July 9, 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 got nice and clean so we could hit the town for our banquet night. 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 a massive sheet cake already prepped in our van, we headed to the Mormon Row Historic District to watch the sunset behind the Tetons. We took tons of photos with the most beautiful backdrop of the Tetons. We ate cake and reminisced on our trip as we had our final Moonup at this spot. We headed back to our campsite one final time and had another listen to “Still the Same” by Bob Seger.
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 I with your most prized possession for two weeks!! We will forever remember this special group of kids!!
Lucy and Reed
July 8, 2023
Hello friends and family! The Yellowstone crew has been having a blast since the last time we talked. Our group had a killer day on the water catching beautiful cutthroat trout. Henry put on a clinic and caught a ton of fish, while at the end of the day Luca had to jump in the river after losing a fishing bet to Mac! It was a gorgeous day and everyone had a blast. On our next day the group got to sleep in which was much needed after the past couple of early mornings. We enjoyed a yummy breakfast of eggs, hash browns and bagels and then headed to the Phelps lake trailhead for an awesome day hike. The kids got to walk 2 miles around the stunning Phelps lake and were rewarded at the end of the hike with some rock jumping! Everyone in the group worked up the courage to take the steep plunge into the icy cool water. Once we got our adrenaline pumping we mellowed out with some lunch and tanning by the riverbank. Jackson showed the crew how fast he could swim and I’ll tell you what folks, it was like seeing a brown trout in action out there. Once we got back to camp the group had a very exciting dinner of Iron chef! We had two teams use whatever ingredients we had available to make the most delicious dinner. After that delicious feast we hit the hay early for an exciting day of white water rafting. Our rafting day started off sunny and cool. The group was amped to hit the water, so we got our wetsuits and hopped on the bus. It was a rowdy day on the water as Ivy, Eleanor, Henry, and Sam threw each other in the water during our calm sections of the river. Liza, Mary Yates, and Christine had a more laid back approach to the rafting and preferred to stay aboard. After rafting we had a delicious parking lot lunch at Albertsons and then hit the showers! Once everyone was squeaky clean we headed back to camp before our final banquet. We dined like kings and queens at Picas, a local Mexican Restaurant. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed their burritos and tacos! After dinner we headed to a spot to watch the sunset and do our final Moonup. It was a bittersweet occasion, but the views made everyone complacent and happy. We can’t believe tomorrow is our last day, it’s been an amazing two weeks and it’s going to be hard to say goodbye. We can’t wait to update everyone one last time!
Lucy and Reed
“Hey guys last day just took a shower feeling fresh. I’ll see you guys in less than a day” Sam
“Excited to see y’all in a day” Henry
“Hey mom and dad we went rafting today. See ya tomorrow” Mac
“What’s up crew see y’all tomorrow love you guys, signing off” Jackson
“Amazing trip see y’all soon” ivy
“Having fun see y’all soon” Luca
“Doing great!” Eleanor
“Im doing good” Mary Yates
“Doing great, excited to see you soon! Love you mom, dad, Cora, and Claire!” Christine
“I’m having fun, I love you and I’ll see you soon!” Liza
July 6, 2023
Hello friends and family! Our group has been enjoying their time out of the backcountry and climbing some rocks! Our first full day back from backpacking, we met the Exum rock climbing guides at Teton Village for a full day of rock climbing. After we were fitted with climbing shoes, harnesses, and helmets, we rode Teton Mountain Resort’s gondola up to the top. Our guides taught us how to tie into our harnesses and how to belay each other for our multi pitch climbing day. We had a stacking rope competition, which Jackson and Luca won out of the group. Then we practiced our belaying techniques with partners to ensure we were safe before climbing some rocks! We split into two groups of six where Jackson, Luca, Ivy, Henry, Mac and Lucy climbed as one team, while Liza, Mary Yates, Christine, Eleanor, Sam, and Reed climbed as another team. We couldn’t have asked for better weather or better views as we climbed up our pitch! Many of us conquered a fear of heights that day, and everyone’s comfort zones definitely grew! After a long day of climbing, we headed back to our campsite to prepare for our 4th of July celebration! We handed out red, white, and blue beads and headbands and headed to Jackson’s bouldering park at the base of Snow King Mountain to eat fried chicken, play spike ball, and watch fireworks! It was certainly a memorable night!
