June 22, 2023
Wow. We can’t believe that this trip has come to a close. It feels like just yesterday that we were all strangers that piled into the van together on the first day. We feel incredibly grateful for this group and all the laughs and memories that we shared together over the past 14 days. Now for a little recap of our banquet night!!
After we got off the water from an incredible day, we hit the thrift store so we could dress to the nines for our feast. It’s hard to decide who still the show with their outfit, but it’s likely a tie between Davis’ cheetah print pants and Abby’s red prom dress. Avery, KB, and Caroline also fit the theme with some gorgeous but more casual dresses. Lydia had a lovely cheetah print silk robe and Carter had the most beautiful bright white pants. Gavin kept a low profile with his “Incredible Dad” shirt. Once everyone’s outfits were picked out, we went to Pica’s Mexican Restaurant in Jackson and devoured some tacos, burritos, and enchiladas. What the kids didn’t know as they begged us for ice cream was that our banquet night was far from over. With an ice cream cake already prepped in our van, we headed to the Mormon Row Historic District to watch the sunset behind the Tetons. I think we all agreed that it was one of the most beautiful sunsets we had ever seen. We ate cake and reminisced on our trip as the stars began to pop out in the sky. We did our final Moonup in our beloved Chevy van “Eddie” and drove back to our campsite to have one final listen to “Mr. Telephone Man.”
The kids hit the hay and before we knew it, we were heading to the airport to say our final goodbyes. We want to thank everyone who made this trip possible for these kiddos and for trusting Reed and me with your most prized possession for two weeks!! We will forever remember this special group of kids!!
Lucy and Reed
June 22, 2023
Hello friends and family!
We can happily report back that we caught TONS of fish on our fly-fishing float day. We hit the water at 7am because we heard that the early bird gets the fish. Split up among four drift boats, our team divided and conquered the snake river to maximize our fishing capacity. Our guides from the Jackson Hole Fly Fishing School were incredible and knew just the right spots to take us. Our very own Davis who has a known fear of fish caught 10 and even touched one of them!! KB, Avery, and Lydia each netted a couple of fish but then decided that the guide’s popcorn and cookies were a little more appealing than our fish friends. Abby and Caroline had a slow morning each catching one fish, but after fueling up on lunch they could not stop them from coming and caught 4 fish each. Carter also caught 10 fish, which he felt made up for his first day of fishing earlier in the trip. Gavin gave fishing another try but decided that the views and relaxing flow of the river was more his style for the day. After a long day on the water, we decided that it was fitting to celebrate our catches with some ice cream from Jackson’s very own Moo’s Gourmet Ice Cream, which we all devoured. Following that sweet treat, the kiddos got an hour in town to buy more souvenirs for themselves and some lucky family members and friends. We headed back to our campground where Davis, Lydia, and Abby helped cook a feast of pizza bagels and some veggies. This cook crew seemed to have more fun prepping this meal than actually eating it though!! We ended the night with a very meaningful Moonup, which we all can agree brought the group much closer.
