July 7, 2022
Adios Colorado! We’ve just sent our group off safely on their flights, headed back home after a packed two weeks! We are all sad to see them go, but happily reminiscing on the memories we made together.
Before packing up and flying out, our group had one final activity to complete: whitewater rafting in the incredible Royal Gorge! After finishing off our backpacking expedition in the San Juans, everyone was charged with a new refreshed energy in anticipation of our next rafting adventure. We started our day by fueling up with delicious breakfast burritos prepared by our amazing cook crew, James, Georgia, and Bryson. Once we filled our bellies, we were off to get properly prepared for a wild day of rafting! As we drove down the twists and turns of the canyon, we watched the gorge below grow deeper and deeper and the rapids grow louder and larger. At the rafting headquarters, everyone got fitted for their protective helmets and PFDs and our guides gave us an entertaining safety briefing about staying in the boat. We all hopped on the bus, everyone giggling and giddy to head to our starting point. We finally reached our launching point and, after some paddling tips and tutorials, we were off! Everyone went right back into their paddling groove, this time feeling stronger and more prepared than before. The river started slowly with the familiar class II and III rapids we knew well from Brown’s Canyon. The waves twisted and twirled our boats around, but we held steady and strong in our rafting expertise. Anna was the first to ride the bull through wicked class II rapids bravely. Up next were Georgia and Josie, who took to the front together, whipping and dipping into the cool waters. As the water calmed and deepened, everyone was itching to swim to escape the hot sun. Ella and Lilla started up a game in which they stood on either end of the raft, locked handles, and pushed and pulled until the other fell in. Georgia and James quickly followed suit, both finally taking a plunge into the lazy river. Once everyone had time to refresh in the Arkansas, everyone helped pull each member back in their respective boats. Soon, the water turned quick again, opening more opportunities to explore. In dipping waves, Aleko and Bryson led the charge to surf the waves, dipping their boat headfirst into rapids and popping them out with energetic speed. As we approached the class III “Twister,” Danny hopped on the bow to ride the bull, twisting in a 360 through the entire rapid! All soaked and full of glee, we floated gently to our lunch spot where we filled up and compared our encounters with the daunting waves. Everyone couldn’t wait any longer to finally head into the gorge, so we ran to our boats, suited up, and paddled towards our final route.
After lunch, the river slowly narrowed and we found ourselves under thousands of feet of gargantuan granite walls. Our guides gave us a lesson on the history of the expansive pipeline which once ran through the length of the gorge. The remnants of the pipeline led the rest of the way, running through granite tunnels and loosely along the walls. After a session of history questions, we began approaching our first class IV rapid of the day: Sunshine Falls. Everyone made sure to practice paddling as a unit and leaning in to prepare for what lay ahead. As we approached the falls, our boats crept over the edge of a watery cliff before diving in head first. The water was fast, but everything moved in slow motion as we paddled hard and took harsh hits from all sides. When we finally got spit out at the end, we erupted with cheers of success and a paddle high fives. The river wasn’t done with us quite yet! Our crew took the next class IV rapids, Wall Slammer and Sledgehammer, like champs! Everyone cruised through with yelps of excitement, getting toddled and turned by the ruling waters. The roaring rapids left everyone deliriously happy, soaked, and ready for a gentle float. As the narrows widened and the skies opened, Edith took to the front to ride the bull all the way back to shore! We unloaded onto the shore, dried off, and made our way back to our cozy campsite by the river. At camp, Ella and Lilla led our group in a session of bracelet making, so everyone had a personal souvenir to remember this time together. Meanwhile, Thomas, Peter, and James hosted a game of whiffle ball to work up an appetite for a hearty dinner of Pad Thai. Everyone made sure to save room for dessert after dinner, filling their mugs with root beer floats, then sipping and sharing stories of the wonderful day. As the skies darkened, clouds rolled in a rain sending us to have Moonup in the van. Our leaders of the day, Lilla and Danny, prompted our group to recall their favorite part of our trip as it comes to an end. After sharing memories and laughs, we huddled in for a big group hug before heading off to bed, not quite prepared to take on the next day as our last together.
