July 24, 2022
Surfs up in Pacifica!!!!!!
We woke up to massive waves and salty breeze of Half Moon Bay. The beach is about 50 feet away from our tents so it’s literally a dream to wake up to. We scarfed down some chocolate chip muffins and berries, and Hadley finally got her Life cereal! We then hit the road for our second day of SURFING! The kids stuck to Anna for warmth as we are not used to this chilly July weather, but it’s keeping us on our toes with excitement! Once in our superhero suits, we raced to the water and Hadley was first up on the board! Following closely after were Mattie, Reese, and Baer! Gus and Julia were body surfing superstars, while Charlotte, Hampton, Margaret, and Anna took a lovely beach walk. Mattie and Hadley were ultimately our surfing STARS, catching so many waves and staying out in the water for the entire three hours. They even stayed in longer than Carter! The sun finally came out at the end of the lesson and after a gnarly morning of surfing and jumping waves, the kids were treated to the “#1 Taco Bell in America”, which sits right on the sand of Pacifica Beach. Gus has been eyeing and drooling at this Taco Bell since yesterday claiming it his favorite food in the world. Margaret, Reese, and Hadley downed their Baja Blast slushees, while Baer and Julia thoroughly enjoyed their Doritos locos tacos. Back at camp, we had a huge cleaning party… Mattie, Margaret, and Hadley worked on the van, Anna and Gus did dishes, and Reese, Baer, Hampton, and Charlotte did the UHaul. This group worked fast and thoroughly!! Their help was so appreciated by us, and we really saw some awesome leadership take place. Afterwards, Anna, Baer, and Margaret went on a beach walk and chased away birds, while Reese, Hampton, and Charlotte continued playing lots of card games. Mattie taught everyone “lucky 3”, a card game she made up herself and is a new crowd fav. Reese and Charlotte chased waves, and Gus and Baer braved the freezing cold water by jumping all the way into the waves. By then it was time for dinner aka the greatest Moondance tradition of all time… IRON CHEF circa 2022!!!! Mattie, Julia, Baer, Margaret and Hampton took on Charlotte, Hadley, Gus, and Reese to an intense cook off. They had ample time to make a game plan for their dishes, and then raced each other to grab ingredients. They are judged for display and presentation, creativity, and taste. Time was up and the judging commenced. Mattie, Julia, Baer, Margaret and Hampton made an insane pasta dish involving noodles covered with cheese, and mixed in with Dino nuggets and hotdogs. Charlotte, Hadley, Gus, and Reese chefed up some stacked sandwiches made of Mac N cheese, Dino nuggets, crumbled chips, and a homemade sauce. This group took home the trophy as the other group even surrendered the title while they devoured the sandwiches themselves! But both groups shared their delicious creations with each other and were all so proud of how far their cooking skills have come! After a thorough cleanup, Reese, Margaret, Hadley, Baer, and Anna sat on the beach for sunset, while Charlotte, Hampton, and Mattie challenged Carter to some more card games. We had an INCREDIBLE Moonup that LODs Mattie and Hampton led. Mattie orchestrated an entire game for the group that lifted everyone’s spirit, making each of us feel so loved and important. It made everyone a little emotional thinking about leaving each other soon. Gus, Baer, and Julia hugged Anna EXTRA long this night.
The next morning, Mattie and Carter whipped up chocolate chip pancakes for the group and we said goodbye to our last meal with our sweet little stove. Because the kids cleaned so well yesterday, they earned a TOWN DAY!!! We hit the road for Sausalito, a cute little town right across the Golden Gate Bridge. Margaret and Hadley took the street by storm ready to finally have some shopping therapy. Soxalito, a store with only socks, was a group favorite, while the candy store impressed Gus and Baer the most. Soon after, we hit the THRIFT STORE jamming Macklemore Thrift Shop on the way. We went all out… pink robes for Gus and Charlotte, grandpa robe for Baer, high heels & Hollywood sunglasses for Hadley and Margaret, a pink lady jacket for Hampton, grandma nightgown for Mattie, and grandma/grandpa coordinating fits for Julia and Reese. After giving the Van one last deep clean, we cleaned ourselves up to get ready for BANQUET night. We strutted into the restaurant, like it was the red carpet, posing every which way for the camera. It was a sight to see (or run away from!!), especially when Hadley tripped and fell in her major heels. After stuffing ourselves with a DELISH final meal, we topped it off with COOKIE CAKE and concluded day 13 with a wonderful, reflective Moonup.