The next morning, we had a much needed sleep-in and casual morning. As the kids trickled out of their tents, we ate breakfast and prepared lunches for our day-hike day! We drove to the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and took the aerial tram to the top of the mountain that travels up 4,139 ft in just 12 minutes. For this Southern crowd, the light sprinkle of snow- and snow-covered peaks were a sight to see. Gavin even mentioned that this was his favorite part of the trip and maybe the coolest thing he’s ever seen. After taking plenty of photos and hiking along the top of the mountain, we treated ourselves with the world-famous gourmet waffles in Corbet’s Cabin. Hands down the best waffles ever, and, as Avery mentioned, she has been thinking of these waffles since she first had them 7 years ago. After an adventurous day, we headed back to our campsite to prepare for Moondance’s version of Iron Chef. The kids whipped up some delicious and creative meals. The winning team got the honor of eating the first round of s’mores. We finished the night with full stomachs and a great Moonup and hit the hay for an early morning of rafting! Our rafting day started with a bright blue sky and a cool morning. Everyone was excited to hit the water after all the recent rain we’d been getting! We arrived to Dave Hansen white water rafting around 8 and got suited up in snazzy wet suits! Next, we loaded up In the shuttle bus and headed to the river to meet our guides for the day! We split up into two groups one was Reed, Davis, Lydia, and Caroline and the other was Lucy, Abby, Carter, and Avery. The group absolutely crushed some gnarly rapids. Carter, Avery, Caroline, Davis, Abby, and their two heroic leaders all took a swim in the chilly 50° water! We also had a few brave souls “ride the bull” on the front of the raft through the rapids. Davis and Carter thoroughly enjoyed that! After our adventurous day of crushing some water we ate a yummy parking lot lunch filled with tasty guacamole and delicious sandwiches. Later that day the kids were surprised with a visit to the thrift store to get some cool new outfits for our final banquet meal! Everyone looked extremely cool and the vibes were at an all time high!
Davis: “Henry I caught 20 fish”
Carter: “Mom and Dad, fishing was a great trip, love it out here can’t wait to see y’all”
KB: “It won’t stop raining but I’m having a good time”
Avery: “I’m having fun”
Abby: “love and miss you Fam”
Lydia: “hey mom and dad miss y’all having a great time see y’all soon”
Gavin: “thank you guys for everything you do for me”
Caroline: “mom and dad I’m cold and wet but having so much fun”
June 19, 2023
Greetings from Yellowstone! Our adventures group has been having a blast since we last updated y’all! After our peaceful night in the front country the group woke up bright and early to see some of the renowned Yellowstone attractions. First up was the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. It was a breathtaking stop that Gavin thoroughly enjoyed. We hiked down to get a better view of the canyon’s lower falls and made sure to take tons of group photos. After getting our eyes blown out by the natural beauty of the canyons, the group went to watch Ol’ Faithful! The kids got to browse through the stores and purchase sick swag and some gifts for a few lucky family members. Caroline, Avery, Carter, and KB all got super cool shirts and hoodies. Abby made a wise decision to buy some carrots at the gift shop that were a groovy purple color! After playing tourists for the day, we left our beloved Yellowstone National Park for the highly anticipated showers. After getting squeaky clean, we could hardly recognize each other with fresh hair and clean clothes. Later that day the group got a chance to eat in Jackson for a local food stop at a burger joint called Liberty Burger! It was a delicious meal that everyone devoured after our time spent in the backcountry. We finished the day with Moonup and went to sleep early for an early morning of rock climbing!
Our first day of rock climbing started off early in order for the group to meet the Exum Mountain guides in the Teton valley park for some gnarly climbing. We started the activity off with getting fitted with climbing shoes, a harness, and a trusty orange helmet. Once the group was geared up, we hopped on the Jenny Lake ferry and moseyed our way over the backcountry to start our day of climbing with our guides Gabe and Garrick! We started off learning how to tie useful knots we would be using later and started on some easy low to the ground rocks to get our footing down. Lydia was a natural climber, and her gymnast background definitely helped her crush the climbing. We began the real climbing with a short hike to the base of a steep mountain and began a multi pitch climb where everyone was harnessed to each other and climbed one at a time up to different ledge spots. Caroline was the first to climb and always volunteered to try the different routes first! KB was nervous to take on some of the climbing routes, but as she got practice, she looked like a pro. After climbing for most of the morning we stopped for a scenic lunch on the side of the mountain overlooking Jenny Lake. Folks, these views were unbeatable, and it made the lunch taste twelve and a half times better. We finished up our day of climbing with some practice rappelling. The fun wasn’t over yet, however, that night the group got a chance to attend the Jackson Hole Rodeo! On the ride to the rodeo, Carter and Avery did not hesitate to give us plenty of song recommendations to get us hyped up for the rodeo. Davis was super enthusiastic the whole time and definitely should have won the Jackson hole Rodeo Yeti Mug for best fan! The kids got to watch some intense bull riding and lassoing! As well as the famous barrel races where the horses race around 3 barrels for the fastest time. Gavin enjoyed the chocolate ice cream immensely and Davis chowed down on a yummy pretzel. Abby was the lucky fan who caught a Jackson Hole Rodeo t-shirt out of the crowd. We also were lucky enough to receive a Moondance Adventures shoutout from the announcer! We finished the day with an awesome Moonup and went straight to sleep so we’d be rested for our second day of climbing!
