June 22, 2022
Against all odds, we made it to Morocco! These kids showed tolerance for adversity by playing cards, making videos, reading, chatting and journaling to make the most of the less than ideal amount of time we had to spend in the airport over the course of the last week. Charlie and Owen got their daily workout in by passing the hacky sack back and forth as hard and as fast as they could for what seemed like forever. Through a lot of patience and logistical rearranging, we made it to Morocco. We were so stoked to get to our destination, especially knowing we were still going to be able to experience our full, original itinerary. After landing in Marrakech, we drove to the quaint town of Imlil where we stayed in a beautiful Riad equipped with rooftop views and fresh soup and salad for our first Moroccan meal.
We hiked from Imlil to Mt. Toubkal basecamp. The kids were nervous looking up at the sweeping Atlas mountains, but they were also excited and ready for their summit attempt. Cam and James were gifted straw hats from our Riad, and James fashioned his all the way to basecamp, even though the wind tried to steal it more than a few times. Our Father’s Day ascent was extremely successful. The whole crew made it to the top with big ole smiles on their face. We were able to meet a mysterious puppy at the top of Toubkal that supposedly runs up a couple times a WEEK. Naturally, our group coined the dog “Chorizo”. Despite the poor traction on the shoes of the perseverant Shaffer, she was able to make it all the way down without a scratch or a negative comment toward the difficult situation, she took it like a champ (Chorizo was also able to help as she followed Shaffer all the way down).We were able to transfer from Morocco to Spain safely and smoothly, leaving us an afternoon to ourselves in the beautiful city of Madrid.
We were able to devour almost 50 tacos from the almighty “Tikis Tacos” for banquet in a plaza and then head out for exploring the city. We stumbled upon an epic playground with a huge slide that guided SA and Tatum down together. In the same playground . Meanwhile, Kenneth was spinning JK like a wheel on the playground’s cyclone contraption. Later on during our exploration, we came across a gigantic panda bear, bearing a big ole hug for who else other than Lacy, Reagan and Katie. After some gelato and cheesy souvenir shopping, Casey came out with a glowing helicopter slingshot toy that amused the group for the remainder of the walk. We had our final Moonup in a particularly special location and then made our way back to the awesome hostel we were staying at. These students were truly a blessing to be able to lead and become friends with. Thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to meet them and build such great relationships with them.
Corley and Ella
June 15, 2022
*Due to some technical difficulties, we received both updates today! Enjoy updates 1 and 2!
After three days of trekking through Picos de Europa we have arrived in Llanes for surfing an canyoneering!
On June 10, we landed at the Madrid airport where Corley and our outfitters, Rumbos a Picos, met us. We all loaded up into the mini bus and drove for a little over an hour and a half to Burgos where we had lunch. From there, we drove for around four hours to Cain where we stayed at our first hostel. That night, we had pasta and chicken for dinner, ice cream and rice pudding for dessert. We closed the day with our first Moonup. We introduced two of the seven leadership principles — expedition behavior and self-awareness — read the Good Decisions Letter, and talked about the culture of Moondance. Corley and I elected James and Lacy as our first set of Leaders of the Day (LODs) because of their easy-going demeanor and approachability.
On June 11, we woke up at 8 a.m. for a 9 a.m. breakfast and 10 a.m. departure for our first day of trekking in Picos de Europa. Our LODs led Morning Huddle by going over the plan for the day and reading a quote of choice. We trekked 12 kilometers through Picos de Europa surrounded by scaling canyon walls, rolling fog and beautiful greenery. Shaffer took the group GoPro for the day and captured some amazing moments throughout our first proper day together! At the end of our hike, we ate lunch by the chilly, blue river while we waited for our transport to pick us up. Our lunchtime entertainment was the JK and Owen rock skipping show. After lunch, we drove to Sotres for our second night. We made a mini town visit, where James was an epic translator for his friends, gave a lesson on Leave No Trace and played some games in a small grass parking area. Casey and JK were the winners of our first veggie-off (they were sassy asparagus). We went to dinner shortly after at a different local hostel. That night at Moonup, Kenneth and Katie were elected to be LODs for the next day.
On June 12, we continued trekking through Picos de Europa. Cam kept everyone laughing with his big jokes along the way. Once we got higher In the mountains, we got more acquainted with the herds of cows, goats, horses, sheep and most importantly the donkeys. SA, Reagan, and Tatum seemed to have become especially close with these donkeys during our scenic lunch break in the mountains. We had ample free time and relaxed alongside the incredible weather until dinner.
