miss you.
July 3, 2022
Hello from Wyoming!!
Our first few days out in the Wild West have flown by. We started off our Moondance journey in Utah where we spent our first night camping right on the Utah Wyoming border. After leaving the Salt Lake Airport, we had our first dinner as a group at Main Street Pizza in Park City! Nothing like some hot slices to strike up some great conversations and break the ice! After dinner we continued our journey up to the Utah Panhandle. We were blessed with amazing weather on our first night in the wild!! The next day we ventured to a crystal-clear alpine lake to do some swimming, spike ball, and frisbee! We enjoyed a delicious lunch of chicken caesar salad on the sand and then dried off in the sun! The weather was perfect for swimming in a cold lake! One we dried off, we headed to GROW ranch to prepare for backpacking! We enjoyed a cookout of burgers, mac and cheese, and watermelon before we hit the back country. That evening the sunset was incredible! A bright orange sky that we gathered under to enjoy each other’s company and share stories until the stars came out. The group was excited to hit the trails! That night at Moonup we shared stories, got to know each other better, and elected our first LODs! (Leaders of the day)
Sheldon and Fletcher had a tough task as our first LODs ahead, but they rocked it! They guided us into the backcountry, cooked a delicious pita pizza dinner, and led an incredible Moonup. On the trail a game of categories was played! Sammy and Ross knew every answer to every trivia question. We were impressed! Once we arrived to camp, with the help of tent experts Lauren and Catherine, our camp was set up! That night we made an incredible fire and began great conversation. Madi, Gavin, Zach and Walker carried the team on their back as they scouted wood and kindling to make the perfect base. The fire was roaring! We had an amazing moon up and even saw the Milky Way, which Sarah spotted first! That was a highlight of our days in the backcountry. The next day was sunny and 65, creating perfect hiking weather! After a breakfast of grits and fried summer sausage we hit the trail again in attempts to make it to Big Sandy Lake to see the famous Cirque of the Towers in the Wind River Range! Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other plans for us as rain ensued and we had to remain and camp and play games in the rain! Despite the rain spirits remained high and continued to rise as shortly after the storm, the sun began to shine again! We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the cool spots around our camp site and washing in the creek. After another incredible Wyoming sunset, we made another campfire and ate our spaghetti around it sharing ghost stories before bed. Thankfully there were no nightmares!
The next morning, LODs Josephine and Walker cheffed up some delicious pancakes to fuel us for our hike out! Once we got to the trailhead, we made our way to take some well-deserved showers!! We all felt new!
We are having a blast out here and can’t wait to share about our climbing experience in Jackson!! Happy 4th to all family and friends reading!
Ben and Sarah Elizabeth
June 29, 2022
Hello Big Wild Families!
The whole group arrived safely in Salt Lake City yesterday and today they are on their way to their first activity. We have heard from our 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 up to three trip updates throughout the next couple of weeks! This will allow you to follow along with the trip and the students will also give a special shout out mid-way through! You can also follow us on Instagram, @moondanceadventures, to see more of what we are up to this summer!
– Moondance HQ