The next morning we rose to the sun hitting our tents, drying them from the mist of the day before. Our crew huddled around the stove for warmth and feasted on chocolate chip and funfetti pancakes. Once we all warmed in the rising sun, everyone packed up camp and we were off to Denver, where our journey began two short weeks ago. After a quick drive, we cleaned our gear and packed our bags at our final campsite. When all was cleaned and prepped, we headed towards the thrift store to find the most fitting garb for the banquet dinner. As we shopped, everyone built their personas as different family members, everyone either drowning in oversized blazers or whirling around in whimsical dresses. The final feast called for a meal of delicious Italian pasta and bread. Everyone packed in snuggling at our table, filling their stomachs with pasta and hearts with stories of favorite moments and activities. Full in all senses, we grabbed a bite of ice cream as the, literal and metaphorical, cherry on top of a wonderful night. Our day ended with our final Moonup under a glowing moon where we filled our Nug Jug to the brim with expressions of gratitude and love. Everyone headed to bed, hesitant to put an end to such an amazing experience.
This morning we rose early to send everyone back home to share stories with friends and family. One by one, everyone embraced and had their tearful goodbyes before hopping on board their planes back home. We are so sad to see our wonderful bunch of humans leave us but are feeling immensely full of gratitude for the experiences and love they have given us all! We see shining futures for this group of young leaders and can’t wait to hear of the wonderful things they do in the future!
With loads of love,
Kate, Molly, and Mac
July 5, 2022
Hey there from the Wild West! We’ve just wrapped up our 4-day backpacking expedition in the beautiful San Juan Mountains!
Before we headed to the scenic San Juans, we awoke in a flurry to prepare for our new adventure! The energy in our group was buzzing, everyone was pumped to finally get on the trails. After stuffing our packs to the brim with gear and our stomachs with eggs and hash browns, everyone loaded in the van with excitement. The roads winded more and more as we moved further from the comforts of civilization. When we finally reached our destination, a trail through a vast meadow stood before us, calling our names. Our leaders of the day, Bryson and Ella, spread encouraging words, then everyone stretched their legs and hoisted on their packs. Peter and Thomas led the pack, climbing steadily up the rolling hills with ease. Aleko started up a game of contact in the caboose, making the time go by like a breeze. Our route took us through a sprawling and diverse landscape littered with bright green aspens and low grassy valleys. After taking in the beauty of our surroundings for a while, we found a cozy streamside campground to settle into for the next couple of days. Looming rain clouds began to circle our heads, so our group rushed to put up their tents and build a taught tarp. Between small spouts of rain, we showed the group how to treat water and use camp stoves. Everyone started taking to the ways of the backcountry quickly! Thomas led our first backcountry cook crew, cheffing up a warm and filling dinner of chicken alfredo. After eating, the skies cleared long enough for us to have a starlit Moonup. Everyone took in the wonders of the bright stars, absent from the influence of city lights. When we felt more small sprinkles, we hopped into our tents to fall asleep to the gentle sound of rain.
The next morning, our group got the chance to sleep in and catch up on some rest. Everyone rose slowly, one by one, and huddled next to the Whisperlite stove in search for a bit of warmth. While we ate out hearty oatmeal breakfast, Anna entertained the group with fantastical stories of both truth and lore. The day, once again, brought rain to our little backcountry home, soaking our camp at unpredictable times and rates. Our group’s spirits remained high and positive, even though the gloomy weather. James led our group in a couple of games of mafia under the tarp, while Josie, Lilla, and Ella worked on their top-secret song and dance choreography. After several hours of games, hair braiding, and savored bonding time, Danny led our cook crew in preparing a pad Thai feast to warm everyone’s bellies. After eating, we reflected on the calm and refreshing energy of the day. After a lighthearted Moonup discussing our favorite music, we headed to bed ready to explore the mountains in the morning!
