July 11, 2023
A very sad greetings from the Jackson airport:(
Welp. It’s been a BIG WILD past two weeks, and we just wanted to say thank you for sending your kids on this awesome adventure. Matt and I have been so lucky to lead this incredible group. They will be missed so dearly.
Let’s get in to the past few days! Some incredible times to cap off this wonderful experience. Friday we road tripped back from Idaho to Jackson, back where it all started! Charlotte, Crosby, and Margaret were STOKED to be able to listen to Speak Now (Taylor’s Version), and the new bonus songs! We took a quit interruption to stop and go thrift shopping for some STYLISH outfits for our final banquet. Tess and Charlotte got some matching Hawaiian shirts, and everyone had a blast. We then made it to Jackson, had sandwiches in a park, and then had town day! Everyone stopped a Moos for ice cream, and then souvenir shopped. After town day, LODs Tess and Browning led us on an amazing hike to Phelps Lake. On the hike up, we passed through beautiful pine forests, crossed over roaring rivers, and made it to a crystal clear alpine lake. The water was a little chilly, but Browning and Elsa led the way, and we all jumped in the lake. What a wow moment!
Then, George, Harrison, Browning, and Henry whipped us up some DIY pizza, and the girls set up camp and made everyone lunch for tomorrow. Charlotte and Tess played some volleyball, and the LODs lead us in an awesome Moonup.
The next morning, we woke and headed to Teton village to meet our Exum guides for rock climbing. We took the Gondola up to the top of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, and learned in intro to rock climbing, and then got on some rock! Everyone did such an amazing job, and we had some incredible views of mountains, wild flowers, and sunshine. We learned bouldering techniques, did some multi pitch climbing, and then learned to repel. What a day!
Afterwards, we took the kids for a surprise milkshake run at Jackson Drug, and then to the grocery store. At the grocery store, the group divided intro girls verses boys, and were giving a budget. They then competed in a highly competitive Iron Chef dinner cook off. After much deliberation, the girls decided to make sliders on Hawaiian roles, which mac and cheese and roasted carrots for sides, and the boys, after seeing a buy one get one free steak deal, decided to make carne asada tacos, with a side of arugula (George’s idea). We headed back to camp, split up all the cook wear, and they started cooking!
Both teams worked together to prep, cook, and plate their food and gave it to us to judge. The girls burger was delicious and their carrots served as a call back to the rafting section’s dinner. The boys tacos were restaurant quality seasoned perfectly and paired well with onions and peppers. But, we had to choose a winner, and after a long deliberation we chose the boys as the victors of the moondance iron chef. Everyone cleaned up and we headed to an awesome overlook of the Tetons for an awesome sunset Moonup.
The next morning, everyone woke up to the smell of Casey cooking pancakes for breakfast before heading out to do some more rock climbing. This time we got to climb in Teton National Park with beautiful views of the Grand and Jenny Lake. Elsa crushed it climbing the hardest route not once, but twice! Everyone practiced some bouldering, climbed some hard top ropes, and got to practice rappelling before hiking back to the car for showers and banquet.
After cleaning up at the Jackson Rec Center, everyone headed over to Bubba’s BBQ for a huge banquet dinner filled with pulled pork, sausage, brisket, chicken, mac n cheese, and potato salad. Everyone laughed and retold stories of the wild past two weeks we had just gone through and looked forward to the future. After dinner, we decided to head to a free concert in a park to hang out, hear some live music, and write everyone notes to keep in memory of the bonds made on the trip. After enough music, ice cream, and hot cocoa, we went to another overlook for our final Moonup together.
Final Moonup was a bittersweet event filled with stories, cupcakes, and laughs. LODs Elsa and Henry led us in a wild 10 minute long mug jug story, and everyone shared their favorite memory from the past two weeks as well as their ultimate peak, valley, and horizon. Moonup ended with a big group hug before everyone packed up and went to bed in preparation of departure day.
