June 20 – July 2
Leaders: John McClelland and Caroline Tanner
July 6 – July 18
Leaders: John McClelland and Caroline Tanner
June 17 – July 3
Leaders: Jake Richardson and Sarah Machin
July 3 – July 15
Leaders: Jake Richardson and Sarah Machin
July 19 – July 31
Leaders: Jake Richardson and Sarah Machin
June 19 – July 2
Leaders: Bryant Allen and Berry Williamson
June 25 – July 8
Leaders: George Gregory and Molly Fisher
Hello RMW Parents!
Small but mighty, our group arrived to the Denver Airport (with no delays!) and we hit the ground running. There is no time to waste on our two week adventure! From the airport, the seven of us headed to Arkansas Headwaters State Park to prepare for two days of white water rafting. Our campsite at Arkansas Headwaters was incredible–we were so secluded from the other park guests that we felt we were already in the backcountry. Because no one was late, we had plenty of day light when we reached camp to play and hang out. Everyone learned how to properly set up their tents, about good “EB” (expedition behavior), and how to stay hydrated and healthy. Victor and Nic explored a bit in the area near our tents and whet their appetites for the backpacking we will be doing tomorrow. Ellie, Charlotte and Laney instigated a game of charades that kept everyone laughing. As a Moondance tradition, we enjoyed PIZZA on the first night which brought smiles to everyone’s face! Ellie started the trip off on a good foot by trying a new food at dinner that night–pineapple! She cannot wait to eat it again when she gets home! We also spotted some Big Horned Sheep running by as we ate dinner. It is always exciting to see wildlife, but it is rare to see it close up and in the front country. We enjoyed our first Moonup and everyone tucked in for the night. All were brave and slept under the beautiful, starry night.
We woke up early the next morning ready to hit the river. After learning how to break camp, we drove a short way to meet our river guides. Once our dry bags were packed, we began a 13 mile stretch of the Arkansas River chocked full of rapids. Victor kept us laughing with his sound effects on each and every rapid. Nic and John braved the front of the boat for quite some time–and that water was cold! Laney and Nic were great leaders as our first LODs (Leaders of the Day) and kept us right on schedule. We stopped for a delicious lunch of wraps with plenty of fresh veggies and even cookies for dessert. After lunch, we jumped into wet suits and enjoyed a much warmer and shorter (but equally exciting) trip to our campsite for the night. We had time to go for a short hike in Brown’s Canyon and see some animal footprints–no Big Horned Sheep this time though! Mitch and Patrick, our guides, cooked a delicious dinner of cheesy rice and burritos with delicious chips and salsa. Everyone did a great job pitching in with the dishes. After dinner but before Moonup, Patrick and Mitch surprised us with s’mores! We also learned about Leave No Trace and how to minimally impact the areas in which we travel. Charlotte’s positive attitude kept us smiling throughout the day. Off to bed early to prepare for another day on the river.
We were able to sleep a little bit later than normal on our second day on the river. This was a much welcomed treat after traveling and rafting. We enjoyed our breakfast sitting on the banks of the river, and all would agree that life hardly gets any better. No one seems to miss the TV, Facebook or their IPods–there is truly something special about the great outdoors! John, Nic and Victor enjoyed learning about eddys in rivers by tossing pinecones into the water while eating breakfast. After breakfast, there was plenty of work to do before we jumped back on the river to raft through the rest of Brown’s Canyon. We had no idea that the best rapids were yet to come! Our afternoon of rafting was quite eventful with only one “swimmer”!
Monday evening gave us the opportunity to cook our first dinner as a group. Ellie, Laney and Charlotte were master vegetable cutters, and Charlotte showed us that she is a WHIZ at making stir fry! The boys were also great cooks. John and I were very proud of the group’s first dinner and their ability to work together–you would never know they have only known each other for 2 days!
Today we fly fished near Telluride. Ellie caught a trout and we hope that we will catch many more in the back country. Tonight we will learn how to pack a backpack and prepare food for backpacking. Tomorrow morning, we will rise early and head to the San Juan National Forest for what is sure to be a wonderful experience. We will talk to you on the other side!
