June 22, 2022
Hello friends and family! Our BCO trip is all but over and it’s a bittersweet feeling as we get ready to say goodbye to each other but also prepare to be reunited with you all.
Our final section of the trip was a truly remarkable experience. After Jack joined the group on Friday night, come Saturday morning we were hopping on the ferry from Anacortes to San Juan Island to enjoy the surroundings for the day and prepare for our sea-kayaking adventure holding high hopes of seeing some of the spectacular marine life this part of the world is home to. Upon arriving at our campsite, we took full advantage of the extra time in the day to relax and explore the beach and cliffs that surrounded us. Lawson, Sullivan, and Jack explored the cliffside in search of a special secluded area where we could take in what was shaping up to be a stunning sunset and round out the day with our Moonup, and boy did we succeed! We found a private little cliffside with a stunning view across the water toward our old friend Canada and Vancouver Island. Our LODs for the day, Georgia and Marshall led facilitated our reflection on the day as the sun crept down to hide behind the horizon. As the golden orange hues highlighted the clouds and misty mountains in front of us, and our Moonup came to a close, with the sun setting so late in the day, a few of us popped back over to our campsite to grab journals and enjoy a little restorative solitude and continued introspection on just how magical these moments can be.
The following day it was up and at ‘em after a quick breakfast to meet our sea kayaking guides from San Juan Outfitters; Mark and Lilly. Before leaving the campsite as we wrapped up breakfast I noticed Lewis taking in the sights and sounds of the shoreline, then right above his head a male and female bald eagle danced around the morning sky!!
Upon arriving at the dock, we loaded up all of our gear into the kayaks and got suited and booted with our ‘skirts’ and PFDs then into the water we went! Each kayak had two people in it though there was some uneven weight distribution as the guides loaded Lucy Hughes’ and my kayak with all the extra, we can only assume it was because of how unfathomably strong we both looked to them(!) Even with our supposed paddling power and Lucy Hughes’ teamed up with Read Elizabeth and I paired with Parker, Lawson and Georgia powered along at the front of the pack throughout the day showing great teamwork and perseverance even in moments where we had to fight against the current. Much to our delight and the surprise of the guides, we were welcomed almost immediately in the water by an ENORMOUS sea lion, bobbing up out of the water, then another moments later! After a few miles of paddling, we slid up onto a beach for a much needed and well-earned lunch along with some rest. Our final push for the day was to cross the channel from San Juan Island to Jones Island where we would spend the night. Though the winds and the current were working against us, we had the motivating knowledge that the following day it would be pushing us home. Lucy Hughes and I took great delight in knowing the back of the pack was being brought up by Kate and Marshall who’s blossoming friendship had them sharing stories and laughs all the way to our final destination.
Jones Island, being much smaller, totally remote, and accessed only by us and a few other kayakers who stayed around the cliffside from us, was a little paradise for us to sprawl out. As our guides Mark and Lilly prepared a gourmet dinner of tacos, rice and beans, we took full advantage of having Mark’s slack line to play on and the open space to play hacky sack. As a few of us warmed up with the hacky-sack trying to get the hang of it, we quickly fell in love with the simple game and soon Sarah, Lilli and Harper found themselves unable to resist joining in too. In fact, we all became such hacky sack fans that Lucy Hughes and I bought one from the market upon our return. From start to finish of the sea kayaking we loved the sea life we saw but of course all found ourselves yearning for an orca sighting. Little did we know what awaited us…
After a nice lunch on the harbor we headed back to San Juan County Park to quickly set up Camo and head back to the harbor to take in our final sights of the islands with a whale watching tour. After about an hour of slowly letting our hopes dwindle, we won the whale lottery as a family of 4 Bigg’s Killer Whales began to weave all around the surrounding water of the Salish Sea and the Straight of Juan de Fuca right along the marine border of Canada and the US. Thanks to the experts around us photographing the orcas, and the ship staff, we learned that the family we were so fortunate to lay eyes upon were known as Loon (the Matriarch), Jack (the largest and only male son, and Wright and Tempest. Just as we thought our luck couldn’t be better, Loon decided to ‘mug’ us, swimming as close as 20 feet from the starboard side of the ship! Though we would have loved to have a camera with a zoom lens as impressive as the photographers around us, the visual memory of those majestic creatures will last a lifetime!
