June 24, 2022
The time has come for our final trip update, and it is so bittersweet. Since we last checked in, the crew has ventured to Park City for the day before everyone started to head home! In Park City, we got to stomp for some scrumptious ice cream after a long hot day of rafting! As we headed back toward Salt Lake, we stopped at a roadside park to eat a delicious spaghetti dinner with a side of seasoned chickpeas met by an unexpectedly gorgeous sunset. Chefs Hallie and Chloe manned the stovetop while the rest of the gang hung out and played cards (and tried to sneak some bites of food before it was served). Ashby rallied the troops and took the lead in helping to clean up dinner and then we hit the road and made it to our next campsite. Slightly cooler temperatures didn’t stop everyone from spending another night under the gorgeous stars!
The next morning, LODs Chloe and Heidi whipped up some mean pancakes while everyone got up and at ‘em, and Cosi decided the only correct next step would be to make some hot chocolate to match the chilly morning. Bradford jumpstarted the site cleanup process by reminding Jack he had to pack up all of her things after accomplishing a dare to eat a watermelon rind – she reported that it was definitely worth it. We then drove a very scenic drive to our final campsite in Park City, gathered all of our dirty laundry, had a tie dye sesh, and hit the town. Everyone got the van looking super spiffy and vacuumed up while HT and Sydney hit the laundromat with everyone’s river clothes for a well-deserved wash. Next was the moment that we had all been waiting for, the moment that Chloe’s hairbrushes had been armed and ready for: the showers. We rolled up to the Park City Athletic & Recreation Center, took turns showering some sand and river water out of our hair, and ate lunch.
Now all fresh and clean, we headed on over to a thrift shop to get properly dressed up for our final banquet dinner. Altogether, we had some pretty awesome get-ups than can be summed up in a few words: light sabers, flashy jackets, the dude crew, and everything in between. Among some other stunning and unique outfits, Olivia quite literally rolled up to the restaurant as she took on her first time roller skating, Penn and Jack flaunted their finest evening dresses, and Kelly Grace was prepped for her next bicycle race. After a dinner celebrating two weeks of adventure and nonsense and disruption of any and all comfort zones, we flaunted our outfits around town and drove back to our campsite.
Everyone quickly packed up their duffels and after Eagle Scout James approved of the packing, we all jumped in on a game of “Airball” that Bradford introduced to us – a combination of frisbee and football – and competed in a very high-stakes game. After a stubbed toe injury, James had to sit out and serenaded us with some guitar tunes while the Airball game wrapped up as the sun set. Everyone then got ready for bed and set up to sleep one final time under the stars, with a final Moonup to close out the trip.
Airport day came quick with a 4:30am wake-up call, quick campsite pack-up, and brief drive to the SLC airport. The crew hung out together all day and hopped gates as our friends slowly departed one-by-one. Cecilia and Hallie were the last to say goodbye to the great state of Utah, and with their departure Sydney and James said a final goodbye to CAN session 1! The past two weeks were the perfect start to the summer and we hope the airport goodbyes are more like “see you laters!”
Sydney + James
June 22, 2022
The crew just completed our four-day rafting section of the Colorado River through Cataract Canyon, full of some of the country’s greatest rapids and, in our opinion, most beautiful river camping spots. To start, we met up with our guides from Mild to Wild on Saturday morning (which was our very own Kelly Grace’s birthday!!!), loaded up the boats, and began on a very relaxing flat-water section. The first day was composed of many power naps under the Bimini tops provided by the flotilla that was set up. After a full of day of chill time, the group set up camp on a campsite near a “saddle” in the canyon and delved into some riddles and brain teasers – Jack and James would not let up on their riddle answers and even had the raft guides stumped! The raft guides then prepared for us a healthy and delicious salmon dinner with some asparagus for Kelly Grace’s birthday dinner and made us a cheesecake (with birthday candles) for dessert!
Waking up Sunday morning was a delight – the raft guides had hot coffee for the leaders and pancakes on the griddle. Ashby was quick to tell James and Sydney to take notes on how to cook some gourmet camp meals as we all chowed down! After a very filling breakfast, the gang went on roughly a half-mile hike over the saddle while two of the river guides took the boats around the river bend to meet us on the other side. While hiking over the saddle, we were able to gain an amazing vantage point of both sides of the canyon and even came across some petroglyphs! Penn, HT, and Jack were first to lead the group around the top to see some amazing views. Once we were picked up on the other side, the flotilla was put back in action. We cruised together like that until we hit Spanish Bottom.