John and Caroline
June 29, 2009
Greetings from (now) sunny Colorado! Following our exciting rafting and fly fishing days we loaded up our packs and headed off into the pristine wilds of Bear Creek trail in the San Juan National Forest, near Rico, Colorado. While some packed packs in preparation for our excursion, others helped prepare a pasta dinner with veggies and red sauce worthy of any top flight Italian restaurant. The next morning we entered the woods with high spirits led by Victor’s unique and always entertaining sense of humor. After a long days hike it feels good to sit down and relax for a bit, which is something Rocky Mountain Way group I is pretty accomplished at. Ellie, Laney, and Charlotte decided that a quick dip in our camp side creek would help ease the strain of toting a loaded pack. Nic continued to read his now favorite book about two grown men attempting to summit the tallest mountain on each continent. Victor insisted on trying his hand at fly fishing despite our entire group leaving their flies at the trailhead. That night Caroline and the girls treated us to a back country variation of the delicacy known as pizza. Despite a little rain at bedtime our group hit the tents ready for the challenges to come.
As morning broke on our second day in the backcountry we pulled out the maps and looked for a challenge. We found one. The trail up from Bear Creek following Little Bear Creek was a significant increase in elevation. However, we all passed this new test with flying colors. On these difficult days is where character shows through and great stories are made. A little weather aside, we feasted on delicious jambalaya and waited to see what the next day on our trek would hold. Unfortunately we were pinned down in our tents for most of the morning waiting for a break in the weather. Once it came we descended in elevation led by our group of three determined girls who led us to a wonderful campsite. Once at camp, Nic, Victor, and I (John) invented a new card game now known as Moondance (You’re welcome Hayes). As evening came on our last night in the backcountry we reflected on what all we had learned. Nic and Victor led a wonderful Moon-Up that allowed us to recap our stay in the woods.
After breaking camp Caroline and I decided to allow our group the opportunity to safely hike alone. We staggered the starts ten minutes apart with one leader in the front and another in the back. Everyone loved the experience and I am especially proud of Charlotte, and her whistle. Upon leaving Bear Creek we travelled to a new campsite ready to tackle the rocks of God’s Crag. After one day of climbing spearheaded by Nic I am confident to say that we are all eager for tomorrow and our last day of climbing. As for now I must return to this amazing group because I know I will miss them immensely when they have to leave.
Rocky Mountain Way I
July 10, 2009
Howdy Moondance families from beautiful, sunny Colorado. Since we picked the group up in the Denver Airport we have had unbelievable weather. The group is coming together wonderfully just like I knew they would.
Everyone arrived safely and on time in Denver. Caroline and I were as eager to get the trip started as the rest of our group. We loaded up and headed down to Hecla Junction neatly located on the side of the Arkansas River, which gave us a view of our upcoming challenge. Our first night was fantastic. Everyone was beginning to come out of their shell earlier than I had anticipated. With full bellies and camp well established we selected Henry and Shand as our leaders of the day (LODs) for our first day of rafting.
We woke early, broke camp, and headed off up the river eager to see what it had in store. Fortunately, it did not disappoint. We divided into two boats of five students, one leader, and one guide each. The start of the Arkansas River is thrilling with constant whitewater until lunch, 13 miles away! This long stretch gave everyone an opportunity to sit in the front seats of the raft. Jack S. and Henry were eager to show their mettle as the first to take the lead in my boat while Jack Y. and Nathan headed up Caroline’s raft. I was proud of all of our paddlers on the first day of rafting and we were all happy to arrive safely at camp for the night with no “swimmers.”
Day two started with delicious huevos rancheros and sausage prepared by our awesome raft guides because nothing starts a day on the water like a light breakfast…Caroline and I switched boats to allow us to hang out with the other group for a while. As much as I missed my old team it was fun to spend time with the others. Kelly and Ann were enjoying the front of the raft but also jumped at the chance to move back and away from the constant spray. Nathan and I were hurled to the front as we tackled the biggest rapids on the river. I was extremely impressed with Nathan’s ethic and I found myself trying to keep up with his paddling. After a short day hike to a waterfall and the opportunity to jump in the river off a rock, we were sad to have to leave this awe inspiring river. We were consoled by the fact that the fun was only beginning.
After a long drive away from the river we hit camp and started to make dinner. Joseph, Kelly, Jarred, and Jack Y prepared a delicious stir fry for our hungry group. The veggie medley was typical of our Moondance diet. We hit our bags tired and ready to fly fish.
From the beginning of fly fishing it was obvious that Jack Y has a knack for the fly rod. He casted like a pro and reeled in the big ones. Our entire group stuck at it and nearly everyone had some luck. Ann had the catch of the day with a large brook trout. Although we did not all catch a fish nobody went away empty handed as I stole a glimpse at several people, especially Jarred, soaking in the view. His comment that “This doesn’t look like Georgia” really captured the majesty of Telluride and the San Juans.