On our third day of backpacking, our crew rose and shook off the dew from the night. We took a slow morning of getting to know each other and sipping hot tea before preparing for the day ahead. The sky opened up and we packed up for a hike to a new lunch spot. Our leaders of the day, Georgia and Peter, gave everyone some motivating words before leading our troop on an afternoon jaunt. We climbed up and out of the tree line to an open meadow at the foot of one of the most daunting 14ers we have ever laid eyes on— El Diente. We enjoyed our pb&j wraps among the wildflowers, in awe of the towering mountain ahead of us decorated with massive waterfalls and sheer cliffs. The rain clouds quickly began to close in on our group, and our time in the meadow fell short. We raced back down to the protection of the trees and made it to camp just in time for the rain to hit. We had an afternoon of tent time— reading aloud, games, more hair braiding, before emerging from our tents for “second lunch”— summer sausage and tortillas! We all huddled under the kitchen tarp, eager for some summer sausage, and quickly fell into a game of mafia. When we tell you this group was obsessed— we mean they were OBSESSED. We played mafia together amidst the intermittent thunderstorms for the rest of the afternoon, filled with hours and hours of belly laughs and giggles. Kate was the only successful mafia after nearly 30 games! After mafia, we played more mafia, and suddenly it was almost dinner time. Aleko, helpful as always, filled our pots in the nearby stream and helped Georgia create a filling backcountry sausage, mac n’ cheese dinner. We all scarfed down our fourth meal of the day under the blue and pink sunset-filled sky. Georgia opened Moonup with a quote from our Yogi Ginger Tea tag, reminding us to leave a legacy of love behind us wherever we go. We finished moonup with a cinnamon roll hug and went to bed under some much-needed clear skies.
The next morning, we arose with the sun to get started on our journey out of the backcountry. Mac woke the group up with a slightly pitchy, but wholehearted rendition of the Star Spangled Banner— Happy 4th of July! Anna, Georgia, and Edith were the first to take their tents down and pack up, packing perfectly balanced and compressed packs as if they had been backpacking their entire lives. We cleaned camp, packed up our packs, and searched for micro-trash to leave the campsite better than we found it (LNT anyone??). Thomas led the group up and out of our campsite back along the trail to the van. About 10 minutes in, we decided to do a silent, reflective walk for the next mile or so. We separated each person in our group out by ~30 feet to begin our personal hike time and prompted each person to reflect on what they are grateful for. We also asked them to contemplate what they hope to accomplish this next year. There’s truly nothing like a “solo” hike in the woods to quiet your mind and heal your soul. The next mile took us through winding meadows, deep aspen forests littered with wildflowers, and over hill crests with the San Juan Mountains in the distance. This group FLEW back to camp, covering nearly 2.5 miles in just under an hour! With packs on back! We couldn’t believe it!
We unloaded our packs and reorganized the Uhaul before taking to the open road once again. Every good backpacking trip ends with a goooood meal in town, so we made a surprise stop in Montrose for some authentic Mexican food! With full bellies and tired eyes, we loaded back up into the van for our drive back to the Arkansas River for our last activity— rafting through the Royal Gorge! We arrived at camp just in time for a good ole fashioned 4th of July cookout. We had red, white, and blue glitter across our faces and covered our campsite with 4th of July decor! Mac grilled up some delicious burgers and dogs, while the rest of us snacked on chips, dips, and watermelon in anticipation. Kate, Molly, James, and Danny had a watermelon eating contest and James absolutely blew us out of the water! The boys ran some football plays at our campsite and Bryson held a sword-fighting tournament that gained a lot of traction. We ate our delicious burgers and then gathered under the stars for Moonup. Edith prompted us to reflect on what makes us happy— one of our favorite Moonup questions of all time. We talked about our families, friends, pups, and hobbies that bring us joy, a majority of us deciding that shared experiences and being in the presence of others is what truly makes us happy.
