June 20, 2022
Farewell Colorado Adventurers!
We’ve just sent our crew off safely from Denver! We’re so sad to see them go, but we are reminiscing on the fun-filled final days of our adventure together!
After backpacking we headed back to the Arkansas River to explore some new rapids in the Royal Gorge! Our group arose early to the smell of breakfast burritos and the sounds of the rushing river. Everyone fueled up for the day and got their gear before driving to meet our guides. After a quick paddling refresher and gear fitting, we traveled down the Arkansas. The crew, packed into 2 boats, took off down the river, towards the gargantuan granite gorge. Our travels before lunch were and easy and familiar cruise down class II and class III rapids. Nick was insistent on riding the bull on class III, consistently craving more adventure and challenge! Our guides promised that the real rushing rapids were to come after lunch, and boy they didn’t lie! After lunch we started strong with Sunshine Falls, our first-class IV rapid of the day. The falls took us down a staircase of strong water pushing and pulling our boat, but we glided through with skill and ease! At the bottom Andrew convinced our guide to take us on a little surf, dunking us headfirst into the rushing river! As we continued our paddle, the river grew narrower, and the gorge walls grew and grew. Everyone made sure to take in the sublime view with plenty of ooos and ahhs. Nora and Olivia decided to take the higher viewpoint and ride the bull together down the narrows! The wicked rapids continued with the daunting class IV Sledgehammer, Wall Breaker, and Boat Eater! After a couple of splash showers, the rapids calmed, and Charlie rode the bull all the way back into shore! Soaked and satisfied, our crew headed back to our campsite for a celebratory cookout after a long day’s work. Everyone, stuffed with hearty hot dogs and burgers, packed in their tents for a goodnight sleep before a busy next day!
The next day, we began our day with funfetti pancakes to celebrate Andrew’s birthday! Everyone crowded together munching on pancakes and soaking in the morning light before we began our journey back to Denver, where it all began. We made it to our campsite early to start our packing and housekeeping before departures the next day. Between cleaning sessions, Porter led the group in an action-packed game of ultimate frisbee. Meanwhile, Merris began choreographing an elaborate final dance performance for the night. Once everything was squeaky clean and packed nicely, our group hit the showers and laundry to get nice and spiffy for our banquet dinner! Before we began our final feast, we headed to the thrift store to grab proper attire. James gathered an outfit that outshone all others with all denim and huge sunglasses as the statement piece. Wilkins entertained everyone with his grandmother garb and accompanying dramatic method acting. Finally, dressed in uniform and hungry, the crew headed to fill up on tacos and burritos. Our wacky group was fed to the gills by the end, still managing to sneak in a few sopapillas for Andrew’s birthday! Once back at camp, everyone explored and soaked up their last moments together in the soft light of the sunset. As the sun went down and the moon rose, we hosted our last moonup under the stars, reminiscing on our favorite trip moments. Everyone headed to bed in a mixed energy of hilarious delirium and sadness for the upcoming departure.
This morning we awoke with hesitance to say farewell to our fantastic group. Everyone safely checked in and filed through security before saying their final goodbyes. We’re so sad to see this beautiful group separate, but we know the memories and connections formed during this time are everlasting. We love you all and miss you already! Farewell!
June 18, 2022
Greetings from the San Juan Mountains!
Our first day of backpacking began with a flurry of lessons on how to be a strong and successful backpacker! Everyone caught on quickly, packing their backpacks swiftly and hustling into the van. We drove up, down, and across the winding and swirling roads of the San Juan mountains before arriving to our trailhead at last! The crew hopped out and got properly fitted in their packs before hitting the trail! The leaders of the day, James and Olivia, took the lead and the caboose, keeping our group in line and entertained. We rustled through beautiful wildflower fields and forests full of sky-high aspen trees. Riddles and sing-alongs helped our first hike in go by like a breeze! Finally we landed at our campsite we would call home for the next few days. We set up camp, threw on our comfy clothes, and feasted on chicken pesto pasta before hitting the hay ready for the next days lake visit!
