July 8, 2023
Final trip update BCO 2A
As we travel down the Sea to Sky Highway past the Chief to return to Seattle, the mountain holds a new significance for us. On our last day in Squamish, we seized a moment of spontaneity and hiked to the summit of the famous Stawamus Chief! Our group took stepping out of our comfort zones to the next level by hiking a staircase and rock scramble trail with a 1,755 foot elevation gain. Addi and Meghan set the pace and we worked as a team cheering each other on, taking water breaks and all summiting together. Cheers roared and celebration snacks were broken into immediately once we reached the top. Once the adrenaline winded down, we all took five minutes of silence to reflect on the beauty of our surroundings and our accomplishments.
We couldn’t have done the hike if it wasn’t for the conversation from the boys rafting boat that morning. Anden, Charlie, Will, Parker, Harrison, Glenn, Porter and Dan disembarked their raft, fired up by embracing the moment and full-sending the hike. The girls were a bit more hesitant but with some motivation and a little caffeine boost they were amped!
Our rafting section of the trip was incredible. Adelaide even said it was the best day she’s ever had. We split up into two groups, the girl’s Beauty Boat and Boys Barge. The competition to have the most ‘stoke’ was a close one, with chants roaring from each boat including barking from the boys and a “Boo-yah” coming from the girls each time they hit a rapid. Sophia coached the girls’ boats on timing of paddling and kept the energy up throughout. The sun was shining, and the glacier rivers were so refreshing and smiles were wide.
When we arrived at our private island on the Squamish River for the night, a brave few stripped out of their wetsuits and practiced a Squamish Peoples tradition of facing down the river for ten seconds to release the negative energy and then facing upstream for ten seconds to welcome new opportunities. Then, our raft guides cooked us a fantastic steak and salmon dinner followed by a berry crumble! Molly and Charlie led us in a mega moonup with the guides where we all shared who our mentors are. Thank you to our parents and loved ones for being such great examples of love and leadership for us. We closed out the night with a dance party where Caroline and Frances continued to surprise us with new moves.
We spent the night cowboy camping on the beach, sleeping under a beautiful blanket of stars. We laughed uncontrollably as Anden, Will and Charlie wrestled and Parker and Porter spoke in funny accents. As we fell asleep to the sound of the river and view of the stars, we even witnessed a few shooting stars!
That next morning, we rafted from the island back to the van and headed straight for the hike for the Chief. After conquering the hike, we all jumped into Alice Lake fully clothed and the students split into teams to compete in Iron Chef dinner. Team Lemonade made Parker’s favorite, lemon pepper chicken with corn and Adelaide’s signature salad. Team Carrot chose to chef up Will’s family recipe, Bolognese with Frances and Caroline’s grilled cheese. The three judges, Porter, Dan and Meghan, along with our special guest judge, Sally rated each team based on teamwork, presentation and taste. Both dishes were fantastic, we were super impressed by the student’s improved cooking skills over the trip. Shoutout to Team Lemonade for winning the BCO 2A Iron Chef Challenge!!
Our last day together began with a town day in Squamish hopping around different thrift shops in search of a funny outfit for our banquet dinner. Sophia won the craziest outfit, although Parker really got into character. After our long travel day, we balled out at Denny’s. No pancake was safe from our devouring. We finished off the trip with a thoughtful and emotional moonup and drove to the airport screaming songs on the top of our lungs.
Our airport sendoff has surely been a tearjerker as we hug goodbye to each student before they head through security. Meghan, Dan and Porter cannot express enough how grateful we are to have gotten to spend these last two weeks with your kids. You have raised such kind, adventurous, determined, and hysterical young men and women. We hope to have impacted their lives as much as they have ours, and we are proud of the budding leaders they are becoming.
Until next time,
BCOA- Meghan, Porter, and Dan
July 4, 2023
After an excellent several days spent surfing around Tofino, our crew traveled inland on Vancouver Island to the Lake Comox area. The travel day happened to fall on Canada Day, so we treated ourselves to some Tim Hortons Sno Caps and Timbits (so scrumptious) before traveling through the mountains of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. Dan, our third leader, was waiting for our arrival in Cumberland Lake Campground, waving Canadian flags!! After some passport transportation woes, he was able to rejoin the group north of the border. All the kiddos quickly bonded with Dan and appreciated his ability to push them to try new things boldly.
Our first full day in the Lake Comox area was spent learning the basics of top rope climbing on a 30-foot granite wall near our campsite. Molly taught the figure-8 follow-through knot to everyone in the group so that they could tie into their climbing harnesses. Sophia, Anden, Adelaide, and Charlie quickly picked up techniques and sent some gnarly 5.10 and 5.11 routes (AKA very hard climbs) within the first few hours. They turned around to help others in the group by belaying them and giving them helpful beta (instructions on how to climb the routes). Harrison even won a speed climbing competition in a wrist brace! Mr. and Dr. Dilts, your kid is a serious trooper!! Addi, Frances, and Parker faced their fear of heights and rappelled down some serious overhangs while the rest of the group cheered them on from the bottom. After a full day of climbing, we all went swimming in Lake Comox and played spikeball for hours on the beach until dinner.