Our second day of climbing started off with some light rain, but the group was too excited about the climbing to care. We took the Jenny Lake ferry once again for some amazing views of of the Tetons before we hiked back up to our climbing spot. Our guides set us up on a spot with three different levels of climbing, and the misty rain made our routes extra challenging but that did not deter our kiddos! Gavin was the first to tackle a climb this morning, which he made look like a walk in the park. Caroline was the first to make it to the top of the toughest climb, which she showed tons of grit and determination to get up. After climbing and cheering all morning, we hiked further up the mountain to rappel down an overhang. This crew was fearless, and everyone rappelled down this cliff like a champ! Due to the steady drizzle, our guides decided it was best for us to leave after repelling, but that did not stop us from singing “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” all the way down the moutain. Exhausted from all the fun we had, most everyone napped on the car ride home. At our campsite, we all hopped into a tent and played cards until breakfast for dinner was served. We had another early night to prepare for an early fly-fishing float day! Hopefully we report back next time with everyone hooking a fish!! All of our kiddos are wanting to wish a belated happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!
“Happy late birthday dad!” – Lydia
“Love and miss y’all. Can’t wait to see y’all soon. Everything here is amazing!”- Carter
“The views are amazing!” – Davis
“Mom this is amazing, and I’m taking you here” – Abby
“It’s really pretty here, and I miss you” – Avery
“I miss y’all! Tell everyone I say hi” – KB
“I miss y’all and the dogs. Tell Ava I’m making her hangout with me when i get home” – Caroline
“I miss you guys, and dad can you cook duck for me when I get home?” – Gavin
June 16, 2023
Hello from Wyoming!
From the instant our group landed in Jackson, this group of 10 strangers has turned into a close-knit family in such a short time. After everyone’s safe arrival, we headed to buy fishing licenses in anticipation for our day with the Jackson Hole Fly Fishing School. Following that, our group was pleasantly surprised at our campsite for the night with warm pizzas from Jackson’s Pinky G’s for dinner. This was a crowd favorite. After playing spike ball, the name game, and making friendship bracelets on just night one, you could hardly believe these kids had just met each other that day. Allegedly, that was the first time Gavin had ever played spike ball, but his ridiculous saves beg to differ.
Rising bright and early, we hit the road to meet the Jackson Hole Fly Fishing School for a full day of lessons and fly fishing. Once we arrived at the river, we were immediately introduced to the different kinds of trout in the area and what kinds of insects they ate. The most prized possession of Jackson’s native trout is the Cutthroat trout, which was certainly on the kids’ minds as learned how to cast. Our guides taught us the basics of casting, but then moved into how to let more line out, and then how to hook a fish (the most important part)! Carter and Davis were weary if their casting would be good enough to catch a fish, but after some practice, they looked like pros. Before beginning our fishing, we all participated in a casting competition to see who could cast the farthest. Besides our veteran fisher Reed, Caroline won the casting competition. After lunch, our crew was fitted into waders, and we hit the water. The group split into two groups with Gavin, Caroline, KB, and Davis heading with Lucy, while Carter, Lydia, Abby, and Avery headed with Reed. In Lucy’s group Gavin was the first to catch a fish! It was a beautiful white fish. KB and Davis had some bites, but Caroline stole the show netting three fish. Meanwhile in Reeds group Lydia caught an absolute whale of a Cutthroat trout. I mean we’re talking an absolute monster. Avery had a great day on the water too and caught a bunch of pretty trout. Both Abby and Carter were hooking into fish but those tricky fishies shook free. Both students had great attitudes about the day and are looking forward to our float trip fishing day coming up soon! After a long day of fishing, it was time to head back to the campsite and prepare for our backing excursion in Yellowstone National Park!! This evening, the kids learned all about bear safety, how to pack a pack, water purification and how to live in the backcountry for five days safely. After such a jam-packed day, we feasted on tacos where many students had refried beans for the first time. Feeling fueled, we all went to sleep early anticipating our day of hitting the trail in Yellowstone.
