July 11, 2022
Hey Yellowstone 2 Fam! If you are reading this, that means you made it home safely yesterday and we miss you dearly! Here is a little recap of the last few days.
Wow, what a trip it has been! These past two weeks have just flown by full of fun activities and of course lots of laughs with this group. We can’t believe that we all have to say goodbye to each other for now and are sad to part ways. Duke and I couldn’t imagine this group any other way and are so grateful for this experience with these wonderful people.
Our last full day together sure was a joyous one, consisting of an incredible white water rafting trip on the Snake River. We got our blood pumping as we soared through the rapids and practiced our paddling skills. Our raft guides Bryce and Taylor made the day so much fun for us. The cited favorite raid was one called “Lunch Counter” where Lucy and Walter “rode the bull” and sat up on the front of the raft for the rapid. Everyone in the group received their “Snake River Swim Team” bracelets for jumping into the river! It was pretty chilly in the water but it felt great because it was very warm out. Some who were hesitant to get in ended up falling for a trick by the raft guides to push them into the water.
After we got off the river we headed over to the rec center for some showers which everyone was very excited about. We left the rec center feeling clean and refreshed and we hopped into the van to start our trek back to Salt Lake City. We ate some lunch and snacks on the way as we bumped our favorite tunes in the van that felt like it had become our second home. As we made our way through the rolling hills of Wyoming and Idaho, we reflected on the past 2 weeks and how we had grown and gotten out of our comfort zones. We reached our banquet dinner spot which was a delicious burger spot in Logan, UT, and we all feasted on burgers, fries, and milkshakes and nothing has ever tasted so good. After dinner, we made our way over to our campsite for the night and began organizing and cleaning gear. We finished up and circled up for our last Moon Up as a group, which consisted of lots of reflection and laughter about these past two weeks and the adventure that we experienced together. When asked “what is your favorite moment or memory from this trip” it was clear through their answers that this trip proved to be very meaningful and special for many of our students, and we could not be happier that they were able to get so much out of this trip. After Moon Up we camped out under the stars together and dreamt of finally getting to reunite with family and friends back home!
We awoke the next morning bright and early to the birds singing above us and the sun just about to come out as we made our way to the Salt Lake City airport. We listened to all of our favorite songs in the van for the last time and the drive was picturesque with the beautiful Utah mountains lining each side of the highway. As we arrived at the airport and began checking in and checking bags. We were so sad to part ways and go through security, but we eventually ripped off the bandaid and one by one said a heartfelt goodbye to each other.
Duke and I are so grateful for being able to connect with this group and get to know all of these kids individually. They are all amazing and so special in their own ways and we can’t imagine this trip without them. This Moondance Adventure has changed us for the better and we can’t wait to see what these awesome kids do next.
Duke and Claire
July 4, 2022
Woah! That was fun! Our last week has been quite the adventure.
We started our backcountry journey at Mountain Springs Ranch where we met our backpacking guide, Riley. Our LODs for the day, Pierce and Lucy, created a delicious serving of tacos that knocked our socks off. We hiked up to a nice viewing spot to watch the gorgeous sunset and had a nice Moon Up, before hitting the hay.
The next day we hiked a whopping 8.5 miles to our stunning campsite at Crescent Lake. Everyone stepped up to the challenge and absolutely killed the long hike. Our LODs for the day, William and Parker S, helped the group by being sources of positive energy for everyone throughout the day. When we finally reached our destination, everyone was quite tired, so we made a hearty meal of red beans and rice with added summer sausage and concluded the day with a lovely Moon Up before some much needed sleep.
We awoke the next day to a beautiful sunrise and had a leisurely morning making M&M pancakes and playing cards together. In the afternoon, the group did a little fly fishing and Walter and Duke caught some Brook Trout! Our LODs Kent and Frances kept everyone in check and maintained the positive energy in the group throughout the day. Lucy, Parker L, Frances, and Parker S went on a short hike around the lake and spotted a few Yellow Marmots! As the sun set and the alpine glow turned the jagged mountains purple and the snow on them pink the group dined upon a delightful serving of personal pita pizzas. Laney assisted by helping slice our cheese and hand out the food. We finished off the night with Moon Up and star gazing.
