July 23, 2022
Howdy Friends and Family!!!
At this time, everyone has made it home safe and sound! Hopefully the stories have began to flow, as your child reminisce on the amazing time we had. To wrap up our trip, let Patrick and I fill you in on our last couple days of the trip.
Last we spoke, we just finished up trekking to Aguas Calientes! We had some delicious American food for dinner and went to bed early for our Machu Picchu Adventure. The next morning, we woke up bright and early to surprise Jake for his birthday! Then, we gobbled up some eggs and croissants before we made our way to the Wonder of the World. Adeline and Alexa were giggling as we walked into the park. Our guide walked us in, and we were welcomed with an epic view of Machu Picchu! Alex and Luke made sure to be at the front so they could absorb all the information the guide was telling us. We learned all about the Incas and how they lived 600 years ago. We finally turned a corner in some of the Incan alleys and were surprised to see so many Alpacas! Mac and Bryson gasped with excitement, and we snapped some awesome photos of the cute animals! We finally reached the top of the tour, where we found the best view of the lost city. Zoe and Abigail hosted an epic photo shoot and are so excited to share some of these photos with you soon! We concluded our tour with some peaceful reflection as we sat and gazed at the beautiful view.
We finally made our way down the mountain and wandered around the town before lunch. We ate some snacks and hung out i the plaza of Aguas Calientes. Kee made sure to start some awesome card games, while Sophia took a quick cat nap and caught some sunshine in the grass. After some exploring, we made our way to lunch where we enjoyed some traditional Peruvian dishes like Ceviche, Lomo Saltado, and Huancaína. The Lomo Saltado is a hit! At lunch, we surprised Jake with a chocolate-Oreo birthday cake and a mariachi band! We sang happy birthday from the balcony and all enjoyed some sweet treats. Once we finished up lunch, we made our way to the train station.
We somberly said goodbye to Aguas Calientes, Machu Picchu, and the official end to our trekking section. Then, we boarded the Peru Rail and made our way to Ollaytantambo. Some rested on the train, others played games, and Lance entertained the group with some lively conversation! We all enjoyed the hum of the railroad while we watched the mountains pass by through the window. Once we arrived to Ollaytantambo, we quickly hopped onto the bus and made our way all the way to Cuzco!
In Cuzco, we enjoyed a delicious dinner at our favorite restaurant: El Fuego Burger Bar where we had some comfort food. Our hearts and bellies were full, and our table conversations were full of laughter and stories. We walked through the town square under the Peruvian stars and made our way back to our hostel. We all gathered together to host Final Moonup and we had the opportunity to reflect on the entire trip. Matthew and others had some insightful answers and shared their favorite moments throughout the trip. After Moonup, we climbed into our cozy beds and got some much needed rest after an action-packed two weeks.
The next morning, we woke up late! We gobbled up some eggs, bread, granola and fruit and then made our way to the markets. We shopped around some local vendors, some students even practiced their bartering! Whether it was chocolate, bracelets, or silly hats—we all had so much fun shopping in the markets and cannot to share our gifts with you! Once we finished our shopping spree, we walked to a local Italian restaurant in the town square. WOW was our pasta and pizza amazing! We had some awesome table conversation and ate our delicious Italian dishes, as it was our last meal as a full group. After lunch, we surprised your kids with some ice cream! We got to build our own flavors and pick our own toppings, and we had an epic coloring competition while we waited for our dessert.
Once we finished up our afternoon in Cuzco, we made our way to the airport where we would begin our journey home. At the airport gate, we played games, ate some snacks, and laughed together. Then, we all boarded the plane and made our way to Lima. It was all smooth sailing, until we landed and we had to say our first set of goodbyes: Zoe and Jake were continuing on home that night. We had one final group hug at baggage claim, and then watched as Zoe and Jake made their way towards their gates. The rest of the group travelled to the Hotel-Motel-Holiday Inn, where we were welcomed with warm showers and cozy beds! The kids were so excited to have an evening of room service! To no surprise— we ordered 13 chicken tenders and french fries, and we gobbled up every bit of our dinners. We all climbed into bed, and got some rest before our big travel day tomorrow.