After such a fun night, we woke up to another beautiful day for rock climbing! We met with our Exum guides at their Jenny Lake office in Teton National Park. We got right to getting fitted with harnesses and helmets and headed over to the ferry to cross Jenny Lake. The ferry ride was a fan favorite! After hopping off the ferry, we found a spot to practice bouldering. Today’s bouldering was definitely more challenging, but that made it even more rewarding! After practicing on the boulders, we headed higher up to a spot for multi-pitch climbing again. We split up into two groups for this section of climbing with Mac, Henry, Luca, Jackson, Ivy and Christine taking the more challenging route while Liza, Mary Yates, Eleanor, Sam, Reed and Lucy took the other route. We are so proud of our kiddos today for how well they crushed these rocks and conquered some fears! Once we made it to the summit, we ate lunch with the most gorgeous view of the park. After taking some time to relax, we got after some more rock climbing and learned how to rappel! Everyone conquered more fears and learned a new skill, and it was awesome to watch! After a full day of climbing, Sam, Luca, Mary Yates and Mac took the ferry back to Exum while Christine, Henry, Ivy, Eleanor, Liza, and Jackson took the scenic hike back to Exum where we saw a moose! After the jam-packed day, we chowed down on some pizza bagels and headed to the Jackson Hole Rodeo!! We got the full Jackson Hole experience by watching bull riders, barrel racers, and lasso competitions. We also enjoyed some Rodeo food like pretzels, ice cream and nachos! Afterwards, we had to get a good night’s rest for our incredible fly fishing float day the next day!!
-Lucy + Reed
“Mom and dad, we went on a ferry today and rock climbed! See you in a few day” Mac
“Can you please bring me some clean clothes to Maine? Miss you guys and love you!” Ivy
“Rock climbed today and it was a lot of fun! Make sure to sign me up for the true tryouts. Miss u guys!” Luca
“I’m doing well and I’m learning new things like rock climbing! Love you guys!” Henry
“Hey guys, scariest day today but made it through rock climbing! Rodeo tonight though and I might get on a bull” Jackson
“We went climbing today and yesterday and it was something new! It was terrifying at first but then I became the climbing master! Love you guys and I’ll see you in 4 days!” Sam
“Love you, miss you, doing good!” Eleanor
“Had so much fun rock climbing today, I miss you all. Tell Cora and Clare I miss them” Christine
“I had so much fun rock climbing. I love you and I’ll see you soon” Liza
“I had an extraordinary time on the rocks today” Mary Yates
July 4, 2023
After traveling across the Tetons and Yellowstone National Park, we made it to the Lamar Valley where we began our backpacking journey. We hit the trail and travelled a solid 3.5 miles on our first day and stayed at a beautiful campsite by the Lamar River. Luca and Liza served as our leaders of the day (LODs) and led this team all the way there. We then set up camp and feasted on Mexican bowls, which was a crowd favorite. We finished the night with some hot chocolate to prepare ourselves for the next day of hiking.
The next day we had an early morning so we could pack up camp and hit the trail at a good time. Luckily for us the weather has been beautiful, so we have not had to worry too much about thunderstorms. Sam and Mary Yates were our LODs and learned our route for the day, so they could explain it to the rest of the group. We hopped onto the trail and ran into some friendly bison from a safe distance. As we gained more elevation, we could see the scenery change from the flower covered valley to a more alpine terrain. Unfortunately, we had some kiddos not feel too well on the trail, so we decided to head back to our previous campsite for the night and prepared to try this hike the next day. This crew had a great attitude about it all and spent the rest of the day hanging by the river and getting to know each other. We served up another crowd favorite of Mac n cheese for dinner and had Moonup under the stars.
Our next day we got up early again, and by this time, our crew had become experts at packing their backpacks. Eleanor and Mac were our LODs for the day, where they studied our route and were responsible for making sure everyone was hydrated. The only challenge we had this day was making sure everyone had enough sunscreen on because the weather was gorgeous! This group of kiddos absolutely crushed 7.5 miles without a complaint and the views were incredible! We ran into more of our bison friends along the trail and gave them a friendly wave. When we arrived at camp, Luca, Christine, Liza, and Eleanor hopped into the stream to cool off and got some nice sun tans. We all relaxed for the rest of the day until dinner was ready. We prepared a Moondance classic of Tommy Sauce noodles, and there was not a noodle left behind.
After our long day of hiking, we had a peaceful rest day at this gorgeous campsite. We decided to splurge on breakfast and cooked tons of hash browns and eggs. After our brunch, Henry decided to fish, Ivy decided to swim, and others went on a day hike. This day was a much-needed rest day and was very relaxing. We spent our afternoon weathering out a storm and then warmed up with some delicious spaghetti. We hit the hay early, so we can get up and after it the next day.
