July 26, 2023
Hey Friends and Fam! Although our adventurers have since departed and are now reunited with their families, we knew you’d still want to hear about the final days of our California journey.
After basking in the glory (and the heat) of Yosemite, we turned the tide and headed to the Bay! We arrived at Half Moon Bay just before golden hour and didn’t waste any time before diving into the refreshing Pacific. Per usual, Ford was the first one in the water and the last one out. After warming up with some hot tea (which Bobby was eager to try but unsure of what he thought of the final product), we unpacked all of our sleeping gear to prep for a night of cowboy camping under the stars. We bundled into our sleeping bags content after a dinner of homemade camping pizzas-nugs to Bo and Sam for the assistance-and after Moonup we were fast asleep. Might I add that falling asleep to the live background of ocean waves is an added bonus.
Ford, Mac, and myself began the next morning with a Pacific Polar Plunge then the crew loaded into the van to meet Adventure Out! We loved all of our surfing guides but Al and Tarla were particular favorites. Ryann and Claire looked like pros out there catching waves left and right and inspiring all of the newcomers to the sport. We celebrated a successful afternoon in the saltwater and the sun with slushees before heading to Olema Camoground which I found to be a personal favorite.
Coleman and Ford took advantage of some the downtime and wrote in their Moondance journals by the creek, then Mac and myself joined them for some creekside convos in which we compared our hometowns (if you’re ever in Memphis make sure to visit the Rendezvous before a Grizzlies game). Meanwhile, Marguerite was nearby counting to 100 as the “it” person to begin a game of hide and seek. After relaxing by the creek and playing games, the crew cheffed up some Greek bowls for dinner spearheaded by Liza Grace! We as leaders were consistently impressed by LG’s helpful attitude and the way that she brings positivity into every situation. A prime example of Expedition Behavior for sure!
The following day afforded us a relaxing morning with a hearty breakfast of eggs, hash browns, and bacon and some leisure time before exploring the rich and ecologically diverse Point Reyes National Seashore. We hiked through meadows, under trees, over marshes, and alongside the beautiful coastlines over the rolling hills. All the while Norah and Meme were side by side laughing and bonding all the way. After the hike we rested on the beach. The surf was too strong to get in the water so we sat in amazement as 12 foot waves crashed onto the shore! It’s not a proper beach visit unless someone gets buried in the sand, and Coleman may or may not have volunteered himself as tribute. You can only look at the water for so long without desperately wanting to be out there on it, but lucky for us, the next day we got to sail the San Francisco Bay! Passing under the Golden Gate Bridge in all of the fog felt a bit eerie, but before our trip ended, we made it out of the fog and the group lied under the sun on the bow of the boat as we sailed back to the harbor.
Our final day of the trip began quite action packed! We fueled up on eggs and bacon then hit the surf once again! With one session of surfing already under everyone’s belt, the group returned ready to catch and ride bigger and longer waves this time! After surfing we had some time to pack up gear before hitting up a thrift store to find some bold ‘fits for….banquet night!! We feasted on delicious Mexican food in Half Moon Bay before returning to our campsite. Inevitably, a group dance party broke out. After burning out our final energy on the dance floor (or dance field), we circled up for a tender final Moonup.
We as leaders can’t thank the families enough for sharing your kids with us. Speaking of thank yous, our group has some to pass along!
Ben + Meme
Bobby: Thank you for sending me on Moondance, I had a really fun time!
Mac: Thank you for sending me on Moondance, it was really fun!
Sam: Thank you for letting me go on Moondance! I can’t wait to see you!
Bo: Thank you for letting me go on Moondance! I had the best experience! See you back in Atlanta!
Marguerite: Thank you for letting me come to Moondance, I had the very best time!!
Ford: Thanks Mom and Dad for letting me come to Moondance!!
Ryann: Thank you so much for this opportunity, I really enjoyed it!!
Coleman: Thank you so much for letting me come on Moondance! I had so much fun!
Claire: Thank you for this awesome trip! I had so much fun!
Liza Grace: Thanks for letting me come, I had such an amazing time!
Norah: Thank you for letting me come on Moondance, I had the best time!
July 22, 2023
Hello hello CalIfornia families! We have had the most wonderful past few days rock climbing in Yosemite!!! First of all, Ben and I have to applaud every single one of our kids because their rock climbing skills are seriously out of this world. Bobby and MarMar were absolute naturals on the rock and they conquered every single route multiple times. Bobby even tackled one of the more challenging routes in tennis shoes! That might not sound crazy but the Yosemite granite is so slick and our guides were extremely impressed! LG and Ford quickly became master belayers and spent the majority of the time assisting everyone and providing stable, safe lines to the ground. We can’t thank them enough! Everyone’s rock climbing knowledge and prowess blew us away, Ford even mentioned at Moonup that his favorite part of the day was “groggling” everyone. So close Ford! Hey we get it, groggling and belaying sound similar!