We woke up early for loaded hashbrowns the morning of Day 9 before a day of even more hardcore climbing. We warmed up our legs and arms with a 100-foot rappel from Cathedral Rock and several intense crack climbs up Carpet Rock. Caroline and Glenn sped down the rappel without fear. We can’t wait for the parents to see some photos of their kiddos dangling from the rock spire. After a packed lunch with a view, we challenged ourselves with the “Lucky” route on the famous Devil’s Ladder by rappelling down around 100-feet to the shore of Lake Comox before climbing a hardy 5.7 crack climbing route all the way back up. Our guides, Jordan and Julian, were eager to help everyone out with technique on the challenging climb and offer encouragement the whole way. This was the tallest climb anyone in the group had ever done. Everyone’s comfort zone grew several sizes that day.
Today, we leave Lake Comox for a summit attempt hike on Mt. Becher in the southeast corner of Strathcona Provincial Park. This popular hike opens up to a 360-degree vista at the summit, so we hope to catch some sick views! Looking forward, we have an overnight rafting trip on the Squamish and Elaho Rivers once we return via ferry to the mainland. None of us can believe that our trip is starting to wind down, but we cannot wait to wring every moment and every morsel of adventure out of our remaining days.
Porter, Meghan, and Dan
July 1, 2023
Hey British Columbia Families!
After taking the ferry from Squamish to Vancouver Island, our adventures in British Columbia continued to pick up. Driving from the eastern shore of the Island all the way to the beach town of Tofino in one day, we crossed the Island’s continental divide in Pacific Rim National Preserve, stopped by Kennedy Lake to admire the water, and had a lesson in the geology in the region. Arriving at Bella Pacifica campground in Tofino in the early evening, we made personal pita pan pizzas a la camp stove, a big hit with the kiddos! Frances put about a pound of pepperoni on her pizza and said it was one of the best she ever ate. After dinner, we walked down to the beach and had Moonup as the sun set over the Pacific Ocean. Our group has grown so close in such a short amount of time.
The next morning, we woke up early for a packed day of activities in Tofino. For breakfast we had burritos, filled with home fries, peppers, onions, eggs, bacon, and sausage. Afterwards, we booked it to the beach for a morning of surfing in Cox Cove! Harrison, Sophia, Parker, and Adelaide were naturals, and quickly learned to catch waves and carve through the world class surf. However, within an hour, every single kiddo on our trip got up to their feet on their boards and ripping some gnarly waves. Tuckered out from all the surf, we refueled with a lunch of ramen and Caesar salad wraps before paddleboarding off the same beach we made camp at! Our guides, Aaron and Laurens, were eager to show us the kelp estuary found past the sand bars. Everyone was super interested in the kelp crabs that clung to the bull kelp in the shallow waters. We also saw plenty of purple and ochre sea stars as well as anemones in the intertidal zone. After playing some games on our paddleboards, we beached them and got out the ball for a game of pickup beach soccer. Glenn led his team to victory after an intense game. For dinner, we cooked barbeque chicken quesadillas on the dual burner. Caroline, Molly, and Frances were on the cook crew for the night and helped ensure the meal was delicious. Harrison and Porter had a quick detour into Tofino and snagged some delicious döner kebabs from a food truck. After another Moonup on the beach, many of the kiddos stayed up for deep conversations in the moonlight.
Our group couldn’t get enough of the surfing and paddleboarding, so went back out for more! This time, we started with an adventurous paddleboard excursion into a nearby bay. We were able to paddle right beside a bald eagle’s roost, with mama eagle watching us as we glided past. Once in the bay, we played paddleboard ultimate frisbee, which resulted in a ton of wipeouts and even more laughs. Addi is a pro paddleboarder! She showed others how to have better stroke form and led the way with our guides. Before we got off our paddleboards, we all tried (unsuccessfully) to do headstands. After a lunch of turkey/ham and cheese melts, the group loaded up and headed back to Cox Cove for day two of surfing. The surf was choppier and more intense today, but everyone was ready for the challenge. Charlie, Anden, and Will excelled at catching the bigger waves and helping others with their technique. After another action-packed day, the crew packed to check out downtown Tofino before a dinner of poutine and other Canadian dishes at a local restaurant. After dinner, we indulged in amazing local gelato!! Our last Moonup in Tofino was very meaningful, as everyone imagined what the person to the left of them in the circle would be like in twenty years. We all feel that in twenty years, we will be pretty cool adults.
It’s hard to believe that our trip is at the midpoint! This group is really special; we have too many inside jokes to count and everyone’s struggled to not smile all day. Thank you parents for entrusting your children to us leaders for this trip of a lifetime. We are honored to be with each and every one of them.
