July 22, 2023
Hello friends and family!!
It’s been another eventful past few days! After a long drive to Oregon we were greeted with one of our all time favorite campsites, the “tipi” camp. The tipi camp quickly became a home to us as we settled into our huge 10 person tents equipped with ground mattresses, an outdoor living room with 4 very comfortable couches, a fully stocked outdoor kitchen, and even an outdoor shower! After a good night’s rest on our newly found beds, we slept in a little bit, ate a huge breakfast, and put our bathing suits on. Being the water loving group that we are, we were excited to go down to Hood River to explore on some paddle boards! As we paddled, Fielding spotted a pair of goggles at the bottom of the River and successfully swam down and grabbed them while still wearing his life jacket. We were all very impressed. When we got back to our camp we were happy to have some time to relax with one another, take a wilderness shower, and eat a big dinner. The next day we got up bright and early to start our first day on the White Salmon River. We took off sprinting as we began white water rafting right in the middle of a big rapid! It was instantly exhilarating. We screamed and laughed and got into so many splashing fights that I don’t think any of us were dry for a solid 5 minutes the entire time. Fitz, Finn, Fielding, Andrei, and Al quickly got their hands on a water gun that seemingly fell from the sky and began to attack Livi, Daisy, Lizzie, Evan, and Mills with giant streams of water. The girls quickly fell into line and retaliated with giant water splashes that they made using their paddles. It was chaotic, yet at the same time beautiful. After a long day of class 2 and 3 rapids, we found our way back to our camp where we ate a huge cook out dinner and made ice cream sundaes “movie style”. The day didn’t end there! Our camp host, Jim, came to visit us and gave us the opportunity to go explore an ancient lava tube that was on the property. Without any hesitation we all put on our helmets, our headlamps and a good pair of shoes and set out to see what lies ahead. When we got into the lava tubes we were in awe of the magnitude and beauty of the cave that was unknowingly right below our feet. We all decided to take in 3 minutes of complete darkness and silence and listen to the sounds of the cave. It was one of the more special moments that we got to share with one another. After a good night’s sleep and some sweet dreams we jumped up out of bed and began making our way back to our white water outfitters. This time instead of getting into rafts we got into sit-on-top kayaks and hopped into the freezing water. We all looked like an uncoordinated line of ducks as we paddle and explored the river. We all got to kayak down some more class 2 and 3 rapids, “surf” in our kayaks, but mostly we flipped over to enjoy the crisp and refreshing spring water that feeds the river. At the very end of our stretch down the river we were faced with our biggest rapid yet which seemed as strong and mighty as you could imagine. Once we all got to the bottom we decided that it was so much fun that we had to go again! Once we got our fill of the roaring water we pulled over to an eddy at the end of the rapid to lay in the sun and enjoy the warmth of the sand. After another long day on the water, we loaded up into the van and immediately started to make our way down to Smith Rock State Park where we would start our next section of climbing. With smiles on our faces, we are eager to jump into our last activity. We can’t wait to tell you what adventures we get into and will talk soon!! Everyone is sending their love back home and taking in every last moment that we have out here in the Pacific Northwest! Until next time!
Grace and Jackson
July 21, 2023
Hello from Oregon!
It’s been a while since our last update and there is so much to catch you up on! Since the last time we checked in we ventured into the North Cascades where we spent 6 days backpacking through the trees. After learning all about back country safety, skills, and equipment we set out to see what we could learn from each other and the wilderness. On our first day of backpacking, we got to catch a water taxi to our trail head on Ross Lake. From the moment we got there we were shocked by how gorgeous the views were already! With much excitement we began our backpacking journey.
On our first night we settled into camp and started to get used to our sore hips and tired feet. The next day we had a slow and leisurely morning before setting back out onto the trail. On this day we had a much shorter hike so once we arrived at our next campsite we decided to go for a swim in the lake. We quickly spotted a nice rock to jump off of and Finn, Fielding, Andrei, Alex, and Fitz immediately lead the group over to where we would end up spending most of our day. We ate a hearty dinner of pulled pork, baked beans, and potatoes and went to bed while the sun was still shining in preparation for our biggest adventure yet, Desolation Peak. That morning at 12am we all quickly got out of our sleeping bags, decorated ourselves with some glow in the dark brackets and necklaces, ate a few protein bars and hit the ground running (with the help of some of Jackson’s best pump-up tunes). With our headlamps on we set out onto the trail to conquer the monster that is Desolation Peak. After 7 and half hours we finally made it to the top of the peak where we all dropped our things and laid in the sun. We couldn’t believe the view and what we had accomplished together. It was truly a magical feeling. After a couple of hours at the top and a little too much sun, we decided to begin the hike back down to the bottom. It was a long and challenging day but one that taught us about ourselves and about the beauty that the world has to offer. Lizzie, Evan, Daisy, Mills, Livi, and Grace all hiked the last couple of miles slowly as to enjoy the last stretch of the hike together.
After a very deep and well-deserved sleep we got up the next morning, laced up our boots right away and got onto the trail again. This time we had our sights set on “nightmare camp” which sounds unnerving but was actually very relaxing and instantly homey. We feasted on pizza paninis and caramel pitas for dinner and played lots of rounds of “Psychiatrist”. The next morning spirits were high as we set out to hike to our final backcountry campsite. At this point, we were all feeling like seasoned hikers and while our feet were aching and our backs were sore, we seemed to not notice as soon as we saw where we were going to spend our last night.
