July 8, 2023
Hello for the last time from British Columbia!
We woke the kids up bright and early with donuts and muffins waiting. Everyone loaded up in the van and we headed to Davis Lake to start canyoning. Our guide, FX, greeted our kids with energy and enthusiasm to start this adventure. FX took us down to a canyon with waterfalls all around. The waterfalls were steep and powerful. Despite the nerves, the kids were ready to attack the challenge and get to the bottom of each waterfall. Will was the first to rappel and everyone followed. He was so brave to be the first to go. We also were so proud of Izzy for pushing through his fear of rappelling and stepping outside of his comfort zone. The kids took it slow and steady and got down four large waterfalls, the last one being the tallest. It was 100 feet tall. Caroline D. was a natural. She was able to show off her rappelling skills and everyone was impressed. We traveled a couple of hours back to our campsite and stopped at a gas station to let the kids get a treat for all the bravery that was shown today. The kids LOVED our chicken quesadillas a few nights ago for dinner so we decided to make them again! Caroline A. always helps out with the cooking and it is greatly appreciated. She helped us make some of the quesadillas tonight!
We had another early morning for sea kayaking, but the kids were excited to live it up on our final activity. After a quick breakfast, we drove to downtown Squamish and met our outfitter. Our group was absolutely pumped when we didn’t have to wear wet suits for this activity! We launched our boats into the water to find perfect sea kayaking conditions. The water was like glass and the wind was almost nonexistent. Right away, we saw a group of sea otters fishing along the shoreline. Georgia loved seeing the cute otters. Josie was an instant natural at kayaking and made her way to the front of the group. Jacque also did an amazing job with her first time kayaking. Our guide Marcel taught us all about the history of Squamish and how the First Nations used the land for thousands of years. We stopped for a snack under Shannon Falls and the guides showed us a large crab they caught in their traps. During the snack stop, a sea lion popped its head out of the water to take a look at us! The conditions allowed us to paddle onto a cove further than any other group had gone before. The kayak back to the dock was much harder, but we were treated to a relaxing hot tub when we finished packing up! When we got back to the campsite, we cooked up pasta for lunch and made tie-dye Moondance shirts. Rhys made an awesome green and blue spiral design that everyone was jealous of. For dinner, the kids asked to have burgers again after the Fourth of July cookout. We surprised them with s’mores for dessert and we finished the night with a Moonup on a peaceful trail in the woods.
The leaders and Marshall all got up before everyone else to make pancakes for a day of travel! Everyone gobbled up the pancakes caked with Nutella and we hit the road. We passed around a piece of paper for each kid to write down two songs for the queue to play. They loved hearing requested songs play for everyone. Izzy especially. Lee got into dancing and singing in the car and continued to make everyone laugh. We stopped at Tim Hortons, a local Canadian chain restaurant, for lunch and the kids all got ice cap drinks. They all said they wished they had a Tim Hortons by them. After traveling for a few more hours, we stopped at a Goodwill to get funny outfits for our banquet dinner. We decided to dress up in silly button-down shirts with ties and other accessories. Will went all out with the accessories. Our Italian dinner hit the spot and it was great to have dinner together around a table one last time. We ended the night with our final Moonup. It was the most serious, deep talk we have ever had as a group. Isaac shared his true feelings about how much he has loved spending time with everyone and forming these friendships. We were touched by many of the kids opening up. The goodbyes were extremely hard with many tears. We could not have asked for a better group for our second session. These kids were amazing to have on our trip and we have loved getting to know each and every kid. I hope that they have learned as much from us as we have learned from them. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for trusting us to take your children on a trip of a lifetime all around British Columbia. They are special children. This trip will never be forgotten.