After two days of awesome rock climbing and early mornings, we were able to have a later morning hanging out around camp and eating our pancake breakfast. After a whip cream and sprinkles filled morning, we headed back into the park to tackle Nevada Falls. A 6ish mile loop, mostly straight uphill, our group was ready for a challenge. Ford, Coleman, and Mac led the charge and held our pace heading up to the waterfall. Norah, LG, Claire and I all brought up the rear and LG gave an Oscar-worthy pep talk, encouraging us to reach the top so we could “walk on the clouds”. It was exactly the push that we needed. At the top of the waterfall we basked in the view and took it all in. I had never seen anything like it. While at the top, we encountered some squirrels that were no strangers to humans… in fact, one of our LODs, Bobby, was quick to challenge a squirrel to a Shadow Boxing match. We couldn’t really tell who won but we are pretty sure it was Bobby. Our hike back down almost proved as challenging as the hike up due to our wobbly legs! Bo’s legs were especially wobbly, as he was walking back down the falls he decided walking in a zigzag pattern would cut some elevation and gave us a good laugh! We took our time skipping down the trail and laughing all along the way. Ryann and Mar were hand in hand the whole way! Sam found a pretty good walking stick, so obviously he had to practice his golf swing with it. We had so much fun goofing around and seeing some amazing views. We could not be prouder of the perseverance and toughness of the group!!!!
The next day we had a relaxed morning and then headed to our next campsite to prep for SURFING!!! We are so excited for cooler weather and the ocean and cannot wait to hit the waves. Thank you ALL for sharing your children with us – we are having so much fun and don’t want these adventures to end.
All the best,
Meme and Ben
LG – hey mom and dad! I love and miss you I’m having so much fun!! And hey anybody else reading this, miss y’all too!!! Having fun and excited to see y’all again. I finished both my books!!
Mar- hey mom and dad and maybe teddy. Miss you so much can’t wait to see you!! I finished one of my summer reading books also hope you’ve kept my bunnies alive!
Sam – hi mom and dad I’m having so much fun! I’m really enjoying everyone on the trip. I can’t wait to get home and play golf and go to the lake. And I want some brisket. I almost finished my book!
Bob – hey mom and dad I’m having lots of fun and hope to see you soon. Is teddy back yet? Hope you’re keeping the basketball courts clean. Can you have some basketball cards for me when I get back? I finished my book!
Ryann – hey mom hey dad i miss YALL so much! I know it’s a shocker but I finished my book. I love y’all and can’t wait to see y’all on airport day!
Bo – hey mom I’m having lots of fun I miss you see you back in Atlanta! Dad how’s golf going? I know you’re playing at pinehurst. Just know I’m better than you. Sup Thomas hope you’re shooting under 70. If not I hope you do better and hope you’re getting me nice sports cards. How’s ones doing?
Coleman – hey mom and dad I miss you and I hope you’re having a great time! See you on airport day
Claire – hey beans and Ricky! I love you guys! Happy birthday Alexa did the inflatable nightclub get shut down? Miss you guys see you soon!
Norah – hey mom and dad! I miss you so much and I can’t wait to see you! Tell noelle that I miss her and even though I’m gone she can’t touch my stuff.
Ford – I love you mom and dad see you on airport day
Mac – mom do you know who chad wright is? He said he knew you and uncle frank. We saw him at Yosemite. He went to Lovett. Have the grizzlies done anything?
July 18, 2023
Hey Friends and Fam! While not much time has passed since our last update, our group’s time together has been very dense and action packed! After rafting, we enjoyed an entertaining van ride as we neared the stunning alpine views surrounding Lake Tahoe. Our new campsite offered new scenery and the opportunity to teach the kids about LNT and bear protocol. After setting up camp, Bo, Bobby, and Sam led the charge in cooking us a dinner of hotdogs, or as the kids like to call them, “glizzies.” Following dinner, our LODs Bobby and Claire facilitated Moonup under the stars then we turned in for the night!
