June 25, 2023
Greetings once again from Jackson! We safely made it back to Wyoming after our fun trip over to Idaho. Everyone was in good spirits after rafting as we made our way back singing songs and playing trivia in the van up and over Teton Pass. After arriving in Jackson the group was able to have a town day exploring the square and shopping around for fun souvenirs and gifts. Trey and James were able to snag awesome matching pink cowboy hats and Harless, Abby, Kaitlin, Haley, Alice, and Natalie all got matching shirts to wear to the Rodeo together. We concluded the day with some awesome tacos provided by Jack, Mason, and Brody once we returned to the campsite from our very first night. The next morning we woke up super early and ate the fan favorite, the Davis (cooked apples and sun butter) before departing for Teton National Park for some rock climbing. The group got geared up with shoes, harnesses, helmets, and ropes and set off on a boat ride across Jenny Lake to learn the basics of climbing. After learning the basics the group got to climb up a huge cliff in multiple sections belayed up by our awesome guides. Alice in particular pushed through her fears of climbing and crushed all 200 feet or so of nearly vertical rock in front of her! After climbing up everyone got to practice their rappelling skills to lower down. Mason then saw what he was searching for when we spotted a black bear chasing down a marmot on the hill below us. After climbing we all returned to Jackson and got some great ice cream from Moos in downtown Jackson. Then we grilled out burgers and hot dogs before going to the Jackson Rodeo. Casey and the girls danced and screamed for the most rowdy fan award and James even got to visit the rink in what was an exciting night. We then settled in for the night for another day of climbing. The next day of climbing went spectacularly as the group split in two and got to do various different things while on the wall. Carson impressed the guides with his leadership skills helping everyone climb up the walls before them. Everyone has now successfully reached the ground again safely and crossed the beautiful Jenny Lake again and are headed into town for some showers, banquet food, and a couple more surprises!
For our last full day, we headed into town for banquet! Banquet was a BLAST! We took the kids to shower (and James, Brodie, Mason, and Jack snuck in some hoops), before we headed to Pica’s for some tacos and burritos! All the kids laughed about the funniest parts of the trip, and Abby even made friends with a cute puppy, that Harless DID try to adopt. After our fill of non-soggy tortillas (IYKYK), did our paper plate awards for the sessions, packed up and headed to the Tetons. We took group photos at sunset at the National Park sign and blasted music as we had our final van ride in Tiffany. We HAD to play Haunted one last time, thanks to our two biggest Taylor Swift fans James and Harless. We began our final Moonup of the trip. LODs Trey and Haley lead us through a wonderful night of reflections, laughs, and s’mores. The stars came out beautiful for our last night, and we sat in appreciation of the beauty of both the nature around us and the moment with all our friends. It was such a treat! Then, just because it was the last night, we had another surprise treat of a cupcake cake with a campfire, tent, and a Big Wild sign!! Then, it was off to bed, a few tears were shed, and lots of goodbye hugs. Thank you all for sharing your children with us for the past two weeks. We have loved watching them grow as leaders and adventurers, and you should be so impressed by the young men and women y’all have raised. They are a joyful, compassionate, and impressive group of teens, and we cannot wait to see what they do next.
Below are some thank yous from all the kids,
Until next time, Matt and Casey
Trey- Thank you Mom and Dad, for letting me have this opportunity to let me do the things I’ve never done before
Natalie – Thank you so much mom and dad, I made so many good memories and new friends. I am so thankful I went in this trip
Carson – Thank you so much for allowing me to go on this awesome trip. I enjoyed it so much and I can’t wait to tell you all of the stories form camp. I will want to go on a trip like this next year. I can’t wait to see you.
Kaitlin – Thank you so so much for letting me come on this trip it was so much fun and I loved getting to know everyone
Abby – Thank you mom and dad for letting me go on this trip!! It was so fun and I made lifelong friends that I can’t wait to see later!!
Mason – Thank you so much for sending me on this trip. It was an experience of a lifetime.
Jack – Mom and dad thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to go on this amazing journey. I learned so much and will benefit from it for the rest of my life.
James – Thanks mom and dad for sending me on this trip. I made a lot of new friends along the way.
