July 26, 2023
Day 18: Whitewater kayaking
We woke up at our incredible campsite in Trout Lake, WA excited to start the day. We fueled up with a hearty breakfast and packed up our things that we would need for a fun day of whitewater kayaking. We piled into the van and headed over to meet our kayaking guides Josh, Whitney, and Claire. After gathering together all of our gear, helmets, life jackets, and paddles, we listened to a lesson from the guides on how to paddle and ride in the kayak correctly. After the safety briefing and instruction, we put into the Klickitat River and the fun began. Because we were in “sit-on-top” kayaks, there was much less risk in flipping over and we could run bigger rapids! We ran class two rapids and even 1 class three rapid at the end of the day! Everyone went down the class three rapid at the end, and then some got out to hike back up and run it again because it was so fun. Thomas B, George, Lucy, Charlotte J, Liam, and Thomas all decided to go down the rapid backwards! It was time to get off the river and we said our thank yous and goodbyes to the guides before piling back into the van and heading back to our campsite. For dinner tonight, we had something very special planned: iron chef competition! We split the kids into 3 groups where they would pick from all of the food that we had and create a meal for JP and Claire to judge and decide on a winner. All the teams did incredibly well and we were so impressed with what they came up with, but the team that surpassed the others was Lucy, George, and Charlotte M. Their dish consisted of chicken and rice empanadas which were seasoned to perfection! Their prize was a pint of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream of their choice. After cleaning up from the big competition we did Moonup and headed to bed in preparation for a big day of whitewater rafting tomorrow.
Day 19: Whitewater rafting
We woke up so excited this morning for our activity, and ate a quick breakfast to get over to our outfitter. We met our rafting guides, Dickey and Denison, and they showed us the ropes on what we need to know about the day. We gathered all of our gear and then head out to the drop off point for our rafting adventure on the White Salmon River. We had an absolute blast white water rafting!! The rapids were so much fun, our guides were amazing, and the river was such a scenic view to raft through. We hit some class four rapids that really got our adrenaline flowing. After we were finished, we bussed back to Wet Planet, got some hot cocoas, and then went for a quick shopping trip in White Salmon. Once back at the campsite, we had our second night of iron chef. This one, although supplied with fewer ingredients, was even more impressive than last night’s creations. George, Lucy, and Charlotte M made us an impressive pad Thai dish. Thomas B, Marin, and Charlotte J made us a creative and delicious plate of Mac n cheese and apple pancake bites for dessert. And Thomas E, Kaela, and Liam won the competition with a bowl of zesty pasta cooked and seasoned to perfection. After dinner and cleanup, we had our second to final Moonup, where we let out our last big group howl before going to bed.
Day 20: Travel day
We had a leisurely morning today as we woke up for our last full day together as a group 🙁 We packed up camp and made our way back towards Seattle in preparation for airport day the next day. We spent the long car ride listening to fun music, singing, laughing, and reminiscing on all the amazing memories that were made over these past three weeks. We also made a pit stop at Goodwill and picked up some funky outfits to wear to our banquet dinner! Everyone loaded up on their favorite food at a local diner and we celebrated the special time that we have spent together. It was a bitter sweet day to say the least, and we ended it with our very last Moonup led by our final LODs of the trip, Charlotte M, and Thomas E. We laughed and cried as we shared what our favorite moments were throughout the trip and telling each other how much we love and appreciated each other. It was a touching and heartfelt end to this incredible trip with an amazing group of people.
Day 21: Airport day 🙁
We said our teary-eyed final goodbyes to each other at the Seattle airport and went our separate ways back to our friends and families at home. It was so hard to say goodbye to this special group.
JP and I cannot thank you enough for sharing your kids with us for these past three weeks. They are incredible young leaders and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to have gotten to know each and every one of them. We love them so dearly, as I know all of you do, and we will miss this group so much!
Until the next adventure,
July 23, 2023
Hello PNW family and friends!!
Day 15: First Day of Climbing
We woke up this morning full of gumption and our whimsical nature was glowing as we rose from our sleeping bags and climbed into the desert sunshine. Everyone was stoked for our first day of climbing and we made sure to fuel up with a hearty breakfast before meeting our guides. Smith Rock is such an iconic spot to climb, and everyone was so excited to get started. We met our guides, James and Carson, at the trailhead where we sorted out shoes, helmets, and harnesses and played some name games before beginning the day. We dove right in and started with a rappel to get us prepared for Monkey Face in a couple of days. Everyone did super well on the rappel, even though it was a little daunting at first. We then moved onto some actual climbing, and the guides set up two super fun routes for us to try. Everyone did so well and excelled even on the very first day! Lucy and Charlotte J did especially well, challenging themselves with hard climbs and sticking with it until they made it to the top! We snacked and ate our packed sandwich lunches in between climbs before it got super hot and we were ready to be done for the day. We got back to the van and were craving something cold and refreshing, so we went to Huckleberry’s Ice Cream to cool off and get a sweet treat! We enjoyed our ice cream on the shaded porch before heading to a nearby swimming hole with some cliff jumping for an afternoon activity. Everyone jumped right in and the water was the perfect temperature to cool us off after the hot day of getting sweaty while climbing. Once back at the campsite, our LODs Kaela and Liam cheffed up an incredible meal of pita pizzas! We got to bed early tonight after Moonup, tired from the big day. The stars were incredible at our campsite and some even saw some shooting stars!