We have had the absolute ‘trip of a lifetime’ with these kiddos and tears are being shed at the airport currently. We are confident that these bonds are going to last forever and are so lucky to have had such a perfect group for our third and final session. We can’t wait for you to hear about their memories, stories, highs, lows, and BUFFALOS!!!!!
Until next time,
Anna Barkley and Carter Bowles
July 22, 2022
Aloha from the coast!!
We woke up to the majestic, beautiful, misty grasses of Olema, CA, with a refreshing drop in temperature. After the kids slept extra long this am, Hadley flipped some massive chocolate chip pancakes for the crew, which Gus helped clean afterward. Full bellies and a good night’s rest prepared us for a fantastic day to explore Point Reyes National Seashore. We began our exploration at the park’s visitor center where Hadley and Margaret bought some Point Reyes merch, and Mattie enjoyed learning all about the wildlife around us. Then we started on our day hike to the beach filled with great convos, flower crown making, and kadima paddling by Gus. At the beach, Baer chased everyone around with this massive unknown marine object he found, eventually teaming up with Margaret, Julia, and Reese to chase Gus down the beach. Hampton and Charlotte were amazed by how massive the waves were while relaxing in the sun. The kids didn’t want to leave!! On our hike back, Charlotte and Hampton were speedy in the front chatting with Anna, yet still able to hear Baer, Julia, and Reese laughing hysterically the whole way. Hadley and Margaret had some funny stories to share with the group when we all met each other back in beloved Zuzu, the van. The kids come again crushed the hike without complaint, and are constantly getting closer with their endless conversations, laughter, and time together. Their close bonds with each other make it seem like they’ve known each other WAY longer than 10 days. It makes me so so happy seeing these kids SO HAPPY. Afterward, we drove over to Chimney Rock for an incredible view of some monstrous waves, sea lions, and birds. Hadley and Margaret vlogged some more while Gus and Baer tortured Anna (fun!!), and Reese and Mattie searched all over for the sea lions. We ran into some cows on the road and Carter delighted everyone with his signature cow noises. The weather here is bizarre… sunny and blue skies but a mile later you’re in chilly fog and mist, which makes our adventures so much more exciting and “live in the moment”-esque. Our incredible day of adventure was capped off with some yummy, warm pasta and a pita/hummus appetizer made by Baer. Our LODs, Hadley and Margaret, led us through a reflection on our favorite parts of the trip. Reflecting on these memories, stories, and time together is making us emotional as the final days are creeping up.
The next morning, we already had to say goodbye to sweet, mystical Olema and head on over to HALF MOON BAY!!!! Today is super duper exciting though because we jump right into SURFING!!! This has been an activity some of the kids have been waiting for since day 1. We met Al, David, and their dog by the ocean where we were all fit into our very own personalized wetsuits, a challenge themselves to put on. Naturally the kids had fun playing around in their superhero fits and frog shoes. After learning the basics from our cool surf instructors, we hit the waves! The cold Pacific waters woke us up quickly, bringing the energy for this new adventure. Mattie was first up on the board, followed by Hadley!! These two SLAYED surfing right from the start. Not far behind were Baer, Julia, and Reese who also all caught some huge waves. Margaret, Charlotte, and Hampton led the search for the GoPro which resulted in some more body surfing, jumping waves, and just taking a break to be free of the massive board. Gus was a pro body surfer by the end, while Baer, Mattie, Reese, and Hadley kept surfing until they were dragged out of the water when the lesson ended. After our first day of surfing, we headed to our insane campsite that sits right on top of the Pacific Ocean! Julia led these beachaholics to the beach to keep playing in the sand, taking in the wonderful salty air! Hampton, Hadley, and Margaret ran for the warm showers which surprised us with some insane water pressure. For dinner we had an awesome cookout— burgers, hotdogs, Mac n cheese, chips, Gus’ favorite pickles, and LOTS of watermelon. Mattie and Gus were the grill masters, flipping burgers and hotdogs left and right for everyone. Hadley worked on the Mac n cheese, while Baer entertained us with some music. Soon enough we scarfed down an incredible dinner together. Our group truly is becoming such a tight knit FAMILY, or as Reese reminds us, “Ohana”. Even though there was no more room to eat in our bellies, we topped off dinner with delicious frosted cookies, Margaret’s “absolute FAV kind”. Gus and Reese, our LODs, took us to the shoreline for Moonup to close out an awesome day… we are stoked for our second day of surfing tomorrow and for everyone to meet their goals. Good night from Half Moon Bay!
