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Big Wild 2.5A • June 29-July 12, 2023

Bittersweet Goodbye's!

July 12, 2023

We started off our final day with showers and a breakfast of cereal, bagels and fruit before hitting the road. William was the speediest and led the rest of the crowd to follow! We hit the road to make our final push to Jackson hole. We started the ride with a group car sleep for everyone to get an extra couple hours, knowing we had a big day ahead of us! After that, Caroline helped with our song queue to keep vibes up for the remainder of the ride.

When we arrived back at our favorite Jackson hole campsite, it was time to get to work. Gigi ran the cleaning of the van like a champ and Anna had some great ideas that helped speed up our group gear cleaning process. Once that was out of the way we headed into town for some last day fun! We started off by walking around the square and hunting for survivors. Riley found the prefect Jackson hole sweatshirt she had been waiting for! We continued until we were shopping out and ready for our banquet dinner. We hit picas where Carleton indulged in a delicious chicken burrito and everyone left full and satisfied. But…. not too full for some ice cream! We headed back to the square to hit up Moo’s. We all got a scoop of our favorite flavor and Linus found a t-shirt to bring home! When we headed back to the campsite Thomas facilitated a game of football between the boys.

Once the sun set over the Tetons, we had a heartfelt final moonup, led by our LODs Isaac and Hannah. We shared nugs from our entire time together, including Will giving nugs to each member of our the group, individually. After sharing things we’ve learned and how we’ve changed during these 2 weeks unplugged, our LODS had a little surprise for the group. They passed around slips of paper and zip lock bags. Everyone wrote a nug/something they love about each person so everyone would have their own “nug jug” to take home with them. After the conclusion of our final moonup, Lila spearheaded staying up a bit later to soak up every moment the group had together. Tired and knowing an early morning was on the horizon, the group slipped to sleep giggling and recapping memories from the last weeks.

And they are off! We’ve said goodbye to almost everyone, with the final few leaving in the next couple hours. They are on their way back to you! It’s been an incredible 2 weeks together with people and memories we will always share. We cannot thank you enough for sharing your kid with us this summer. Each and every one of them is an absolute rockstar and we are so lucky to have gotten to know them. We can’t wait to see what’s in store next for this bunch!

Singing off,

Sam and Anna

Riding the Bull!

July 11, 2023

Wahoo we’re fresh off rafting!! Our rafting portion of the trip started the day before with an early morning and a long drive, but the kids were pumped up and ready to go! After a couple hours of rest, Riley was facilitating fun car conversation topics that kept everyone entertained as we traveled through Wyoming and Idaho. The kids got extra excited when we surprised them with the infamous Big Wild stop at Chick-fil-A for lunch! After filling our tummies, we continued on. Needing to check the van out as well as wanting some outdoor time, we stopped at a beautiful park where Linus absolutely dominated the field in kickball! All was well with our van, so we continued on our way. By the time we reached our campsite the sun had set, we all slept under the stars eager to hit the Salmon the following morning.

Not only was it our first day in rafts, it was Anna’s 15th Birthday! We started the day with birthday wishes and Annas choice of music as we headed to meet our rafting guides. We moved our items into dry bags before getting a safety briefing and popping into boats. Our rafting adventure had begun! Will was first to “ride the bull!” A quickly learned rafting term for sitting at the very front of the raft with legs dangling out. Everyone, including Will, giggled when he fell in almost immediately. He then immediately hopped right back in place ready for more fun! Everyone had fun paddling, lounging, and swimming around as we traveled down the lower Salmon. When we got to camp, we set up a fire line and got the gear off the boats before setting up a bit of a birthday surprise. We hid balloons under our canopy and then surprised Anna with a card signed by everyone. We finished the night off with burgers, cake with candles and of course our rendition of happy birthday. We all slept soundly to the natural sound machine of the water flowing beside us.

Our first full day on the river was filled with rapids and really fun times! The morning started with some delicious French toast and fruit prepped by our guides. We hit some high rapids from the get go! But the group was ready for it. William was quite the expertise, handling every rapid with stellar paddling technique and a smile on his face. Our lunch stop was a favorite – caesar salad wraps! When we got to camp we learned Egyptian rat slap. Caroline got focused and turned on game mode in this new fast paced card game! We enjoyed another amazing meal cheffed up by our guides before topping off the evening with S’mores! Gigi had been waiting all trip for these! Our guides taught us a new tasty trick that Thomas stated he would absolutely be taking home with him – subbing the chocolate for a Reese’s. Trust us, it’s amazing! Full and happy we had another great nights sleep on the beach along the Salmon.