Porter and Meghan
A few messages from your kiddos:
Sophia: Ihaven’t showered🚿in 🗣️an ‼️ estimated 🕰️7 days🌞.
Addi: hi!!! I miss y’all so so much, I’m having so much fun! The trees and mountains here are beautiful. Love y’all so much!
Glenn: Hi mom, I love you and miss you!
Will: Hi Mom and Dad, I miss y’all. Thank you for letting me go on this great adventure. P.S, I gave two leaders majestic mullets.
Harrison: Hi Mom, Dad, and William I love and miss you all. I am having an amazing time and still doing great despite my wrist. I can’t wait to explore BC for another two weeks with you.
Anden: Hi mom, dad and Nolan I love you all and miss you too. I am having a great time in BC and can’t wait to tell you all about it. Tell Murphy I say hi.
Charlie: Hi mom dad Wes and lulu. Love you and miss you guys. I am having a great time in BC and can’t wait to tell you all about it. Tell Everyone I say hi.
Parker: Hey mom and dad I’m having a lot of fun and I love and miss you
Adelaide: Hey mom and dad! I’m having so much fun! I love and miss y’all and can’t wait to see you!
Molly: Hi mom, dad, and Harrison! I am having so much fun! I love and miss you guys so much!
Caroline: Hey mom and dad! I am having so much fun I love my group so much miss and love y’all!🥰
Frances: Hey mom and dad, missing y’all!! I’m having so much fun and have met my forever best friends!! Love y’all!!
June 28, 2023
Hello from Squamish, British Columbia!!
We have had an exciting few days chock full of activities. Everyone arrived in Seattle on Sunday, but it feels like a month ago because of all the inside jokes and memories already made. Our first day was travel heavy with flights and an immediate departure for Canada. Nugs to Glenn for being such a trooper with his lost bag; it hasn’t dampened his spirit at all! After our long drive, we celebrated the beginning of the trip with a woodfired pizza party at Stanley Park in Vancouver. We had a speedy tent set up upon arrival to Paradise Valley Campground, and our first-time campers Adelaide, Frances, Caroline, and Addy nailed their first tent setups! The Live In The Moment mindset began immediately as we woke up and drove to our first mystery activity. Canyoneering Cascade Falls! After a quick briefing, we suited up in our stylish wetsuits, harnesses, and helmets. Agility and balance came into play as we waded up the falls hopping from rock to rock. We worked up quite the appetite for PB&Js, apple sauce, chewy bars and pretzels for lunch! If climbing the rocks was the appetizer, the rappelling the waterfall was the main course. We are so proud of everyone but especially Will, Adelaide and Addy for conquering their fears of heights through rappelling. The group finished off the day by rappelling a thrilling 115-foot waterfall, with dancing hype man Porter and photographer Meghan cheering at the bottom. The van ride back home was quiet; everyone was tuckered out from such an adventurous day. This evening was a special one because we got to celebrate the lovely miss Addy’s birthday! We cheffed up spaghetti and Italian sausage for dinner, then surprised Addy with a chocolate cookies and cream cake for dessert. The minute the candles were blown out and birthday wishes were given, we devoured it. The leaders introduced Moonup, and we were able to slow down the rush and thrill of the day for some intentional time to reflect on and appreciate our eventful days. Some of our goals for the trip are to leave with new friends who become family, build leadership skills, and gain more confidence in ourselves!
Our second day in Squamish was the perfect balance between rest and play. We slept incredibly well and were energized for our sea kayaking day. Sophia, Parker, Charlie, Harrison led the group and set the pace. We kayaked past the marina and into the open water, the farthest of any Moondance group this summer! The water was surrounded by mountains, particularly the iconic Chief Mountain, a towering granite rock face keeping watch over Squamish. Along with the folklore about the Chief, we learned about Squamish’s history as a logging town, and the glacier that the First Nations settled around. As we snacked along a beach, a few seals peaked their heads out of the water and said hello! Worn out after the kayaking, Molly, Frances, and Caroline were the first to take off their wetsuits and full send a jump into the cold water. The refreshing polar plunge was followed by a relaxing hot tub that all the kiddos warmed back up in. After filling our bellies with mac and cheese and hanging out in our hammocks, we decided it was time for a dip in the pristine Alice Lake! We were playing games on the floating dock and even made a few friends who wanted to join us. Anden and Porter dominated the spikeball tournament, but we all will be pros by the end of the trip. We finished off the perfect day with taco bowls prepped by Charlie, Adelaide, Parker, and Will. Moonup was led by our leaders of the day, Caroline and Anden. This morning we ate avocado toast, packed up camp, and wished our campsite neighbors farewell as we departed Squamish for Surfing in Tofino! Stay tuned for all the exciting activities on the horizon!! Thanks for sending your kids on such an amazing trip. Us leaders are so impressed by how quickly they’ve adjusted to camping and how close they’ve already grown with one another.
BCO A (Meghan + Porter)
June 25, 2023
Hello British Columbia Families!
We heard from our leaders and the group has landed safely in Seattle! 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!