July 13, 2023
What an end to our Slovenian adventure! The group finished strong with some more swimming, little bit more hiking, some more amazing food, and the hardest part: goodbyes.
We stayed in a hostel on lake Bohinj after we finished up our trekking section that was equipped with not only a game that we quickly took over, but also had some showers! And well needed showers at that( we were a stinky group). The game room included a pool table, foosball table, and a dart board. Davis and Robert had an intense game of pool going on while Barron and Tristan dominated any and all who dared get across the foosball table from them. The rest of group was also feeling the competitive spirits this afternoon and several games of banana grams and BS were struck up in the lobby as well. The group might need to touch up on our vocabulary because Miha, our guide whose first language is Slovenian, took home the victory pretty soundly. It was really fun playing games together until they told us they were closing down that area of the hostel. We then decided it was time to wrap up the evening with a lake side Moonup.
Monday morning we woke up and decided that it was a good morning for some rope swing action. Of course, Anna was first up with Wyatt and Harrison quick behind her to show off some backflip skills. The line started forming after that. Collier and KT were basically running in circles, getting as many rope swing reps in as they could. Sadie and Addison were also getting in there, and always posing mid-air while Walker took stunning picture after stunning picture. After we swung until our hands were sore, it was time for our frolic(a walk through a meadow filled with beautiful wildflowers) to lunch. We were treated to another meal of amazing alpine food, where Robert got “the best barley stew ever,” but according to Barron, the homemade roast meat was the correct order. We then headed back to Bohinj for some lake side rock climbing. Anna and Collier were the first up the wall, with KT and Tristan shortly behind them. Everyone did so well climbing, and the words of encouragement coming from the crew on the ground kept moral high even when they were falling. After our amazing afternoon rock climbing, it was time to end our time at lake Bohinj and head to our new home for the next 2 nights: Kranjska Gora. The mountain hut there was beautiful! The drive up was amazing as well, with an awesome view waiting for us at the top. We were treated to an amazing dinner… again, and were able to catch the beautiful colors that the sunset shone on the Rocky Mountain faces surrounding the hut at the beginning of Moonup.
One more hike! Tuesday morning we embarked on a short hike to on of the most beautiful views of the trip. A little hot at first, but once we crossed the saddle and got on the western side of the ridge, it was flatter with a lot more shade. Wyatt, Davis, and Robert kept spirits high as they joked and laughed with everyone throughout the hike, which was definitely assisted by Anna who was carrying a lot of the groups water. What a trooper! The view at the top was absolutely stunning, we were able to see Italy and Austria from the peak. Standing on top of the mountain and doing a 360, you could see three different countries. The way down was easier than the way up, with Addison, KT, and Sadie taking up the rear discussing their different fantasies about lunch. Lunch was another lakeside experience that did not disappoint. A majority of the group got either the chicken salad or ribs which sparked an argument about which was the best order(it was the salad -Walker). Then it was time for some paddle boards. Tristan acted as a ferry taking anyone who wanted on his paddle board around the lake, while Collier and James attempted to do head stands on the paddle board. Then it turned into anarchy: no one was safe, if you were on a paddle board, you were getting flipped. We played so hard, that we believed the group deserved some pancakes. Cookie and snicker pancakes. Oh yeah. Chocolate and caramel and cookie crumble. My mouth is watering just writing this. After these delicious pre-dinner deserts, it was time to go to dinner followed up by the final Moonup in the mountains. What a Moonup spot it was. A truly beautiful view all around with clouds passing right by us.
We woke up early on Wednesday in order to have as much time as possible in Ljubljana. We first made a stop at lake bled to take a quick dip in the lake with a church in the middle. Such a great spot, and while Barron was admiring the view, James snuck up behind him and threw him in the water. The favor was returned shortly thereafter and the group had fun swimming together one last time. When we arrived in Ljubljana, the group was set on two things: clothes and souvenirs. So we hit the Zara for some questionably fashionable outfits and began our search for the souvenirs. Along the way Robert’s eye was caught by the shaved ice stand, and the group stopped to cool down. We all enjoyed some delicious shaved ice before heading off to our banquet dinner. The banquet dinner was amazing, and another argument occurred over what the best meal was, everything was so good. Then we figured that since we had some dessert before dinner, we should get some after as well. Some good ice cream capped off the night and trip just right!
