June 21, 2023
¡Hola familias y amigos de SPM 1A!
Wow, time sure does fly when you’re having fun. It’s with heavy hearts that we write to you from the Madrid airport, having sent everyone through security. What a thrill this trip has been!!!
Our last few days together were spent exploring Marrakech and Madrid — two of the coolest places on the planet! Our first day in Marrakech, after a morning of traveling from Toubkal, was filled with rest and relaxation by the pool. We were treated to an incredible dinner on the back porch while we watched several peacocks graze in the yard. Stewart and I had some quiet tunes playing in the background, which quickly turned into a gigantic dance party on the back lawn. Lucas graced us with his phenomenal moves and Henry J emerged victorious after our limbo competition. The kids laughed and sang along to hits such as “September”, “Right Back Where We Started From”, and “Love Train”. Shortly after this burst of energy, they decided to hop back in the pool. Much to Stewart and I’s surprise, they formulated a plan to push us in. Let’s just say it was VERY successful. Soon, a belly flop competition ensued, and Henry S was able to show off some incredible flops. We were all crying with laughter! We finished with what might be the first-ever Moonup held in the shallow end of a pool. But it doesn’t stop there!
During our second day in Marrakech, we ate an amazing breakfast of Moroccan pancakes and toast. After fueling up, we headed to meet our guide, Mohammed, for the grand tour of the city center and markets. Mia did an excellent job of seeking out the best deals and leading the girls through the busy streets. Ellie + Emma were able to snag some really cool woven bags! Charlie returned with some awesome shades that he sported for the rest of the day. We returned to our Riad after the markets for an afternoon of pool fun! Grayson + Minott both championed classic games such as “alligator” and “star”. We winded down with a cooking class where we prepared that night’s dinner. The kids were able to practice their skills and might even be able to make you some traditional Moroccan food back home! Our last Moonup in Morocco was led by LOD’s Avery + Paul, who ended it with a griddy line around the Riad. Once again, we couldn’t contain our laughter!
After everyone crushing airport day like the awesome people they are, we headed into Madrid to explore! All of us were in awe of the royal palace and its gardens. Jenks was always seen wearing a huge smile across her face as she helped lead the group through town. After adventuring, we made our way towards Takos Al Pastor — the best tacos in all of Spain, recommended to us by several guides! Everyone cheers’d their sodas as we enjoyed our meal in a nearby park. Afterwards, Grace + Lucas led us through our final Moonup which was filled with both laughter and tears.
As we reflect back on this trip, there are so many things we could say… To family and friends, thank you for sharing your amazing kids with us. Stewart and I hold special places in our hearts for each and every one of them. They are incredibly talented, smart, FUNNY, and passionate young adults.
To our kids, WE LOVE YOU. You all have touched our lives in numerous ways. Be good people, do good things, and make good noise. We are always a phone call away.
This isn’t an “adios”, it’s an “hasta luego!”
All the Moondance love,
Kate + Stewart
June 19, 2023
Hello from Morocco! We are reporting back with the exciting news of a SUCCESSFUL summit bid to the top of Mt. Toubkal. Behind the encouraging leadership of our LOD’s, Henry J + Jenks, we ripped up the mountain and soaked in the gorgeous 360 views. Our trail talks combined with gorgeous views yielded some lifelong memories. Paul polled the crowd on various topics to discover even more similarities that we had yet to unveil while Charlie created a new hiking vocabulary, titled “awesomesauce” that lifted everyone’s spirits.
Prior to our summit day, our group conquered a lengthy route from our awesome hostel that included a gorgeous rooftop area where Emma + Lucas led us in a memorable Moonup, which was accompanied by stars and views of the village below. It was heartwarming watching our group belly laugh and grow closer during this turning point in the trip.
The next morning, our group hit the trails with a pep in our step and wonder in our hearts as we passed mountain huts, snow patches (that’s right: snow in June!!), wildlife, and the gorgeous Atlas Mountain. We made conversation with other hikers and conquered long, uphill trails as a unified team whose goal was unwavering. We even celebrated with Mia’s rendition of “Karma” by Taylor Swift at the summit!
After our anticipated return to our homey mountain refuge post-summit, Avery + Grace hosted a celebratory dance party after refueling on soup and delicious tea only to be rivaled by Henry Stokes’ rockstar dance moves that were backed up with some enthusiastic reinforcements. Meanwhile, Minott led the boys to a sunset spot where we watched the clouds roll in through the valley below.