Julianna and Jared
July 6, 2023
We headed to Tofino today for our paddle boarding and surfing section of the trip! The day started off with protein pancakes to fill our bellies for a long day of hiking and traveling. On our way to Tofino, we stopped at little Qualicum falls and the Leader of the Day’s, Josie and Rhys, chose a path for us hike. We passed many beautiful waterfalls and Isaac loved looking over the edge to take it all in. We did a “monk walk” where everyone spaced out on the trail and walked silently to take in everything. During the halfway point of the hike, we arrived at a stream where the boys swam and caught some crawfish. Will let a crawfish pinch the side of his hand and dangle. He was so brave! After we ended the hike, we arrived in Tofino. We got all unpacked and headed to the beach. The sand on the beach stretched for a ways out where the kids loved running around and playing spike-ball! Georgia and Will were a great team and dominated in spike-ball! The girls continued to make friendship bracelets on the beach in their crazy creeks. The night ended with a yummy taco bar that the kids loved.
On day one of stand-up paddle board and surf, we got up early and walked from our campsite to the paddle board outfitter. They fitted us with wetsuits, that we all struggled to put on, then assigned us each a paddle board. We set off from MacKenzie beach and headed towards a boulder in the water close to shore. There were starfish, hermit crabs, eatable seaweed, jellyfish and so much more around the boulder. The kids loved exploring the sea life and our guides told fun facts about the sea life and history about the area we were in. After our paddle boarding ended, we headed over to Cox Bay to start surfing! Again, the kids struggled to put their wetsuits on and were not too happy to have to wear them a second time but were able to push through. Jacque was a trooper and had an amazing, positive attitude throughout the day! Izzy was able to show off his surfing skills to everyone and we all were impressed. He gave the kids pointers on how to surf and new techniques. Lee was able to do 180-degree spins while surfing on a wave! Caroline D. caught so many waves and was able to get up very easily. We were amazed by their athleticism and ability to surf, some for the first time. At night, we made chicken cheese quesadillas that definitely hit! The kids came up for seconds and exclaimed how much they loved them. It’s always nice to have comfort food after a long day of activities.
The next day, we started off with surfing in the morning. The waves were a bit more challenging today but Caroline A. was able to still catch a lot of waves! She and I were able to catch the same wave and ride it to shore! After surfing, we headed back to our campsite’s beach and hung out until paddle boarding. The kids continued to play spike ball and make friendship bracelets. When we paddle boarded again, our guide Allie, showed us all how to save someone on a paddle board if they go into a heat stroke on the water. It was a useful tool to teach and we all got to practice the skill on each other. The guides brought out a frisbee to throw on the paddle boards. Rhys leaped from his board multiple times to catch the fast frisbee throws. At night, we went into the town of Tofino and explored the gift shops and surf stores. The town was cute with a lot of activity around. They loved having freedom to walk around and shop. The girls all got matching purple t-shirts to wear on airport day. After shopping we had delicious dinner by the beach then went to a local ice cream place after. The ice cream was well deserved after a long day of surfing and paddle boarding.
We had an early wake up the next morning for a big travel day and the Fourth of July! We were sad to leave the beach life in Tofino, but the kids were happy to travel back to Squamish! The day started out with a long drive filled with naps and song requests from Lee and Izzy. For lunch, we stopped at a park on the water in Namino as we waited for our Ferry. The kids played a card game on the ferry called tongues and Marshall was really competitive with it! The boys loved exploring the ferry ship and catching the views of island. When we got to Squamish it was time to celebrate the Fourth of July! Julianna brought out the USA themed hats and necklaces to lift the spirit. We headed to Shannon falls picnic area for a classic American cookout with a waterfall in the background. For dinner, we ate burgers and hot dogs with watermelon to make the kids feel at home for the fourth. We ended the day with moonup next to a creek near our dinner spot. The kids shared what they were going to miss from the trip and everyone got emotional thinking about leaving.
We made our best memories these past few days and can’t wait to make more in last section of our trip.
We are cherishing every second with this group!