We look forward to more adventures to come. I hope this email finds all of you doing well and I feel honored to be given the chance to spend time with your children. Many thanks
These first few days have been great. Alex Graham was our first arrival at the airport on June 17th, and both Jake and I had a great time getting to spend the following 2.5 hours with him until the next students arrived. Alex’s sense of humor and energy has been catching the hearts and attention of all of us on this trip. He keeps us entertained! I greeted Lib and Alex Hunt at their gate, and they had already found and met one another before they even boarded the plane. As the only two girls, besides myself, I think that they are so strong and I know that they are already having a great time.
After we made it to Hecla Junction, near Salida, CO, the first night, we awoke to a beautiful day, perfect for whitewater rafting. Palmer and Nik were visibly thrilled to be headed to the river, and everyone was further excited to find out that the Arkansas River had not been at its current (high) water level since around 1995…The guides told us that this week is the peak week for the river this year, for certain…
As we headed down the river, Lib and Alex Hunt joined me, Sarah, along with Bryson and Thomas in one boat. In the other, with Jake, were Nick, Nik, James, Palmer, and Alex Graham. This was an incredibly exciting day. We began around 13 miles upstream from the River Runners (our outfitters) base camp. Throughout this stretch, we went through the “narrows,” which included intense sections like House Point Rock. Nik and Palmer loved this section, as it was indeed one of the most exciting of the entire trip.
Thomas and I were the lead paddlers for our boat, and we worked quite well as a team. Thomas’ steady and responsible attention to rafting were a major asset as we conquered this river!
After we had lunch at the RR base camp, we got back in the boats and headed about 2 miles downstream to our camp site for the night. There we set up camp, and Nick (Kern)exhibited such maturity in his helping other students put up their tents. They were all appreciative, as we were all tired from such a full day. Later in the afternoon, many of the students went on a hike which I know everyone will be hearing about when this trip is over. The view from the area right above our campsite was amazing, as it overlooked a massive valley that was then stopped by a group of 4 or more 14,000ft+ mountains. The kids loved this and I think group bonding was solidified here, if not before, during the rafting section.
The next morning we woke up and had a great breakfast made by the River Runners crew. It was excellent (just like the chicken and beef burritos we had the night before)! While Bryson, Nick, and Nik threw the frisbee around, others made one last stop up at their beloved vista just a few minutes up the trail. We got on the river again after breakfast and continued 15 or so miles downstream. We had a great time and stopped to have lunch on an abandoned railroad track overlooking the river. Lib and Alex Hunt have been going strong keeping up the minority of the group! This experience definitely brought the group together, and as time continues, the bonds formed will only get stronger.
Tomorrow we begin our backpacking section of the trip. Palmer can’t wait to get more chances to test out his cooking skills. Check back for more in five days!
Sarah and Jake
June 26, 2008
Since the last update, a whole lot has happened! The backpacking trip went well, as we hoped. We began hiking in Ryman Creek, an area a few miles south of the small town of Rico, CO. We hiked a few miles into this trail and stopped for the night. We headed to Bear Creek for a few wonderful days of backpacking. We camped in a clearing along the Little Bear Pack Trail, which offered stunning views and beautiful scenes full of aspens. The weather has been great so far.
The kids have come together even tighter than I last reported. Our first day on the Little Bear Pack Trail proved challenging but rewarding. When we set up camp, Bryson, Nik, Nick, and I (Sarah), set out on the trek to fill water bottles. We hiked about 1/2 mile downhill to the Dolores River and met our goal of 30 minutes to get there! Bryson, Nick, and Nik all were so helpful and determined to get this job done, and I truly appreciate their willingness to come along with me. Each is so strong and I am really grateful to have had the chance to spend that time with them one-on-one. Not to mention the view from the valley where the river ran was wonderful. What a sight for sore eyes it was.
The cook group on our first night at Little Bear consisted of Alex Graham, Nick, and Thomas. They made an awesome meal of mac ‘n cheese with sausage. It was just what everyone wanted and needed…It was a very welcome treat to have such a great meal in the middle of the wilderness.
Palmer, Lib, Nik, Bryson, Nick, Alex Graham, Thomas, and Alex Hunt all performed beautifully as leaders of the day throughout the backpacking section. James and Alex Graham are the leaders of the day today.
After leaving the backcountry, we headed to Lake City, CO, where we are now and where we will be until tomorrow. Today we had a great climbing about 800ft above our campsite at Henson Creek. This campsite is by far the most amazing one we’ve encountered. We drive through an area of abandoned mines and along a beautiful river that is green-blue. The kids have had a great day and we can’t wait for another good one tomorrow. Come back to find out more about the close of our climbing section!