We woke up to a pristine cloudless morning, made some breakfast, played a game of “Bob the Weasel,” and made the short but scenic drive to Tahoe City where we met up with our kayaking guides, Alison and Jared. After technique training and a safety briefing we set sail. Although it was Norah’s first-time kayaking, she was brave and took to one of the single kayaks rather than opting for a double. You could tell that our group was in good paddling shape after our rafting section because the kids took right to it! Ford and Coleman especially exemplified strong synchronized paddling. In fact, the group caught on so well that we opted to paddle to the farther beach for our lunch spot. The challenge definitely expanded the group’s comfort zone and taught tolerance for adversity. Obviously, we had to get ice cream after 🙂
The late afternoon brought another adventure: wading and swimming through the river at our campsite! Bobby and Sam passed the football from bank to bank while Marguerite cautiously yet courageously trekked her way down the current, followed by Claire and Ryann. All the while you couldn’t pull Ford and Mac from the water if you tried. The group reconvened, headed up stream, and made the short walk back to camp. Meme, Norah, and Liza Grace (or as we like to call her, LG) spent this free time taking part in some self-care by painting their nails at camp. Such luxury! Soon after, Coleman, LG, Norah, and Sam jumped right into cooking tacos for the group. We polished off dinner, had some dessert, then had our best Moonup yet where we all shared about what our favorite part of the trip has been! Shortly after it was time to turn in-nugs to Mac for being brave and cowboy camping under the stars with Ben!
The next day we spent stand up paddle boarding in Lake Tahoe before heading over to our next campsite for rock climbing in Yosemite! We are thrilled for our next adventures and have already made so wonderful memories. We don’t want this trip to end!!!!
All the best,
Ben and Meme
July 15, 2023
WOW! Our adventures in California are well underway with so many laughs, learning so many new things, meeting many new friends, and our first activity – whitewater rafting! After a long travel day gathering everyone in San Fran we headed over to our first campsite. On the drive, Mac was sure to educate everyone on the landmarks we drove past including the Golden Gate Bridge, which he assured us wasn’t important. Arriving at our first campsite, we learned how to set up camp and covered some Moondance basics including LODs (Leaders of the Day) and Expedition Behavior, EB, for short. Bo and Ryann were chosen as our first LODs to lead the charge for our first busy day. Everyone headed to bed soon after Moonup to get lots of rest in preparation for a full day on the water.
The next morning, we enjoyed a delicious breakfast of eggs, bacon, and fruit and everyone learned the basics of how to cook in the woods! Ford showed off his egg scrambling skills and everyone scarfed them down shortly afterward. After a filling meal, everyone was set and ready to hop on the river. We met our awesome guides and split up into two boats. We laughed so much and had so many splash wars. Norah was begging for big waves all day and the American River definitely delivered. Some wins of the day include Ford tackling the rapid “Catcher’s Mit” and Ryann and Liza Grace leading the synchronized paddling with their silly chants. Thank goodness Mac introduced us to “Light the Beam!!!!!!” As it has quickly become an anthem for CAL 3D! Bobby and Bo strapped up their head straps and captured some awesome GoPro footage that we have already rewatched so many times and cracked up laughing! The California sun beamed down on us all day but thank goodness Claire and Ryann’s blue sunscreen didn’t smudge one bit! After rafting, our guides prepared us a feast, and we ate every last bit of the pasta, steak, chicken, salad, focaccia, and finished off the meal with brownies and lots of sprinkles. Sam and Coleman threw the football for hours as the sun went down and got everyone playing a game of jackpot. With full bellies, we headed into our second Moonup led by our awesome LODs. The Nug Jug was opened and Bobby and Marguerite passed each other some sweet sibling nugs all while everyone was praised for their awesome rafting abilities. Ryann and Bo helped us close out the night by getting us excited to tackle more rapids in the morning and electing Bobby and Claire as LODs for day two.
The next morning we packed up camp quickly so we could enjoy breakfast and get on the water. In fact, it was so quick that our guides even said they had never seen a camp packed up that fast! It’s only day two and CAL 3D are already camping pros. After a delicious meal of bagel sandwiches and fruit, we joined our guides back on the river to tackle another day of Class III rapids – including “Troublemaker”. We split up into our boats, practiced our maneuvers, and got right to business. We eased our way into the day with a few fun runs before we met Troublemaker. Meme’s boat had an affinity for doing runs backwards, so it only made sense that they had to take on Troublemaker backwards! Everyone paddled through with ease and our laughs echoed across the water. The rapids calmed down shortly afterward and we were able to play some raft games. Everyone fell in a time or two and we all practiced great EB by helping each other into the boats. It was the best ending to an awesome two days. We can’t thank our outfitters enough!
We are so excited for all of our upcoming adventures and are already soaking up every second that we have together. CAL 3D really is something special.
Meme and Ben
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!