July 10, 2023
The collective stoke here in California is just a little lower than usual today, as it’s airport day once again. Our small gang of strangers-turned-family is returning to the people and places we’ve been hearing so much about, and we’re quite honestly pretty broken up about it. Here’s what they’ve been up to for the past few days in case you aren’t bombarded by stories the minute they get within earshot.
Our fourth was unforgettable. We started our morning with industrial sized tubes of blue and red face paint and ended with tons of blue and red smiles and hair. PK especially went all out and coated her hair entirely half red and half blue! After a gorgeous morning hike in Point Reyes, where we saw a few plump elephant seals sunbathing, and even got waved at by some humpback whales, we headed to the city to watch some fireworks with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background. We fired up some hamburgers and hotdogs in the park, enjoyed some delicious ice cream sundaes, and watched an incredible fireworks show while wearing glow up necklaces and some smudged blue and red face paint. Lots of smiles, lots of laughs, and a great game of DOGS (with an especially impressive performance from Laura Grace). Somewhere, in between the oohs and ahhhs, we lost a very important van key. After a little unexpected adventure, we ended up spending the night in San Francisco, and had an impromptu watermelon feast in one of the hotel rooms. Alex, who ate an entire watermelon in one sitting when she was three, was pretty happy with our situation.
The next morning we demolished some of San Francisco’s finest doughnuts and hit the water for a sailing tour of the bay. Even in July, the bay is ferociously windy and cold. Not to worry, Anne led the group’s dogpiling effort to stay warm and everyone remained nice and toasty as we cruised under the Golden Gate Bridge. The rest of our day was spent exploring Sausalito, where Harrison and PK bought goofy sunglasses, the group got matching sweatpants, and we all enjoyed some well deserved ice cream. Despite our best efforts, it was tough getting our group to sleep that night because our next morning’s activity, surfing in Half Moon Bay, felt like Christmas morning.
The weather at Half Moon Bay was frightful, but our wetsuits were so delightful. An overcast day and a little wind couldn’t kill our stoke as our kids charged into the water and quickly started shredding waves. River paddled through bombing waves and impressed our group and guides with his surfing ability and finesse (he managed a 360 by the end of the day). Caroline, having surfed in North Carolina, really showed us how it was done and was nearly immediately surfing next to some of the local pros we were sharing the break with. We were proud of our group for staying in the cool pacific water for our three hour surf lesson, and afterwards rewarded them with a visit to the most scenic Taco Bell in the world. You read that right: THE most scenic Taco Bell in the world (it is literally perched on the Half Moon Bay beach, complete with appropriate beach decor). Catherine deleted a frozen Baja Blast, and we feasted while watching waves crash.
With our bellies full and arms exhausted, we soaked in some of our final moments as a group back at camp. Rian led our group charge down to the beach at our campsite and sprinted into the water. Everyone had a blast taking pictures and body surfing! Lock also took charge and organized the group into a DOGS tournament.
On our second day surfing, the waves were firing. Most kids would be scared. Most kids probably wouldn’t even get in the water. But not ours. Caroline took each huge wave with a patient focus beyond her years. Laura Grace traded her board in and went body surfing in the huge swell. There were huge, beaming smiles all around.
After a great surf, we headed to the thrift store to get outfits for our final dinner together as a group. Harrison picked out a raccoon onesie, PK and Anne wore matching outfits complete with ties, and Lock even grabbed a tutu! Our last dinner wouldn’t be complete without a quick gelato pitstop, before we all gathered for just one more Moon Up on the beach.
Words really don’t do justice to just how much we’ll miss them and how grateful we are for you sharing them with us, but here’s an attempt. Thank you. Thank you for trusting us with your most valuable possession and thank you for raising such an incredible group of humans. Thank you for allowing us to guide their adventures and be a small part of their lives. We hope they have an incredible summer, school year, and future ahead of them. We know they’ll do great things.
With love and gratitude (and so much California stoke),
Foster, Bess, and Elizabeth
July 6, 2023
Cal 2B Friends!
We had a great time on the South Fork of the American River. Our raft guides, Violet and Olivia, were incredible and kept us safe and secure on the insane rapids! On our first night at camp, we had a great dinner of stir fry, which River and Caroline helped cook. River worked so hard on the rice and was so proud of it! The clean dishes at the end of dinner were proof that everyone enjoyed it. We enjoyed a great night of music and laughter and then headed to bed to get ready for our first morning of rafting!