Just before we went to bed, some hooligans at the campsite across the street set off two massive fireworks. Although the sound was unexpected and initially terrifying, we got to see TWO fireworks go off for the 4th of July! How lucky are we! We are headed off to bed with full hearts and eager anticipation of our final activity tomorrow. We can’t wait to hit those gnarly rapids and tell you all about it!
Kate, Molly, & Mac
July 1, 2022
Hello friends & family!
We are writing to you from the open road after two epic days of exploring southern Colorado. It’s only been a few days, but we have conquered a LOT. Yesterday morning, we arose at our campsite along the Arkansas River and enjoyed a classic Moondance meal, “The Davis”, created by our close friend and leader, Davis Cowles. Bryson, James, and Georgia cut up honey crisp apples into bits, covered them in cinnamon sugar, and sautéed them in oil to make a beautiful base for our breakfast wraps. The rest is easy: tuck the apples into a warmed tortilla with peanut butter, honey, and blueberries (the secret ingredient). A breakfast for the books!
After we loaded up the U-haul and said goodbye to the Arkansas River, we peeled out to meet our ropes course and zipline guides! We started the morning with a safety briefing at the high ropes course where we learned how to clip into each obstacle and the difference between each course grade. Much like skiing, the course ranges from yellow (ie: bunny hill) to double blacks (ie: double blacks)! We all started out on Jack Rabbit and Magpie (both yellows) to get our feet wet and get used to our safety gear. The group quickly evolved to greens and blues, infiltrating the entire ropes course with Moondancers! Anna, Danny, and Thomas immediately followed the leaders to a blue course, tackling high tight ropes, trapeze moves, and wobbly ladders with ease. Edith and Aleko once again faced their fear of heights and completed every yellow and green course with a smile on their faces! We are so proud of this group for recognizing their fears and pushing through them. Everybody, albeit nervous to be suspended up high, kept a positive attitude and encouraged each other throughout the course. If anyone ever asks- this is what Moondance is all about!
We escaped from the heat for lunch before heading back out to the canyon for an afternoon of high zip lining. Our guides, Preston, Alex, and Kylie were incredible! They not only made everybody feel confident and safe on the ziplines, but they taught us about the geology of the surrounding canyon and included bits of history behind limestone mining near the Sango de Cristo mountains. Danny is without a doubt the most fearless of the group and was the first person to launch out into the canyon on our first zipline. He breezed right through it! We navigated our way across 6 different ziplines, all with their own flair and quirks. Some were long, stretching across the entire canyon, while others were pulled taught at an angle, sending us speeding down the lines at lightning speed! Our crew took each zip like a pro, lifting their feet and utilizing their hand brake techniques. Once everyone got their turn to take the leap, we thanked our guides, loaded the van, and started the journey to the Great Sand Dunes!
Our leaders of the day, Josie and Peter, accompanied us into a market to choose some refreshing van snacks and drinks to recover from the hot day. After a long drive, full of sing alongs and van naps, we reached our campsite for the night. We set up camp and took in the awe-inspiring view of the gargantuan dunes lit perfectly by the setting sun. James, Georgia, and Bryson headed up our cook crew, pumping out quesadillas for everyone to feast upon in preparation for a day in the dunes. We ended our day with a Moonup under the light of the Milky Way before everyone turned in early, ready for their 3 am wakeup call!
The next morning came quickly and with a rush of excitement and anticipation to finally hit the dunes! We piled into the van, fueled up on snacks and apples, and had an early morning jam out before reaching the mountainous dunes. The walk began deceptively flat, until we found ourselves face to face with daunting wall of sand. The elevation gained rapidly but didn’t phase our group! We marched one by one, zigzagging in our self-made switchbacks. Aleko and Danny carved their own path straight up, climbing rapidly in impatience to see the marvelous sky-high sunrise view. As the sky began to lighten and our legs grew tired, we took a break to hydrate and gain some much-needed encouragement from Lilla and Thomas, our leaders of the day. With newfound strength and inspiration, we raced up the final stretch until we reached the vast and gorgeous High Dune! At the summit, everyone laid out and watched the sun crest over the towering dunes, silently soaking in their successes and the beautiful view they achieved. Once we fully rested our legs, Thomas and Peter took the first turn on the sand boards. With speed and skill of a pro, they flew down the slopes without hesitation! The crew rushed up and down the sand hills, one by one taking the slopes head on. Bryson took to the hills boardless, tumbling and rolling down in sandy glee. Our group gathered once more at the peak for a surprise candy bar break before sprinting down the warming sands back to the van!