That brings us to now, everyone is moving through security and towards their gates as we prepare for all the future adventures life will hold for us. It has been an amazing and fun journey and we are so thankful for each and every one of the kids that joined us along the way. We had them write some thank you’s and will put those below, but thank y’all so much for allowing us the opportunity to be their leader and until next time
Matt and Casey
Hey Mom and Dad I miss y’all so much and can’t wait to see y’all! Thank you so much for sending me on this trip I have had a great time. I love you so much see you soon!
Hi mom and dad I miss y’all so so much (and Campbell, mittens, Murphy, and skip) this has been such a great trip and I’ve loved it so much and thank you for letting me go. I love and miss y’all so much and can’t wait to see y’all tomorrow 🙂
Hey mom and dad! I miss you guys so much and I’m so excited to see y’all again tomorrow! I’ve had so much fun on this trip and I’m so grateful to be here right now. Thank you guys so much for this opportunity! I love y’all so much see u tomorrow !!!!
Hey Trent and Sean! I miss you guys so much and I’m so exited to see you guys soon! I’ve had a lot of fun on this trip! It was such a cool experience, see you tomorrow!!!
Hey mom and dad! I miss you both so much and I can’t wait to see you soon! I heard that Tess had a great time on her trip and I am so glad. Thank you both so much for his opportunity to come here, i met amazing people and made so many memories with them. See you guys soon I love you!!!
Hi mom and dad!
I just finished our final day of rock climbing, and it was sad to think that this incredible experience Is coming to an end. But on that note, I want to thank you for giving me this opportunity to experience this and to meet all of these people.
Hey Mom and Dad! I have had lots and lots of fun on Moondance and I am really glad y’all let me go. I miss y’all a lot and I can’t wait to see y’all and Bo Rives. See y’all tomorrow, love you.
Hey Mom and Dad!
We just finished our final rock climbing and even while I’m excited to see y’all tomorrow it is sad that this trip will be over. While I definitely want to sleep in my own bed, I will miss sleeping under the stars. I am so happy that you let me go on this trip and I will see y’all tomorrow!
Hi mom and dad I can’t wait to see you tomorrow we just finished rock climbing. Thank you for giving me this opportunity.
George: hey mom and dad. I really enjoyed moondance and had a great time. Thank you so much for letting me go. See you soon. Love,George
July 7, 2023
Hello from the salmon river!
Are we in Idaho, Washington, or Oregon, we may never know. We definitely have visited all 3 at this point! We are off the whitewater, and on our way back to the cool, tree-covered mountains in Jackson. Let’s get into the last few days!
Sunday we woke up bright and early and made our trek towards the Salmon River. We stopped in Boise on the way for lunch of pizza at a cool local park, with giant slides, swings, and a little water park action! Then we made it to our beautiful campsite at Lake Cascade. We took the kids swimming, and Elsa, Browning, Henry, Harrison, Harrison, and I played water tips while everyone appreciated the area around us. After a swim break, Harrison, Henry, George, Browning, and I cheffed up an amazing meal of spaghetti with broccoli, zucchini, tomato sauce, and chicken. The boys were all playing around with the various spices we have, and it turned out great! Elsa did not fear the spice this time! Then, we got packed up for rafting, and Matt surprised us with ice cream cake for dessert. What a treat! LODs Tess and Harrison lead us through an amazing Moonup, looking at the sunset reflecting on the lake, as everyone discussed what the ideal fruit or vegetable would be to make shoes.The next morning we woke up bright and early to eggs, bacon, and hash browns (in celebration of being in Idaho!). LODs Charlotte and Henry got us packed up for camp, and we headed to meet our raft guides. Charlotte and Henry divided us into two raft groups, and we set off on our adventure! Unfortunately, one of our lovely campers Kate W had to go home because she was sick, so I left Matt with our guides and the kids, and I took her to the airport. While I was gone, everyone hit some intense whitewater before eating a burger dinner while playing the animal game. Matt and George had to go into overtime to decide the winner. The next morning after some French toast and repacking of the gear boat, the group went through another day of heavy rapids. Each boat took turns splashing each other with their paddles and Tess took on a huge wave of water while riding the bull! After the rapids, everyone settled down at a huge camp and played mafia. The group was reunited once again over a dinner of pork, green beans, cooked carrots, and lots of hugs. Casey brought in a watermelon! George narrated a hilarious game of mafia, and LODs Elsa and George lead us in a great Moonup. The day was topped off by angel food cake and huckleberry jam, and we had a killer view of the stars. The next day we woke up to pancakes, bacon, and fruit! Tess was STOKED about the pinnacle. With the full group together, we celebrated the 5th of July and divided the group into Red Team and Blue Team. Each team came up with a team cheer, and then we dunked ourselves in the river to open up color wars. LODs Margaret and Brooks led us as each team strategized on the competition of the day, and bonded as a team in our boats. The red team got out to an early lead with a win in Head, Shoulders, Knees, Cup thanks to George and Brooks, with Elsa keeping the blue team alive, and another win in the rock game. Crosby and Browning kept the blue team’s dreams alive with valiant efforts in Tips. Tess orchestrated some tough matchups for the balance game, and then we capped the night off with trivia. Everyone celebrated with a great dessert of upside-down pineapple cake and cupcakes before going to sleep. The last day, we packed up camp and all floated on the “party barge” and hit the road towards Jackson! The kids are currently assigning what fruit or vegetable everyone is, and there are lots of laughs from the back of the van.