Our first day of rafting was AMAZING! We started our journey on class two rapids and worked on our paddle skills before they took us into the class threes. During the calmer sections, we played raft games like Trust and Ride the Bull. Caroline and Alex killed Trust, but Alex won after Caroline lost balance and fell in the river! The hot day called for some water fighting between our two boats – Boato-Boato and BBB! Everyone got soaked, and it was a nice way to cool down. We all secretly wished the battle would go a little longer! We stopped at a nice little lunch spot after we finished up our stint on the class twos and enjoyed a yummy meal prepped by our raft guides. Then it was on to class threes! These rapids were harder core and we put our practice from the morning to use! The first few rapids were a breeze and the raft guides kept telling us we were the best crew around! Rian and Lock kept the group going at the front of the boat and were our fearless leaders! The next rapid up, though, was called Meat Grinder. Everything started off great – we got through the first part (which was insanely fun), but as we came around the corner, the BBB boat crew (Bess, River, Rian, Alex, Lock, and Caroline) got their boat stuck on a rock! They sat there for a few seconds before Boato-Boato came crashing around the corner and right into BBB! Everyone was crying laughing, and somehow in the confusion, PK fell out! You could hear her laughing from a mile away. PK ended up joining the BBB crew for a little and could not stop exclaiming that that was the most fun she had had so far! The rest of our rafting day finished without incident (although PK wished she would fall out again!). Our raft guides met us at camp and prepared us an incredible dinner of steak, chicken, pasta, salad, and bread. We were feasting!! We danced the night away and everyone stayed up chatting and laughing about funny memories from our trip so far. We were all so tired from all our hard work, though, and crashed pretty quickly! Everyone decided that it was a great night to cowboy camp and slept under the stars – it was so beautiful and such a great night of bonding.
The next day of rafting was intense, but definitely the most fun and the most rewarding! We started the day in some awesome class three rapids. LG joined the Boato-Boato crew and had a blast – she was definitely a great addition to the crew since she’s had some awesome rafting experience! Harrison got some great water fighting in and was splashing everyone around at every chance he could get! About halfway through our second day, we found a little bee struggling from his wet wings! Catherine scooped him right up to save him and let him dry. We maneuvered the boat to a rock where we set him off to dry. It made for a memorable day for sure! We finished up our rafting leg with the most fun rapid – Troublemaker. They told us this rapid is the most famous rapid and is the most commercially rafted rapid! We were all so excited. We got soaked and it was a bumpy ride, but it was the best way to finish up our rafting leg. We headed straight from rafting to our next campsite, where we slowly watched the thermometer numbers on the van ride rise! Thankfully we were sheltered with the van AC, but the kids were all so amazed when the thermometer read 120 degrees. We all agreed that this was the hottest weather we’ve been in, but we don’t know if that really counts since we were sipping on ice cold water in the nice, cool van. Our van ride was full of Bruno Mars and some well-deserved naps, but we ended it at our second to last campsite:(. As we set up camp, Anne and Rian made the most amazing burrito bowls! They vlogged the whole experience on Rian’s GoPro – be sure to ask for the footage because it is hilarious! We cannot believe that we are onto our last leg of the trip. We wish we could have infinite time with this group! They are insanely incredible human beings, and we love them so so much! Check in later for more adventures!
Bess, Elizabeth and Foster
July 2, 2023
Hey hey Cal 2B friends and family!
We’re so proud to report that we conquered rock climbing Yosemite’s awe inspiring cliffs and are excited to be charging into the next leg of our trip. Yosemite was such an unbelievably magical time and we are sad to be leaving but so grateful to be full of incredible memories.
We saw a bear! (safely, from inside the van as it waddled across the road)! We had to stop in the middle of the road to let the cutest little blond California bear run across while we were driving from Lake Tahoe to Yosemite. The rest of our ride was full of laughter and singing as everyone had time to bond more and become closer as a group. A surprise trip to In-N-Out, after reminding the kids that we wouldn’t be stopping because “we have plenty of chicken and rice at home”, was an early trip highlight for sure!
Our first day in Yosemite was one for the books. Everyone who fell asleep on the early car ride was woken up to our screams as we went through Yosemite’s stunningly famous “Tunnel View”! We were met with huge rock faces, including El Capitan, and beautiful, firing water falls. Everyone was speechless (or maybe just tired). Our drive ended with another jam session as we made our way to hike Nevada Falls. Harrison wanted to run all the way up the trail – he was so excited! Catherine set the pace at the front of the group as our Leader of the Day and crushed it. Her encouragement was crucial and fueled our group up some of the more difficult sections of the hike. The way up was definitely challenging but everyone had the best attitude and killed it. Once we started getting closer to Nevada Falls, everyone got geared up in rain jackets. Since California got so much snow fall this year (200% compared to a normal year), Yosemite’s water falls are all bursting at the seams. We got absolutely soaked to our socks hiking next to the thundering waterfall! It was such an incredible experience; everywhere you looked, there were rainbows and big grins from our kids. Caroline couldn’t stop smiling while she kept saying it was the coolest hike she has ever done! Everyone else eagerly agreed. A sense of accomplishment washed over our group as we relaxed and ate some lunch (accompanied by a gorgeous view of Yosemite Valley). During the hike back down, everyone was singing songs at the top of our lungs and we got a LOT of compliments from passerby’s. PK was singing the loudest and kept the energy so high! That night’s Moon Up was one of the most special one’s we’ve had so far. Harrison shared with the group that it had been one of the best days of his life. We all reflected on how incredible the day was and how lucky we all are to have experienced it with the most amazing group.