With Parker and Lewis’ unshakeable bond and youthful energy; Kate, Georgia and Read always going above and beyond in helping others and putting the group first; a healthy dose of masculinity and competitiveness from Lawson and Sullivan who never fail to help with heavy lifting; the standup comedy level humor from Marshall, Lilli, and Harper; the sweetness of Bay; and the well-rounded spirit of Sarah; our group has been nothing short of incredible and it will be with great sadness that we say goodbye to them! We have a few more precious hours to soak up together before our students head off to reunite with you all.
We couldn’t be more grateful to have had the incredible fortune of taking this adventure with these kids and to you all for letting us borrow them!
With love and sincerity,
Jack and Lucy Hughes
June 21, 2022
Hi, coming to you live from British Columbia!
We have had quite an action packed last couple of days filled with surfing, paddle boarding and white water rafting in the serene waters of British Columbia.
After arriving in Tofino we switched gears from being mountaineering men and women to surfer dudes and dudettes. We met with Pacific Surf school and learned the how to catch some serious waves. Surfing has been voted as the crowd favorite activity thus far on our Canadian expedition, with the exception of Lewis who has deemed himself more of a climber than a surfer. Parker was a particularly large fan of surfing, and I loved watching a smile never leave his face while out in the water. After a picnic lunch right off the beach, we headed to the bay to paddle board with swell Tofino. All 14 members of the group, leaders included, were in awe of the 360 degree mountain views that we were fortunate enough to take in from the crisp Canadian water below. The second day of surfing and paddle boarding was extra special because it was also Read Elizabeth’s 15th birthday! It was as if the ocean knew it was a special day for a special girl, because the surfer girl stood up on every wave she attempted. After another afternoon of paddle boarding, Lu hu surprised the group with cookies to celebrate RE, and another successful leg of our 2 week long adventure.
We left Tofino and embarked on our third Canadian adventure: an overnight white water rafting trip. We met with our Canadian outback rafting guides and loaded our gear into dry bags before setting out on the Squamish river. The group fearlessly paddled through the roaring rapids of the freezing glacier water from the massive mountain regions above. No one, even our first time rafter Harper, was even nervous while loading into the rafts. After hours of adrenaline pumping rapids and lots of laughs amongst the rafts, we landed on a remote island along the Squamish where we set up camp for the night and Lilli showed us her skills as we played a game of volleyball. Our guides made us an incredible surf and turf dinner (which was very fitting for this group) of steak and salmon, and after we gathered around a campfire for another Moonup that never fails to bring us that much closer together.
Our travel days continue to be some of our best days, filled with singing/belting to countless songs in the car (and countless song requests by Sullivan and Lawson), to deep conversations on the ferry, and countless laughs (normally at hysterical comments made by Marshall), and smiles (with Bay’s being bright enough to light up a room). The views while traveling from one adventure to another are also endless, and never cease to remind us how much larger the world is than the 15 passenger van we have begun to call home.
Next on the docket we are headed to the San Juan Islands for an over night sea kayaking trip, followed by a whale watching tour. The hopes are high that we catch an up close and personal view of an orca whale, so stay tuned for updates on our future sea expedition!
Each member of the group never ceases to amaze us as they teach us as much, if not more, than we could ever imagine teaching them. We could not be prouder of how far our first session of BCO has come and what we have learned ourselves from each and every kid. As a leader I am in continuous awe as I watch Georgia’s acts of pure selflessness, to Sarah’s spitfire energy and words of encouragement to anyone around her, and Kate’s harmonious nature that can’t help but make you feel instantly comforted. Needless to say, the bond our group has formed is nothing short of inspiring.
Here are some shoutouts from your 12 world travelers themselves:
Sullivan – hey mom and dad I’m having a lot of fun and happy late Father’s Day to dad. See you soon unfortunately
Lewis – hey mom and dad I’m having so much fun and very happy you sent me happy late Father’s Day dad and I can’t wait to see y’all Wednesday night
Lawson – hi guys I hope your having fun in Mexico and I’m having fun and happy late Father’s Day. See you soon
Parker- hey mom and dad! I’m having so much fun here! Also happy bday day mom and happy fathers day dad.See y’all soon!
Read Elizabeth- Hey! I am having sooo much fun! I really liked surfing. I miss you and can’t wait to see you! Happy late Father’s Day! Love you!