With much love,
Carter and Anna
July 20, 2022
Hellooooo from YOSEMITE!!! Or, as Baer pronounces, “Yo za might!”
Our first night in Yosemite was started with a terrific dinner after a long van ride, prepared by Margaret and Mattie. Julia begged Anna for a nighttime walk, joined by Baer, Gus, and Mattie, which ended up being a big belly laughing session. Our LODs, Charlotte and Hadley, concluded our jam-packed day with Moonup, reflecting on the people who influence us the most in our lives and what qualities we love about them. This group is so wise beyond 12/13 years old, and it makes our discussions so fun and enlightening. Your terrific kids are truly teaching Carter and I so much and we couldn’t be happier. I’m having SO much fun being an actual kid with these crazy gals and guys.
The next morning, we hit the road early for Yosemite Valley where we hiked 7 fabulous miles to Vernal Falls/Mist Trail and back. Baer and Mattie led us with their super strong and speedy hiking, and Hampton and Charlotte both won the most positive and uplifting hiker awards. Even through the burn, the group could count on these two leaders pushing everyone through. We mastered ~700 steps up to the top of the waterfall, where we were greeted by an awesome rainbow and mist to cool us off.
We enjoyed a nice lunch away from the nosy squirrels and the kids fueled up for our trek back around and down. Baer enthusiastically sped down the mountain in a similar fashion as going up it, which definitely rubbed off on everyone else. Margaret told some funny family stories and realized how fast time flies when you’re not thinking about hiking. Mattie and Baer shared their interests in marine biology with Anna, both very knowledgeable and passionate which is so awesome! Gus rocked some Lightning McQueen sunglasses and asked people if they liked them… was shot down once. Julia kept the convos going per usual, never letting a second go by where this group isn’t talking. Hampton and Charlotte teased Carter, laughing all the way up and back down the mountain. Reese and Hadley encouraged and pushed each other the whole way, however Reese doesn’t understand why people walk for fun. These two bring the entertainment!
After such a fun hike back down the mountain with hilarious convos, GoPro videos, stories, and speed, we made it to our beloved Zuzu, aka the van with air conditioning. We paid a visit to the Yosemite Village Store after our hike for some well-deserved shopping and snacks. Hadley bought a whole closet of items that she can’t wait to show her fam. The kids were shut eyed on our way back to the campsite and should feel so extremely proud of themselves for conquering the hike. Their teamwork and encouragement of each other is what makes this group so incredibly special and amazing. They keep inspiring us each and every day with all of their strength, positivity, enthusiasm, and ENERGY!!!
Back at camp we had shower parties to clean off our hard work and sweat and then prepared a DELISH dinner, Pad Thai! Hearing “ramen” lights this group up instantly, so we devoured some delicious peanut/soy Thai sauce inspired ramen with yummy broccoli. Our LODs, Gus and Margaret, ended the night reflecting on what has challenged us on this trip, everyone agreeing that today’s hike was challenging but they surprised themselves with how strong and capable they each are.
We were back up and at ‘em to kick off day 7… the group is feeling sad and in agony about already being halfway through the trip. We were awoken by car alarms and banging noises because a bear paid our campsite a visit! Gus got to set eyes on his second bear of the trip. We then gave each other pep talks because today marks the day many get to face their biggest fear of the trip… ROCK CLIMBING!