Which brings me to today! We hope everything is well at home and we cannot wait to keep in touch with this awesome bunch.
Much love and see you soon!
Patrick and Lily
July 20, 2022
Hey there friends and family!
Patrick and Lily here writing to you from our cozy hostel in Aguas Calientes. We only have one more night of sleep before we visit Machu Picchu!
Our trekking section of the trip was full of exciting conversation, incredible views and sights, and as always a lot of laughter along the way. Our first day of trekking began with some unexpected rain which may have caused us to turn back before making it to the lake, but have us a lot of time and opportunities to get to know each other with warm hot chocolate and tea. Luke proved to have the best poker face during our games of “Bologna Sandwich” Zoe and Jake provided phenomenal questions during our rounds of “hot seat” which brought us all closer together as a group. After a delicious meal of fish, yams and rice, we slept soundly on the mountainside with a gorgeous array of stars overhead.
For our second day of the trek, we began the trek over and across the Salkantay pass. Abigail set an amazing pace as we made our way up to the pass. Despite some high winds and light rain on the way up, our spirits didn’t never wavered and each moondance student successfully made it to the top of the pass! Mac especially made sure that there was never a dull moment along the trail, as he was cracking jokes the entire trek. After a brief photo shoot at the top of the pass, we made our way down the mountain but not before stopping to have lunch at 15,000 feet. After filling our bellies with warm soup, chicken wings, and pasta salad, Sophia and Lance took a brief cat-nap before making our way down to our campsite. Our dinner was filled with Bruno mars and Justin Bieber thanks to song requests from Alexa as we all sang along before our chicken and rice-filled dinner. We were once again fortunate enough to sleep under a beautiful night of stars that lit up the sky.
Our third day of trekking began with some light rain but it soon passed and we continued our way down the mountain. Kee, Bryson, and Adeline kept morale high with some trail karaoke, “Follow your arrow” by Kacey Musgraves was a fan-favorite. Alex encouraged the group as he set the pace and booked it down the mountain. We were down in no time, and when we arrived— some delicious tacos were waiting for us! We finished our fiesta lunch and travelled to our cozy campsite near the hot springs. Once we jumped in the warm water, Matthew proved to be the breath-holding champion of the group as we all enjoyed a relaxing swim in the hot springs after a long couple of days of trekking.
Today we set off from the train stop in Hidroelectrica and walked to the Machu Picchu town of Aguas Calientes. Everyone enjoyed an amazing dinner and we are all eagerly tucked in our beds at Flowers House as we get ready for our tour tomorrow at Machu Picchu! We are so excited to see you all in a couple more days with stories and pictures from one of the seven wonders of the world!
Patrick and Lily
July 17, 2022
Howdy Friends and Family!!!
I hope all is well at home, and we cannot wait to tell you about our service section! Let me set the scene for you, we just finished up an incredible American dinner in the town square, we walked back to our new hotel, had a reflective Moonup, followed by some much needed rest.
Now that your kids are getting ready for bed, I am so excited to tell you about our time in Ccorca. On our first day, we drove up to our wonderful lodge, Patawasi. This would be our home for the next two nights. Surrounded by gardens of roses, warm wool blankets, and cozy fires, we made ourselves at home. We immediately dropped our bags and made our way down to the elementary school. Our first task was to sand, prime and paint two classrooms. Not gonna lie— your kids were machines! We finished painting the two classrooms in the blink of an eye. Matthew and Luke were especially helpful when we needed to paint the top sections of the wall. They painted the tallest parts with ease!
After we finished up our service for the morning, we walked back up to our lodge, where we were welcomed by warm soup, chicken, veggies, and French fries! We gobbled up our lunch and enjoyed some much-needed free time. Zoe proved herself to be victorious in some epic card games of “Pres.” Mac, on the other hand, was our comedic relief, and our game was filled with laughter whenever he made some commentary. Lance and Jake immediately went to the field to play some awesome games of frisbee and pickup soccer. Finally, we ended free time with some group games like “Captain’s Coming.” Adeline and Alexa fought hard to win with every round, and even the spectators enjoyed watching the active game.