Today, we said goodbye to our beloved mountain range as we put Toubkal in the rearview mirror during our final descent towards our transport for Marrakech. In our final hours of trekking, Grayson shared stories with the group with a smile. Throughout our final day of trekking, Ellie + Charlie closed out this portion of the trip, having been elected as our group motivators based on their performance so far.
It’s these beautiful moments in the mountains that remind us of how special experiences like these are. We are so excited to go all in on the last few days of this amazing trip together! Our group grows closer by the day and it’s been so special getting to knock this trip out of the park together with big ole smiles on our faces!
Stay tuned and rock on,
Stewart + Kate
June 16, 2023
Hello, SPM (self named “spam”) A families!!
We just said ADIOS to Spain with bittersweet goodbyes to our rockstar outfitters, beautiful scenery, and wonderful memories. With a big, sappy group hug, we traversed the Madrid airport to jet set towards our new adventure in Morocco! We navigated unfamiliar territory behind the leadership of Minott as he shouldered multiple bags and kept morale high as Leader of the Day. Through song and dance, Charlie has kept our group on its toes with his budding musical career. Be sure to ask him about his country freestyles the next time you see him.
Looking back, we are still reeling from how wonderful our canyoneering section was in Spain. We found natural water slides and waterfalls, culminating in a legendary bellyflop from Grayson. Mia was fearless as she swung from the rope swing into the cold water! We left the valley sore from laughter and fun.
During our surfing portion in Spain, we enjoyed a private cove with a beautiful backdrop that we likened to a background fitting for any HD computer. Jenks provided bountiful laughter while catching a wave while laying down backwards on her board. It was quite the feat! Henry J was practically a natural on the board and caught some incredible waves. We were so proud!
During our transport back to Madrid, Avery, and Emma provided boatloads of laughter and good song suggestions for our long car ride. After a successful travel day, Morocco has treated us so well and showed us some special sights. Here in Imlil, Henry S has already spearheaded our group’s immersion into the local culture and garb during our walk around town (pics to come). Ellie furthered this effort by hand crafting some friendship bracelets for our group. Paul has thoroughly enjoyed the Moroccan tea, offering lessons on how to properly enjoy the minty goodness that is so special to daily life in Morocco. Lucas has helped energize our group during our motivational mornings, often behind a handstand or a well-timed Christmas carol. In the evenings, Grace has had steadfast insight during moonup.
As we settle in for the night and prepare for the trek ahead, we look forward to summiting Toubkal as one big happy family. Our crew has had the best attitude and overall vibe since day 1!
Below are some shout outs from the kiddos themselves…
Love y’all, Happy Birthday/Fathers Day Thaddeus! – Charlie
Hope everyone is having fun! I’m having a ton of fun and I hope you are too! Cant wait to summit Toubkal! – Grayson
Love you Guys. Things to try: drink Moroccan tea, go to meerkesh market, and summit toubkal. – Lucas
Hi mom and dad I am having a lot of fun and I hope y’all are too!. Happy Fathers Day Dad and make sure you tell AJ I said hi! Love y’all! -Henry J
Hello family! I had the best time in Spain, and now we are at the airport on the way to Morocco. My favorite thing in Spain was the hiking because it was so beautiful. I can,t wait to summit Mt Toubkal and explore the new cultures of Morocco. Everyone is awesome and I love my group. Have fun in Colorado and Happy Fathers Day. LOVE YALL – Henry S
Hello! I hope y’all are having a great time and Miguel and Beez are having fun at camp! I’m having a great time and can’t wait to tell y’all about it. The whole trip has been amazing, with my highlights so far being Canyoneering, surfing, and staying up in the mountains where we were above the clouds, so pretty much every activity. I hope y’all are having fun wherever you are, and I can’t wait to see y’all.(Happy belated Father’s Day) – Paul
Hey guys! I hope y’all had fun in the mountains! Happy Father’s Day dad! We had the best time in Spain and now we are on the plane to Morocco. I miss and love y’all- Jenks (I’ll be home in less than a week) – Jenks
Hey Dad! I hope you’re doing well when you’re reading this. The trip so far is going well, and we’ve enjoyed hiking and staying in hostels. The people on the trip are super fun, and I got to practice my Spanish a lot. We’re headed to Morocco, and will summit Mount Toubkal. I can’t wait to see you, and Happy Father’s Day! Love, Minott.