We are so thankful for all of the parents that allowed their kids to come on our trip. You have raised incredible young men and women. They were truly a blessing to us, the leaders, and not only made our job easy, but made it the experience of a lifetime. An unforgettable group who we feel so lucky to have spent these past two weeks with! This is not goodbye, just see you later.
We love and miss all of you already,
James and Walker
July 9, 2023
Hello again! We just got back from the mountains and are excited to update you all on what we have been up to! We cannot believe how fast this trip is flying by. We have had a BLAST trekking for the past four days in the Julian Alps. It was so fun to watch everyone challenge themselves with hiking, take in the amazing views, and just spend time with one another. On top of that, the weather was perfect and we could not have asked for more!
We started off on the first day with a stop for Nutella pancakes at a mountain hut right by the start of our trail. After a little sugar, the group was fired up and ready to go. Most of our time on the trail was spent in the forest where we got a few sneak peaks of the valley below us. This group is full of incredibly strong hikers and they absolutely crushed this (mostly) uphill section of about 4 miles. We kept the energy high by talking and singing as we traversed the switchbacks leading us to the top. We were especially proud of the positive attitudes and excitement which motivated us to complete the hike in record timing! We had a slight drizzle of rain when we were 10 minutes away from our first hut, however this ended up feeling quite refreshing. We enjoyed our first meal in the mountains and were excited to cross paths with the Slovenia A group for the night! It was cool to watch everyone compare stories from the trip so far and meet more new friends. In the afternoon, everyone took a giant nap before we headed to nearby Lake Krn. This is a breathtaking alpine lake below towering mountains. Tristan found the perfect spot on a tall rock to take in the peaceful surroundings. It was nice to relax by the lake and explore the area around our hut! After dinner we found another lake nearby to gather for Moonup. We could not wait to wake up and hike again!
On day 2 of trekking, we completed our furthest hike of about 6 miles. Before hitting the trail, we made a stop at a little cheese farm tucked into the mountains. Here we learned about how cheese was made from the cow milk and even got to try some fresh cheese. This was a unique and interesting stop since most of us had never seen cheese being made before! Once back on the trail, Sadie was particularly in awe of the views as we hiked along the ridge of the mountain. As we continued on our hike, we also came across several barracks and abandoned stone structures from World War I. Learning about the history of the war is fascinating and our guides, Luka and Miha, had lots of interesting facts and stories to tell. Wyatt was particularly blown away by the history around us and had lots of questions to ask. During the final part of our hike, we stopped to summit a peak with a great view. Barron flew by all of us and practically ran to the top! We have several “mountain goats” among the group who are able to scramble up the rocky terrain with speed and balance. It is impressive! Once descending from our summit, our next hut was in eyesight. Harrison was able to keep the group morale high by generously sharing some candy with us and continuing to make us laugh as we started to feel a wave of exhaustion. We quickly finished our last bit of hiking to make it there for a late lunch and got some ice cream after for a much needed sweet treat. We spent the afternoon relaxing, playing cards, and journaling. Collier kept us all entertained with her storytelling and long list of riddles. The hut had a beautiful view of Lake Bohinj below which we will be staying next to in a few days. We wrapped up the day with dinner together and a cool Moonup of watching the sun set behind the mountains.
We woke up on our third day in the mountains ready to summit an awesome ridge close by. Addison was initially worried about the uphill section but was pleasantly surprised when we got to the top in no time! The music and trail talk provided a much needed distraction during some of the steep parts of our hike. We could already tell that the group had gotten stronger from our past few days of hiking! It also helped that we only brought lunch, water, and an extra layer in our packs for this day which gave our backs a bit of a break. Once we got to the top, we were surrounded by the most EPIC view! We were sitting in actual clouds while eating our lunch on the side of the mountain. KT was fired up about eating our lunch with a sick view in the background so she made sure to capture the moment on her camera. We felt extremely accomplished and (literally) on top of the world! Anna loved picking a variety of colorful wildflowers and decorating her braided hair with them while on the trail. It was an all around fantastic day and we loved getting to explore a new part of the mountains! We spent the night again at the same mountain hut and enjoyed playing some games outside. Davis showed off his competitive side and was ready to dominate in each one we played. The entire time we ate dinner, Barron kept us laughing and frustrated by one of his clever riddles that some of us are still trying to figure out. The awesome terrace off of the side of the mountain hut provided the perfect place to hang out and watch the sunset. We were feeling sentimental since it was our last night in the mountains and knew we were going to miss the fresh mountain air and peaceful stillness of the scenery around us.