Once everyone emptied their boots of dune remnants, we went back to camp to make a hearty chocolate chip and blueberry pancake breakfast. We filled up on cakes and packed up camp before hitting the road once again, this time with the San Juan Mountains in mind. As we drove, we left the deserts behind and watched the mountains grow and grow, until they surrounded us. Halfway into the drive we took a quick pit stop in Durango to grab some burgers, ice cream, and souvenirs of our epic Colorado adventure. Our route continued reaching towards to sky until we were driving on roads nestled in the San Juans. We travelled through the green tunnels of the blooming aspen trees and swirled through the winding scenic roadways towards our campsite for the night. Right now, we are headed to our campsite within the gorgeous San Juans to prepare for an exciting day of backpacking tomorrow!
Kate, Mac, + Molly
Hey mom and dad today we woke up at three in the morning to hike up to the sand dunes it was hard but totally worth it when we saw the beautiful sun rise and got to surf and slide down the dunes thank you so much for letting me go on this trip it’s been an amazing experience and I’ve met so many new friends who are all super nice and fun.
Hey mother and father. Thank you for sending me away to Colorado all by myself to make new friends and hangout with an old one. Everyone is so nice. Today we woke up at 2 in the morning and then made or way to the sand dunes. Yesterday we went to the ropes course and me and Georgia flew through four of them.
Hey mom and dad. Thank you so much for sending me on this awesome trip. It is so much fun and I am having a great time. We woke up at 3 in the morning today to go to the sand dunes. It was a lot of fun. The zip lining and ropes course was also really fun. Love you
Hi it’s Georgia thank you so much for sending me to Moondance I’m having so much fun we have gone rafting rock climbing ziplining and we went to the sand dunes this morning. Love you
Hi Fam! I have had so much fun on this trip so thanks for letting me go and being so supportive, I have made so many great experiences and memories and I am so happy that I am here. We are halfway there, one more week till the end of camp!
Love you guys!
Hi Family! This trip has been one of the best experiences for me. We have so much fun camping around. We are starting to backpack for four days tomorrow. Then we raft again. I am so excited to see everyone one again. Only one more week! Miss everyone so much!
Hi Mom & Dad,
Moondance is really fun. Thank you guys so much for paying for all the stuff on this trip and buying me all the gear. We are going to start backpacking tomorrow, and today we went to the sand dunes. I’ll see you guys in a week, Love you!
Hey fam! Having so much fun at Moondance and I am so thankful to be here! Today was a bit of a rough morning because we woke up at 3 AM and hiked three miles worth of sand dunes (it was worth it). We have 4 days of backpacking ahead. Love y’all!! Xo, Lilla
Hey family, Moondance has been so fun and thanks so much for letting me go. Today was crazy we woke up at 3AM to go hike miles at the sand dunes even though it was really hard to get there in the sand it was worth it for the sunrise and to sled on the sand boards.Love y’all
Hey guys it has already been a week and it is has been so fun. I have met so many new people and it has been amazing today we woke up at 3 am to go see the sunrise at the sand dunes. I’ve had a really fun time here I can’t wait to see u guys. Love y’all
June 29, 2022
Bon Voyage Brown’s Canyon! We’ve just wrapped up our second day of rafting on the beautiful Arkansas River and have so many stories to tell!
