July 25, 2023
Hello from California for the last time!
We are so sad to see our final crew leave today. We have had the most magical two weeks with these special kids. Our final day was one for the books. We woke up and packed all our stuff up for the airport and then headed out into town! We explored the quaint town of Sausalito, where the kids shopped around and got some cool California merch! Rankin, Finley, and Lillie got some awesome sweatshirts, and we can’t wait to see them repping Cali at home! After shopping around a bit, it was time to hit the Bay and sail! Our captain, Captain Elfie, took us on an incredible tour around the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. McCall got soaked by the waves at the front of the boat but laughed it off like a champ!! Annie and Mia enjoyed relaxing and napping after admiring the insane view. After sailing, we headed to the car wash for a van cleaning party! We listened to music and vacuumed out our beloved van, Moto-Moto, to thank her for taking such good care of us this summer!! And then it was time for … BANQUET! We headed to Goodwill to get our crazy ‘fits before our final meal. Peter absolutely took the cake for the best outfit. He had some incredible accessories and took on a whole new personality! Wyatt, Baker, and Candler came in close behind with some crazy colorful new clothes. Baker’s suspenders were super stylish, while Wyatt rocked a cool purple hat and Candler discovered the sickest red sunglasses. We were definitely the most well-dressed crew in all of Sausalito. We rolled up to a cute little Italian restaurant by the water and everyone was showing off their outfits to any passerby we saw! We chowed down on pizza and pasta and reminisced on our awesome two weeks. The night was still young, however, because as soon as we got back we had a massive dance party at the campsite with all of the other groups! The energy was high, and everyone was dancing like it was nobody’s business! Our crew then snuck away from everyone else for our final Moonup on the beach. It was a special one. Cale and Smith closed out our final Moonup with one more freestyle rap, and just like that, it was time for bed.Our sleepy crew this morning was so sad to say goodbye but already planning out when they can see each-other next. They are all incredible humans, and we feel blessed to have been their leaders.
Thank you so much for sharing them with us!!
With all the love,
Bess, Elizabeth, and Foster
July 25, 2023
Hello from California for the last time! We are so sad to see our final crew leave today. We have had the most magical two weeks with these special kids. Our final day was one for the books. We woke up and packed all our stuff up for the airport and then headed out into town! We explored the quaint town of Sausalito, where the kids shopped around and got some cool California merch! Rankin, Finley, and Lillie got some awesome sweatshirts, and we can’t wait to see them repping Cali at home!
After shopping around a bit, it was time to hit the Bay and sail! Our captain, Captain Elfie, took us on an incredible tour around the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. McCall got soaked by the waves at the front of the boat but laughed it off like a champ!! Annie and Mia enjoyed relaxing and napping after admiring the insane view. After sailing, we headed to the car wash for a van cleaning party! We listened to music and vacuumed out our beloved van, Moto-Moto, to thank her for taking such good care of us this summer!!
And then it was time for … BANQUET! We headed to Goodwill to get our crazy ‘fits before our final meal. Peter absolutely took the cake for the best outfit. He had some incredible accessories and took on a whole new personality! Wyatt, Baker, and Candler came in close behind with some crazy colorful new clothes. Baker’s suspenders were super stylish, while Wyatt rocked a cool purple hat and Candler discovered the sickest red sunglasses. We were definitely the most well-dressed crew in all of Sausalito. We rolled up to a cute little Italian restaurant by the water and everyone was showing off their outfits to any passerby we saw! We chowed down on pizza and pasta and reminisced on our awesome two weeks.
The night was still young, however, because as soon as we got back we had a massive dance party at the campsite with all of the other groups! The energy was high, and everyone was dancing like it was nobody’s business! Our crew then snuck away from everyone else for our final Moonup on the beach. It was definitely a special one. Cale and Smith closed out our final Moonup with one more freestyle rap, and just like that, it was time for bed.Our sleepy crew this morning was so sad to say goodbye but already planning out when they can see each-other next. They are all incredible humans, and we feel blessed to have been their leaders. Thank you so much for sharing them with us!!
With all the love,
Bess, Elizabeth, and Foster
July 24, 2023
We are checking in from Half Moon Bay. The past few days have been full of surfing and adventuring in Point Reyes National Seashore. What a time!