On our final day, we packed up our backpacks one last time for our descent down into the valley below. Everyone seemed to be looking forward to going downhill until they realized how it makes your knees feel. However, once again, this speedy group of hikers made it look easy. Lake Bohinj was waiting for us at the bottom of the trail and we all jumped into the chilly water immediately. Considering we had not showered in a few days, this felt amazing!!! After making it back to our vans and the rest of our stuff, we headed into town for lunch. This restaurant might have been everyone’s favorite of the trip so far and Robert said his pizza was the best he has had in his entire life. We spent the afternoon showering and spending time by the lake again!
We can’t believe we only have a few nights left together. The time is flying by way too fast! We hope you are looking forward to hearing all of their stories soon. We know that they are going to be sad to leave each other! We have loved watching this group bond and support one another during our time trekking in the mountains. These are views and memories we will never forget! This is a group of 11 awesome kids who make this job so fun and rewarding. We are so lucky to be their leaders! Looking forward to making the most of the short time we have left in the hidden gem of Slovenia.
James and Walker
July 6, 2023
What’s up! We have been having a blast exploring the Soča valley. We settled into our tents on Monday at the Adrenaline Ček camp site. With a break in the rain, the group was able to get some energy out after sitting in the van all day. The boys got a game of badminton going, and Barron and Tristan were able to showcase their skills, remaining kings of the court till the rest of the boys decided we should try a new sport. It was then that the girls quickly decided to take over the badminton court and turn it into a volleyball court, where they may have been having more of a giggle fest than a volleyball game after Addison invited her new friend, Kya, to join, whose parents own and run the camp site where we were staying. When the rain picked back up, it was time for a delicious spaghetti dinner prepared by Kya’s family. After we washed our dishes, the group went to shelter under the pavilion where we ate and began several card games. Harrison joined in on the nightly Tarock game, while Walker led KT, Sadie, Davis, Wyatt, and Robert in an intense game of Monopoly where KT was able to pull a last-minute maneuver and pull off a win. Then as eyes started to get heavy, it was time for a sheltered Moonup next to the wash station. It was a nice and quiet spot, and every time the motion sensor light went off, Collier was quick to frantically wave her arms and start clapping to get the light back on. This always sparked a laugh, especially when it was her time to answer the question and she flailed her arms without breaking stride in her answer. When we all laid our heads to rest in our tents, the rain and thunder started rolling in and it made for a great natural sound machine.
We awoke the next morning with a hot breakfast waiting for us and the sun was shining. What a beautiful day to do some white-water rafting! Thanks to the excess rain from the days prior, we were able to put in pretty far upriver, which means just that much more time on the river. During the beginning of the float, there was some flat water where the guides showed us some cool tricks such as popping a wheely. How to pop a wheely while on a raft: put everyone in the back of the boat, lean back, and then right side paddle forward and left side paddle backwards. This causes the raft to spin rapidly on a very small point of contact with the water. Robert was the first to fall out during this escapade. When we finally arrived at the first section of rapids, it was no more funny business. With Anna and Collier in the front of one boat, the boat paddling maintained great rhythm and we were able to get through with hitting only a few rocks. When we arrived at a new flat section of the river, there was a good-looking rock on our right, and our rafting guides decided that it was a great spot to set up a slide. The slide, essentially a raft flipped over on top of the rock and angled towards the water, was more of a trampoline than a slide. Sadie led the group with the first bounce into the river followed by the rest of the group with a lot of line cutting. Wyatt and Barron were basically doing laps from the water back up top and back down into the river. When it was time to get off the river, we did so with little enthusiasm; it is always sad to say goodbye to the Soča river. After a delicious lunch back at our campsite, we decided that we should probably go swimming again, so we went and visited a waterfall with quite possibly the coldest water that ever was. The waterfall was absolutely beautiful, and the jumping spot was even better. We got some great photos at the waterfall, and I think there might be a few purple lips in those photos. When it was time to leave, it was hard to get Tristan and Anna to quit jumping despite the freezing temperatures. When we arrived back at camp, we had no other choice but to have a BBQ to celebrate the Fourth of July with some good ole s’mores for dessert. Davis won the award for best s’more of the night due to the pre melted chocolate he accomplished by placing the chocolate on the graham cracker and placing it next to the fire. A genius idea if you ask us. Then it was time for another Moonup next to the wash station because we could hear some more thunder rolling in.