At Spanish Bottom, the boats split up into three, with the motorboat, rowboat, and cargo boat. Cosi and Bradford were more than eager to hop on the front of the rowboat, which contained, supposedly, the wettest seats on the trip, but after a mouthful of wave on the motorboat, Cecilia had something to say about that. We hit nine total rapids on Sunday and settled at yet another beautiful campsite where we ate a delicious fajita dinner. After our amazing dinner and strawberry shortcake dessert, a very competitive game of two hand football commenced. With no football, playing football was a little difficult, but we discovered that a hacky sack works just fine – in fact, just good enough for Hallie to score the only touchdown.
Monday was our last night on the river and the biggest day of rapids! Since we slept next to white water on Sunday night, we were able to get straight into it on Monday. Not long after we decided which boats we were riding on, we got into the mile long rapid. It was “so awesome,” as Olivia stated time and time again. Approaching the big drops of Cataract Canyon, the guides were impressed that Cecilia was still in the same spot as yesterday despite the amount of water she took on the previous day. The motorboat led the way through the big drops while Heidi and Chloe, seated at the front of the rowboat, led that boat through some of the most intense rapids in the country. We all made it through the rapids wet but in the boats. That night, the guides prepared for us another delicious meal of hotdogs and hamburgers. After our delicious dinner and Penn’s multiple horseshoe victories, we were able to gaze up at the beautiful stars as a group. Ashby was even able to see her first shooting star!
Tuesday morning, despite being our true last day on the river, was not without action. We were still able to see some rapids and get a little wet. After the rapids, we were dropped off at the pickup point and the guides awarded HT with the “respectful young man award.” Even though we were sad to say goodbye to the river, the gang welcomed some well-deserved bus ride nap time on the way back to Moab. Now, we’re headed north towards Park City where we will spend our final day together. We have had an amazing journey and wish it didn’t have to come to an end!
Sydney and James
And here are some thank you’s that the kids wanted to include:
Thank you, Mom and Dad, for letting me go on this trip and thank you to James and Sydney for being great trip leaders 🙂 –Olivia
Thank you so much Mom and Dad for letting me go on this amazing and memorable trip! Thank you to our awesome leaders James and Sydney for making this adventure so fun and a great learning experience! –Chloe
Thank you so much for sending me on this amazing trip, Mom and Dad! I love y’all so much and can’t wait to see you in a few days! –HT
Thank you so so much Mom and Dad for letting me come on this amazing Moondance trip! I had so much fun and made so many memories and friendships that will last a lifetime! Thank you for giving me the chance to come on this trip! I love you all and I will see you very soon! –Heidi
Thanks Mom and Dad for letting me go on this amazing trip and thank you James and Sydney for being great leaders! Thank you Moondance and the white-water rafting company for making this trip possible! – Ashby
Dear Mom, Dad, and Jody, thank you so much for this opportunity to go in this trip. I have made so many memories and friendships that I will carry on forever. Thank you for letting me go through this adventure. It has really changed who I am. I love you –KG
Dear Mom and Dad, thank you for letting me go on this amazing trip. It has been so fun, and I have made so many amazing memories and friends. Thanks again and love y’all! – Jack
Thank you, Mom and Dad, for giving me the opportunity to go on this great adventure. I am having a great time on this trip as I’m meeting new friends and going on some amazing adventures. Moondance is really fun and I’m hoping to do it next year. Thank you!!! –Penn
Thank you so much Mom and Dad for letting me go on this Moondance trip and thank you James and Sydney for being the best leaders during this trip!!- Cecilia
Thank you, Dad and Mom, for sending me on Moondance. I am having the best time and meeting some really amazing people who I love. We go on awesome adventures and have the best time. I love you thank you so much! –Bradford
Thank you, Mom and Dad, for making this opportunity possible. I have learned many new things, met people I won’t forget, and made great memories. I have also gotten to see all the beauty Utah has to offer. This is an experience I will never forget, and I am so grateful that you all made it happen. Thank you so so much! Love y’all!! –Cosi<3
Thank you so much Mom and Dad for letting me go to Canyonlands for Moondance this year. It has been so much fun meeting new people from across the country and building friendships with them. This has been such an amazing experience and I will forever remember the memories I made here! –Hallie
June 22, 2022
Greetings from Utah!