Thanks to the June snow melt, we were able to get waaay up in the mountains and see some serious views led by our fearless leader Charlie. Alpine lakes and sheer cliff faces surrounded us as we climbed up near the top of the ridge off the Picos allowing us to see the end of the horizon. We climbed back down and rode a cable car down to a village where we munched ice cream and took a taxi to this beautiful beach town called Llanes. We had a few hours to kill over here before our delicious restaurant dinner so we played hacky sack and the guys threw the frisbee. All is well In Spain so far with the crew!
We are stoked for surfing and climbing in Morocco soon!
It’s official, we are all pro surfers, J.K. especially.
We are rinsing off the sand from the beautiful beaches of Llanes and getting ready for our travels to Marrakech tomorrow. We are so stoked and can’t believe it’s already time to hop to another continent.
Our first day in Llanes started in wetsuits and helmets. We slid, jumped, and bobbed our way down a little canyon river. Casey took the cake for the biggest (and most consistent) smile of the day. She is a water bug. We capped off our first water adventure with a final jump in the river and a few upside-down and backward slides down a mossy waterfall, which featured not one, but two perfect executions from Charlie. Then we hurried to town to refuel with burgers, sandwiches, and soda for our next activity. Suuuurfing!
Even though we were all pretty tired from our morning adventure, everyone was really excited to get in the ocean. Our Cali boy, James, was feeling right at home. The beach couldn’t have been more picturesque. Soft sand, perfect waves, and not a cloud in sight! SA and Tatum stuck together in the wave sets, laughing, and cheering each other on through tumbles and flops. After some attempts in the waves, we got back in the van (which arrived with Shaffer’s bag!!), sand and all, for some quick showers and frisbee tossin’ between Owen, Cam, and Kenneth. We were finally able to get a taste of home with some ribs shared with some big laughs at the end of the table from Katie, Lacy, and Reagan.
Today, we had some epic waves, surfing in the fog at what seemed to be the most beautiful beach there is. After gettin’ tubular, mixed with a few wipeouts, it was time for the posse to head to Llanes for some ridiculously tasty pizza. With full bellies, we met the bus for our departure to Madrid in preparation for an early start for tomorrow’s flight to MOROCCO.
These kids are the bees’ knees, and we are all havin’ a great time over here! Toubkal here we come.
Corley and Ella
Parent shoutouts wooooohooooo:
Hey family, I absolutely shredded the waves in Llanes today! 🏄♂️ Having lots of fun and I’m really looking forward to going to Morocco tomorrow. Hope y’all are doing well at home. See y’all soon!
Happy Father’s Day dad! We are going to Madrid for a night and then we’re off to Morocco. Love and miss all of you
Hey. We just went surfing for two days and now we are driving to Madrid to fly to Africa tomorrow. Love u. See u soon.
Hey guys, I had a lot of fun surfing. Right now, we’re going to Madrid and we’re heading to Morocco tomorrow. I’m very excited¡
Hey! We slid down waterfalls and surfed yesterday! We are on the way to Madrid with both groups to head to Morocco tomorrow and it is so much fun! I am making so many fun friends and can’t wait to do more hiking!
Hey guys, we finished our two surf days today. We’re on the bus on our way to Madrid, flying to Morocco tomorrow. Excited to see Madrid. Love and miss you guys so much. Tell Miya I miss her a lot also
Hey mom and dad! Our last few days in Northern Spain were so fun! We went canyoneering and then surfing in Llanes! We are driving to Madrid now and are flying to Morocco tomorrow! I’m so excited! Love you and see you soon!
Hey guys!!! Our last few days in Spain were amazing! Yesterday I slid down a waterfall upside down and it was awesome. We also went surfing and the waves were huge! I’m having so much fun and can’t wait to go to Morocco tomorrow!
Hey mom and dad, yesterday we went canyoneering and surfing. Happy Father’s Day dad I’m sad I’m missing it. Can’t wait to see y’all soon.
Hey guys! Sorry I’m missing Father’s Day and hoping dad has a good one. We’re going to Morocco right now. Love y’all and see you soon!
Hey mom and dad, yesterday was canyoneering and we went down tall waterfalls backward and it was amazing. Today we are driving to Madrid and about to go to dinner. I miss you guys SO much and cannot wait to see you 💋
Hey guys! We just went surfing and canyoneering and it was so fun! We are headed to Morocco and I’m so excited! Love y’all!!
Hey Mom and Dad!!! I’m having so much fun. We’ve been canyoneering and surfing in North Spain which was great. I’m making so many new friends, even some that also live in Nashville! We’re going to Morocco tomorrow and I’m so excited. Love y’all💕
These kiddos are very awesome
They are the coolest of cool
June 10, 2022
Hello Spain + Morocco Families!
We just heard from our leaders that the group has landed safely in Madrid and are settled into their first hostel of the trip. 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!