After free time, we all filed into the kitchen to participate in a cooking class, where we would prepare and enjoy a traditional Peruvian meal. Sophia was quick to learn how to clean and gut a fish— especially with the help of Alex who I believe has done this task before! Patrick and I were so impressed with how bright your kids are, they all picked up on their new skills very quickly. We ate our delicious home-cooked meal, visited with each other, and reflected on our day during Moonup. It was a day filled with so much activity and so much laughter—definitely one for the books!
On the second day of Service, Abigail suggested that we design and paint some colorful murals for the kids. Our wonderful guides bought us some new, bright colored paint, so we could draw flowers, butterflies, numbers, hand-trees and more! One of my favorite paintings was Kee’s flower vine and sequence of numbers—she is an excellent artist! Every time a new kid walked by, they exclaimed “Mira! Que Bonita!,” which means “Look! How pretty!” Needless to say, the kids were ecstatic about their newly colored walls. While we were painting, Bryson took on the role of photographer. She captured some incredible moments of the kids, and after each photo—they would ask for one more!
On our final day of Service, we woke up to some warm, delicious pancakes. After breakfast, we went back down to the elementary school to see how else we could help. We finished painting the colorful walls, and another group of students took on a new and exciting project: Uncovering the Inca Trail. The original Inca trail stretches all the way to Ecuador and Bolivia and down to Chile. Originally built in the 1400’s, our students had the rare opportunity to help archeologists and biologists uncover this incredible piece of Incan history!
We had a blast during our service section, and we cannot wait for our next few nights trekking to Machu Picchu! Your kids are so wonderful, and they are getting along swimmingly as a group— we are thinking of all our friends and family back home. Before we sign off, we wanted your kids to have the opportunity to give some shoutouts to all of their friends and family, so here they are!
Luke: Hi Mom, Dad, Sasha, and Wes. I’m having so much fun in Peru! I have done so many cool things like helping uncover an Incan trail, painting a hopscotch game for a school, rafting on one of the best rivers in the world, meeting new friends, trying new foods, and crawling through a small cave. My foot has not been a problem and the stitches are coming out today, so wish me luck! I am super excited to start trekking Machu Picchu tomorrow. I miss you guys and can’t wait to see y’all when I get back to Charlotte!
Mac: Hey, all good. I am having a great time and am gonna be very hungry on the way back so be prepared to stop somewhere.
Matthew K:Hey Mom and Dad, all this time without my phone has given me time to reflect and has also given me mental clarity. I’ve begun to realize all that I take for granted. Love you, Matthew.
BTW this trip has been awesome.
Jake: Having a blast. Miss y’all— talk soon.
Kee: Hi Mom and Dad, I miss you so much! I’ve had so much fun white-water rafting and painting at a school in Ccorca! We start the trekking section tomorrow! Please pet Harvey and Ouisa for me and tell everyone I said hello and I miss them all so much! Love you and see you soon!!
Sophia: Hi Mom! I’m having so much fun and I miss you so much and I can’t wait to come home but it’s also really cool here! And also, hi Logan, Taylor, Emelia, Brenna, and Shelby!!!! I miss yall soooooo much and I am on a trip with someone who works at las olas in Charlotte!! I hope I can come back when I come back!!! Miss and love y’all so much!
Zoe: Hey fam, I fell off the raft again and painted a sapo that we named Leo. Happy birthday to Seth and I’ll see you guys soon. S’agapo oikogenia -Z
Abigail: Hi guys!! Mom, I’d like to inform you that I’m alive and well so no reason to worry 🙂 Rafting was incredible, and we just finished painting the walls of an elementary school. We start our trek to Machu Picchu tomorrow, and I can’t wait. Taking lots of pics! Miss and love you, say hi to my friends and Anabelle for me!- Abba
Adeline: Hey mom and whoever! Having a great time, seeing lots of cool things. Getting great pics, I hope you are having a great time in Europe! Love and miss y’all!