Gus and Mattie were the first to try climbing and made it up easily with the help of Reese and Charlotte as their belayers. Reese showed great leadership when teaching everyone her tips and trick for tying knots and how to belay. Margaret crushed it as the belayer for Hadley who sped up the rock super fast. Baer challenged himself up to the top to get some cool photos, and Julia was our most vocal climber. Hampton back-up belayed for so many and got out of her comfort zone up on the rocks. Charlotte was a superstar belayer, belaying for Anna and basically everyone. Mattie was our group’s most encouraging cheerleader and adventure goer. It’s always cool to see how much trust is required for climbing and this group rose to the occasion. They gave it their all on these challenging rocks!!
Back at the campsite, we had an afternoon for some R&R. This involved hanging in enos, “Cali” bracelet making, card tournaments, and ninja!! Charlotte and Hampton had some intense games of solitaire, and Hadley braided beads into all of the girls’ hair. The boys made some fancy bracelets as well, my personal favorite being Baer’s “boo baery muffin” bracelet. Mattie and Margaret chefed up dinner consisting of fried chicken sandwiches, Caesar salad (Hampton, Charlotte, and Margaret’s new obsession) , and lots of watermelon. However, we had to scarf it down because we had ANOTHER big bear come visit the campsite producing lots of chaos, screaming, and excitement which is perfect to scare it away. We learned a lot about bear protocol from the park ranger, however Mattie and Anna just wanted to go and hug it. Games continued throughout the night until Baer and Hampton wrapped the day up with an awesome Moonup.
The next morning, Anna surprised the group with face sized donuts! I’ve never heard so many “thank you’s”, this group is always so grateful, kind, and respectful. For our second day of CLIMBING, we used our skills from yesterday to climb some more rocks at ‘Puppy Dome’. The kids were now confident in their belaying and climbing skills and had built lots of trust from the day prior. First, we learned how to rappel down the mountain which Mattie and Gus bravely tackled first. After the whole group rappelled, we spent the rest of the day climbing up! Gus and Julia climbed all 3 rock routes, and Mattie climbed all 3 TWICE each. Charlotte was a superstar belayer and taught her skills to Hampton to try. We had some vlogs and photo shoots led by Hadley and Margaret because our views were spectacular.
We headed to Lake George for a gorgeous turquoise blue swim and some relaxed time by the lake. Mattie jumped in for a chilly swim, Julia tried to fish with some string, Reese and Hampton sped through their books, and then Margaret led the girls in an artsy photoshoot. While Carter activated girl-dad mode at the lake, Gus, Baer, and Anna hiked up to see some awesome views of the 3 surrounding lakes. Lots of laughs were shared especially when we tried to meet back up with the others using only Marco Polo. Back at camp, Mattie and Carter whipped up chicken and cheese quesadillas. The night concluded with Moonup led by Charlotte and Hadley talking about a challenge we’ve overcome on the trip. By the time it gets dark, the kids are exhausted which makes Carter and I feel accomplished in tiring out these goofy, crazy, and FUN kids. They’re just the absolute BEST and attack every single day with the greatest energy.
The next morning, we packed up camp and said our goodbyes to the epic time we spent in Yosemite. These 5 incredible days have been jam packed with activity and the kids have conquered it all with joy, grace, laughter, and fun. We started our long travel day to Olema off with none other than a terrific hike back in Yosemite Valley to move our legs. Afterwards, there was lots of snoring to be heard in the back. We surprised the group with California’s famous In-N-Out for dinner where the kids scarfed down burgers, fries, and milkshakes. We left full and HAPPY! We have arrived in Olema and are LOVING the grass to set up tents on and trees to hang enos. We cannot WAIT to explore Point Reyes tomorrow in the daylight and make some more mems.
The crew wanted to send a big THANK YOU!!!!
Baer: hey mom and dad, this is just a short shoutout to thank y’all for sending me on this stunning trip. All the places are gorgeous and I’m having a blast.
Margaret: thank you mom and dad for letting me go on moondance, I am having an amazing time!
Mattie: hey mom and dad! Just a shoutout to say how much I appreciate that y’all sent me on this trip. It’s soooo awesome and thank you!!!!
Hadley: thank you soooo much mom and dad for sending me on this trip. It’s absolutely stunning here and I’m having a blast even without cranberry juice.
