July 23, 2022
Greetings from the Paris airport!
The vibes are very bittersweet as we sit at our gate in Paris waiting for our flight to the USA to depart. After 2 amazing weeks together, we are leaving this incredible place with lifelong friends, unforgettable memories, and a new family of 14. Below we will try to show you just how amazing this group and this trip has been.
A few days ago, we headed to Mjlet Island for the final section of our trip. This remote island off the coast of Dubrovnik was the perfect place to end our journeys together. On the ferry over from Dubrovnik, the Charlie’s made the most of the ferry snack bar, making sure to get in as many cappuccinos as possible before we landed on the island. When we got to the island, we headed right to our campsite and set up camp. We found a great spot for Enos, and Turner helped everyone get their Eno set up in the Eno village. Then, we elected cook crews, and made dinner for ourselves. Hill was a beast in the kitchen, and prepared his grilled chicken to perfection. We all enjoyed our first island meal together and then had a Moonup under the stars with a view of the Adriatic.
On our first full day on the island, we headed to the National Park section of the island to hike around the salt lakes. We began by hiking up to a peak with views of the coast of Croatia. Mason kept the group energized on the hike up, as we were facing some steep incline and intense heat. Up at the peak, Louisa whipped out her camera and got some incredible shots of the group. Then after exhausting our bodies from the hike in the hot sun, we headed down to jump into the lakes. After our hike back down, the dynamic duo of the Charlie’s led the pack to a fun spot to swim around and cool off. We spent the afternoon exploring these lakes and soaking in the salt and sun.
On our second day on Mljet, we woke up bright and early to head to a fan-favorite activity: sea kayaking. We met our guide at his house right on the water and hopped into the kayaks. Sibyl and Turner were a power duo in the kayak, showing everyone how it’s done. First, we went to a snorkel spot where we saw tons of cool fish and underwater nature. Then, we headed to a small island and hiked to the top of it, where the kids were surprised with the opportunity to rappel down it. Although unexpected, the kids were immediately ready for the challenge, and all quickly strapped into their harnesses and helmets. Stella expressed that she was a little nervous to try this rappelling at first but ended up being one of the first to go, and set an example for the rest of us on how to perfectly get down that wall. At the bottom we swam around until everyone came down, then headed back to our kayaking guide’s house for a delicious homemade lunch. That afternoon, we found an amazing cliff jumping spot at what is referred to as Pirate’s Cove, a swimming spot near our campsite. Ben and Addie absolutely loved this activity, climbing up all sorts of rocks to find the perfect jumping spot.
On our final full day together, we woke up early to ferry back to Dubrovnik and go explore Old Town Dubrovnik. We walked around the walls of the city with some incredible views of the architecture in the city and the coastline. After that, we headed into the city to do some souvenir shopping. Sophie and Connally were pumped to finally be able to hit some shops and made the most of their shopping times. Then we had our final banquet dinner at a delicious restaurant right in the middle of Old Town Dubrovnik. Here, we reminisced on the times we had together, and dreaded the fact that we all had to go separate ways the next day. The sounds of laughter and pure joy that we shared with each other during this meal may have disrupted some people passing by, but for us they were moments we will never forget.
It’s hard to believe that we have been together for only 12 days. As we sit here in the Paris airport, we can all look around and say we have made 13 new best friends. We are soaking up every last minute together and trying to forget the fact that we will all be in different cities in just a few hours. We want to thank you all for sharing your amazing children with us – we have had an absolute blast with them these past 2 weeks. Off to America we go! To the kids of CRO 3A – we love y’all, and we will never forget y’all. Keep in touch!
Checking out one last time,
Sumpter and Mary Clarke
July 19, 2022
Greetings Croatia 3A friends and family!
We hope things are well back in the USA. Over here across the pond, we have been conquering all sorts of adventure! Since checking in last, our group has spent 4 days in the Velebit Mountain range, and 1 day kayaking the Zrmanja river.
Our backpacking section started off with a hike up to what we called base camp, a mountain hut located in a valley of the Velebit Mountains. On our hike up, we were facing some intense heat and steep incline, but the group stayed positive. What made this hike better was the fact that it was Stella’s birthday, so we were all in celebratory moods! Ben showed his athleticism by sticking to the front of the pack and keeping everyone motivated. When we arrived at our hut, we had a delicious Croatian specialty dish called hot peka. Turner helped prepare this dish with the owner of the hut, and everyone loved the meal so much that we all joined the clean plate club! After dinner, we celebrated Stella’s 16th with a delicious tiramisu cake prepared by the owner of the mountain hut.
The next morning we woke up bright and early to head out on a day hike. We hiked to a small peak near our hut where we had lunch with a view. Here, Mason impressed us all by weaving a deer sculpture out of grass. Addie engaged everyone in some great trail conversations, making sure she got everyone to describe their ideal summer days. After our day hike, we headed down to a natural pool near our mountain hut, and all enjoyed a nice dip in the chilly water. After this dip, Louisa led the girls to a tanning session to heat back up. Back at the hut, Charlie S headed out to explore around the mountain hut and was able to find some fresh cherries we could all try. He brought them back to the mountain hut and added them as a side dish to our dinner. After dinner, Sophie got everyone in on a game of Spit, our group’s new favorite card game. Then we ended the day with a Moonup under the stars.
