July 2, 2022
Since checking in last, the group has been through some incredible adventures here in Croatia. After completing our backpacking section in Paklenica National Park, we have come down from the mountain with sore legs, dirty clothes, and some incredible memories, which we will attempt to share with you all below. Our backpacking section began with a 4-mile incline trek to our mountain hut. While this hike presented some challenges with intense inclines early on, Kennedy kept the group pumped up with her positive energy on the trail. After hiking all the way to the top, we were greeted with open arms by the owner of the mountain hut, Mario. There, we enjoyed a traditional Croatian dish, hot peka, for dinner. Crawford raved about this dish, and was the first to join the clean plate club.
The next morning, we headed out for a day hike to a peak nearby. This hike brought even more of a challenge, as we faced even more incline on our already sore legs. However, Sawyer and Sophie set the pace in the front of the pack and kept us going all the way to the top. At the peak, we enjoyed some classic PB and Js, per Caroline’s request, and took in the views of the mountains and the Adriatic. After that, we spent the rest of the day hiking back down to our mountain hut, and were greeted with a delicious meal of bean soup, another Croatian specialty, prepared by Mario. The next morning we woke up bright and early to celebrate Adriana’s birthday! We woke her up with pancakes and whipped cream, a rarity that we snuck up to the mountain hut, and all fueled up for our big day ahead.
We hiked down from Mario’s and tackled our next adventure: rock climbing. Morgan stepped up first and absolutely dominated on the wall, getting to the top with no problem. Next up, Evelyn harnessed up and, although hesitant to try it at first, made it all the way to the top in no time. In fact, each and every one of us made it to the top of the wall – the guides were quite impressed. This is an athletic bunch we have! After tiring our bodies out from hiking and rock climbing, we headed to a local climbers’ spot for lunch then headed to our hostel right on the Adriatic and enjoyed an afternoon swim. Here, Max was quick to find an inflatable tube that we could all float around on. After swimming, we had a surprise party for Adriana at a local pizza spot. We had such a fun time celebrating her, and may have exposed ourselves as foreigners after tossing around balloons and blowing birthday horns throughout the meal. We finished the day with an incredible Moonup right on the shore of the Adriatic.
Today, we woke up early and headed to our next adventure: kayaking on the Zrmanja River. The wind was whipping throughout our time on the river, but the kids stayed positive and powered through it. Tyler kept the group energized and focused all day. Sally Taylor proved her kayaking abilities by staying in the front of the pack all day. This kayak ended at our campsite right on the river, where we settled in for the night. Upon arrival, Thomas led the pack to an ice cream stand he found, and we all enjoyed some cold treats. That was just what we needed after our hot day on the river! This trip is flying by for all of us. It’s crazy to think we met as a group just one week ago. We have loved getting to know everyone in our group, and are excited for our next adventures!
We have some shout-outs from the group posted below!
Sumpter and Mary Clarke
Hey y’all! I’ve been having a super fun week in Croatia. I miss y’all and I’ll see you soon. Also, can u please make me a hair appointment w Shane. -Kennedy
Hi Mom and Dad! I have had so much fun in Croatia. I also had a nice birthday but can’t wait to see you. Love ya. -Adriana
Hey y’all! I’ve been having a blast in Croatia. I miss y’all so much and cannot way to see y’all! I also would love to have a hair appointment scheduled with Eleanor. – ST
Hello Mom and Dad. I have been having a lot of fun in Croatia!!! I can’t wait to see you guys!!!!!!!!! Miss u all – CAROLINE
Hey parents! Croatia is really awesome! I miss y’all and can’t wait to see y’all in just a few days! Love y’all!! – TG
Hey Mom and Dad. I have been having tons of fun in Croatia. It has been awesome! I miss y’all so much and can’t wait to see you soon. Love y’all!-Max
Hey y’all! I am having so much fun in Croatia! I miss y’all and can’t wait to see you when I get home. I miss y’all! -Tyler
Hey momma and Dad, Croatia’s been really fun and like nothing I’ve ever seen. Can’t wait to tell you all about it when I get back home. Miss y’all and love you so much! -Sophie
Hi Mother and Father, I miss you guys so so much. I’m having so much fun here. I can’t wait to get home and tell you all about it and give you the biggest hugs. I hope the family has the best fourth, I’m sad I’m missing it and seeing everyone. I love you guys!! Ps. Tell the brothers I miss them too. -Evelyn <3
Hey Mom and Dad! I miss y’all so much and can’t wait to see everybody! I hope the beach was tons of fun, tell everyone I say hi!! Hey Stella! Miss you so much you are gonna love this trip!! Definitely no bears thankfully !!-Morgan
Hey Mom and Dad. I am having so much fun in Croatia. It has been awesome. I miss y’all and can’t wait to see you soon. I hope the 4th is good. Love yuh.-Crawford
Hey Mom and Dad, I am having a wonderful time and time is flying by. There are some of the most craziest views I have ever seen. I can’t wait to tell y’all more about it. Sad that I can’t be there for the 4th but invite the guy with the fireworks to the farm. See you soon.-Sawyer
June 27, 2022
Greetings from Croatia!