The next day our group arose slowly after finally catching up on some well-deserved sleep. Everyone huddled around the whisperlites munching on their oatmeal. Once everyone got their bodies and stomachs warmed up, we filled our waters and started our journey to Navajo Lake. The trail began with a slow incline, but quickly turned steep and winding. The group was taken aback by the unending switchbacks at first, but then embraced the challenge of getting to the top. Our leader of the day, Charlie, led our group swiftly across the hard terrain and sudden turns. As we reached our final push, the group was exhausted, but excited to finally reach the lake. As lake started to peak over the hills, Wilkins expressed how happy he felt with all the hard hiking finally paying off. Everyone rushed to the lake to cool off and cast out a couple of fishing lines. Porter found the sweet spot at the edge of the lake and managed to catch a couple of speckled and rainbow trout! Once everyone got to skip some rocks and take in the view of the glassy water, we headed down the slippery slopes. At camp everyone rested from a long day and filled up on jambalaya. After a quick and chilly moonup, the crew hopped into their sleeping bags to get some sleep before the next days hike!
For our final full day of backpacking, we decided to sleep in and take an easy walk. Our group munched on their oatmeal while basking in the morning light and listening to the running creek. Everyone, full and rested, grabbed some snacks and water and headed off on our next hike. The crew took their time hiking and taking in the scenes around them. Nick entertained the group with mind boggling questions and hilarious stories. Once we found a calm spot, everyone settled in for lunch and hacky sack. Nora led everyone in some dance tutorials and Andrew entertained the group with his song about Mexican pizza! After some nice away time, we headed back to camp to cook up dinner. After a filling pad Thai dinner, the group put on “Moondance Got Talent” to show off everyone’s hidden skills. One group re-enacted some favorite moments from the trip, while the other group did an elaborate dance led by Merris. Wilkins and Andrew deliberated intensely on who should win, and ultimately awarded the dancers the gold! After a quick post-show dance party, we ended the night with a moonup at dusk and early night to prepare to leave our new home in the woods.
The next morning, our group awoke in a flurry to gather our gear and make sure no trace was left. Everyone, still groggy-eyed, started down the trail back to the van. The morning was quiet, light-hearted, and meditative as the group walked graceful back to civilization. Soon, the van came into sight and it became a sprint to the finish! We reached the van at last and did a quick load up before heading into town for some burgers! Everyone stuffed up with hearty shakes and fries to fill some hard-worked stomachs. We then hit the road back towards the Arkansas River, excitedly anticipating the rapids that are to come!
Thank you Mom for giving me the chance to come to Moondance, I love it! Love, Porter
Thanks Mom for sending me to camp. Love, James
Thank you mom! Happy birthday / Father’s day Papa. Love, Nick
Dear Mom and Dad,I can’t wait to see y’all again! Many thanks. Love, Wilkins
Thank you Mom and Dad, I miss y’all and I can’t wait to see you in 2 days!! Give Twister a hug for me. Love, Merris
Thanks for sending me on this trip! It’s been so fun and I can’t wait to see you guys soon! Love, Liv
Thank you for letting me go on this trip!! I am having so much fun and I miss and love you guys lots. Love, Nora
Thank you for sending me to this camp. Can’t wait to see you in 2 days! Love, Andrew
Thank you Mom and Dad for giving me the chance to do Moondance! I’m having so much fun. Love, Charlie
June 14, 2022
What’s up from Colorado! This Colorado Trail group is feeling full and thankful after 2 long days of adventure!
On day 6, our crew rose ready to hop into our harnesses and head out onto the zip lines. We headed out to Salida to meet our guides and start our journey to the ropes course. The course peaked out of the canyon dauntingly, but still calling our names. Our group got properly fitted and trained with our harnesses and lobster claws before we started our first courses. Everyone started slow and low on greens and yellows, still getting used to the new gear. Quickly, the crew was warmed up and hungry for more! Wilkins and Porter decided to go for the blues, dodging wooden obstacles and twinkle-toeing on tightropes. The course finished with an intimidating drop, but, with some convincing, they got comfortable floating gently down from the platform. Nick decided to take a step further, stretching his limits on the black diamond course. With spirit and precision, Nick flew through the course, using his hat only once to extend his reach. Once everyone got their chance to push their limit, we stopped for a quick lunch and water break. The team was itching to get back to the canyon knowing that the zip line was up next. Once we reached the top of the canyon once again, everyone got a chance to shimmy into new harnesses and train for zip lining. When everyone learned their signals, we stepped up to the platform hanging on the edge of the canyon. Merris walked the plank with reluctance, but bravely flew across the canyon with a running start! One after the other, everyone zipped quickly across our first run. On our second run, James got a quick spin, sending him into a 360 across the abyss! After a quick break and dance battle to wait out the rain, the crew ran through the rest of the course with glee and excitement. We thanked our guides and began our journey to the Great Sand Dunes, where we ate quick and headed to bed prepping for an early wake up!