Day 16: Second Day of Climbing
Today ROCKED! Our second day in Smith Rock State Park, and now with our refined climbing knowledge, we were ready and eager to start sending some more technically challenging climbs. Our guides today were amazing, as Chockstone usually is, and helped us master the various ways and styles of rock climbing. Today we learned climbing skills of shmearing, overhang climbing, campusing, and crack climbing! We had a beautiful approach and hike out of our crag today, where we saw a huge golden eagle’s nest and various birds flying overhead! After our morning spent honing our climbing abilities, we headed back to the van for our town day! We drove out to Bend, Oregon where we all walked around and checked out the cute shops in town. Thomas B and George scouted out a good lunch spot that had a cool atmosphere. After a couple hours of exploring the city, we went back to our campsite where we had “JP’s Famous Mac-n-cheese,” and enjoyed our last night at the majestic Smith Rock campsite. We went to bed early in preparation for our big day tomorrow.
Day 17: monkey face!!
We awoke much before the sun even dared to show its face. As we gathered all of our gear and ate breakfast in the early morning darkness, our guides were already busy setting up today’s adventure. We hiked an intense 2 miles of steep elevation to meet our guides at 6am on the mountain. Once at the top, we took some pictures and got ready to send Monkey’s Face. One by one, we all scrambled to, traversed, rock climbed, and then rappelled down the Monkey’s Face, a truly daunting accomplishment. Everyone was in great spirits during the whole feat, and everybody crushed it!!! Marin and Charlotte M particularly impressed us, conquering the monkey was confidence and ease. Everyone did so incredible, and we were the fastest group to get through the traverse and rappel that our guides had ever seen!! After lots of high-fives and sighs of relief, we headed back to camp, packed up, and then sent it one last time to Huckleberries for some well deserved celebratory ice cream. After our sweet treats, we then headed back to Washington, where we’ll gear up for our last section, white water kayaking and rafting! The campsite we’re staying at is the most magical and radical one yet, as it’s essentially a tricked out patch of forest with all of the coolest amenities. A fully functioning tipi, “actual beds” in tents, outdoor couches, grill, and most cherished, a beautiful outdoor shower. Charlotte J and Thomas E, the LODs of today, cheffed up some amazing quesadillas for our entire group, ensuring we were well fueled for tomorrow’s adventures.
We can’t wait to update y’all on our whitewater adventures soon!!
JP + Claire
July 19, 2023
Day 9:First day of sea kayaking!! We woke up to a beautiful blue-bird day at our campsite on San Juan Island and enjoyed some delicious breakfast burritos, bacon, and cereal. We headed to the San Juan Outfitters where we got all of our gear that we needed for sea kayaking. Once PFDs and skirts were on and clothes were in dry bags, we packed up and set off for our adventure! Kaela and Charlotte M volunteered to paddle the heaviest kayaking, much appreciated! We stopped for lunch on a rocky beach and some awesome thai chicken wraps, then continued paddling towards our camp on Jones Island. Once arriving, we docked our kayaking, set up tents, and got ready for dinner. After amazing burritos, we all gathered around a roaring campfire. To top this amazing day off, we all made plenty of s’mores right before Moonup, led by our LODs Thomas and Charlotte J, during the sunset.
Day 10:Second day of sea kayaking! Waking up to some fresh fruit and eggs, we all got ready and geared up quickly so we could get out and kayaking on the ocean before any rough water. We were already on the water and soaking in the summer sunshine before noon, and had lots of competitive races and splashing battles. Today we paddled to Orcas Island, where we enjoyed the cute quaint town of Deer Harbor. We had an amazing lunch followed by, of course, local island ice cream!! After crushing our sweet treats, we hopped back in our kayaks and had a lovely paddle back to Jones Island. The weather couldn’t have been better. Not a cloud in the sky! Once back on Jones, Lucy and Charlotte J convinced people to join in on a jump off of the boat dock into the frigid ocean water, and then everyone spent the better half of the afternoon soaking in the sun and watching the sunset start. We had pasta and sausage for dinner, and after we finished, we all went for a spectacular sunset hike around the island. We watched a mesmerizing golden sunset over the ocean horizon, and many seals and porpoises made appearances! And, of course, we finished our Moonup there with a proper hearty group wolf howl.