Brodie – Thanks for introducing me to Moondance and giving me the opportunity to explore a whole new world.
Harless – Thank you so much for sending me on this Big Wild Moondance!!!! It was sooooooooooo fun and I met so many amazing people. I made so many great memories, did so many fun things, learned so much, and saw so many beautiful once-in-a-lifetime things. This trip was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I am SOOO grateful to have!!!
Alice – Dear mom and dad, thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to go to Moondance. I learned so much from this special experience and I am so grateful for y’all. Love, Alice
June 20, 2023
Greetings from the road in Idaho! The group just got off the water after four long days of rafting the Salmon and we are headed back to Jackson now. After arriving in beautiful McCall, Idaho and meeting our mystery guest, we settled into camp next to Payette Lake, Abby, Alice, and James all pitched in to create a camp favorite meal so far, hearty pasta, as our last dinner before rafting.
The next morning, the group geared up with wetsuits, splash jackets, and life jackets before packing our belongings into dry bags. We split into two teams: team USA with Mason, Brodie, Harless, Abby, Natalie, and Carson; and team Pogue with Trey, Haley, Kaitlin, Jack, James, and Alice. The two teams got on their boats, Pogue led by the guide Chloe and USA led by Mason (aka Steezus). The first day we hit a couple of class three and four rapids before making camp on a beautiful beach and spending all day soaking up the sun and playing games. James and Carson worked up quite the tans while Brodie, Mason, and Jack worked on their slacklining skills with the help of our kayaking guide, Gerra. The girls helped the other guides prepare a delicious dinner of burgers and potato salad before a Moonup with all the guides led by Carson and Kaitlin.
The next day, the group got an early start for our hardest day of rapids with over 20 class three through five rapids before the day was over. Carson, James, Alice, and Harless all rode the bull, which is sitting in the very front of the boat with their legs hanging off, through multiple rapids. The group settled into camp after a long 30-mile river day and enjoyed a dinner of pork loin, asparagus, potatoes, and carrots before settling in for a rainy night of sleep. The next morning the group was woken up to a pancake breakfast and enjoyed a leisurely day on the river floating another 20 or so miles.
The last night, we had a feast of lasagna and upside-down pineapple cake made by our wonderful guides as Haley, Abby, and Kaitlin ran multiple games of Psychiatrist for the group. After another early morning and braving a couple more rapids, the group made it safely to the takeout, where we put on dry clothes and hit the road where we are writing you from now! And don’t think we forgot about Father’s Day, here are some shoutouts from all the kids:
Jack Roberts: Happy Father’s Day, I know you don’t care much I’m still sorry I missed it. We just got off 4 days on the Salmon River and it was really fun, we had some really good river guides that were awesome.
Brodie: Hey fam, Im having a great time here. My counselors are really fun. We just finished our white water rafting trip in the salmon river. The river guides know how to cook. Happy Father’s Day Dad. I’m sorry I missed it. I’ll see y’all when I’m back.
Mason: Happy Father’s day! I hope you guys had a good father’s day. We just finished the rafting and it was really fun. The guides were great. We saw a baby coyote and several eagles. I heard the us open was a good finish. You will have to tell me about that and the baseball. I am having fun and I can’t wait to see you.
Kaitlin: Happy fathers day dad I hope you guys had a blessed time without me we just finished rafting down the salmon river and it was very fun but very cold see u guys soon
Haley: Hey fam happy Father’s Day I hope you had a great one and won lots of poker. We just got off the salmon river and are going back to Jackson-hole to rock climb and go to a rodeo. Im having fun and miss you see you soon.
Alice: Happy Father’s Day dad! I love you so much and I can’t wait to see you when I get home! We just finished rafting and it was so fun! I miss y’all but I am having such a great time! Can’t wait to see y’all soon and tell y’all all about it 🙂
Harless: Hey! Happy Father’s Day and Happy Birthday Dad!!! I love all of you fam, we just finished rafting and are about to go rock climbing in the Tetons! I am having so much fun and I miss you soooo much, tomorrow we are waking up rlly early to go for a town day in Jackson! I hope you are all well, and I will see you soooo soon!!!!