Gus: hey mom and dad, thank you so so much for sending me on this super duper fun trip. I am having a blast.
Julia: hey mom and dad, thank you so much for this opportunity. I’m having an ecstatic time, love and miss you.
Hampton: hey mom and dad, I just wanted to thank y’all for sending me here. It’s so fun and I’m having the best time! Thank you so much and I’ll see you soon!
Charlotte: hey mom and dad, thank you so much for sending me on moondance. I am having sooo much fun. See you guys soon!
Reese: hey mom and dad! Thank you for sending me here! And thanks to Andy I guess for testing it out for me. I miss y’all a lot and can’t wait to see y’all!
Anna and Carter
July 16, 2022
Hi again from the American River!!
Upon arrival to our new campsite, Anna and the girls headed straight to the hot showers for a shower PARTY accompanied by blasting music. Baer and Gus secretly ran to their showers nearby to join in on the party. Afterwards, we got out the journals, books, cards, and played lots of games including “Carter think fast”. Charlotte spoiled her summer teen romance novel to Hadley and can’t put her book down— Hampton is plotting to steal it away from her. Anna beat Gus in ping pong in a close tiebreaker, while Hampton, Baer, and Margaret took on Reese, Charlotte, and Hadley in beach volleyball.
Mattie helped cook everyone spaghetti, while Hampton was in charge of getting everyone to eat lots of Cesar salad. Baer chopped up cucumbers for everyone to munch on while Reese was busy eating uncooked spaghetti noodles. Definitely a spunky crew! Margaret and Hadley had the grand idea to buy s’mores which the group loved and devoured an insane number of marshmallows. After cleaning up, the kids challenged each other to a beach volleyball tournament. Mattie and Julia, our LODs, led Moonup, reflecting on what we want to learn and take away from our trip as well as experience. Baer said it best that this day was “the absolute most fun day”— relaxing on the paddle boards, singing, and playing games in the van ride, and then just enjoying each other’s company at camp. So many memories are being made in this fabulous group!!
The next morning was a lovely and slow one, allowing some time to sleep in and then enjoy some delicious, toasted bagels and oatmeal. Gus played beach ball with a 3-year-old neighbor, while Charlotte generously shared her string with the group to make some friendship bracelets. Finally, we headed to our activity of the day: rafting!! Our courageous and TERRIFIC guides led us down the American River in class 2 and 3 rapids. Fearless Gus and Julia sat at the front of their raft as lead paddlers, with Mattie, Margaret, and Carter following in rhythm. In the other raft, Hadley and Reese were lead paddlers for Charlotte, Baer, Hampton, and Anna who could be heard miles down the river singing Taylor Swift. At lunch, Gus devoured the pickle flavor potato chips, while Reese and Baer competed for the most chocolate chip cookie consumption.
The kids loved jumping in to swim and cool off from the Cali sun any chance they could, so after lunch they all swam into an eddy— this is when the water floats you down the river but then it spirals and floats you all the way back up. Margaret and Mattie effortlessly floated back and forth, pulling Hampton and Charlotte along with them. Our first day of rafting concluded after conquering a class 3 rapid called Hospital Bar. We screamed and laughed down the rapid, reassuring that today’s activities were a group favorite.
We were treated to warm showers back at the campsite as well as a DIVINE dinner chefed up by our outfitters: steak, pastas, chicken, roasted peppers, salad, bread, and strawberry shortcake. The kids helped our guides clean dishes, followed by some intense card games led by Gus and Julia. Charlotte finished her book and Hampton begged for spoilers! Hadley and Reese performed “surgery” on grapes, convincing the others to eat their “smuggle berries”. Reese and Hadley, our LODs, prepared for an awesome Moonup where we discussed the qualities we love in a friend, as well as our B+ superpowers… Baer would like to snap his fingers and fall asleep, while Margaret wishes she could clap and be clean, especially when camping!