Day 11:Today was our last day of sea kayaking so we soaked up the last few hours in the San Juan islands before heading back to the mainland. We fueled up with a hearty breakfast and packed up camp. It was a pretty windy day on the water, but we persevered and made it back to the main island. We said goodbye to our guides Mackenzie and Clayton and went to have a delicious lunch in Roche Harbor to celebrate the completion of our sea kayaking section! After lunch we headed to our campsite to take some showers, unpack, and rest up. The LODs of the day, Lucy and Liam, helped prep and make an early dinner so that we could get to bed before our early travel day. We had an awesome Moonup and fell asleep looking up at the stars before dozing off.
Day 12:We woke up bright and early this morning to make the ferry from San Juan island back to the mainland. The ferry was beautiful and quite spooky as the fog began to roll in. After getting off the ferry we began the long journey to Oregon, which consisted of lots of car games, song requests, and laughs! We stopped in the middle for a lunch break of sandwiches beside a beautiful river. After a long day in the car, everyone was so excited to get to our campsite on the Deschutes River and play some soccer and football while dinner was being cooked. The LODs, Marin and George, helped make a delicious meal of chicken fried rice. To end the day we played a little group activity and did our nightly Moonup, watching the sun sink below the rolling Oregon hills.
Day 13:Today we are making our way to our campsite where we will be staying for our climbing section. We had a slow morning making pancakes and hanging out by the river, and our LODs Charlotte M and Tommy helped us cook some delicious pancakes! We can’t wait to update y’all soon on how the climbing section goes!
All our best,
Claire and JP
Marin – Thank you mom and dad for making this trip possible for me. This is truly a once in a life time opportunity that I am so grateful for. I can’t explain how much fun I’m having with everyone here. Love and miss you guys so much! <3
Kaela- hi mom and dad and everyone else!!! I’m having so much fun with everyone here, it’s so beautiful, i can’t thank you enough for giving me this opportunity. I miss you all so much love you lots!!
Charlotte Mintz- Hi mom, dad, and sue sue, I miss you all so much but am having so much fun in the trip, thank you so much for this opportunity. I can’t wait to see you next Wednesday. I love you so much!!
Gmoney Ross- Jello mama and papa and Alden. I’m having a great time in the PNW, and I can’t wait to show y’all all the fun pictures and memories I’ve had. Miss y’all lots!
Thomas B – Howdy mom and dad. Thank y’all so much for sending me on this trip. I miss y’all very much and I can’t wait to tell you guys all about this incredible trip when we all get home.
Thomas E: what’s up mom and dad, I am having so much fun on this trip thanks for the opportunity. I am ready to tell you all about it and I hope y’all are having fun in jamaica. See y’all soon love you.
Charlotte J – Hey mom and dad! Im having so so so much fun exploring the PNW with this awesome group of people! I can’t wait to tell y’all about all of the amazing memories I’ve made so far. I love and miss you guys!!
Lucy E: HEY MOM, DAD,ALSTON ,E&EM I am having the best time on this trip and the people I have met have made me so happy and are so wonderful!!! I couldn’t be more grateful for this opportunity and the chance to live life to the fullest!!!! I love y’all so much ❤️🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗
Liam R – Hey Mom, Dad and Elizabeth things are going really well here in the Pacific North West. We just finished sea kayaking and are now heading to the part that I am most excited for which is rock climbing. I can’t wait to tell all of you the stories we have made in a week which are to long to write here and thank you for the opportunity to go on this amazing trip.
July 14, 2023
HEY DUDES! Welcome to the Pacific Northwest!! Claire and I scooped all the kiddos up and by the afternoon we were all on our way to our first campsite! After, of course, a huge pizza and pasta dinner from a local pizzeria in Sedro-Woolley. We took an amazing group walk to watch the sunset and swim at the beautiful beach at this campsite, where we covered the basics of a Moondance trip, expectations, Moonup, and goals for the trip. Moonup is a time where we gather as a group to reflect on the day and grow closer to one another through questions chosen by the leaders of the day. We concluded the day with our first Moonup and headed to bed as everyone was tired from the busy travel day.