Day 3 of rafting started early as we knew we had some major mileage to cover. After packing up camp and having breakfast we switched up rafts and hit the water! Today we had a lot of friendly raft wars! All of them ending with everyone in the water laughing. Hannah impressed everyone with her ability to stay on the raft! It was a spectacular view as we hit the point of the salmon and snake meeting. We then followed the snake river and found our campsite, realizing we had made it into Oregon! Carleton led the group in a co-ed spike ball round robin tournament at the edge of the beach and water. Everyone had a blast spike ballin’ and splashin’ around at the same time! After playing for hours, Issac was able to convince all to play a couple more rounds knowing it was our last night along the river. We had worked up an appetite and our rafting guides did not disappoint, we indulged in a delicious meal of lasagna, salad and garlic bread! We slept one last time under the stars with the the noise water to help drift us asleep.

Our last morning of rafting started off strong with a delicious meal of breakfast potatoes, egg scramble and rolls. We then hustled into boats to hit the river and get to our take out. We enjoyed our last bit of time on the water, soaking up the sun. Lila found a good spot in the boat to take a little sun nap. When we got to take out we enjoyed our final rafting guide meal of taco salad – boy are we gonna miss their tasty creations! We duffle shuffled our dry bags, said a BIG thanks and goodbye to our guides and hit the road. We are now en route to Jackson Hole, stopping at our campsite along the way. We will wake up and finish out our drive and have a fun filled final day! It’s hard to believe our time together is nearing an end but we are so excited to soak up every last minute with this awesome crew! Thanks so much for sending your kids to spend this time with us – they make up the most hilarious fun loving group of 12 and we would not be the same without any single one of them. It’s been a blast to get to know each and every one of them! We’ll be back with one more update after our final 36 hours together!

-Anna and Sam

Backcountry Livin!

July 6, 2023

We’re back from our backcountry adventure and here to tell the tale! Before we were ready to get out there, we spent the morning prepping our backpacks and group gear, learning all about packing for backpacking. Next, we headed to our fly-fishing lesson. We got into drift boats and began to float down river, learning all about casting techniques from our guides. Hannah had the perfect cast down in no time, even our guide called her a natural! Next thing we know, Thomas successfully hooks one! We all agreed it was an absolute blast of a time. With our packs ready and newly found fly fishing skills we were ready to hit the Wind River Range! Before we rested our heads to dream about backpacking Isaac spearheaded a personal pita pizza dinner.

The next morning, we were ready to hit the trail running! We quickly packed up the camp and ate some cereal for breakfast. The group really wanted some cereal and this was the perfect pre-backcountry breakfast! We got to our trailhead and headed on our way. Only a quarter of a mile in we were already in awe of the Mountain Views, and beautiful flowers as the peaceful creek flowed beside us. Carleton kept us entertained with riddles as we hiked. After hiking for a couple hours we stopped for lunch by the creek. Lunch was delicious- tortillas with peanut butter, jam, Nutella, summer sausage, and cheese. The group was pleasantly surprised by how much they enjoyed the summer sausage! After lunch we hit some more uphill and off the beaten path bits of our route, the hike was not easy by any means, but Caroline kept a positive attitude and smile on her face every inch of the way! We hit a bit of a rainstorm but the group handled it like champs! Once we got to the lake, where we would be staying, we set up tents and Gigi led some of the girls in a frigid and brave polar plunge. We then enjoyed our first whisper light cooked meal of stir fry ramen before headed to bed under the stars after a long first day of backpacking.

We enjoyed our first opportunity to sleep in of the trip on none other than the Fourth of July! Will was up and at ’em practicing his fly-fishing casting. After a slow morning we headed out for a day hike to a new lake with a beautiful panoramic view to spend some of the afternoon. The hike was another tricky adventure, but Lila was always first to volunteer a helping hand as everyone walked point a to b. Once we arrived at the scenic lake, Anna found the most perfect rock for the girls to soak up the sun and enjoy the view. When we got back from our day hike William wasted no time, catching a brown on the fly rod almost immediately. We then rested and relaxed through the afternoon storms before coming back out to celebrate the fourth with camp decorations, red, white and blue sour patch kids and fan favorite chicken pesto pasta. We had our Moonup with Fourth of July glow sticks as the rain began to lightly come down then settled into our tents for the night.

We woke up bright and early this morning in order to hike out and get to our well-earned shower. As we began our journey out Riley kept us entertained with everyone’s new favorite trail pass time – “the initial game.” We hiked out in no time and everyone was thrilled to see the trusty van and uhaul, feeling accomplished after the past few days in the backcountry. When we got to the local recreation center the boys were thrilled to find a basketball court, after spending the past 3 days wanting to play. Linus led the group in a game of pick-up before everyone showered. We left feeling fresh and clean and topped of the afternoon with a much needed burger and fries. When arriving at camp the group enjoyed card games and spike ball before our cook crew doctored up some nachos for the group. After an memorable and full of laughs few days in the backcountry we are off to Idaho to raft and this group could not be more excited to hit the water! They all absolutely crushed backpacking and we can’t wait to see what they do next.