This past morning, the nerves for rafting were gone after yesterday’s super fun rapids, so the crew was ready to attack some more class 3s today. Hadley, Julia, and Mattie took turns leading the font of raft 1, while Baer and Charlotte took the front of raft 2. We started the morning with all of the most challenging rapids such as “Meatgrinder” and “Troublemaker”. The kids love the largest rapids wishing they were all class 3! Nonetheless, splash wars continued and so did some lovely swimming down the river. It was a fun filled day on the river with lots of I-Spy and Taylor Swift, JBiebs, and Katy Perry singing. Our singing continued in the van ride to our next destination… Yosemite!! We are stoked for hiking and climbing as well as exploring Yosemite National Park.
Until next time!
Anna and Carter
The kids wanted to all reach out and let you know how our incredible adventure is going:
Mattie: hey mom and father! I hope y’all are doing awesome. I know I am! We are having a blast, we went white water rafting and it was awesome! Thanks for this trip! Give Nacho and Mazy love! Love y’all sooo much!!!
Margaret: hey mom and dad! I am having such a good time and I hope y’all are doing good. Love y’all!
Hadley: heyyyy! I’m having so much fun. I just drank some scrumptious cranberry juice. Omg… my Chaco tan is amazing. The water everywhere has been so freezing but I’m still alive. I have got to show you how to make smuggle berry boba when I get home! I hope Monty’s getting tons of cheese (he’s probably not knowing dad). Love you!
Gus: hey mom and dad, I’m having so much fun. Right now, I am eating blue sour patch kids and playing a card game called speed with this girl named Julia. So far, we’ve kayaked, I liked that a little. At the first camp site, I slept in my eno which I liked, then we started white water rafting which was super fun. My favorite thing so far has probably been the car rides. We created a card game called slappyfish. I’m having a lot of fun. Love you mom love you dad.
Baer: hey mom and dad!!! I hope y’all are having a great, well-deserved vacation! The mornings here have been freezing and I’ve ended up getting a Chaco tan. We started at lake Tahoe where the water was so clean that you could drink it and you see the bottom at 70 feet deep because it was so clear. Then we went to camp lotus where they had white water rafting which was really fun. Right now, we are in the van which we played this game we created called slappy fish. I don’t know when jacks golf thing is but wish him luck for me. I love y’all and miss y’all. See y’all soon.
Julia: hey mom and dad! I don’t miss you very much because I’m having a blast. My group and counselors are so good. We have kayaked, paddle boarded and rafted, it’s all so fun and can’t wait to show y’all all the pics and vids. The cards are a hit, and we even made our own version of go fish, called slappy fish. Love you so much!!!
Reese: hey mom and dad! How are y’all? I’m having so much fun! We’re on the way to Yosemite from the American River. Rafting was so much fun. Before that, Lake Tahoe was beautiful. We kayaked and paddle boarded. My Chaco tan is so good. Gus, Baer, Julia and I invented this game called slappy fish. Dad, do you know Scott Wein?? His daughter is in my group, and he went to w and l. My group is fun! Love y’all!
Hampton: hi Mom and dad! I miss y’all so much! Moondance is so fun, and I’ve made so many friends. The first day we went kayaking which was super fun but the next day we got on paddle boards and that was way better in my opinion, the next two days we went rafting, and I almost fell off, but I didn’t. I miss y’all so much and can’t wait to tell you more!
Charlotte: hey mom and dad! I am having so much fun. I loved starting at Lake Tahoe and kayaking our first full day. It was so beautiful and an amazing experience. Sleeping is actually more comfortable than you would think. The second day at lake Tahoe was so relaxing. We paddle boarded around the lake. I liked the second day of rafting because we started with the level 3 rapids. Then we were on our way to Yosemite. The car ride was so much fun. We played cards and sang along to the music. Love you! Charlotte
July 13, 2022
HELLO from California!!!
Wow, what an amazing first three days we have spent together. Our group has clicked so fast, filled with such friendly, outgoing, kind, helpful, grateful, hilarious, AUTHENTIC, and adventurous kids. Carter and I feel super lucky and can’t wait for this new adventure.