We began our day of adventure with a breakfast of hashbrowns and cheese grits before heading out on our white-water rafting journey. We traveled to meet up with our awesome guides, got geared up and fitted for wet suits, then headed out on the water! While the water was cold, we hopped in our boats with excitement and anticipation. As we drifted from shore, the clouds parted, and the sun began shining on the vast granite walls of Brown’s Canyon. The water started calm, allowing everyone to take in the view and acclimate to the chilly waters. Slowly, the water grew faster, rapids grew bigger, and everyone’s excitement increased! Our leaders of the day, Ella and Daniel, led our group through several wicked class II and class III rapids. Bryson and Thomas took the lead at the front of our first raft, heading through several tough rapids such as the Silver Bullet, Frog Rock, and House Rock. The boats whipped and dipped, splashing our crew from every angle. Once we all got a taste of the chilling waters, we settled down for a hearty lunch. Everyone fueled up and dried off on the shore before heading to new rapids! With James, Peter, Georgia, and Anna on the front of the rafts, we continued our trip down through the rushing waters. Periods of calm water were filled with entertaining and mind-boggling riddles, quickly solved by Thomas! When our two boats neared, Peter and James led Viking like rowing calls to catch up to all the girls. Before too long, everyone, arms tired and rosy cheeked, drifted onto the shore of our beautiful riverside campsite. After we settled into camp, we had a lesson on the 7 “Leave No Trace” principles and everyone learned how to limit their impact on the places we visit throughout the trip. Anna was quick to learn and memorize the principles by heart! We have already begun to see these principles implemented within our group and we couldn’t be prouder! Dinner was another pasta feast with caesar salad and delicious brownies for dessert. The boys pitched in to do dishes before heading to shore for Moonup by the river. Our leaders of the day prompted our group to think about how to make the days count! After discussions of gratitude, intentionality, and spontaneity, our crew hit the hay pumped for another day of rafting!
The next morning, we arose to the sounds of rushing water and smells of warm breakfast. Our crew shook off the morning dew and filled their bellies in preparation for the amazing rapids ahead. The river didn’t hold back, sending us down the Zoom Flume straight out the gate! Everyone, soaked and stoked, was giddy in anticipation of what else the river had in store. Anna and Georgia headed the boat, taking all the hard hits with ease. With new expertise, our group glided through class III rapids, like the stomach-dropping staircase and intimidating Widowmaker. As we approached our last rapid of the day, Twin Falls, everyone was ecstatic but sad to leave the gorgeous Brown’s Canyon. As the boat tipped and toppled over the daunting falls, managed to be our anchor and kept her row safe and sound in the raft due to her foot hold. We drifted back to land for a quick lunch break. Everyone took a moment to shake off their sea legs before grabbing a bite and heading back to our trusty van. After de-gearing and grabbing some ice cream to cool off, the crew hopped in the shower to wash off the river. Once everyone was clean and refreshed, we returned to our campsite to settle in for the afternoon. At camp, we got the chance to rest and relax after working so hard on the rafts. Georgia opened up her salon and braided all the girl’s hair. Mac led a fly-fishing tutorial down by the river, while Lilla choreographed an elaborate dance for our group. Aleko put on his chefs hat and led our cook crew in creating a magnificent stir fry. He told stories of his past culinary creations to entertain his fellow chefs and inspire future dishes. Once everyone was stuffed to the brim, James and Georgia led a Moonup under the stars. We all got the chance to reflect on our favorite parts of rafting, recounting the stories and memories made in the two short days. Everyone is now snuggled up in their sleeping bag, dreaming about the epic day of ropes course and ziplines ahead!
Molly, Mac and Kate
Aleko: Hey Family -I am having so much fun out here! I hope you guys are too. I just wanted to let you guys know that I miss you so much. I can’t wait to see you guys and baby Kleio. So far, I have loved rock climbing and white water rafting. Have fun! I miss you guys.
Josie: Hi mom and dad I’m having so much fun rafting even though I almost fell out and rock climbing I have been having a blast and making a bunch of new friends the cooking is so good that it turned me into a meat eater I’m no longer a vegetarian! Can’t wait to see y’all!