Our first night in Half Moon Bay was incredible. As soon as we got to camp, we headed down to the beach and all ran straight into the water! The Pacific Ocean really is as cold as people say it is – but it felt so refreshing
and we all had the best time. It was all smiles in Cal B. After our impromptu dip in the ocean, we surprised the crew with a local food stop at Jersey Joe’s! We enjoyed burgers, fries, and chicken tenders and reflected on the trip thus far. After dinner, we had an awesome Moonup led by our LOD’s Smith and Rankin – Smith had every one cracking up at his Nug Jug story and Rankin kept the group reflective on our time together in California. The crew decided to all cowboy camp (sleeping under the stars!) together so we headed to bed and dreamed about our big first day of surfing!
Surfing was an absolute blast! We spent the morning riding the waves at Pacifica State Beach next to the most scenic Taco Bell in the world – yeah, you heard that right! In the world!! After learning the surfing basics, we headed out into the waves. McCall and Baker were obvious naturals. They caught some amazing and impressive waves! We were all wiped from the activities of the morning, so after we hopped out of the water, we treated ourselves to Baja Blasts! Everyone was stoked and immediately re-energized!! Annie and Bess decided to hop in the ocean, in the classic Moondance fashion, in all of their clothes – because why not!! We then hit the road, headed for our next campsite. After a short drive full of singing and dancing, we arrived and hopped out for an immediate game of World Cup! Elizabeth and Cale crushed everyone else… We then explored around camp a bit and then treated ourselves to a make-your-own pizza night! We had some trial and error runs cooking on the campfire, but it was a night full of some of the biggest belly laughs so far.
The next morning, we woke up and prepared for a day exploring at Point Reyes National Seashore! We packed up camp and headed out towards our favorite spot – the Elephant Seal Overlook! As soon as we arrived, we were greeted by the most beautiful views. Candler said that he couldn’t believe how beautiful it was and that he felt like he was in the Bahamas! The huge cliff faces and the bright blue waters made a view that will be hard to forget. After a short walk, we arrived at the overlook. We were sad to say there weren’t any seals hanging out! We still enjoyed the breeze and the stunning view of the beach below, though. We then decided to continue on our walk, and as we rounded the corner, we looked below and saw SO MANY SEALS! They were all enjoying the sun and some even took a quick dip to cool off! Peter was especially enthralled by the seals. He could not take his eyes off of them and was so excited any time the seals moved even an inch! After watching the seals flop around, we continued on our way. We spotted the cutest little animal poking his head out of his little hole in the ground and everyone, but especially Mia, was absolutely obsessed. Our little trek was then over too soon. We stopped for some homemade soft serve on the way out of Point Reyes and were serenaded by some live music while we enjoyed our refreshing cones. Nothing in that moment could have been sweeter!
And then we were on to our second day of surfing! Everyone absolutely crushed it. A few of us decided to paddle out towards the big waves, and Wyatt killed it. He got knocked over by some big waves at first, but didn’t let that stop him and ended up catching some of the best waves of the day. Finley and Lillie also deserve some MVP shoutouts as they were standing up on waves every five seconds! They were definitely pro surfers by the end of the day. Surfing ended, and we headed to the beach to hang out. We spotted some dolphins and tons of birds and just played in the sand without a care in the world. And then it was time for … IRON CHEF!! We split the group into two teams and they were tasked with cooking a meal using only ingredients that we had left in the Uhaul. They absolutely delivered. Baker, McCall, Mia, Peter, Finley, and Wyatt cheffed up an incredible burrito bowl bar while Cale, Smith, Candler, Lillie, Rankin, and Annie made some yummy spaghetti. We were all stuffed after such good food!
We are sad to say tomorrow is the last day before our crew leaves us. This has been such a special third session. These kids are so special to us, and we hope you know just how lucky we are to have been able to get to know and love each and everyone of them. We hope that tomorrow doesn’t speed by too quickly, but know you must be so excited to hear about their adventures!
Bess, Elizabeth, and Foster
July 21, 2023
Cal 3B checking in again!
We are so sad to be leaving Yosemite but our hearts are full from the past few days in one of the most awe-inspiring places.