Day 2: Prepping for backpacking
We woke up for our first full day eager to get started and fueled up with some breakfast burritos and oatmeal. Everyone also took a morning swim in the river which woke us right up. We piled into the van after breakfast and headed over to the North Cascades ranger station to pick up our backcountry permits and talk with the park rangers about the leave no trace 7 principles. Then we made our way to our next campsite and began our prep for the backpacking section of this trip. There were many lessons taught throughout the day with games and exploring sprinkled in and we all learned a lot of new information. After organizing all of our food and gear and packing personal clothes, the leaders of the day (LODs) Lucy and George helped make a delicious dinner of chicken fried rice. After filling up on dinner we headed down to the riverside to do our first official Moonup led by the LODs. After we walked back to the campsite and climbed into our tents early in order to get lots of rest for our first day of backpacking!
Heading to the backcountry!!! This was a super exciting day for us, as we were all totally stoked to get the backpacking section of this trip underway. After packing up camp and double checking our bags, we drove to the Ross Lake Recreation Area. Then, after a few lessons on backcountry etiquette, we took our boat to Rainbow Point and officially entered the backcountry. We then hiked a brief 3-4 miles to our first campsite, where we cooked an amazing dinner of personal pizzas. Thomas and Kaela, our LODs, helped us chef up, and were very cordial in enduring that everyone else has eaten theirs before they made some for themselves. Because of how nice of a night it was, we all decided that, after Moonup, we’d all cowboy camp out of our tents and under the stars
On our first full day in the backcountry, Liam and Marin were our leaders of the day. After a delicious breakfast of some pan-fried hashbrowns, we began our hike to Lightning Creek. We saw lots of beautiful views through this trek, and the kids loves all of the bridge crossings. Once we arrives, everyone immediately threw their bags down and made a beeline to the lake. We spent the better half of the afternoon swimming around in the cold yet refreshing lake, and got ready for an early dinner, Moonup, and bedtime – because tomorrow was our big day: Desolation Peak! We had to make sure we were as rested as possible for our sunrise summit of Desolation Peak tomorrow morning (midnight!)
Day 5: Desolation Peak!!
We woke up in the middle of the night to begin our sunrise hike of Desolation Peak. After gathering up all of our gear and food we hit the trail. It was a difficult but very fulfilling hike, and everyone was very appreciative of the experience. The peak consisted of amazing 360 degree views of the beautiful north cascades mountains. We got to meet the firefighter Jim who lives at the top of desolation peak in the fire lookout house. It was so interesting to hear what he does everyday and all of his stories. Our LODs Charlotte J. and Thomas E. led the group extremely well, helping to carry waters and snacks for their friends. After some reflection time and picture taking at the top, we descended down again. Once back at the campsite, we whipped up some incredible chocolate chip pancakes to fill our hungry bellies. We then took a dip in Ross Lake and took naps in our hammocks and on the beach, much needed relaxation time. The day concluded early with dinner of pasta with red sauce and chicken, we did our nightly Moonup, and were eager to climb into our tents for the night.
We woke up the next morning to the sound of the birds chirping and we whipped up some oatmeal to fuel us for the day. With sore legs and tired backs, we packed up camp and set out for a 6 mile hike to our next campsite! Charlotte M. and Thomas B. lead us through the trails today, and we got there in no time. We had an amazing dinner of pepper-jack quesadillas and chicken tacos. We concluded the day with an incredible Moonup led by our LODs and were very eager to climb into our sleeping bags after all the hiking we did today. Yet again, the kids decided to all cowboy camp together to get a beautiful view of the stars. Many the next morning said they saw a couple shooting stars!!
Our last full day in the backcountry 🙁 We continued along our trail and headed to Hozomeen Lake, our next and final campsite of this backcountry section. We stopped for lunch at another beautiful lake where we found lots of caterpillars to make friends with and enjoyed some tortilla wraps. We finally made it to our destination and were blown away by the views of Hozomeen Lake. Everyone gladly hopped in the lake after a hot day of hiking. The jagged mountains reflecting on the lake and the loon calls in the background made for the most picture perfect last evening in the backcountry. Our LODs Lucy and George helped us prep for our last dinner, Jambalaya and sausage. We all ate down by the lake and soaked in the Alpen glow on the mountain side. After dinner we played a fun game of fish bowl before we concluded the day with a wonderful Moonup. After a tiring day of hiking we climbed into our tents with much gratitude for this backcountry section.
Today we were heading out of the backcountry and back to society. We geared up after a quick breakfast of sausage grits and maple brown sugar oatmeal. Charlotte J. and Thomas E. lead up to the boat pickup area, where we took an hour long boat ride to where we originally got picked up from. It was a beautifully sunny day and a perfect way to close the door on the backpacking section. After hiking back to the van, we hit up a local family burger restaurant, Bob’s Burgers in Sedro-Woolley where the kids were able to enjoy their first meal cooked indoors. After stuffed from burgers, we headed to our campsite where they were finally able to shower – much appreciated by all of them – and get ready for the prep for sea kayaking!!
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!