Georgia: Hi it’s Georgia I’m having so much fun here and I really liked rafting. I have made a lot of new friends and Molly has been braiding my hair every day I’ve been braiding everyone else’s I miss you can’t wait to see you. PS: read Lilla’s PS
Lilla: Hey fam it’s Lilla been having so much fun rock climbing and whitewater rafting! New flex is that I cracked and scrambled 24 eggs in one sitting and they actually tasted good. Can’t wait to see y’all! PS: Dad have you worked with Amy Ryan (Georgia’s Mom) if you haven’t then request to so Georgia and I can see each other on set
Edith: Hi Family! I’ve been having so much fun on all the adventures we have been on! We white water rafted today then drove to our campsite and are cooking dinner. I miss y’all and can’t wait to see you guys!
Anna: Hey it’s me! I have been having the best time. I sat in the front of the raft when we were on a class 3 rapid. We have a lot of fun games that we play like Black Jack and rat slap. I am so excited to see Buddy and Emma. Miss y’all!
Ella: Hey guys! I have been having so much fun here. The rock climbing was really cool and the rafting was so fun. We stayed a night with the other group and I got to hangout with Grace and meet all of her new friends. Can’t wait to see you guys soon. Love you!
Danny: Hey family, it’s a lot of fun here, we have 3 counselors, Mac, molly, and kate. We’ve rock climbed and been white water rafting! The white water rafting was really fun, but we’re going to zip lining tomorrow. I’m getting a mullet I think! Tell the boys I said it’s really fun, same with Bridie. Love y’all
Peter: Hey guys, it’s been awesome here, We have been rock climbing and white water rafting and me and Tatum almost went overboard while rafting. We have three counselors Mac, Molly, and Kate and Mac is a Phi Delt at smu and I’m pretty sure dad was too. I can’t wait to see you guys. Love y’all!
James: Hey family it’s been amazing here we have gone rock climbing and we have also gone white water rafting me and Peter Almost fell off the raft. Our counselors have been great we have three Mac Kate and Molly. I can’t wait to see you guys. Love y’all
Thomas: Hey family we are having lots of fun. We were white water rafting today and zip lining tomorrow. The water was really cold but we had a lot of fun. The counselors are great and we are all having lots of fun. I hope that you and the dogs are good. Love you both
Bryson: Hey family, Moondance is so fun so far. I’ve gotten pretty well with most of the people here. We’ve been rock climbing and white water rafting so far. Both were so fun. The food is great and the counselors are really nice. It’s so fun to meet new people. Love you!
June 27, 2022
COT 2B Trip Update #1
Hello from the Colorado Trail! We are writing to you from our riverside campsite, nestled among the tall granite walls of southern Colorado. It has only been 48 hours since we met in the airport, but we have SO much to tell you!
On Airport Day we were giddy with excitement to rally our new crew and begin our journey across Colorado. One by one, our group grew and grew, everyone pumped for the adventure ahead. Once everyone had safely arrived, we piled into the van and set off to our first campsite! The drive was long but flew by with gorgeous views of the towering mountains and wide, open meadows. Before we knew it, we made it to our campsite rested in valley surrounded by beautiful red buttes. We filled our bellies with pizza and had a tent tutorial to learn how to set up our homes for the next two weeks! We ended our day with our first moonup of our trip to bring closure and reflect on our day. We pondered our trip goals and filled the nug jug with expressions of gratitude. After looking up and gazing in awe of the bright Milky Way, our crew headed to bed, giddy in anticipation of the epic climbing day ahead!