Our first morning in Yosemite was a perfect one. We slept in a little more than usual and made a big batch of yummy breakfast sandwiches. Everyone all sat around in our crazy creeks and talked about the day ahead of us before heading out to the park! The drive is always so beautiful, and everyone stared in wonder at the huge mountains. The crowd favorite was Tunnel View, or as us leaders like to call it, the “Narnia Tunnel”. As we exited the tunnel, we were met with a full view of Yosemite Valley, complete with famous rock faces like El Capitan and Half Dome—and an incredible view of Bridalveil Fall. We had some time to roam around and explore the gift shops before heading out on our Nevada Falls hike! We enjoyed some ice-cold drinks in Curry Village and then started out on our journey! The hike has some gnarly uphills to get to the water fall, but the group was so positive and absolutely crushed it! We stopped everyone right before we reached the falls to give everyone a chance to put on rain jackets, but everyone decided they wanted to just get soaked! Absolutely no regrets because the cold-water spray felt amazing on such a warm day. We all looked like we had just gotten out of the shower at the top! The Falls were magical – green everywhere and rainbows covering just about everything. We were all pretty hungry by the time we reached the top and snacked a bit and then raced back down to enjoy some grilled cheese and tomato soup by the river next to El Capitan!
It was an awesome night. Everyone sat around and talked while waiting for the grilled cheeses to be cheffed up and then chowed down! It was definitely a fan favorite dinner – we think the beautiful view probably helped, too! After dinner, we headed down to the river bank for a meaningful Moonup. We talked about our greatest achievements in life and reflected on what we were grateful for – we had some amazing nugs after such an eventful day. We couldn’t leave without an impromptu jump in the river – us leaders keep saying we need to get in every body of water we see this session! Rankin and Annie joined us in our quick dip and ran in and out shrieking and laughing! It was definitely chilly but the five of us felt so alive after. We had a beautiful sunset drive back to camp, where Smith and Cale freestyle rapped about our trip for basically the whole ride! We couldn’t stop laughing, but it was also super impressive how they kept going. Once we got back, we fell fast asleep, preparing for our first day of rock climbing!
Our second drive into Yosemite was another breathtaking one. We arrived at the outfitter and quickly got our climbing shoes on – we were itching to get going! We drove to an awesome spot in Yosemite Valley where our guides had set up some awesome routes for us. We learned the rock-climbing basics, and then got straight to it! Baker and McCall were absolute naturals and impressed everyone by basically running up the walls! Everyone had a blast climbing and most everyone wanted to go up the hardest route they had set up. Rock climbing in the place where commercial rock climbing kickstarted in the United States was such a privilege and we are all so grateful! After climbing, we headed back to camp for some games. Mia and Annie set up a super fun scavenger hunt around our camp site. Everyone was sprinting around to be the first to finish, but Finley and Wyatt took the cake and crushed everyone else! As the champs, they were rewarded with an ice-cold sprite. Candler then decided to spear-head dinner for the group, and cooked up an amazing taco bar for everyone! He was so proud and couldn’t stop smiling all night. After dinner, we all enjoyed some Sweet Loren’s cookie dough to celebrate a great day.
Our third day in Yosemite—and second day of rock climbing—was another one for the books. Since we had some experience under our belts, we hit some harder climbs. The “Gorge” climb was a fan favorite, as we got to climb up a giant crack in the wall. Lillie was an absolute pro at belaying and kept everyone feeling safe and secure the whole time! After finishing our second day of climbing, we decided we weren’t ready to say goodbye to beautiful Yosemite. We wandered over to Yosemite Falls, which is the highest waterfall in North America! You can literally feel the power of it from the bottom – so much wind and mist! It’s incredible. We then found out that Glacier Point was open for the first time in years. It’s a point that you drive to, and you can see all of Yosemite Valley. We decided that we had to see it, so started the drive up! As we rounded the corner to the point, we were all amazed. You simultaneously feel like you’re at the top of the world, and also so small. What a feeling! We hopped out and enjoyed some refreshing popsicles while looking at the view – probably the best view of the whole trip. We had a little photoshoot where everyone got some cool solo shots, and Peter got super into it. He hit all the angles. We soaked up our last few minutes in Yosemite before heading back to the campsite for dinner. On our way back, we listened to so much Taylor Swift. Everyone was singing at the top of their lungs! Peter and Baker knew almost every word to every song and didn’t miss a beat. It was awesome. Our night concluded with chicken nuggets and Mac and cheese – a meal they’ve all been begging for the whole trip!