Love,Casey and Matt
In the meantime here are some shoutouts from the group:
Hey mom and dad! I love Moondance so far I’m having the best time. I have some great videos of white water rafting you will love! The people in my group are amazing I can’t wait to tell you all about them. The food is amazing and I will see you soon! Dad I can’t wait to see you in the airport and mom when I get to Michigan I will be happy to see you and Stein! Love you both!!! XOXO, Elsa
PS. Mom don’t forget to order my clay beads thank you so much!!!
Hi mom and dad I miss y’all a lot but I’m having a lot of fun. We just got back from rafting and camping on the salmon river and the beaches reminded me a lot of Santa Barbra almost but it’s one of the prettiest places I’ve ever been. I didn’t catch any fish but it was still a slay. Also, I still got to shower once at the aquatic center which was kinda like the Croc but, I’m gonna get to shower one more time, and also tell Campbell I’m sorry for using her shampoo before I left for Moondance if she asks once she gets back. ALSO on the last day, we get to go to the rodeo! Love and miss y’all both and can’t wait to see y’all
Hey Mom and Dad I miss y’all so much! I am having so much fun though. We just got off the river and we had a great time white water rafting. Say hi to the dogs and Zoe for me! I love you.
Hey mom and dad! I miss you guys so much but I am having so much fun here! Today we left the river which is by far has been the best part of this trip! Everyone in my group has been really funny and my group is just really good! I’m very grateful for everybody and this trip!! I hope everything is going well at home and say hi to AW for me!! And I hope 4th of July was fun as always! Make sure to tell Sarah a happy late birthday! I love you guys so much and I miss you!!
Hey mom and dad!I miss y’all a lot. I am having a blast on Moondance and can’t wait to see y’all in a few days. Tell the fam I said hi.
Hey mom and Dad, I hope everything is going great back at home and I miss y’all a lot. Tell Bo and Rives I miss them too. Can’t wait to see y’all in a couple of days.
Hey mom and dad! We are wrapping up the last few days of Moondance, and I am pretty sad knowing it is about to end. I am still very excited though, so see you guys and then head up to Wisconsin with the rest of the fam.
Hey Mom and Dad,We are on a long car ride back to Jackson after an awesome 4-day rafting trip. I have been having a great time sleeping under the stars and meeting people from all over the US. Tomorrow, we will start rock climbing in the Tetons and will then go to the Jackson Rodeo. I hope y’all had a great 4th of July in Maine. Tell the Phoebe and the Fam hi for me and I will see y’all soon!
Hi Mom and Dad I am having an awesome time we are on our way back to Jackson to go rock climbing I loved rafting I can’t wait to tell you about the whole trip see y’all soon
Hi dad and dad, I’m having a blast on Moondance! We are wrapping up the last few days of the trip, everyone is so sweet and I miss you guys lots! Can’t wait to see you soon, tell Gus I miss him!
July 2, 2023
Hello from Pinedale, Wyoming, and the Wind River Range!