The natural sound machine from the night of the fourth led to some of the best sleep that some of the group ever had and had us all bright eyed and bushy tailed for some canyoning. The group was in high spirits changing into wet suits and getting on our booties, and the ice cream truck horn on the van really fit the mood. They took us to the top of a skinny and deep canyon with a stream flowing through it. The rain from the night before blessed us again with some higher waters. Not too high, but high enough to open up some great slides and jumping spots. Sadie and KT were the jokester squad in the back, keeping James and the canyoning guide laughing the whole way. Wyatt and Anna were our adventurous two, with Anna being the first to jump and Wyatt shortly behind her. At one of the jumping spots, possibly one of the highest to date, the group cheered extra loudly for Addison as she did her first cliff jump of the trip! The whole canyoning experience was full of smiles and laughs, but during the last big waterfall, I must say that judging off of smile size, Collier might’ve been having the most fun.
We were able to wrap up our time at Adrenakine Ček with a fair weathered Moonup in a field with an amazing Soča valley view while watching some quite stunning lighting in the distance. We have been seeing some rain, but we haven’t let it rain on our parade. The group is getting along so well, and we cannot wait to see the bonds that the Julian Alps are about to create.
We love and miss all of you at home!
You’ll hear from us from the other side of the mountain,
James and Walker
Messages from your awesome kids:
Hey mom and dad, it’s Harrison. I’m having a lot of fun here and meeting new people every day. We have had an awesome time every day and are about to go hiking in the mountains. I miss y’all very much and am excited to see y’all again.
Hi y’all! It is crazy beautiful here and our group is amazing. I can’t believe I only have another week here. I love and miss yall and give taffy and Coco lots of kisses!
Hey mom and dad! It’s soo here and I am having so much fun! I can’t wait to see y’all next week! I love and miss y’all! Love, Addison
Heyyy mom dad and sully and friends!!!!! Miss y’all so so much!!! did Canyoneering yesterday so fun and abt to go backpacking!! Also I remembered the chef in Sorrento, her name was Carmen btw. Love, KT!!!!
Hey mom and dad, miss y’all a lot. Having a lot of fun, see y’all soon!
Hey mom and dad, I miss y’all. I’m having so much fun in Slovenia, and I can’t wait to see y’all!
Hey mom and dad, I’m having the best time ever. Looking forward to seeing y’all. Tell Stella and Catherine hi!
Hi everyone!!! I love and miss all of y’all so much but I am actually having the time of my life. Can’t wait to see y’all soon, don’t have too much fun without me.
Hi guys! I love all y’all and can’t wait to tell y’all about my time here! I hope everything is great at home, Love and miss you.
Hi Mom, Dad, and Coco. It’s been great so far, the leaders and other campers are great and the activities have been a blast. So far my favorite one has been canyoning. The views are incredible and the air smells amazing. I hope everything went well for dad in Australia and I hope everything is going well at home. I love and miss you, see you in a week.
Hello mother and father. This has been the best experience ever! Every day we do something better and better. The leaders and kids are really great. Hope you all are having fun on your trip.
July 3, 2023
Greetings from sLOVEnia!