With groggy eyes, everyone awoke to a startling 3 am wake up call to begin our sunrise journey to the dunes. In the dark of the early morning, we headed to the top of the Dunes Overlook Trail where we watched the mountainous dunes come to life in the light of dawn. With impatient excitement, we raced to the dunes with our sandboards in hand! Everyone ascended the great dunes, slipping and sliding as they raced up. Charlie was the first on the board, sailing his way down before tumbling into laughter at the bottom. Everyone took a turn surfing down the waves of the dunes. Olivia decided to take a stab, going in full force, and ended up going the furthest out of anyone! Once each person got a couple turns glazing across the dunes and getting tumbled in the sand, we headed back to camp for a hearty pancake breakfast! Everyone fueled up on chocolate chip cakes and loaded up the van for another lengthy journey, this time to the San Juan Mountains! The ride was long, but filled with sing-alongs and dance lessons taught by Nora. Before hitting our destination, we stopped for our town visit in Durango! There, everyone got to load up on commemorative souvenirs and sweet ice cream scoops! Once everyone got their fair share of the town, we loaded up for the final stretch of the ride. At camp we feasted on Mediterranean bowls prepared by Andrew and his co-chefs and hopped into our sleeping bags, ready to hit the San Juan trails in the morning!
June 13, 2022
We had some technical difficulties with receiving this update. Our apologies for this delay!
Howdy from Colorado! Our Colorado crew is back from our overnight rafting adventure and ready for more!
On the first day of rafting, the crew squirmed into the van stoked to hit the rapids! The sun was beaming, and the water was high, ready for us to hit the river. Everyone suited up and we packed our things in dry bags for river camping! Our guides drove us to our launch off and gave us some paddling pointers before we set sail to Brown’s Canyon. The trip started with a bang heading through multiple class III rapids. Porter and Charlie took the bow, taking the wicked water head on. The splashing chilly water couldn’t keep down their spirits! Merris held on excitedly as we crashed through roaring waters, a smile plastered on her face! As the water calmed, Liv kept the rafts entertained with her mind-boggling riddle. Before entering our campsite, the guides showed us their favorite cliff jumping site. Everyone braved the cool waters and jumped right in! Above us stood an intimidating jump off, but Charlie didn’t hesitate to climb higher and take the jump! At our campsite, everyone took well deserved rest laying in the sun. Our guides prepared a delicious taco dinner with an accompanying array of desserts. The crew, full and happy, headed for bed, stoked more than ever to get back on the river!
We woke for our second day of rafting to a warm breakfast to fuel us for the day ahead. Everyone threw on their raft gear, antsy to get the day started! Our day started strong with the class III Zoom Flume, sending us soaring and soaking within seconds! One after the other came Widowmaker, Twin Falls, and Staircase, all giving everyone excitement for what would come next! James toughed the front of the boat, taking all the hard hits with glee! Nick, Porter, and Andrew decided to take lead and steer our raft, successfully dodging rocks and directing the group. Wilkins took hold of the front, bravely riding the bull through Class II rapids! Once finally ashore, we shook off our sea legs and got squeaky clean in the showers. Everyone clean and exhausted, piled into the van and headed for our home for the night. Once settled in, Nora helped whip up a delectable stir fry dinner and lead the group through a game of green glass door. Our leaders of the day, Andrew and Charlie, led us through a giggle filled Moonup before everyone hit the hay, prepped for tomorrow’s zip lining and rope course adventures!
Shoutouts from the Group!
Dear Mom, Dad, and Ramey,
I’m having so much fun here and enjoying every part. Today is 6/13/22. Tomorrow we are leaving for our 4 day expedition. My favorite part so far is whitewater rafting. Love you lots.