Trey: Hey Dad,Happy Father’s Day, hope you’re doing good. Just want you to know that I miss you and Mom, but I’m having an awesome time here. Idaho is absolutely awesome, think I want to move here when I’m older. We went rafting on The Salmon River for four days and it was absolutely incredible. It’s so beautiful here, and the people are so nice. Hope the concert was great, I’ll see you on Saturday.
Abby: Hey dad! Happy Father’s Day! I miss you and mom so so much but I am having the best time ever! We just finished rafting and we are about to start rock climbing tomorrow! I have made so many new friends and I cannot wait to tell y’all about it. I hope telluride was so fun and I can’t wait to see yall Friday. I love y’all so so much and I’ll see you so soon!
Natalie: Hola Dad, I want to wish you an amazing Fathers Day. It makes me sad to miss it but I am having so much fun here. We backpacked for 4 miles to our campsite and back, 8 in total. I had to eat a spoonful of soggy onions so we wouldn’t get mauled by bears. We just went rafting and you would have loved that. There was this awesome woman who guided one of our rafts and she was trucking through them. We cowboy camped on the beaches and got so sandy and it poured one night. You woulda loved that. And we get to go rock climbing in the Tetons which I know we should do together. I miss you so much dad. I hope you had so much fun in Mexico. Happy Father’s Day captain Cuban! I love you dad
James: Hey dad, Happy Father’s Day. I miss you and I can’t wait to see you on Friday. I’m having a lot of fun and I am making a lot of friends during the trip. I was worried about patty but my friends supported me through it. We climbed for 4 miles in the backcountry which was kind of fun and we did not catch any fish. But rafting for 4 days was really fun and the food was 5 star. The best part bout the trip was probably making some new friends. See you Friday, Love you.
Carson: Hey dad, Happy Father’s Day. I miss you and everyone else and can’t wait to see you when I get home. I’m having so much fun and can’t wait to spend time with you when I get home. We climbed 4 miles through the back country and it rained almost every day when we’re there but it was cool. The rafting was awesome and the food was 5 star. We did not catch any fish on the fly fishing day but I learned a lot about bugoligy and can’t wait to share with you when I get home. Tell Tyler, Selwyn, Lilly, Otis, and mom I said hi. See you Thursday/Friday, love you.
Thanks for sharing your kids with us, and we’ll check in again soon!
Casey and Matthew
June 16, 2023
We are SO excited to send a trip update, now that we are back from backpacking. The past three days have been full of lots of group bonding, learning a lot, and some beautiful views. Let’s get into it.
On Monday we got up, and Matt treated us to a big breakfast of bacon, egg, cheese, and hash browns! Carson helped scramble the eggs, and everyone else helped with the prepping of backpacking. LODs, Natalie and Trey, got us ready to go, and we caravanned into the Wind River Range with our permit holder Kristen and her adorable Aussie dog named Daisy! On the road, Jack pointed out a heard of beautiful deer looking creatures, and they turned out to be an antelope herd! After a beautiful drive in, we showed up to the trail head, and said goodbye to civilization.
Our four-mile hike in proved beautiful through Aspen groves, pine and fern woods, boulder fields, and mountain creeks. The heavy rain season in Wyoming this winter and spring lead to our hike occasionally going off trail to avoid fallen trees. Jack, Brodie, Mason, Trey, and I played the Movie Game on the way in, and we had such a good time. We worked up a sweat on our way there but made it to our camp site for the next two nights. We found a beautiful green grass field next to an alpine lake, with boulders and pines flanking around us.
We made dinner as the rain rolled in, and everyone warmed up to Moonup in one 4-person tent. 150 toes in the tent!! Moonup was great, and Nat and Trey nominated Abby and James for LOD.The next morning we slept in and woke up to the smell of mountain air (Trey said it smelled extra fresh this morning). Carson, James, and Barnes helped chop apples for a breakfast called The Davis, a Moondance special of cooked apples in cinnamon, pineapple, and sun butter. Abby described it most poetically as “Bussin”. Unfortunately, we had to delay our day hike due to some rain. All the kids played cards and hung out in the tents, waiting out the storm. After a few hours, the rain slowed, and we braved a bit of chilly weather, and set off on a hike! Alice and Harless coined a new “positivity game” and we even hiked over some snow! We arrived at a beautiful alpine lake with a view of the mountains, and even ran into BGW A in the woods!Harless, James, Haley, Kaitlin, and Trey explored the area and found a cave, and we all enjoyed a yummy lunch of sun butter and jelly sandwiches with a beautiful view. We all went on a cool hike around the lake, and even threw some snowballs. After a few hours, we headed back to camp, and James and Abby organized our cooking and clean crews. We soaked up a bit of sunshine, and Alice, Kaitlin, James, and I even took a polar plunge in the river. Chilly but so refreshing!