We just learned from some of our new Slovenian friends last night that when you are trying to correctly pronounce Slovenia, say the word “love.” This was helpful considering most of us say it in a variety of ways and appreciated this tip. Anyways, we are off to a fantastic start and are full of excitement for these next two weeks together!! We were happy that everyone and their luggage made it to Venice safely and we quickly hopped in the vans to drive to Croatia. We stopped along the way at a Slovenian restaurant called Tonca which set the tone for the amazing food we will be eating this entire time! While at lunch, Anna and Collier were excited to learn some basic Slovenian words from our guides Luka and Miha. Already immersing ourselves in the language and culture! In the afternoon, we made the short drive to Croatia and ended up on the rocky coast. It was refreshing and fun to be by the water, especially after a long day of traveling. Addison was excited to jump in the Adriatic Sea, which was right next to our campsite, and the rest of the group jumped in right after. The boys also played basketball and soccer with some local kids who left them in the dust. We enjoyed another over the top meal for dinner and hung out as the sun set. James taught Tristan and Barron how to play his new favorite Slovenian card game, Tarock, and they were hooked. To wrap up our first night together, we had Moonup next to the water, and selected Robert and Collier to be our first Leaders of the Day for sea kayaking.
We woke up ready for our day of exploring the incredible coast of Croatia where we would go sea kayaking, swimming, and cliff jumping. It was a hot and sunny day, so being on the water felt amazing. We split up into two person kayaks and had some awesome sea kayaking guides leading the way. Wyatt and Davis flipped within the first 10 minutes when they were still figuring out how to control their speed and direction. This was hilarious to watch and provided some nice entertainment for all of us. We stopped at this hidden cave along the coast where we swam under into a giant opening. We took in the cool rock formations and explored the different rooms of the cave. The water was crystal clear, and we could see perfectly all the way to the bottom. It was especially fun to see fish swimming alongside us! After leaving the cave, we found an awesome jumping rock and Anna showed zero hesitation and was the first to jump right in! Looking up to her bravery, other members of the group followed her lead. We soaked in the sun as we were surrounded by a variety of boats enjoying the beautiful day as well. When you look out into the distance you can see several other islands and a lighthouse. We were impressed by the strong kayaking abilities of the group and we made it back in record time. We obviously had to check out the inflatable floating water park and could not stop laughing as we watched each other attempt the various obstacles. It felt like we were contestants on the show Wipeout. Most of us had never been on anything like this and enjoyed trying something new. For lunch we headed to a special farm to table restaurant. We sat at a table with the farm and garden surrounding us and an olive tree above us. We devoured the homemade bread and homemade olive oil. To follow, most of us got homemade pasta which was incredible. We were blown away by this phenomenal spread of Balkan cuisine!
In the afternoon, we went to a popular cliff jumping spot. There is a variety of heights you can choose from for your jump and it was fun to watch other people do some crazy tricks. Wyatt and Harrison were first to jump off of the highest spot and thought it was the coolest thing ever! Collier, KT, Anna, Davis, Robert, Barron, and Tristan jumped in several times as well. We were especially proud of Sadie for jumping both during sea kayaking and again at this spot even though she was scared at first. The motivational quote of the day was “why not jump? when is the next time we will get the chance to jump off a cliff in Croatia?!” It was a super fun time and we loved getting to watch everyone’s facial expressions as they jumped off the edge of the cliff. Once back at camp, Robert was on the basketball court looking for some competition. The girls met some more Slovenian friends who were the same age as them, and it was interesting to ask questions back and forth and learn more about what it is like to grow up in Slovenia! We love how outgoing and curious they are to learn more about the country and their culture. With several adventurous eaters in the group, we had an eclectic variety of food for dinner. Of course, Nutella crepes for dessert were a hit as well. After some more card games and hanging out, we had our final Moonup in Croatia and discussed how excited we were to see Slovenia. Getting to spend time on the coast of Croatia is a total bonus to this unbelievable trip! We are blown away by the positivity, kindness, and enthusiasm of this group so far. We cannot wait to watch them continue to bond during our next few days in the Soča Valley. Everyone is having fun, settling in, and soaking up this special experience!! For the rest of the trip we will be in Slovenia and are looking forward to sending another update in a few days!
James and Walker
July 1, 2023
Hello Slovenia Families!
We heard from our leaders overnight and the group has landed safely in Slovenia with all of their luggage! 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!