After two long days of travel, our group finally arrived in Zagreb, ready to see what Croatia has to offer. Most people flew in on the group flight, but our team wasn’t complete until we met up with Crawford, ST, Adriana, and Caroline at the Zagreb airport. Here, we bonded over some hacky sack games and local Croatian snacks, then headed off to our first campsite: a serene spot by the river.
Something everyone noticed very quickly about Croatia is the heat. In fact, Croatia is actually experiencing a heat wave right now that is supposed to last for the full week. So, upon first arrival to our riverside campsite, the whole group headed right to the river for a refreshing dip in the water. In fact, Sawyer even quickly found a rope swing on the side of the river that made for a much more fun and interesting entrance into the water. Morgan gave Sawyer a run for his money on the rope swing, mastering the perfectly timed release into the water. After swimming and hanging out, we had our first real meal, a delicious dish of spaghetti. At dinner, Adriana kept everyone laughing with her hilarious stories and peppy attitude. After dinner, Sawyer, Sophie, and Sumpter went on a post dinner river swim. Then, we had our first Moonup under the stars, and headed to our tents for some much-needed rest after all of our travel.
The next day, we woke up early and headed out to our first adventure: kayaking the Mreznica River. Our first Leaders of the Day, Tyler and Sophie, were a power duo in their kayak, showing everyone how it is done. Caroline also showed off her athleticism in the kayaks, dominating all the small waterfalls we went down. However, parts of the river got pretty chill and slow, so Kennedy acted as our cheerleader, keeping everyone pumped up and engaged in the kayaking. After kayaking, we had a nice riverside lunch where we took our kayaks out and then headed back to our campsite. Here, ST pulled out her friendship bracelet string, and some of us began crafting some anklets and bracelets for each other. Evelyn helped the group bond with ice breaker questions and good conversations. We had another delicious meal at camp and had our second Moonup under the stars, followed by some tunes on the guitar.
The next morning, we woke up ready to tackle our second day of kayaking. This time, we went down the upper part of the Mreznica river, which has a lot more rapids and waterfalls. Our previous kayaking day on the lower part of the river prepared us well for this next activity. We suited up in our life jackets and helmets and headed down to the river. And this river did not disappoint with the waterfalls it provided. Within 10 minutes of getting on the river, we found ourselves jumping off a waterfall into some cold, but very refreshing, water. Crawford took this cold water like a champ, even though he might have found himself in it more than he wanted to. After going down multiple waterfalls and rapids, we finished our final day of kayaking the Mreznica, and headed to our next campsite: some quaint bungalows on the mountainside.
On the way to camp, we stopped at a local mall to shop for some necessities. Here, Max led the charge in the search for pillows, something the kids were greatly missing in our first two nights at camp. But don’t worry, Max was successful in his search, and some of the boys may or may not be returning with some white plush pillows.
When we got to our bungalows, Thomas and Nino (our local guide) led a search for a water hole to swim in. Although the rest of the group, who went a different way, couldn’t find it, Thomas, Nino, and Mary Clarke enjoyed a nice dip in a secret watering hole a short walk from our bungalows. After that, the group headed to dinner at the campsite restaurant, then did an early Moonup and headed to the bungalows. The kids were pleasantly surprised when they discovered they would be sleeping in real beds inside the bungalows.
We had so much fun with our first Croatian adventure, and are looking forward to our next section, hiking in the mountains. It’s crazy to think that this group met only 3 days ago. We are already bonding together as a team, and this next section will bond us even more. Check back later!
Bok (Croatian for Hello/Goodbye),Sumpter and Mary Clarke
June 25, 2022
Hello Croatia Families!
The whole group arrived safely in Zagreb today and is on their way to their first lodging site. We have heard from our leaders 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