The past three days have been spectacular while camping and hiking in the Wind River Range outside of Pinedale. After an early morning and some breakfast burritos, Kate Crosby and Browning led everyone to pack up their backpacks with everything needed for the next three days and hit the road. After arriving at the trailhead, Brooks and Margaret guided everyone with their newly learned map skills through dense pine forests and across a river to a beautiful campsite in a meadow below the surrounding peaks. After setting up camp Brooks, George, Henry, Browning, Harrison and Tess all set off to try and catch some trout in a nearby river while everyone else hung out in the big shelter and played card games. After a quick dinner of chili Mac and Moonup the group then went to bed to get some rest before the next day’s adventure.
The next morning, the group had a hearty breakfast of cooked apples and sun butter prepared by Henry and Browning before setting off on a hike down the continental divide trail. After 2 miles or so led by Elsa and Browning, everyone turned around and headed back to camp to fish some more and play card games. Fishing proved to be a success as Brooks caught his first trout of the trip! While some of the group fished, Elsa and Charlotte taught everyone how to play the BS and Palace card games and then led the group in multiple games. Everyone then had a delicious fajita dinner prepared by the girls before enjoying some more time together before Moonup.
The final morning of backpacking, everyone woke up early to get some morning views and pack up camp before heading back down the trail with Kate Williams and George leading the way safely back to the Jill the van. After a quick change back at camp the group was off to some swimming and showers in Pinedale before some well-earned burgers at Dave’s Last Stand.
We are now headed back towards Jackson on our way to Idaho. After a day of driving the group will be off down the Salmon River on a multi-day float trip!
Until the next update,
Matt and Casey
June 29, 2023
Hi from the beautiful Green river!
The first two days have been something special for sure! Y’all have some rockstar kids, and it has seemed like these kids have known each other for years, not days. Let’s get into it!
Airport Day was a breeze! Our first to arrive, Margaret, Tess, Brooks, and Henry were the official greeters as all the other kids arrived! We got started on the official BGW2C playlist, and Henry, Harrison, Brooks, and George even completed it with a very silly album cover. Elsa arrived to cheers from everyone, and we were off to our first camp site in Pinedale! On the way, Kate Crosby taught the group a game called Wavelength, and Matt taught everyone the Cow Game. Henry, George, and Harrison all are now proud owners of numerous imaginary cows!
We picked up pizzas along the way #comfortfood and jammed out to Taylor Swift before arriving to our camp site. Our home for the next two nights is tucked up in a green clearing, seated at the foothills of some beautiful mountains! We taught everyone how to set up tents, and we dined on pizza and fruit. At dinner, Kate Williams was the first to know everyone’s name, and Henry got everyone’s hometowns. Very impressive for the first few hours together. I left to go grab our final camper, Browning, while Matt lead the kids through introductions and a campfire!
This morning we started our day with French toast and berries, cut by expert helpers Browning and George, and first time Leaders of the Day Kate Crosby and Henry (equipped with our red white and blue LOD hats), made sure we had everything we needed to get out day going! We got prepped for backpacking, played a group game (Elsa beat Brooks in a tight completion for longest Moo-er) and packed up the van! We spent the morning and early afternoon at a beautiful alpine lake with a sandy beach. We brought the speaker and volleyball and played in the sunshine. The water was cold, but we still jumped in, and we even saw a moose drinking water across the cove! What a wow moment!
We played games by the beach after a picnic. Tess won the first round of Sniper, a mix between mother may I and hide and go seek, and Charlotte was caught EVERYTIME, while Margaret won a round of Tips! Then we headed to the Green river for some fly fishing. We had 4 drift boats, and after a short shower, some beautiful weather. I joined George and Harrison on the river. George caught an 18 in brown trout, and Harrison pulled in a white fish. Browning also got a trout, and Brooks had a bunch of bites. Everyone got much better at casting, and we are so looking forward to putting our skills into even more practice in the alpine lakes during backpacking! Tomorrow’s LODs, Brooks and Margaret, are ready to lead the way!
Casey + Matt
June 27, 2023
Hello Big Wild Families!
We heard from our leaders 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!