The next morning, we woke to the sun peering over the adjacent buttes. Everyone slowly arose to the smell of eggs and sausage and prepared for an adventurous day of climbing! Warm and full, we loaded into the van and headed to Taylor Canyon. The roads grew windy, and the canyon grew tall as we made our way. Once we arrived, our guides fitted us with all the proper gear, and we headed to the walls! Bryson was the first to volunteer to face the daunting wall, not hesitating to start on the hardest route! He hooked in and climbed with the grace and speed of a pro! Once Bryson set the pace, everyone zoomed up the wall, challenging their abilities and soaking in the view of the canyon. After everyone got their fair share of exploring the routes, we headed to a riverside lunch spot to munch on some sammies and snacks. After lunch, our sweet tooths got the best of us and we stopped through Crested Butte to grab some ice cream! Once everyone was stuffed to the brim, we went back to camp for some well-deserved rest. Laying in the sun, braiding hair, and sharing stories got our group heated up and hungry for a dip in the lake. We took a quick trip to the rocky shore to test the waters and skip some rocks. Danny was the first to take the leap of faith and jump straight into the chilling water! Anna followed quickly behind, jumping in and searching around for the best jump off point. Everyone followed suit, one by one taking the jump without any hesitation! Once everyone got the chance to cool off, we made our way back to camp to set up our kitchen for a fajita dinner. Thomas led our cook crew, showing off his culinary creativity and expertise. The group feasted on some fajita bowls and prepared for a star lit Moonup. In Moonup, leaders of the the day prompted our group to reflect on our favorite part of the day. Some said the chilling lake dip, some the refreshing ice cream stop, and others the time they had to bond and get to know each other. After a thoughtful and giggle filled Moonup, we hopped into our sleeping bags, excited for the challenges of a new climbing wall!
This morning, we woke up to a delicious bagel, egg, and cheese breakfast created by Danny, Peter, Ella. We packed up camp and took to the road for a second day of climbing! We traveled up the canyon to climb on a new type of granite that had a rough and gritty surface- perfect for climbing. Aleko and Bryson were quick to jump on the wall, tackling some of the hardest routes available, and didn’t stop for hours. Aleko ultimately climbed 10 routes by the end of the day! Josie and Georgia were also incredible climbers. They even had a race to the top of the rock wall, stopping for a quick “vogue” photoshoot on the way down. We can’t wait to share the pictures with y’all! We were so proud of everyone for facing their fears today and trying something new. Climbing can be incredibly intimidating, but our group absolutely rocked it! One of our favorite moments of the day came toward the end of the afternoon when Edith decided she would conquer her fear of heights and try out one of the climbs. After a bit of encouragement from the group and a surge of confidence, Edith climbed all the way to the top of the wall! We were so proud and even decided we would do a fun dessert tonight to celebrate Edith’s bravery.
After a lunch buffet on the granite outcrop, we thanked our guides and piled back into the van, eager to start the next section of the trip: rafting! We drove to our next campsite along the Arkansas river, the body of water that we will call home for the next few days. Immediately upon arriving to camp, just as we were setting up our tents, the sky opened up and rain started to pour down! It was a mad scramble to get everyone’s tents up with their rain covers on, but this group conquered it with ease! We were very impressed with everybody’s ability to remain cool and collected, even in moments of adversity. For the rest of the afternoon, we hunkered down in our tents and under tarps until the rain let up a little bit. Lilla and Ella led the rest of the girls in a choreographed dance while Peter and James led the boys down to the river to explore the bank. Our cook crew made up a delicious and comforting meal of spaghetti with veggies and summer sausage to warm us up. It was just what we needed! After dinner, as promised, we made fried pancake batter Oreos for dessert!
Tonight’s Moonup was led by our Leaders of the Day, Bryson, and Anna. All huddled under the rain tarp, we went around the circle and said the word we would choose to describe ourselves. We ended the night with a quick group meditation before heading back to our tents for a good night’s sleep before rafting tomorrow. OH, and we should be getting a visit from the tooth fairy tonight- Peter lost two teeth today!
With a whole lotta love,
Molly, Kate,and Mac
June 24, 2022
Hello Colorado Trail Families!
The whole group arrived safely in Denver today and is on their way to their first campsite. We have heard from our leaders this afternoon 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