Til next time,

Anna and Sam


Now here are some shoutouts from your kids…

Caroline – Hey mom hey dad, we are cowboy camping tonight and I’m so excited. We leave head to Idaho tomorrow for rafting. Love y’all

William -Hey mom alpo and laney! I am having a blast! Climbing was awesome! Tell bogey hi!

Thomas – What up Margalicous Nutrition, how Pearl and Ollie doing. I had a great time rock climbing. Hey Dad, How are the Wardlaws and Bear and Birdie. I’ve been having a great time here climbing and backpacking.

Carleton – Hey mom dad Mac and Robert. We’re having a great time in Wyoming, backpacking definitely happened.

Will – Hey parentals It is going good. I’ve had a lot of fun.

Isaac – Hi y’all I’m doing great and it’s lots of fun. How’s Bronzely I miss her and I’ve made a lot of new friends backpacking was fun and I learned how to fly fish.

Linus – Hi mom and dad everything’s great and I’m having a lot of fun. I just had a really nice shower and we’re about to have Moonup.

Riley -Amie and Dwayne: Hey mom and dad, I’m having a blast and have met some of the most amazing people! I miss y’all so much and can’t wait to tell y’all all about it. Ilymtitiit!!

-Brandon and Melanie: hey dad and Melanie, I miss y’all so much and can’t wait to tell you all about my trip! It is as beautiful as you said:) I love you!

Gigi – Hey mom and dad it’s Gigi I’m having fun love y’all

Anna – Hey mom and dad it’s Anna we have rock climb fly fished and backpacked I wish I could be with y’all for my bday love and miss y’all so much

Lila- Hey mom and dad. Miss y’all so much but I am having so much fun!! We went fly fishing and it was awesome! Today we got a really good lunch and got to shower. Can’t wait to see y’all next week! Love you! P.S Tell Greta I said hi!!

Hannah – hey mom hey dad! I’m having so much fun, the view is amazing. Miss y’all tons, tell Parker and gray I say hi!!


Howdy from Jackson Hole!

July 2, 2023


Howdy from Jackson hole, Wyoming! The first couple days have been filled with rocks, rodeo, and rocking times! Right off the bat this crew was here to have some fun and make some memories! From the second we got to the campsite everyone was playing games. Anna created an alternative version of the classic spoons, sticks! Meanwhile, Isaac ruled the spikeball net. After that everyone got together for a good ole game of tag football before devouring some delicious pizza. We had our first moonup before hitting the hay. Moonup is something we do every night where we reflect on our day and get to know each other a bit better.


Our first full day started off with rock climbing! We learned the basics and practiced some bouldering. We then began a series of multipitch climbs. Topping off with a rappel. Lila did not stop raving about how fun rappelling was, encouraging everyone to try it out! After spending the first part of the day climbing, we headed back to the campsite where William cooked us some tasty burgers and dogs for our cookout. While dinner was being cheffed up, Hannah ran an intense game of uno. We devoured the meal before piling into the van to head into town for the world-renowned Jackson Hole rodeo! What a BLAST! We all couldn’t believe our eyes! Linus embraced the rodeo sporting a new bandana, Will scored a frisbee on the frisbee toss out and Riley impressed us all with her cotton eye joe! We were all beat from a jam-packed full day and slept soundly.


Today we had some bagels, berries, and yogurt before heading to meet our climbing guides in Grand Teton National Park. After grabbing our gear, we hopped on the water taxi that took us across the lake to our climbing spot for the day. After getting down to the basics yesterday we used our skills and did some tricker multipitch climbs. It was tough but everyone absolutely crushed it! Gigi remained calm as she hurried up the climb, making it look easy! When we got to the top, we enjoyed an incredible view of the lake below and the mountains surrounding us. We finished off the day with a 60 feet rappel, quite the step up from yesterday. Everyone agreed it was absolutely exhilarating and the best part of climbing! We headed back to the boat dock and as we waited for the boat Thomas kept us all entertained with a game of froggy murder. After a hot day of climbing, we headed to a lake near our campsite for a well-deserved swim. Although the water was especially chilly Caroline jumped in and agreed it was well worth it! We finished off the lake adventure with Carleton leading us in a rock skipping showdown. We headed back to camp to complete the evening with a taco dinner, an incredible sunset, moonup and some z’s.


We’ve had lots of fun in Jackson these past couple days and are now heading to fly fishing and backpacking! We’ll catch back up after our time in the Wind River Range!


-Sam and Anna

Arrived in Jackson!

June 29, 2023

Hello Big Wild Families!

We heard from our leaders and the group has landed safely in Jackson! 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


  • Anna
  • Caroline
  • Carleton
  • Gigi
  • Hannah
  • Isaac
  • Linus
  • Riley
  • Thomas
  • Will
  • William