After traveling from Jackson through the Tetons and Yellowstone, we made it to the Lamar Valley where our backpacking journey would begin. Strapped with full packs and armed with trekking poles, we were ready to traverse Yellowstone’s unique terrain. Shortly into our first hike, we passed a family of badgers curiously watching us travel down our path. We also got our first taste of the bison who roam the Lamar Valley, as we saw a few lone bison along our travel. After trekking 3.5 miles, we set up camp in a grassy area with a beautiful view of the Lamar River. Abby and Caroline helped prepare our first backcountry dinner of Mediterranean bowls. Everyone made sure to fuel up as our longest day of hiking would be coming up the next day. Luckily for our crew, it is encouraged to be loud in the backcountry, so they had no problem staying up and playing cards until it was time to go to bed.
The next day was an early wake up call, as we knew it was taking all our might to travel 7.5 miles to our next campsite. The kids knew it would be tough, but they were up for the challenge. As we packed up camp, we watched a herd of bison cross the river about 100 yards away from us. After witnessing the beautiful wildlife Yellowstone has to offer, we hit the trail. Quickly, the kids chose Mr. Telephone man as their song of choice to sing on the trail. We had patches of weather that made the day more challenging, but this group continued to persevere. As the hike went on, we gained more elevation, which revealed some breathtaking views of snow-covered mountains. Everyone agreed that the views made the hike worth it. Once we reached our campsite, we set up tents and got straight to cooking dinner to fuel ourselves after that many miles. Everyone felt so proud of themselves hiking more than they ever thought they could. We got to bed early that night, and everyone was a bit giddy knowing that we had a rest day the next day!!
We made sure that everyone got to sleep in for our well-deserved rest day. The kids woke up to the smell of hash browns and eggs sizzling over our camp stove. Everyone agreed that this breakfast was the best. After feasting on a well-deserved brunch, some students decided to take a dip in the river. Abby, Lydia, Carter, Davis, and Avery all took a dip and felt just as if they had taken a shower. The rest of the day was spent relaxing, journaling, playing cards, and getting to know each other. We cherished the downtime and loved getting to hear more about each other. As the day dwindled down, we huddled into our tents and prepared for the next day.
We woke up to the tapping of rain on our tent’s rain flies but that did not stop this group from getting ready to hit the trail. We packed up camp, and headed 3 miles down to our next campsite, and this group FLEW down the trail. After accomplishing 7.5 miles, they knew they could accomplish anything. Our next campsite was absolutely beautiful. It was hidden in a depression in the trail that was flat and filled with lush grass. We all took a much-needed nap as a light shower sprinkled over our tents. Later that night we had some delicious pesto pasta which Davis and Gavin really enjoyed.
Our fifth day of backpacking started early with some yummy oatmeal. It was a beautiful day, and the crew was ready to hit the trail. Due to the previously frequent rain, our campsite for this night was unfortunately washed out. However, the kiddos didn’t complain, and we hiked out to the parking lot for a tasty lunch of summer sausage, cheese, jellies, peanut butter, and other tasty snacks. That night we settled into a much-needed front country campsite where we built a fire and had some yummy hot chocolate!
Up next were headed to see some more sick sites in Yellowstone! We will keep y’all updated!
Sending our love,
Lucy + Reed
June 9, 2023
Hello Yellowstone Families!
We heard from our leaders this afternoon and the group has landed safely in Jackson Hole! 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!