Since our last trip update, we have done some amazing things and moved camp to Moab. We woke up on Tuesday outside of Zion, made some breakfast of cinnamon biscuits, and drove to Moab where we ate lunch after a food restock trip by James and our awesome LODs, HT and Cosi. We then stopped at Milt’s Stop & Eat for some surprise milkshakes for the kids after a long day of travel. We then adventured to Arches National Park and hiked a few paths to see some of the infamous arches during sunset.
After we arrived at our new campsite, we had a delicious quesadilla dinner headed up by Chef Hallie. Although we set up tents at the new campsite, everyone decided to sleep under the awe-inspiring Utah stars. Wednesday morning was our first look at our beautiful riverside campsite in the daylight. After our breakfast, we headed into Moab to meet up with Moab Cliffs and Canyons for rock climbing. The guides took us to a spot along the Colorado River where Olivia and Jack were the first to the top of the rock face. We climbed all morning and had the best time! On our way back, we learned that Penn sleeps with his eyes open. We then came back to our riverside campsite after rock climbing and had an afternoon packed full of group games where a competitive game of Egyptian Rat Slap started up with Heidi and Cecilia tried to keep up with Hallie’s quick hands. That night the gang hopped in the van and picked up pizza on the way to watch the sunset at Dead Horse Point and the view was simply stunning.
The next morning, we met back up with Moab Cliffs and Canyons and started our morning with canyoneering. It was so neat climbing down into the canyon where we eventually faced a 100 foot repel down. Chloe and Kelly Grace led the way and were the first ones down. After an afternoon at the Mills River swimming hole, we split the group into two iron chef teams captained by the LODs Ashby and Chloe. Team Ashby prepared a breakfast for dinner with a hash brown appetizer, omelet entree, and a garnished lemonade- it was very delicious! Team Chloe prepared a pasta salad with tajin bacon, onions, peppers, cheddar cheese, and some of Chloe’s very tasty special spaghetti sauce. We scored the chefs on 5 categories, and after some very heated debates between James and Sydney, the winner was decided to be Team Chloe with the imaginative pasta salad!
Next was a town day in Moab on Friday! The group was able to explore the town and get some cool souvenirs and Bradford even got James a Father’s Day present. (By the way, Happy Father’s Day dads, we appreciate y’all so much!) To wrap up our town day, the kids were able to get a game of bowling in, and to our surprise the lane with bumpers ended up scoring higher than the lane without. Now we’re about to head out on a four-day rafting trip on the Colorado River!
Talk to you soon,
Sydney and James
June 14, 2022
Our Canyonlands trip is off to a stellar start! We hit the road after gathering everyone at the airport and headed out to our campsite near Bryce Canyon, with some nice countryside views along the way. Everyone worked together to set up the tents and had some dinner before getting rest for our first full day. While making dinner, Penn, Jack, and HT learned what a human sump is and were able to practice.
On our first full day we headed into Bryce Canyon National Park and hiked the Peek-a-Boo loop trail and were able to see the hall of windows, a weird and unique group of rock structures within the hoodoos. Even though the hike was difficult, our LODs were able to keep up the energy and get us back to a fajita bowl dinner prepared by Ashby and Hallie, but not before Sydney surprised the group with some frozen lemonade from Ruby’s Inn.
On our third day we woke up for the final time at our first campground and broke our fast with some cheesy grits and bacon. It was many of the kids’ first time eating grits and Olivia has requested them for every morning since. We hit Bryce Canyon one more time for a hike within the canyons – led by LODs Cecilia and Olivia – and took off for our new campsite near Zion National Park. Upon arrival to our new campsite, Chloe and Heidi got us excited for the opportunity for a hot shower and Kelly Grace quickly made her claim as queen as the Spikeball court. We ended the night with some delicious English muffin pizzas – excitedly taught by Cosi due to her experience making them – and some guitar serenading by James and Hallie before Moonup. Bradford, the master of teaching the group new games, led us through the Narrows hike in Zion with her co-LOD Jack the next day. Their positivity and excitement for the hike got the group thrilled, and everyone had a great time even in the chilly water (featuring some swimming and wading around). The group is excited to venture on to Moab next!
Sydney + James
June 10, 2022
Hello Canyonlands 1 Families!
We just heard from our leaders that the group has landed safely in Salt Lake City. 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!