We began our adventure with a spectacular drive to LAKE TAHOE!! Julia got card games started immediately with Baer, Reese, and Gus. Hadley got all the convo starters going, guessing everyone’s spirit animal, movie, season, ice cream, etc. etc.. Most of the drive involved sleeping though, especially for Gus who had been up since 3am. For dinner, we devoured some delicious PIZZA and finally arrived at our lovely campsite. Charlotte and Hampton were amazed at how gorgeous the Lake Tahoe views are. Mattie led the group in setting up tents, and then Hadley and Charlotte helped everyone with their enos. Our eno setup is elite. Anna, Gus, and Julia took a stroll around the campsite trails, while Hadley sported around her bug face net. We reflected our first day together with Moonup, in which we learned about Baer’s love for peppermint milkshakes as well as why each of us chose to come on this adventure. Carter and I could tell immediately that this group is one of a kind. Our first Leaders of the Day (LODs) were chosen for their kindness and positive energy, as well as being instant friends to everyone: Margaret and Baer!!!
The next morning, remarkably Gus, Margaret, and Hadley had braved the cold and slept in their enos ALL NIGHT LONG. Julia enjoyed her tent and said she feels so refreshed, even though all the kids were up super early before our wakeup call— still not adjusted from (mostly) EST. An early wake up called for a slow and relaxed morning of cooking breakfast and playing games. Hadley, Mattie, and Margaret helped chef up eggs and hash browns getting our bodies nourished for KAYAKING. We then hopped in kayaks on the clear blue waters of Lake Tahoe, the second deepest lake in the world. Baer and Reese were our speediest paddlers, while Mattie and Julia were the best cheerleaders for each other. We ate lunch on the beach and had some fun in the sun! Hadley, Margaret, and Anna submerged themselves in the chilly water to cool off, while Baer, Hampton, and Charlotte gave each other hot stone massages with the rocks. The kids crushed a terrific day on the lake, jumping in the water every chance they could. We treated them to ICECREAM where Hampton was surprised with a (triple the size) one scoop. We then prepared ourselves for a quick day hike to an awesome waterfall and view of the lake. Our LODs, Margaret and Baer, led the group on our hike and showed some amazing leadership, speed, and directional skills. Reese got the crew to pose for some pics at the top, and then we made our way back for our first home cooked dinner. Baer, Margaret, and Charlotte made FAJITAS for dinner, and Julia started us with an appetizer of chips, guac, and salsa. Gus set up spike ball for the others and showed off his “champion” title from back home. Tacos and burrito bowls were devoured by the girls in seconds, and Margaret gave the stamp of approval that dinner was “scrumptdiliumcious”. We had a nice surprise in store afterwards… a massive black bear paid us a quick visit and then bothered some of our neighbors. Margaret thought the bear was adorable while Reese kept bearing protocol and stayed big and loud. The night wasn’t over yet… we found a REMARKABLE spot for Moonup down at the lake during sunset. As Reese, Charlotte, and Hampton skipped rocks, Baer, Mattie, and Hadley had some awesome photo shoot ideas capturing the pinks and blues of the water and sky. We then circled up directly under a full moon for Moonup where Margaret and Baer led us in a discussion of what we’d do if we had 9 lives— Mattie would swing from a fan, while Hampton, Julia, Charlotte, and Margaret would all sky dive. Additionally, we talked about our goals and then fears for the trip ahead, which fearless Gus inspired the crew to have none!!! Our first full day was wrapped up perfectly with this super fun crew.
The next morning, Gus had to be woken up from his eno, proving you can have amazing sleep in a hammock. Mattie and Baer chefed up some bomb chocolate chip pancakes for everyone, and then we hit the road for Paddle Boarding! Baer was a magnet to the water, falling into the lake in dramatic fashion but loving it. Hampton and Julia both had their fair shares of falls into the chilly water as well, while Maggie showed off some gymnastics on the board. Hadley, Reese, and Carter let the current take them away, while Gus paddled on his stomach taking in the relaxing afternoon. Similarly, Julia, Margaret, and Anna tied up to a buoy to talk and tan. Charlotte led us back to the dock where we said goodbye to the glorious clear waters of Lake Tahoe. Our time here was filled with breathtaking, unbeatable views and some awesome beginning of trip memories. We are on the way to the American River and can’t wait for all the adventures to come!!
All the best,
Anna and Carter
July 12, 2022
Hello California Families!
The whole group arrived safely in San Francisco and had a blast on their first activity today. We have heard from our leaders this evening 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