We are so sad to have left Yosemite, but feel like we had a good omen for the rest of the trip as we were pulling out of our camp site! The cutest little bear walked right in front of our van to say goodbye to us. It was the perfect ending to an even more perfect last few days in Yosemite.
We can’t believe that we only have a few days left with this crew! They have made our last session in California so special and we are trying to slow down the rest of the trip as much as possible! We’ll check back in again soon!
Bess, Elizabeth, and Foster
July 17, 2023
Hey! Cal 3B here again! Checking in this time from the South Fork of the American River!! Our first day of rafting couldn’t have gone better. We had a slow and relaxing morning all sitting around and chatting while Bess and Foster cheffed up some yummy hash browns and bacon. We were talking about everything under the sun, and somehow the conversation took a turn to talking about the art industry! Smith and Lillie debated with Bess for almost an hour and it was one of the most fun breakfast conversations!
After breakfast, we were all feeling stuffed and hopped in the van to head to our first day out on the rapids. We blasted Kung Fu Fighting (which is surprisingly a much better song than we all remembered it being) and got so hyped for the river. We met our awesome raft guides, Violet and Brandon, and they briefed us on the river before handing us our life jackets and helmets. Some of the crew was nervous about falling out, but everyone went into the day confident after meeting our guides! The first half of the day was full of class two rapids as we learned how to paddle together and all of the different commands we would need to know for our class three rapids. Peter and Baker led the first boat and were the best lead paddlers! They kept everyone so in sync and set an awesome tone for the day.
While on some of the calmer rapids, we were able to play rafting games. “Ride the bull” was a fan favorite, which is where one person stands on the front of the boat and everyone else spins the boat around to try to make them fall in the water! Annie fell in almost immediately but had the best time. We also all got to swim one of the rapids – McCall and Mia had the biggest smiles after!! It was insanely fun and definitely a highlight of the day.
After we all got some practice out on the river, we stopped for a yummy lunch prepared by our raft guides. Somehow sandwiches and wraps are elevated on the water. We were all ravenous and it was the best time eating and laughing about all of the adventures from the first half of the day. As our lunch finished up, we prepared ourselves to get out onto some bigger and crazier rapids. Cale and Smith decided somewhere along the route that they were the British Guard, and assured everyone that their training had properly prepared them to carry everyone safely down the river. This was good news as a few people placed bets that Finley was the most likely to fall out on the second half of the river (spoiler alert – she proved everyone wrong)! As our guide Violet liked to say, we “greased” the class threes.
Laughs got bigger at each wave, and we worked so hard! We had heard tales of the famous “hospital bar” rapid all day, and we were ready to finally experience it for ourselves. Our guides prepped us and got us into the best angle for the waves, and we were off! It was the craziest, most fun wave yet. We all held on as tight as we could to the straps in the middle, but couldn’t stop laughing. Candler was the most enthusiastic and couldn’t stop exclaiming that “hospital bar” was his favorite rapid of the day! It was unfortunately also our last, but we knew we would be back the next day for more!
We headed back to camp for some time in the river, and our raft guides prepared us a delicious dinner! 10/10, everyone agreed. We were all having a great time chatting, so we all hung around the dinner table and talked and laughed until it was time for Moonup. Cale and Lille (our Leaders of the Day) facilitated a great Moonup where we got to reflect on how close we have all gotten so far.
Our second day of rafting was even more fun!! We woke up to breakfast sandwiches prepared once again by our incredible rafting guides, and then headed back for more rapids! This time, we started with the class threes. We had a blast down the “triple threats”, and then into “meat grinder” and finished the class threes out with INSERT. We were all sad to finish our class three stint, but still stoked as we got to stand up on the boat for one of the other class two rapids we had left! We also got to do some more swimming in the river to cool off – Rankin and Wyatt especially loved the water!After our two days of rafting were over, we hopped in the van to head to Yosemite. After a nice break from cooking, us leaders decided we weren’t ready to start cooking again, so you know what that means – IN N OUT!! We were all stoked for the best burgers and fries that California has to offer. We got the fun In N Out hats, and a few of us even got some awesome shirts! It was the perfect night, ended with an easy setup of camp in our new home for the next few days. We are so sad to see the trip flying by so quickly, but so happy to have such a fun group.
Check back in after our Yosemite adventures to hear about climbing!
