June 26, 2023
Greetings from Wyoming!
We have been busy hitting the road traveling from our amazing rafting trip in Idaho. The groups spirits were even higher after the rafting experience and has carried over well to fly fishing.
On our fly-fishing day, the group was blessed to have amazing guides that gave the students fantastic instruction and insight to the sport, Henry was able to catch a huge brown trout and a whitefish! He came out of the experience with a newfound love of fly fishing! Dawson as well was able to reel in an impressive whitefish into her boat! We were fortunate enough to have the clouds part and see the sun come out on our time on the river which made easier fishing conditions for the kids.
After fly fishing, the group camped out at GROW ranch which is located outside of Pinedale, WY. Alex and Emery particularly enjoyed watching the cows gallop through the wide-open fields as we passed by them on our way to the campsite! At the campsite, Ellis, Bailey and Woods put on a show in the kitchen making some great chili!
Backpacking has been a blast so far! On the first day of our last adventure, we packed up all of our gear from GROW ranch and got prepped and ready for the trip ahead. On the first day of backpacking, we experienced some unfortunate weather, but the kids were troopers and kept marching on! Although it started to hail, it did not take long for the kids to set up a quick shelter under tree cover, Brett and Woods took charge on this dilemma and showed fantastic leadership! Alex and Emery especially showed great perseverance, Alex walked through a rolled ankle and Emery fell into a deep trench of water but finished the day strong! We finished off the day with some phenomenal weather, with backcountry Mac and Cheese by the leaders in which the kids enjoyed profoundly as well as a fire made by Alex, Beckett and Dawson that was made out of damp firewood! Although the weather was cold at night, the kids were excited to sleep in with no alarm!
On the second day of our backpacking adventure, we hiked a total of 3 miles to a beautiful lake that was very secluded with a beautiful view of the Tetons, with no other visitors! the kids were happy to be in a beautiful environment with no one else! Olin took the boys on a short hike to a rock that overlooked the lake and shared great conversation about superhero movies and tv shows. Henry and Preston were advantageous to better their fly-casting skills, it has been a blessing to watch them find a love for fly fishing! Woods, Ellis, and Bailey made a wonderful backcountry charcuterie board by the lake. This day was very special for everyone as the group enjoyed their last moments together.
On the last day of backpacking, the group hit the trail early in the morning to avoid the rain and were very quick about cleaning up camp, this really showed how far the kids have come in their experience in the backcountry. We hiked a total of 2.5 miles in perfect sunny weather and got out of the wilderness at 9am! After driving out of the wilderness, we had quite the U-Haul fiasco which lead to an unexpected day in Pinedale, WY, while Olin dealt with the damages with U-Haul roadside assistance. Preston, Brett and Abe especially enjoyed their time in the city park playing basketball with some local Wyoming kids! We finished off our final day with our banquet at pinky G’s pizzeria in downtown Jackson Hole. The group took some extra time on the last night to soak in their last moments together in their final Moon-up, it was so special to watch this group connect as a whole unit over the past 2 weeks. On the final morning, we celebrated Henry’s birthday with chocolate chip pancakes and bacon! Afterwards we headed to the airport for a bittersweet ending to our trip, the kids were sad to leave each other but were also very excited to go home and share their experience with their friends and family. Elise and I (Olin) just want to say thank you for bringing your kids onto our trip, it was truly a blessing!
Olin and Elise
June 18, 2023
And so our journey continues! On day 4 we woke up early, had some cereal and hit the road. Today was a long driving day so we spent most of the day in the car; however, we still had a blast. In the morning most of us slept because we were tired from the past two days of climbing. After napping, we jammed out to some Zach Bryan and enjoyed the winding backroads. We drove through craters of the moon national monument and saw some amazing views. When we finally reached civilization, we stopped and enjoyed some Wendy’s as a treat. Then finally after a long day in the car, we made it to camp. The owner of Salmon Raft, Lauren met us to discuss the details for the next few days. After our meeting, Beckett, Ellis, and Emery showed off their cooking skills and made the group some delicious chicken fried rice! Once we finished dinner, we all went to the lake near our campsite to watch the sunset and have a little sunset swim. We ended the night by having a mellow Moonup under the stars.
Day 5 marked the official start of the rafting portion of our trip! Once again, we woke up early, made breakfast and hit the road to launch our boats. The drive to the river was on a beautiful long and windy road. Once we got there, we met our guides for the trip: Rachel, Jonah, Phillip, Claire, and Kurt. They gave us a game plan and we hit the water! After eating lunch on the river, we hit some massive rapids! Preston and Brett fell out of the boat in some calm waters, and it was awesome – they said it felt so refreshing. These rapids were probably the best rapids of the whole trip. After collecting ourselves from the rapids, we floated along the river and had some good conversations until we reached our first camp. While some of us helped the river guides make dinner, others played some games on the beach, and others swam. Olin and Brett threw the football for a long time and bonded over sports. Once dinner was ready, we all sat along our campsite beach and enjoyed the grilled chicken, veggies, and rice. For dessert we enjoyed some carrot cake and bonded over how epic our campsite was. We ended our first day of rafting with a good Moonup under the stars of the Salmon.