Hozomeen Lake Camp seemed like a gift to us. The beautiful lake surrounded by mighty mountains was as inviting as it gets. We all dropped our gear and went straight to the water where we swam and sat for the rest of the day. The next morning, we woke up and hiked to our very last location. It was an old logging dock but to us it was a finish line. We were picked up but another water taxi and sat back and enjoyed the long and beautiful ride. Once we got back to the front country we dined on burgers and fries at “Mondos”, reveled at how much we actually do love our van (which we have named Bruce), and were just so content with what we had done. We are now on our way to Oregon where we are going to go paddle boarding, white water rafting, and white-water kayaking! Until next time!!With gratitude, Grace and Jackson
A few notes home from the gang:
Andrei:Hi it’s me Andrei I miss you guys I’m having lots of fun I hope you all are doing good I also hope Toby is happy. Camp has passed by so fast I can’t wait to see you. Hope maxim is having fun playing golf and also Anton my leader is identical to you.
Livi:Hey Mom, Dad, Kate, Luke, and friends, it’s Livi. I miss you guys so much. I’m having so much fun and I’m excited to tell you guys all about it! Tell Fritz that I miss him the most. Talk to you soon!
Finn:Hey Mom and Dad it’s Finn I miss y’all so much and can’t wait to see you I’m having a lot of fun and have met amazing people I’ll see you in one week with lots of story’s to tell you I love y’all see you soon!
Evan:Hey mom and dad it’s Evan. I miss y’all a lot! Tell Dylan that I miss him too. Camp is so much fun and has gone by way to fast. My group is rlly fun. Can’t wait to see y’all in a week, Love yall.
Fitz:Hey Mom and Dad it’s Fitz I miss you guys so much and can’t wait to see you again. Camp is so much fun and I’ve laughed a ton. I can,t wait to see you next week and tell you about the trip!
Fielding:Hi parents, it’s fielding. I am having fun and miss y’all. I had a fun experience in backpacking. Tell Lewis I don’t miss him. I’ll see you soon. Bye!😎
Daisy:Hey mom and dad it’s Daisy. I miss y’all so much and I am having so much fun here! I hope y’all are having fun in Maine. Tell Isabella and Bryson I say Hi and miss them so so much. Love y’all!
Lizzie:Hey mom, dad, and Kate it’s Lizzie. I miss y’all so much but I’m having so much fun here and can’t wait to tell y’all all about. It’s so pretty here. I hope y’all are having the best time in Maine and can’t wait to get up there. Love y’all.
Mills:Hi Mom and Dad, It’s Mills. I am having so much fun here. The views are amazing here. I have a great group and can,t wait to tell you all about the trip. Tell Carmen, Peter, and Hardin I miss them and can’t wait to see them in MHC! Love and miss y’all
Alex:Hi it’s Alex. I hope bill is doing a good job.
July 16, 2023
Checking in from the San Juan Islands! We just finished the first section of our trip, sea kayaking from Roche Harbor to Jones Island State Park for two nights of camping. The kids are all becoming fast friends in the brief time we’ve been together, and there’s excitement in the air for the next section of the trip: backpacking in the North Cascades.
Our spirits are high and we can’t wait to tell you more about just how amazing these first few days have been together. The first day of the trip went smoothly with everyone finding their way through the airport easily, gathering for the ride to Bay View State Park. Grace picked up local pizza for us and then we had our first moonup of the trip. Alex and Livi were elected to be the LOD’s for the next day.
It was an early morning to catch the ferry the next day, but everyone did a great job breaking down their camp with their new tent groups. The ferry ride was beautiful and we got to play World Cup in the park where we met our guides for the trip and had some lunch. We love the campsite that we have at Lakedale resort, where we have built quite the crow’s nest of enos throughout the trees. Daisy, Livi, and Lizzie helped cook Mediterranean bowls for dinner. We enjoyed moonup together then got to bed early for a big day tomorrow.
We headed to Roche Harbor to pack our Kayaks and get suited up, getting in the water around 10:30 before making our way through Speiden Channel to Jones Island. The current caught us on our way through, and even though the paddling got difficult, everyone kept great attitudes and teamwork to push to our beautiful lunch spot.It wasn’t long from there to paddle to our campsite, and we had delicious burritos then an insightful moonup led by Andrei and Mills, who chose Fitz and Daisy to be our LOD’s for the next day. We got to sleep in today, waking up to pancakes and fresh fruit before our paddle.
We headed to Orcas Island for lunch and an ice cream stop at Deer Harbor. It was a great spot to hang out for a bit, and an easy paddle back to our campsite where we had sleeping bag wars and a moo-off that afternoon. We ate pasta with sausage and pesto, once again made by our great guides, Matt and Steven. That night at moonup, Finn and Evan were elected as LOD’s. We paddled back to Roche Harbor to find Moondance’s President + Founder, Hayes, waiting to take us out for lunch and ice cream at the Harbor. It was an amazing treat after a challenging first section together! He gave great advice about finishing up our trip together and how to appreciate the difficulty we may find as we push ourselves throughout the rest of the trip.
Everyone is in high spirits as we head into the backcountry for backpacking, and we hope to come back with great stories and as closer friends!
-Grace + Jackson
July 6, 2023
Hello Pacific Northwest Families!
We heard from our leaders that the group has landed safely in Seattle. They have had a great first couple of days and are preparing for their backcountry section! 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!