We rose the next morning ready to attack the day and our LODS Lucy and Parker L helped us do just that! We ate grits and oatmeal to fuel up before our big day hike. Shortly after breakfast we geared up and headed to the magical Dream Lake. Along the way we battled the mosquitoes but fought through to reach our destination. We enjoyed a nice lunch sitting lakeside and taking in the breathtaking views of the looming mountains. We threw some streamers at trout but our luck ran out before a storm rolled in. We headed back to camp and waited out the rain r in our tents. Once the rain subsided we started on dinner. The menu for the night consisted of chicken and cheese quesadillas! We cheffed up and chowed down before watching a majestic sunset and having Moon-up!
We woke up the next morning to a wonderful sunrise and packed up camp as we prepped for our 8.5 mile hike back to the trailhead. The group did an amazing job hiking back and made record time doing so! Our LODs Pierce and Laney did an incredible job of keeping the group motivated and optimistic throughout the day. We were so relieved to get back to the van, and after saying goodbye to our guide Riley, we headed back to Jackson for showers and some front-country comforts. The students and leaders were a little thrilled to be out of the mosquitos and in the comfort of our home-base campground. We woke up the next day to patriotic music and began our 4th of July celebrations with quintessential American breakfast of scrambled eggs and bacon.
Then, we headed into Jackson Hole for the parade and watched as all the local floats came down Broadway Street. We then made our way over to Teton Village to do a little day hike and we ate our packed lunches along the trail and watched as the mountain bikers and hikers passed by. William, Walter, Frances, Parker, Kent, and Pierce honed in on their hacky sack skills and we wandered around the village after lunch before heading back to Jackson. Once back in town, we went around to the T-shirt and souvenir shops to find the perfect mementos of our trip. Once it got time to eat dinner we headed over to Liberty Burger for our perfect 4th of July meal: burgers and fries. Those burgers reallyyyy hit the spot and then we stopped at a local ice cream shop for a little dessert to top it off. Now we wait on the grass at the park for the firework show to begin to end the most perfect 4th of July celebration. We can’t wait to return and share all of the memories and stories from our rock climbing and fly fishing adventures that will begin soon!
Cheers from the Tetons!
Duke and Claire
Hey mom and dad! Trip’s going really awesome so far. Backpacking and camping have been everything I hoped for(although with more mosquitoes than necessary). Looking forward to seeing you guys next week. – Pierce
Hey mom and dad trip is goin good so far. Fly fishing is fun and I wanna buy a rod when I get back home for reds. Backpacking was fun. The mosquitoes were insane being covered in them all day most I’ve seen in my life. See y’all soon – Laney
Hey mom and dad! I’ve been having lots of fun so far on this trip. This is definitely the most beautiful place I’ve ever been to and I hope that next time I come here both of you guys can come with me. Mom I can’t wait to show you all the beautiful pictures I took and dad I can’t wait to get back home and continue to catch bass with you back out on the lake. See you soon! – Parker L
Hello mom and dad I hope all is good back home. Y’all should have just finished up your topsail trip and Molly should be home! I can’t wait to see all of y’all and be back home, but I am having a great time here and this is easily one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. Also maybe text AG and say that I’m excited to see her soon too.See y’all in 5 days, love y’all- William
Hey everyone! I have had a blast so far, I hope y’all are having a good time back home. We just got back from the backpacking portion of our trip and other than the mosquitoes it was perfect! I can’t wait to hug y’all when I get home but I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I have seen some of the most beautiful landscapes and will teach y’all some new card games when I get home! I love y’all, see you soon!
Hey mom and dad! I am having a blast the views are incredible! Only downside is the mosquitoes and pooping in the woods but other than that this trip has been a lot of fun! See y’all soon! – Kent
Hello mom and dad. So far the trip has been great, and still getting better. We finally got out of the back country which was really cool, but the mosquitoes were miserable. I will tell you more when I am home, but everything is going great so far. – Walter
Hi mom and dad! I’m having so much fun and everything is so pretty! We’ve done fly fishing and backpacking. I really liked fly fishing because I caught a big fish. I also liked backpacking but it was super hard and tiring. The views are incredible and we’ve seen a few animals. I have so much more to tell you when I get home! Love and miss y’all! Also I got a cowboy hat!
– Parker S
Hi mom and dad! I am having so much fun and the trip is great! We just finished backpacking, which was good but super hard. Everything is so pretty here and there are a couple cool animals too! Love and miss you guys so much and I will tell you more about it when I get home! Also can’t wait to see you liv and walker I miss y’all a lot! – Frances
June 28, 2022
Hello Yellowstone Families!
The whole group arrived safely in Salt Lake City yesterday, minus one student who is meeting up with the group in Jackson Hole today! 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