Following our rest day, we hiked back down the trail towards our first campsite. This crew flew down the trail, and we made it back to that campsite in record timing! After a tough day of hiking, most of us decided to chill in the shade and some decided to get their tan on. It was a very rewarding and relaxing afternoon after a tough couple of days of hiking. As it was our last night in the backcountry, we cooked our remaining food of pesto pasta, mashed potatoes, and some leftover summer sausage, and finished the night with hot chocolate. It was a feast! We soaked in our last night truly away from civilization and dreamed about the showers we would be taking the next day!
On our last day of backpacking, we woke up bright and earlyyyy so we could have plenty of time to sight see in Yellowstone National Park. We made it to our trusty van and unpacked all of our backpacking gear. Then we cruised towards Old Faithful with the windows down, enjoying the sights and tourists. Once we arrived at Old Faithful, we watched it go off in its full glory. Of course, after watching the geyser go off, we had to buy souvenirs and candy. Once we were out of the park, we stopped by the gorgeous Colter Bay RV campground that has a beautiful view of the Tetons and Jackson Lake and took a much-needed shower. We could hardly recognize everyone’s clean faces after the shower! As a treat to celebrate our successful backpacking trip, we stopped at Liberty Burger for our local food stop, which the kids were thrilled about. We can’t wait to start rock climbing and celebrate the 4th of July! We will be in touch soon!!
“Love you, one week left! My leaders are pretty darn good” -Sam
“I love you, I got this! Lucy and Reed are really cool” -Luca
“Love you guys, be home soon, tell Mariano I’ll be there soon” -Jackson
“Love you guys and miss you! Give Kevin a belly rub for me” -Eleanor
“Hey mom and dad, I’m having a great time! Just finished backpacking, love you!” -Mac
“I’m having a blast, and I love and miss you! Give the animals hugs for me!” -Liza
“Hi mom and dad, I miss you! I hope we come out here after my trip is over and tell Tucker I love him!” -Christine
“Hey Dad! Backpacking was fun, Yellowstone is so pretty!” -Mary Yates
“Lightning protocol builds character. Love and miss y’all!” -Ivy
“Im doing good!” -Henry
June 28, 2023
Hello friends and family!
Our Yellowstone trip has been off to a hot start! Airport day was full of new friends and great jokes. All the students got to know one another and played a few rounds of very competitive spike ball where Ivy and Henry dominated. After that the crew learned how to set up tents at our campsite called Gros Ventre. Later that night we had some delicious pizza from a local joint called Pinky G’s. It was scrumptious. Jackson and Mac crushed the pepperoni. Once we grubbed, we had our first Moonup and designated new Leaders of the Day. That night we snuggled into our sleeping bags early for an early day of fly fishing.
Our second day started with the birds chirping and a beautiful sunrise. The kids ate some yummy bagels, sausage, and eggs for breakfast and then we were off to the Jackson Hole Fly Fishing School for a day filled with Fly fishing. The crew learned about bugs, knots, and most importantly how to cast! Mary Yates started the day off hot with a nice cutthroat trout. Then later in the day Christine hooked into another nice Cutty and Jackson caught a big ol’ cutthroat as well! During our fly-fishing session our new friend and student Eleanor joined the group! Everyone was thrilled to have a new member and the group was finally whole.
Once we got back to our campsite, we prepped the group for backpacking. We divided up group gear, group food, made trail mix bags, and then we taught some lessons like how to pack a pack, what layers to bring, how to sanitize water while backpacking, bear protocol, and lighting protocol. After that jam packed afternoon of lessons, Christine, Luca, Sam, and Liza headed to the kitchen to as part of cook crew. They helped prepare some Mediterranean bowls where Luca really found his calling for cooking!
After dinner, we reflected on our day during Moonup, did some last-minute back packing prep and headed for bed because we were wiped out. The next morning, we will be up bright and early to get to our trailhead to begin our backpacking section. We will be hiking in the Lamar Valley for six days where we are bound to see tons of bison!! We can’t wait to hit the trail, and we will send another update once we are out of the woods!!
-Lucy + Reed
June 27, 2023
Hello Yellowstone Families!
We heard from our leaders late yesterday evening and the group has landed safely in Jackson Hole! They are eagerly awaiting the arrival of Eleanor today, who was delayed due to flight issues. 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!