Hey mom and dad! Hope y’all are having fun in Winston. Spain was super fun and now I am on the flight to Morocco. Happy Father’s Day dad! Im so excited for the rest of the trip and will see y’all soon. Love and miss y’all. -Emma
Hi mom and dad! I hope it is going well in Nashville. Spain was really cool and fun. Yesterday we went canyoneering and it was super fun. We are going to Morocco and are about to summit Mount Toubkal. Happy Father’s Day! Also, hey Simmons!! Miss y’all! See you soon! – Grace
Hey fam!!! I am having the most fun ever. All these kids are my best friends and we have made so many memories! Mom I have been trying so much new food you would be so proud #cowtongue and dad happy Father’s Day your the best! I love and miss you guys lots see you soooooooon! – Avery
Hey mom and dad and vyom. I LOVE YLL SO MUCH,¡¡ I hope y’all are good. Happy fathers day dad. Im having a great time with jycne besties for the restless. See u soon Mia
Hi Mom and Dad! I miss you both so much, but am having the best time ever! Happy Father’s Day dad! We are getting ready to climb Toubkal as I am writing this, and hiking in fields of horses, cows, and sheep was so cool. We even had a snowball fight Thank you for all the amazing opportunities you both give me every day. See you soon, and I hope you are both having a fun trip! I love you! -Ellie
All the Moondance love,
Stewart + Kate
June 13, 2023
We just successfully emerged from Picos de Europa with sore legs and big smiles. From the steep mountain ridges to the lush glacial valleys to the constant Spanish wildlife, we were never left bored. Our group’s humor carried us through the steep slopes we faced, while we gained endless knowledge provided by our outstanding mountain guides. Minott’s trail talk always yielded a belly laugh while Avery’s engaging conversations rounded out our group dynamic. It doesn’t stop there – this is one special crew!!
Day 1: After a looong travel day, we ended night one on a high note with laughter and deep sleep. We began under the guidance of our first leaders of the day, Henry Stokes and Emma, who set a strong tone with a stellar balance of humor and guidance! We set out with wide eyes and hearts filled with excitement as we traversed one of Spain’s most popular hiking routes, which is frequented by roughly 1000 people per day in peak season. Fortunately, we hit it at a great time where the weather cooperated and there weren’t too many people to contest on the trails. During our lunch break, Grayson showcased some climbing skills while teaching our group all about bouldering techniques. Throughout the hike, Ellie put her photography skills to use and helped get some great group shots.
We ended the night with a thoughtful moonup, which set us up for a fantastic day of exploration on day two of trekking. After breakfast, we packed our bags, grabbed some grub, and hit the trails. As we stepped our way through a valley carved by glaciers, we marveled at the plethora of wildlife that nodded their cowbells our way as we saturated them with a “¡buenas días!” and moved on. Paul and Mia kept the energy up as our fearless leaders of the day and spearheaded our best moonup yet, which we shared with a nearby heard of curious cows.
Finally, we woke up for our last day of trekking with a beautiful trek up the mountains that overlooked our mountain refugio. As we passed abandoned mines, alpine snow fields, and wild goats, our views only grew more and more spectacular. Grace kept spirits high throughout the trek with her rhymes and impersonations. Henry Johnson did a fantastic job of leading the pack back to our hostel with a pep in his step just in time to escape the rain as we finished our final trek in Picos de Europa. Despite the afternoon showers, Jenks and Charlie managed to keep the good vibes rolling with an impromptu dance party on the way to Llanes.
With a lovely change of scenery, we entered into the northern coast of Spain for our surfing section. Our squad feasted on an awesome dinner of pasta Bolognese, a traditional Spanish chicken dish, and dessert. Afterwards, our guides gave us the grand tour of our home for the next two days! We gazed upon ancient castles and walls built to withstand pirates from the 16th century. As the group made our way through town, we settled onto a nearby beach for an intense game of ninja. Lucas emerged victorious after dodging attacks left and right! Our crew ended the day with a picture perfect moonup atop a hill that overlooks the sea.
More to come soon! For now, we are so grateful to be spending time together in some of the coolest places on Earth.
Stewart + Kate (+ celebrity HQ guest, Sandra!)
June 9, 2023
Hello Spain + Morocco Families!
We heard from our leaders this morning and the group has landed safely in Madrid! 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!