The next morning, we woke up early because we had a lot to cover on the river that day, 30 whole miles! We started off our morning with yummy breakfast burritos and then packed up camp and hit the water. It was pretty cloudy all day, so we didn’t swim as much as the first day. Alex was a beast in the raft this day, she really stepped up to the plate and crushed the rapids that we hit. She volunteered to be in the front and showed some real leadership throughout the day, helping whenever needed. Once we got off the boat, the sun finally came back out and we enjoyed some sweet chill time at camp. Olin, Henry, Brett, Preston, Beckett, and Abe played a sweet game of bocci ball, and we could hear their laughter and excitement throughout camp. Meanwhile Woods, Ellis, and Bailey slayed in the kitchen, helping the raft crew to make an awesome dinner. After dinner we used some of the boat straps to play a group game of jump rope on the beach. We ended the night by having a fire and Moonup under the insane stars.
Day 3 of rafting was epic! We woke up to the sun shining in full force. Since it was so warm, we took our time and had an epic day on the water. We started off the day by having a slow morning, munching on some pancakes and eggs and enjoying the sun by our campsite. Once we hit the water, the real games began! We did flips off the boat and played lots of raft games. When we stopped for lunch, we turned the raft into a slip and slide. Dawson and Henry were the stars of the show on the slide. They both did i same tricks and were going off it the most. After we had our lunchtime fun, we got back on the river and headed towards our final camp!
Day 4 was the shortest day of rafting but it was splendid! Almost all of the kids enjoyed cowboy camping by the river while a couple still opted for a night in a tent. The kids woke up to some delicious breakfast sandwiches that were enjoyed by the river. On the last day we paddled through green canyon, a beautiful stretch of the salmon river with some large rapids! Abe was an outstanding paddler this day, he took the challenge of paddling at the front head on and succeeded with flying colors. Olin took the opportunity on the boat to bond with Bailey, Ellis, Abe, Woods and Dawson over favorite movies (especially Indiana Jones!) and favorite artists like Nirvana, which lead to a fun car ride of listening to rock from past decades! After the rafting trip the group came even closer than before and has been a blessing to watch.
Alex- hey y’all I’m having the time of my life and I’m missing you two and Laila a bunch but I’m getting to do what I’ve always wanted to do and dad everything you’ve taught me has helped me so much and mom I’ve never been so organized in my life but I can’t wait to tell you guys what I’ve done so far and Peanut loves you so much
Dawson- Hey guys! I’m having fun but i can’t wait to come home. Love you!
Emery-Hey y’all! I miss y’all so much but I am having so much fun! Love you all so much!
Preston- Hey guys I’m having a lot of fun love y’all have fun at the beach.
Woods- Hi Mom and Dad, we just finished a four day rafting trip in Idaho which is practically the middle of nowhere with a bunch of potatoes but it was really fun! Rock climbing in the Tetons over Jenny Lake was also super fun and I belayed down a cliff. On the first night, we went to the rodeo, and we ran into Libby Miles which was funny. We are on a long car ride back to Wyoming right now before we begin fly-fishing and finish the trip with backpacking. The weather was super warm and the water felt great down by the Salmon River in Idaho, but it is chilly in Jackson Hole so we are going to have to layer up again. I hope Bakers has been such a blast and that you guys have had a great week without your favorite child. I really have expanded my comfort zone here and have done things that I never would have done before! I will tell you all about it when I get home and I will see you soon! Love you, Woods
Beckett- Hey Mom and Dad I am having a great time in the Tetons and Idaho hope your trip was swell Dad, Love yall!
Abe-Hi, I am having so much fun and am missing everyone back at home, love y’all!’
Henry- Hey mom l love you , I miss you as well dad 224!
Brett- hello parents I’m doing great and miss y’all. Hope everyone is doing good and don’t worry about me. Love y’all fam
Ellis- Hey guys I love y’all so much and I am having so much fun l will tell you about it when i get back!
Bailey – hi mom and dad I’m in Idaho and it’s fun, hope the twins r good, tell my friends I miss them. Can’t wait to get back on island
June 13, 2023
Howdy friends and families! We have begun our western journey with a bang! To conclude a successful airport day, our group got to celebrate our first night together at the Jackson Hole Rodeo! We all loved everything the rodeo had to offer, but Preston was especially enthusiastic about the bull riding! We had a blast watching the cowboys and taking in all the rodeo had to offer. What an exciting first night of Big Wild! Felt very fitting for the trip’s namesake.
On day 2 we started the first activity: rock climbing! After a long day of climbing and learning knots, our students really started to grow in their leadership! Dawson took responsibility by teaching Leave No Trace or LNT to the group, and Alex taught kitchen safety lessons to Woods and Preston. We enjoyed a chill afternoon at camp and made some yummy Mexican food. Our gracious cook crew prepped dinner while other group members played some spike ball. Beckett is a killer spike-ball player! He makes friends so easily, and it’s a treat to watch. After a fantastic dinner, we continued bonding as we circled up for Moonup. What a fruitful first full day together in Wyoming!
On day 3 we hit the rock again! This time we split up into smaller groups and really got to test our new skills and leadership! Ellis helped her teammates by showing them how to tie in. Emery overcame her fear of repelling and came out of the day with a very positive memory of climbing! Abe and Brett crushed some challenging climbs and made them even harder by doing them from a sit start! Bailey also crushed all of her climbs and impressed us all with her belaying skills! Throughout the day Henry was making everyone laugh with his jokes and ability to fall asleep in random places. After climbing we all went into town and got ice cream. On the way back to camp Abby queued up some killer tunes and we had a jam session. We ended day three by having nice long showers! Now we are off to Idaho to start the next journey: rafting! Sending lots of love from the west!
June 10, 2023
Hello Big Wild Families!
We heard from our leaders this afternoon and the group has landed safely in Jackson Hole! 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!