Georgia- this camp is amazing! I’m doing so many fun activities that I can’t wait to tell you all about, thank you so much for sending me on this trip, it really has been one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had! Love you both sooooo much, see you soon!
Sarah-I am having so much fun! I can’t wait to get home and tell y’all and tell y’all about it. Love y’all and see you soon!
Bay- I am having so much fun and can not wait to tell y’all the stories! Happy late Father’s Day dad! Love you JD, dad and mom! Xoxo bay
Lilli- Hey mom and dad, I am having the best time ever! I cannot wait till I can see y’all to tell y’all about how much fun I’m having. Happy late Father’s Day dad. See y’all soon love you guys!
Harper- hey mom and dad, I hope y’all had fun in the Bahamas. I am having so much fun and can’t wait to see y’all, also happy late Father’s Day!
Kate- Hi Mom and Dad! This trip has been such a blast! My favorite thing we’ve done has probably been surfing. I can’t wait to tell you guys about all of the cool things I’ve done, people I’ve met, and memories I’ve made. I am looking forward to getting an actual shower and seeing y’all, but I really don’t want leave. Happy Fathers Day Dad! We’ll celebrate when I get home. Love and miss y’all so much.
Marshall- Hi mom and dad. I have had so many fun experiences on this trip like climbing, repelling, surfing, paddle boarding, rafting, sea kayaking, and whale watching. I have also made so many good friends on this trip. Happy Father’s Day dad! I miss y’all!!
After white water rafting we ended the night in Bay View, where we also spent the first night of the trip. My co-leader, Davison Thompson, sadly had to cut his time with us short as he has been called back home to be with family. As we said our goodbyes to Davison we welcomed Jack Lafferty into our group, and we are so excited to have him for the final few days of our adventure.
We once again send all the love from Canada / Washington, and could not be more thankful for our loved ones that have given us the opportunity to explore such an incredible world.
We love you all, cannot wait to update you again soon!
Lucy Hughes Parrish, Davison Thompson, + Jack Lafferty
June 14, 2022
Hello from Beautiful British Columbia!
The team has just wrapped up our second day of rock climbing and rappelling at Comox Lake. We did not know what was more impressive—the spectacular views at our rock sites or Lewis’s climbing abilities, the kid was Spider Man on the cracks. We hiked and laughed from our campsite to four different climbing and rappelling walls over the past two days, including famous Devil’s Ladder. Lawson and Kate were so eager to rappel and jumped (with their harnesses on) at every opportunity to descend 50 foot, 100 feet, and even 200 feet cliffs…or 70 meters…? We’re still working on the conversion. Parker has been capturing all the moments with the camera and GoPro and the team agrees that he may have a future in adventure videography. After reaching great heights, the climbing portion of our trip is complete, and we now travel to Tofino to make waves and explore a whole different side of Vancouver Island.
Around the campsite, we have enjoyed frisbee, Eno’ing, and deep chats. Harper and Georgia are fantastic chefs, keeping us well fed with 5-star cuisine. They even sold us on vegetables, as last night everyone devoured their broccoli because apparently camping broccoli “hits different.” We celebrated a very special birthday on Saturday as Sullivan turned 14! We had balloons, streamers, and a delicious homemade dessert to close out the day during Moonup.
During our driving time, Lilli has assembled an unreal playlist that we’ve enjoyed singing along to. Taking request left and right, she has perfectly balanced the hits with the deep tracks, touching on everyone’s music tastes and setting the vibes so nicely. The group has really bonded over Read Elizabeth and Kate’s very sincere and meaningful conversation prompters. During the first couple of days, these two girls have really brought us closer with deeper questions and belly laughter.
The ferry ride has been a big highlight of the trip so far. We had so much fun taking goofy photos and parading around the boat. Bay has struck everyone with his positivity and happiness, it is truly infectious, and this group cannot stop laughing together thanks to Marshall’s jokes and Sarah’s incredible delivery and one-liners.
The kids are having so much fun already, and as trip leaders, we are so blown away by the happiness that has already unfolded. Additionally, the nice woman at the concession stand at our Cumberland Lake Park campsite told us that these were the most polite and well-mannered kids she has ever talked to. Must mean a lot coming from a Canadian!
Talk again soon!
Sincerely, BCO 1C
June 9, 2022
Hello British Columbia 1C Families!
We just heard from our leaders that the group has landed safely in Seattle. 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!