The next morning, we woke up for our biggest hike yet: the Golić peak. We hiked up some very steep incline for a few hours, but it was all worth it when we made it to the top. This peak had amazing views of the Velebit mountain range, along with the Adriatic Sea in the distance. Charlie H and Hill showed their appreciation of this view by performing a dance battle at the peak. Hill sung and danced to I Like It by Cardi B, and Charlie H impressed all of us by dancing to and singing every lyric of Firework by Katy Perry. We all enjoyed these incredible views, both of the mountain range and of the hilarious dance battle. After taking in the views, we headed back to the mountain hut for dinner and Moonup.
After some amazing memories up in the mountains, we headed down to do some rock climbing at the base of Paklenica National Park. Sibyl impressed us all by getting to the top of the wall in no time. Next up, Connally, although hesitant to try it at first, showed us her skills by making it triple the distance she predicted for herself. After rock climbing, we stopped for lunch at a local climber’s spot then headed to the Adriatic for some beach time.
After working out our legs in the hiking section, we took the workout to the upper body in our most recent adventure: kayaking the Zrmanja river. This river presented a new challenge, with strong winds coming down from the mountain that were going against our kayaks. However, we were able to grind through, and see some incredible waterfalls while doing so. This kayak trip ended at our next campsite, a serene spot right on the river.
Time is flying by over here in Croatia! We are absolutely loving this group and the challenges we have conquered together. We can’t wait for our next adventures! We have posted some shout-outs from the group below!
Sumpter and Mary Clarke
Sibyl- hey mom Allen and Elizabeth, love and miss y’all so much! I’m having the best time! Can’t wait to see yall and booP.s. E don’t forget to pick me up from the airport
Connally- I am having such a fun time and this place is so beautiful! I can’t wait to see y’all in a week and I love y’all so much! P.S please book me a massage for when I get back…
Stella – Hey! Having the best time and Croatia!! Love and Miss y’all so much and happy birthday mom!! Hey morg! Miss you having so much fun and you were right haven’t seen any bears!
Louisa – I miss yall! I am having fun in Croatia. It is so nice and warm. I am very sore from our backpacking section. I cant wait to see yall and tell y’all all about it! Tell carol and Charlie I say hi
Charlie H – Hello say hi to daisy for me. Miss y’all
Charlie S- Hey, please keep Winston out of my room. Miss yall
Addie- miss the fam! Love y’all and I am having lots of fun. Don’t cry mom!
Sophie- Hey!! Miss and love you all a lot. Happy birthday mom!!!
Hill- Hey guys! Miss y’all! Hope Henry and Bear are doing good! We’re having such an amazing time out here! Cant wait for the lake when I’m back with the Degrace’s! Love y’all!
Turner- hey y’all! Miss y’all. Having a lot of fun in Croatia. Love y’all!!!
Benjamin – I love you all! Having a great time. Hope Kirk is having a good time in British Columbia and I hope DS had a great time in Tennessee for her horse-show. P.S. – broke my hammock and sunglasses.
Mason- hello people of the Dozier family, the trip is fun and I am having a good time and I hope y’all are having a good time at the open.
July 14, 2022
Bok (Hello) from Croatia!
What’s up CRO 3A friends and families!? We hope all is well back in the motherland. For us, the Croatian adventures have just begun! Since arriving in Zagreb just a few days ago, our group has tackled all sorts of fun expeditions. Upon arriving at our first campsite, the kids immediately created an Eno village to hang out in. Hill led the charge, helping everyone get their Enos into the right place. Mason was the director of the operation, as he climbed into the nearest tree to get the best vantage point. Turner was the generator of all of our ice breaker conversations, always asking entertaining questions for everyone in the group to answer. After hanging out for a little and having our first group dinner and Moonup, we headed to bed for some much needed rest after 2 days of travel.
Our first day of real activities started with a day of kayaking on the Mreznica River. On the way to this river, Louisa got the whole group pumped up by queuing up some fan favorite songs in the van. This river was full of thrilling waterfalls and some icy cold water. Ben and Sibyl were our first Leaders of the Day (LOD) and showed everyone how it was done in their LOD kayak. We rode down tons of cool waterfalls in our kayaks and jumped off the waterfalls that were too tall to kayak down. Addie impressed everyone with her entertaining jumps off all of the waterfalls. When we got towards the end of the river, the water got a great amount colder because we entered a more covered canyon. We all could feel just how icy cold the water was by putting our pinky fingers in, which was enough for most of us. However, not even 5 minutes after entering this part of the river, Connally jumped right off the side of her kayak to experience the all natural polar plunge. This motivated Sumpter, Mary Clarke, Sibyl, and Ben to then do the same. We all had such a fun time on this river!
The next day, we headed to Plitvice National Park to walk around the incredible lakes and waterfalls. The hike started with a view of one of the biggest waterfalls in Croatia, with which we were able to get up close and personal. Stella led the group right up to the edge of it and got everyone together for some group photos. Charlie and Charlie, aka the Charlies, proved their hiking abilities by staying in the front of the group for the whole walk. And, on top of their athletic prowess, they also showed off their funny sides, keeping the group laughing all day. Sophie nominated herself as the queen of the caboose of the group, hanging back and engaging everyone in great conversations throughout our hike. After we finished hiking, we headed to our next campsite, some bungalows in the mountains.
We are absolutely loving this group and the times we have spent together so far. Tomorrow we are off to our next activity – some trekking in Paklenica National Park! The kids are nervous but excited about this section, and we know they will all love it! We will check back after our mountain adventuring.
Mary Clarke and Sumpter
July 11, 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