Alexa: Hi mom and whoever! I am having so much fun and it is so pretty! Everything is so cool too! I miss you!! Also, if you can book me a flight from Atlanta to charlotte I would really appreciate it please
Bryson: Hey Perry fam! I am having a blast. We are about to leave for trekking, and I am so excited! Hope things are going well in Edenton and that Big Rock kids had fun! Say hello to all my fav peeps! Love y’all and see you soon. Love Bryson
Ps-mom I take back saying I can drive home, you are more than welcome to pick me up from the airport 🙂
Alex: Hi Mom, Dad, and Ivy, I hope all is well with you guys. Peru has been great thus far and I’m looking forward to the trekking portion. Love, Alex
Lance: Hey Mom and Dad, I am having a great time and am meeting lots of new people. Everything here is so cool. I hope everything is ok back at home. I miss you. Love, Lance
Pat and Lily
July 13, 2022
Howdy Friends and Family!!
This is Patrick and Lily here, writing to you from our cozy hostel in Cusco. All of your
children are snuggled up win their beds, getting some much-needed rest after our epic
rafting section. We hope this Trip Update finds you well, and we are so excited to share
some moments from our recent adventures.
To start off, we had an incredible start to our trip in the Lima airport. We played some
name games and got to know everyone’s favorite ice cream favors and spirit animals.
Then, we boarded our flight, and it was smooth sailing to Cusco. Once we landed, we
ate some yummy sandwiches prepared by our outfitters and immediately got on the
road to the river. Lance and Alex started our road trip off with some fun games like
“Categories.” We laughed and played a few games, while others caught some much
needed sleep. Once we arrived at the river, we set up camp and learned how to pitch a
tent. Bryson and Mac, our previous Yellowstone Moondancers, took charge and taught
the rest of the students how to put up a tent. Once we got settled, we enjoyed some
rice, chicken, and capers salad by a warm fire. We held a fantastic first Moonup all
cozied up by the fire while and everyone proceeded shared the reason why they came
on this trip.
The next morning, our raft guides woke up with some yummy eggs, fruit, oatmeal,
and granola. We gobbled up our breakfast and set off to the river. Our guide Santiago
made sure the members of his boat were awake when he gave everyone a big splash of
water from his helmet bucket. Kee kept her boat entertained with riveting conversation
and fun hypothetical questions as we made our way down the Apurimac. Our beachside
lunch was filled with incredible tuna sandwiches and yummy cookies that gave us the
extra kick we needed to finish our first day of rafting. We were about to arrive to our
campsite for the night, but not before we made a pit stop for some firewood, and thanks
to everyone’s help collecting, we were able to enjoy a beachfront campfire under the
stars. After a delicious spaghetti Bolognese dinner and some warm tea, we all drifted off
to sleep thanks to the relaxing sound of the river flowing by.
It was the final day of rafting, and we had a lovely lazy morning filled with bacon, fruit,
granola, toast, and a few games. Sophia and Adeline were victorious in one of our
paddle games, leaving everyone in the dust! After a few games, we jumped onto the
river and began our rafting adventure. We paddled along the Apurimac and not a cloud
was in sight. We made it to our first stop of the day: the waterfall. Abigail and Alexa
had a blast climbing up the waterfall, and they were some of the first to jump into the
cold waters. After we had an epic journey to the cascading waterfalls, we enjoyed a
snack break of cookies, bars and juice and then we got right back onto the river. Zoe
executed the “koala” form perfectly when she took an accidental dip in the water and did
not hesitate to throw up two hang loose hands as she got back in, and we continued our
way down the river. As we were going through the rapids, our cargo boat got lodged
onto a rock. Matthew quickly came to the rescue and helped our guide set the raft free.
Thanks to Matthew, all of our luggage remained intact! As we continued onto our next
activity on the river, cliff jumping. Jake continuously exclaimed “when are you going to
be able to cliff jump in Peru again?!” while he made his climb up to the top and jumped
off into the water. On the drive back, Luke began to realize what “living in the moment”
truly meant as he realized how much quicker the bus ride felt with friends and
conversation rather than screens!
Now, all of your kids are nestled into their beds, catching some sleep before we embark
on our service section tomorrow! We hope that all is well at home, and we cannot wait
to share our stories with you so soon! Thinking of all of you.
Lily and Pat
July 10, 2022
Hello Machu Picchu Families!
We heard from our leaders that group has made it safely to Cusco! 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!