Julianna and Jared
July 2, 2023
Hey guys! I’m l having a lot of fun on Tofino Beach right now. I hope you are having fun in Ocean Reef for the 4th of July. Make sure you’ve been feeding Gertie and tell Pepper and Lila I say hi. Hopefully Lila’s album is done by now. Miss you, Izzy
Hey guys it’s Jacque, I love and miss y’all so much. I’m having so much fun in British Columbia. Can’t wait to see y’all. Tell Lucy I say hey and hope you have fun on the 4th! I can’t wait to tell you about my trip. Love, Jacque
Hello family! I’m having a great time on my trip to British Columbia! So far I’ve rock climbed and rafted, but I’m most excited for sea kayaking next. We’ve slept outside everyday and I’ve love it! I love you guys and miss you so much. Say hi to Grayson and Emma for me! Love, Isaac
Hey mom, dad, and Henry. We are at the beach right bit and I’m having so much fun. My favorite part so far has been white water rafting and I got dipped under a waterfall. I hope you enjoy the 4th at the lake. Please wish Henry a happy birthday! I miss you guys and I’m so glad you told me to do this. Miss you, Lee P.S. I have a treat for Henry
Hey mom, dad, Charlie, and Sarah! I’m having a great time in British Columbia right now. I loved the devils ladder climb that was 100ft above a lake. Tell Charlie Happy early birthday! And don’t worry, I got him a present. Have fun at the lake, don’t catch too many fish! Love, Marshall
Hey mom and dad, I hope you had a fun time in North Carolina. I’m having so much fun in Canada. My favorite part has been climbing devils ladder. Right now, we are at the beach playing spike ball and we are going to surf tomorrow! So hi to Frankie for me and I miss you and can’t wait to see you. Love, Rhys
Hi Family, I’m having a great time in British Columbia. I’m sitting on Tofino Beach in one of the prettiest views we’ve had so far. I miss you and can’t wait to see you. Have fun for the 4th of July! Love you, Will
Hey guys it’s Georgia! Moondance has been amazing, I’m having a great time. I loved rafting on the Squamish river, we almost flipped over! Miss you and love you guys, see you soon. Georgia
Hey guys it’s Josie. I loved rafting and climbing the 100ft rock wall. We are about to go surfing in Tofino and I’m really excited. I’ve made a lot of new friends. I can’t wait to see you guys soon. Tell the hounds I say hi. Love you, Josie
Hey guys, I hope you are having fun in California! I’m having a great time on Moondance and I’ve made a lot of new friends. So far, I’ve only missed the dogs. I loved rock climbing, it’s been my favorite activity. But I’m also excited to surf. Love you and see you soon, Caroline
Hi it’s Caroline! I’m having so much fun. I think we are going surfing soon and I’m really excited for that. We went climbing the other day and I loved that. I hope you have a great 4th of July! Love you, Caroline
July 1, 2023
Hi British Columbia Families!
Today we headed to Nanaimo! We started off the morning by waking up early and having an incredible yogurt bar for breakfast that Lee could not get enough of. He LOVED it. After breakfast, we had a big day ahead of us, with a day of prep before climbing and repelling on Comox lake! We took a ferry from Horseshoe bay, and set up camp at our new site. Will expressed so much excitement to ride a ferry for the first time! The kids loved the beautiful views on the ferry and making matching friendship bracelets! Georgia was a pro at making bracelets and taught everyone how to make one of their very own. Right as we got to our new campsite, the kids were eager to swim! Josie led the girls into the freezing cold water and she was the first one to make it to the floating dock. The rest of the crew followed suit and we played games on the dock! Eventually we called it a day and headed back to our campground to eat a delicious stir fry dinner. Caroline D. and Will, our Leaders of the Day, did an amazing job helping Julianna prepare the meal. We had a meaningful Moonup to conclude the night and there were many “nugs” that went around.
The kids woke up and had a protein filled breakfast of eggs and bacon for their first rock climbing day! Our guides, Jordan and Julianne, led us to a craig to start climbing. Today had more of a focus on practice and getting the climbing technique down in order to be able to complete Devils Ladder tomorrow. We were impressed how each kid was able to push themselves. Caroline D. and Caroline A. worked as a great team together, one climbing and one belaying. Rhys was able to show off his rock climbing skills to his friends and push himself to new limits. Isaac impressed us with completing the hardest craig in preparation for Devil’s Ladder. After climbing, the kids had some free time to hangout by the beach and play in the water. We love seeing this group continue to become more connected. We made pita pizzas for dinner and surprised the kids with cookies for dessert!