Bess, Elizabeth, and Foster
July 15, 2023
Greetings friends and family of Cal 3B!It’s hard to believe we are coming up on day four of our journey!! The past few days have been amazing as we’ve all been getting to know our little family for the next few weeks! Airport day was so smooth and before we knew it, everyone had arrived and we were off! The kids were all such troopers as we whisked them straight from the airport and into the van. We started our journey to Lake Tahoe and everyone was chatting and laughing the entire time! Smith definitely helped break the ice on that first van ride by cracking the funniest jokes the entire time. As we drove into Tahoe, we picked up some delicious pizza and devoured it the minute we got to our campsite. We explored for a bit and then headed to bed – everyone was wiped! Our second day was one for the books. We enjoyed a leisurely morning full of eggs and bacon and got all suited up to head out to the lake! Our campsite was situated right in the heart of Emerald Bay (the most photographed spot-on Lake Tahoe), so our drive to kayaking was breathtaking. Our kayaking journey was so fun. We met our guides and then quickly got onto the water! The weather was absolutely beautiful and the water clarity was somewhere around 70 feet! We split the crew into pairs and then kayaked out. The kids got to racing right away, and Baker and McCall smoked everyone else. They were a dream team! Once we got out far enough, everyone decided to cool down in the water. It was definitely cold but felt so refreshing! We paddled around the shore a little more and hung out admiring the view. Everyone was shocked that there is still so much snow on the mountains, but it made for the best background to our kayaking adventures. After we kayaked back, we decided we wanted to explore the Lake a little more! We drove to a little area called Hidden Beach and swam and climbed all the rocks for what felt like forever! It was the perfect afternoon. Lillie especially loved swimming in the refreshing water. We all pretended we were mermaids for a bit and Smith improved a musical for us! We haven’t laughed so hard in what feels like forever. When everyone got worn out enough from all the activities of the day, we drove back to camp for an awesome classic camp dinner – hot dogs and mac n cheese! Candler had probably 8 helpings and still talks about how it was the best mac he’s ever had! We had a family style meal, and then we had them get ready for bed early so we could drive out onto a lookout at Emerald Bay for Moonup. What a special time that was. We explored around and enjoyed some brownie brittle, and then started Moonup right as the sun started to set. We can’t wait for you to see the pictures because it was truly magical. We were all able to reflect on the day and appreciate how fortunate we all are to be able to experience something this awesome with people this awesome. It was the best end to the best day.Our next day was stand up paddle-boarding (also known as SUP). We were all stoked to be back on the water. Everyone rushed to get their paddle boards and we started our journey out. Peter looked a little unsteady at first and even fell in! He was all smiles and laughs and assured us that he’s a pro – that was just his warm up! We paddled around and then everyone just hung out and swam around the boards. Not the worst hang out spot if you ask us! Rankin and Finley loved the time to relax – they would have stayed out on the water all day if given the chance! Our time on the Lake was over too soon, though. On our way out of Tahoe, we stopped for some ice cream and souvenirs. The sweet treat was so needed on such a warm day! The group was so excited. After our little excursion, we headed on the road again towards the South Fork of the American River!Our van ride went by quickly as most everyone napped, but as soon as we got to camp everyone was energized and ready to explore. We took a dip in the river to cool down and Cale led the charge to a rock that was pretty close to shore. He was the first to climb up – king of the rock!! The water was chillier than at Lake Tahoe, but that didn’t stop this crew from jumping right in! After our cool down, we enjoyed a great chicken and rice dinner and then headed right back out for more adventuring. This time, we found a volleyball and a net! We started out with an awesome girls vs. boys volleyball game that somehow quickly turned into some variation of football. The rules were a little confusing to us leaders, but the kids all had such a blast. Annie especially crushed it with all of her club volleyball skills! By then, the sun was starting to set so Mia and Wyatt (our Leaders of the Day) prepared for a wonderful Moonup. Wyatt shared a great quote about living life to the fullest, and Mia made everyone laugh with her creative Nug Jug story. We are all heading to bed to prepare for a big day of rafting tomorrow! This group is so amazing and we feel blessed that this is our last crew of the summer!Signing off for now,Bess, Elizabeth and Foster
July 12, 2023
Hello California Families!
We just heard from our leaders and the group has landed safely in San Francisco! 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!