Our next day was the first day of rock climbing in Yosemite Valley. Everyone was stoked to get on the rocks! River was hesitant about climbing at first, but ended up having the most amazing time and being one of our strongest climbers; be sure to ask him about his experience belaying Bess on her climb – everyone was crying laughing! We were all able to get up the wall and felt like serious climbers. Alex was right there in the thick of the action, getting some incredible action shots of other while she wasn’t conquering the cliffs herself. After our climb, we headed back to camp to play games. We got a giant basketball tournament going. Lock schooled everyone on the courts and everyone wanted him on their team after the first round! We enjoyed a delicious dinner cooked by Bess, and Laura Grace even completely reconsidered her distaste for Ramen!
On our second day of rock climbing, we were all business. We had already literally and figuratively learned the ropes, so our group got straight to climbing the sheer rock faces of Yosemite. Rian and Harrison worked as an impressive team in order to race up an especially challenging route known as Triple Crack; Rian was an incredibly quick and strong belayer, while Harrison raced up the cliff side with the agility of a Billy Goat and the speed of a Mountain Lion. Anne was also a naturally gifted climber, and was often the first to complete the most challenging routes we could find. By mid afternoon, we were wiped and took a quick pitstop to visit yet another crashing, splashing waterfall. Once again, we got soaked like we had just ridden Splash Mountain!
Our time so far has been moving at lightning speed, and we’re a little heartbroken to know that we’re now just over halfway through our time together. Thank you so much for sharing your incredible, energized, amazingly unique kids with us who seem to have a never ending appetite for adventure and creating memories with each other. It has been an absolute pleasure being their leaders and we’re doing our best to slow down time, but seem to be failing pretty miserably.
With so much love and excitement,
Foster, Elizabeth, and Bess
June 29, 2023
Friends and family of Cal 2B! Hello from California!
We have had the most amazing start to our adventures. As soon as our crew all arrived at the airport, we loaded up the U-Haul and started our journey to Lake Tahoe. The van ride was full of singing and dancing as everyone got to know each other. Lock even made his first ever friendship bracelet. We picked up pizza on our way in and finally made it to our first campsite. It was nestled right outside of Emerald Bay, which we learned is the most photographed spot on Lake Tahoe! After chowing down, we all headed to bed to prepare for our first day of adventures.
The next morning was full of eggs, bacon, and excited chatter about our upcoming kayaking adventure. Everyone was so stoked to finally get out on the water. Harrison kept up the energy in the van ride there by serenading all of us with his favorite songs! Kayaking was absolutely incredible. As soon as we got out on the water, everyone started a big water fight. Laura Grace definitely won by staying the driest and splashing the most people. She was a pro. Some of the group then decided to try some of the Tahoe water – we learned that Lake Tahoe water does not even need to be filtered before being bottled because it is so pure! We then started up an intense game of kayaking capture the flag where Alex killed it on defense!
We finished up on the kayaks right in time for lunch where we enjoyed our sandwiches with the most beautiful view. Nothing beats those snowcapped mountains surrounding the lake. Everyone wanted to keep exploring the area after kayaking so we decided to check out Emerald Bay. Our kayaking guide had told us about an island in the middle of the bay where an 8-toed hermit used to live and we were desperate to find it! We found a trailhead to lead us down to a beach where we got a great view of it – so cool! We told so many riddles on our hike and PK was so into them! She was determined to solve every riddle. Our adventuring time ended after a few hours and we headed back to the camp for dinner and some games. The kids all got out spike ball and Rian whipped out some crazy skills! She crushed everyone. Spike ball then turned into four square, which Catherine then dominated. We ended the night with hot dogs and an awesome Moonup followed by some much-deserved rest!
The next morning, we woke up and hopped straight in the van for a morning of stand up paddleboarding. It was such a blast. River had an interesting paddleboarding technique akin to surfing but he was faster than everyone else! We all enjoyed some light yoga on the boards and then played games and floated around for a while. Magnificent is the only word that fits that morning! As Paddleboarding ended, we said goodbye to Tahoe and our campsite to get on the road to Yosemite. Caroline was especially sad to leave our site as she loved the giant sitting rock where everyone would hang out. Our van ride was once again full of singing and laughter (and LOTS of friendship bracelet making). We decided that our drive to Yosemite warranted an I’m-N-Out stop, so that’s exactly what we did! Anne bought the coolest In-N-Out shirt for her brother and is already so excited to give it to him.
It was truly such an awesome start to this session. We already feel so blessed for this amazing crew and can’t wait to see what the trip brings for everyone!
All the love,
Bess, Elizabeth, and Foster
June 25, 2023
Hello Fams of CAL 2B!
We have heard from your kids leaders and they have all arrived and are off to their campsite for the night and ready to get the trip started!
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!