Today was day two of climbing! Our guides continued to prepare the kids in the morning for Devils Ladder. We all started by rappelling an 80 feet tall craig then practiced more advanced climbing. After practice, we hiked up to Devils Ladder and we were taken aback by the incredible view. The cliff we were on overlooked Comox Lake with boats and paddle boarders all over. The mountains were so beautiful in the background as well. The kids were nervous to start climbing because of how steep and tall the climb below them was but were so excited for what was to come! Rhys led the charge with the first climb and killed it! Shortly following Rhys, Izzy continued to push himself to rappel and he did such an amazing job overcoming his fear. Caroline D. accidentally forgot her climbing shoes when she started rappelling and Marshall was quick to bring them down to her. We loved how helpful he was. Despite his nervousness, Lee absolutely crushed the difficult climb. Jacque was the last one to climb and waited patiently to close out the day. It was fun for us to watch all of the kids get pushed out of their comfort zones and feel accomplished at the end of the day. The day ended with a well deserved Mexican meal.
We are so thankful for this group and love seeing their growth. We adore your kids!
Signing off for now,
Julianna and Jared
June 28, 2023
Finally! The day we have been waiting for! The kids are here! Airport day went great, and all the kids were psyched to be in Seattle. After we packed up our U-Haul with all the kids gear, we drove off to our first campsite and picked up pizza on the way! Bayview State Park is a beautiful campsite close to Mount Vernon, WA. Right as we arrived, Georgia and Josie convinced all the kids to swim in the Bay. We were thrilled to see all the kids getting into the water despite the muddy beach. The kids were in great spirits even when our feet were sinking into the mud and seaweed. Jared and I loved seeing the adventurous side of these kids and cannot wait to see more. After we swam, we played Mafia, led by Isaac, then Protect My Rock and Human Knot! We love seeing this group instantly click and friendship starting to form. Finally, to end the night we had our first Moonup. For all those who do not know what Moonup is, it is a time for self-reflection and a day’s debrief. It’s a serious, important part of everyday during a Moondance trip. The kids were able to answer questions about what they hoped to get out of this trip and how people at home would describe them. It was a very meaningful first Moonup and we are looking forward for more to come. We decided to ditch the tents and sleep under the stars for our first night.
The next day, we woke up bright and early to cross the Canadian border! The border crossing went smoothly, and we were ecstatic to finally start our adventure in Canada. We drove a few hours more and arrived at the Canadian Outback Rafting base for our overnight rafting trip. We drove a way in a school bus with all the gear and finally got to Squamish River! We had a boys raft and girls raft that got pretty competitive on the river! Before the big rapids, Lee, Will and Marshall, took control of the boys boat for a little and got to steer with the huge ores! As we approached the rapids, Caroline D. loved catching air and getting water sprayed all over her at the front of the boat. Julianna and Jacque almost fell out of the boat during the intense level 4 rapids. When we arrived at the island off the river, Rhys and Izzy got into playing Gaga ball and Tips! We hung out and played more games for a while then had an amazing steak and salmon dinner, cooked by our outfitters. Our outfitters were amazed by how close the group was on only the second day of the trip. We ended the night with a Moonup led by our Leader of the Days, Izzy and Georgia.
The next morning, we were awaken with a French toast breakfast then packed up all our belongings. We set out on the Squamish for a final, relaxing boat ride. The boys boat shared stories and riddles the whole way down. Caroline A. brought positive energy and smiles to the girls boat. When we finished rafting, we checked into our campsite called Khlahanie Campground then headed into Squamish for a town day! The kids loved the freedom of roaming around from store to store. We got dinner at a place in Squamish called Copper Coil Still & Grill and the kids loved the food. We tried an appetizer of poutine (fries and cheese curds topped with gravy) as a local favorite!
These first few days have been filled with laughter and new memories! We are thankful to have an outgoing, adventurous group of kids. We thank you for allowing your child to come on an adventure of a lifetime with us.
Julianna and Jared
June 25, 2023
Hello British Columbia Families!
We heard from our leaders and the group has landed safely in Seattle with all of their luggage! 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!