Haley, Natalie, and Kaitlin made us some yummy tacos with peppers, onions, corn, beans, and chicken, while James, Carson, and I found firewood. After dinner, Jack, Carson, Mason, and I cleaned up, and then we made a fire for Moonup! What a special way to spend our last Moonup in the back country. Brodie even made us all hot chocolate to end the night, although we did have to teach him what boiling water was LOL!We woke up early, and packed down camp so much fast than when we were packing for backpacking a few days ago! Whooooot! LODs Alice and Jack lead us into a sweep of camp, and we ate some oatmeal before our hike back to the van. We drove back to GROW, grabbed our Uhaul, and then surprised the kids with burgers and sandwiches at a TASTY hole in the wall spot in Pinedale, before hitting the showers, and playing in the pool at the Pinedale rec center. We showered, swam, James finally got his wish to play basketball, road the water slide, and Trey led us in a group game!We are now packing up and getting ready to travel to Idaho for RAFTING! Everyone is so excited, happy to be clean again, and Matt and I are so impressed to see how fast this group has bonded. Y’all’s kids ROCK!!We can’t wait to keep y’all updated on this awesome adventure we are all on!! Talk later, after the white water.
June 12, 2023
Hello from beautiful Wyoming!! Big Wild C here! We are so excited to have begun our journey together. Airport day was a breeze! Harless, Alice, and James were the first to arrive, and we were FAR too excited to meet them. Haley and Kaitlin had one of the cutest airport reunions I have ever seen, and Abby even ran into her cousin at the airport! We had cookies and wraps, and everyone cheered for Brodie, as our 12th member arrived. After grabbing all our gear and luggage, we began our short drive to our first camp site. We caught a glimpse of the snowy Teton range and beautiful landscapes. Trey put it best, saying he could even smell the mountain air. We arrived at our first campsite, where Matt and I taught a lesson on how to set up a tent, and then put the kids to work! We then got our fishing license from town and picked up pizza for the group! After dinner, the Athens power duo, Mason and Jack taught everyone how to splay spike ball and started a tournament! Abby encouraged Natalie to play, and they won a game together! Mason and Jack played Brodie and James in the finals (although Carson and I gave them a run for their money earlier), with the tournament organizers themselves as winners! Then, after a few more games, we had our first Moonup, where we nominated Brodie and Harless as the first Leaders of the Day (LODs) for tomorrow and everyone was quickly off to bed for some much needed rest.
The next day’s activity was fly fishing!! We met our guides and followed them to our private fishing spot on the snake river. We learned about the fish we would be fishing for, and the imitation bugs as would be using. We learned to cast, and Carson practiced his double barrel. We played some games as our guides tied on our flies for us, and Alice, Barnes, Natalie, and James joined Big Wild Group A in a big game of Ninja. James was the final camper “alive” and made us all laugh with his sharp movements! We then split up into groups and hit the river! Our fly guide was so impressed with our group’s positive attitude and excitement for the activity. I joined Abbey and Harless on the river, and we had a blast, and probably laughed far more than one is supposed to while fly fishing. Matt fished with Haley and Mason, and Haley hooked a fish, but it got away. But regardless of our lack of fish, we learned a lot, and took in some incredible views. Everyone had a blast on the beautiful river! After fishing, we headed to meet our permit holders to prepare for backpacking tomorrow! We had an easy dinner of chicken, broccoli, and Alfredo pasta, which Carson gave 7/5 stars. Then our LODs lead us in a great Moonup, and nominated Natalie and Trey for LODs the next day. It was then off to bed, full of excitement for backpacking tomorrow!
Until after the Winds,
Casey + Matt
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!