Dear Mom and Dad,
I love you so much! Please say hello to Ashby Woodle. I can’t wait to see you in New York Mom. I can’t wait to see everyone in Maine! I loved ziplining and rafting.
Dear Mom and Dad,
I miss you so much. I had a lot of fun ziplining. I can’t wait to see you again.
Hey Padre y Madre,
I miss you guys so much! I’ve had lots of fun whitewater rafting and on the sand dunes! Tell Jimmy and Betty I miss them!
Hey Mom y Gergy Wergy,
I miss you guys so much and can’t wait to see you! I have had so much fun during every activity so far! Tell the dogs I love them!
Hey Mom and Dad,
I miss y’all so much and can’t wait to see y’all. Tomorrow we are backpacking. Whitewater rafting was my favorite. Love y’all so much!
I’m having lots of fun traveling through Colorado. Me and Porter are having a blast and we are about to go on a backpacking trip. Can’t wait to see you mom.
Dear Mom and Dad,
I miss you but I’m having so much fun here. My fav part was the rafting. Miss you.
Dear Mom and Dad,
I’ll tell more at home but so far I rafted on the front of the raft in class II rapids.
June 13, 2022
We had some technical difficulties with receiving this update. Our apologies for this delay!
What’s up from the wild West! The first session of Colorado Trail has begun and is off to an awesome start!
Airport day came with a buzz of chaotic excitement while we awaited the arrival of our awesome crew. Everyone slowly trickled into the airport, but quickly hit it off and welcomed each new member with open arms! As soon as all the new western adventurers arrived, we set off on our long journey to our first campground. Though the drive was long, time flew with loads of giggles and sing-alongs in the van. We grabbed some late night pizza and got started on making the campground our home. Everyone, in excited delirium, headed to bed after Moonup under the stars, looking forward to our first day of climbing coming up!
The next day, everyone got up bright and early pumped for the activities ahead. Everyone hopped in the van, and we headed to Taylor Canyon to conquer our first rock wall! Everyone was feeling a little bit nervous, but the Leaders of the Day (LODs), Merris and (birthday boy) Porter soothed nerves with an inspiring quote in morning huddle. After a little hype up session, Nick volunteered as the first to climb. He started cautious, but after one wall he became a spider monkey and conquered the moderate and most challenging walls! Porter and Andrew quickly followed suit and sped their way up each course. Merris showed tremendous patience and intentionality in her climbing form, pushing herself to go further than she thought she might! Nora was feeling a little nervous, but soon found her stride, climbing swiftly up the hard course!
After an exhilarating climbing session, everyone took a nice lunch break by the river, skipping rocks and admiring rapids. As celebration for their efforts and successes we headed to Crested Butte for a quick ice cream trip! Everyone indulged in their scoops as Andrew led the crew in jokes and laughs. We headed back to our camp home to cook up some scrumptious chicken enchiladas. Wilkins led the cook crew with swift instruction and hilarious cooking tips. The night ended with Porter’s birthday celebration (including cake and birthday hats of course) and a calm sunset Moonup!
This morning we packed up for our second day of epic climbing, everyone more pumped than ever to challenge their climbing abilities! A quick walk into the canyon, everyone saddled into their harnesses and hopped into their climbing shoes, ready to head up the new wall. Liv was initially unsure of her ability, but pushed herself out of her comfort zone, climbing rapidly up and enjoying the view! James was stoked to push harder today and challenged himself to higher levels walls than yesterday! Leaders of the day, Nora and Nick, made sure to encourage everyone on their journeys up the wall. The crew headed to the river for lunch and set off to a new campsite to prep for rafting tomorrow! At our riverside site, we headed to the water for fly fishing lessons and to chill and listen to the flowing rapids. Charlie got a game of hacking sack and mafia rolling to bring everyone together for the night! Nora, Merris, and Liv cooked up a beautiful spaghetti meal to fuel everyone for racing down the rapids tomorrow! We wrapped up our night with an inspiring moonup and we’re off to bed, dreaming of our rafting adventures that await!
June 7, 2022
Hello Colorado Trail Families,
We just heard from our leaders that the group has landed safely in Denver. The trip is off to a great start, and we cannot wait to hear more stories from their adventure and the dazzling mountain views ahead.
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!