Sarah and Jake
June 29, 2009
Hello outside world! Greetings again from our family! This is Jake speaking! Sarah and I and the rest of the group just finished our rock climbing section and everyone agrees that this was one of the highlights of the trip. We spent two days climbing at a local crag in Lake City, CO called God’s Crag. The name was definitely fitting because the climbs were perfect and the views were spectacular. The base of all the climbs are located at a breath taking 10,000 ft., and everyone was able to feel the effects of the altitude.
The first day we split up into three different groups. The groups were Alex Graham, Nik Weber, and James. Then we had Thomas, Palmer, and Nick Kern. And last but not least we had Alex Hunt, Lib, and Sarah. I, myself, just kind of floated around to help out wherever needed. Each group had three different jobs. There was the climber, the belayer (responsible for keeping the climber safe), and the back up belayer (for added safety). Everyone had a chance to rotate through all the jobs to get a good feel for the sport.
The first day Lib was the first person in our group to complete a route and all the others followed in close pursuit. Nick Kern was the first to attempt what everyone soon would decide was the most difficult climb and succeeded with energy to spare! Even though Bryson was unable to climb he provided the group with much appreciated moral support and encouragement. Nik Weber said to me, “I could live in Colorado and rock climb in the summer and snowboard in the winter!” That should say a lot about where we are and the things that we are seeing coming from a life long surfer from Costa Rica! That night our cook group was Alex H., Thomas, and Nick K. They fixed us some of the most amazing stir fry that any of us had ever had!! Everyone said the it was no doubt the best stir fry ever!!
The group wanted to take just a minute and give a shout out to all their family and friends! So here you go!
Nik W. – Miss you! Miss Home, but I’m having a great time. Moondance was a great idea!
Bryson- Having a great time!
James- Hey family!
Thomas- Hey to the family! Sorry to hear that UNC lost. Hope Melissa is well in New York!
Palmer- Hello! Hope all is well! If possible pizza for dinner when I get home!
Alex G.- It’s a blast!
Alex H.- Hey family! Colorado is beautiful! Can’t wait to show you my Rock climbing pics! See you soon!!
Lib- Hey Mom and Dad! Having a lot of fun! Miss you! Sorry I missed Laurens B- Day!
Nick K.- Don’t open my grades yet!
As you can see everyone is doing great and having a blast! Talk to you soon!!!
Switching to Sarah now…Yesterday’s rafting proved to be an excellent time. While the Royal Gorge was closed due to high water, the 13 or so miles upstream of the Gorge were open and available for us to enjoy! We began the day in calmer waters, then we had another great meal provided by River Runners, and then we headed into some more intense white water. Luckily it was in the mid-90′s, and we were far enough down the Arkansas River that the water had had time to warm up…Everyone was soaked as we went through the rapids. While everyone loved climbing, this day by far out-ranked the rest. We had excellent river guides who showed such great patience and aptitude for leading and working with kids. We couldn’t have asked for a better day.
Today we cleaned our gear, van, and U-haul, and we’re about to make way for our banquet dinner! This has been a wonderful trip, and each of the students have made a great impression on both Jake and I. Thanks to everyone who has been a part of Moondance! We couldn’t have done any of this without you. Take care!
Jake and Sarah
July 1, 2008
Well, the kids made it safely from our last campground in Aurora, CO (Cherry Creek State Park) to the Denver airport. Jake and I couldn’t have asked for a better group of kids. We are so thankful to have had students who cared so much about each other and enjoyed spending all of their time with one another. The group’s strength was something to be rivaled, I assure you.
Lib was the first to leave the group, and following her (rather soon after her departure) were Thomas, James, Palmer, Bryson, Alex Graham, Nik Weber, Nick Kern, and then Alex Hunt. It was sad to see everyone leave, but I know that each one of them have gained something that can never be forgotten. A group of best friends, a number of unparalleled experiences, and a host of great memories will remain with everyone for years to come, I am certain.
Thank you to everyone who participated in this trip on any level! I believe it was a great success, and Jake and I can’t wait to begin hearing back from each and every one of the group members. We miss you all, and we loved being able to spend these past two weeks with you. Please take care of yourselves and keep in touch!
Sarah Machin and Jake Richardson
July 6, 2008
The trip has gotten off to a great start. Everything went smoothly on the arrival day on the 3rd, and the kids have been amazing thus far. I (Sarah) couldn’t have asked for a more mature and responsible group. Everyone has been helpful, attentive, and willing to work with the group as a whole. The balance of girls and boys makes this an even more interesting group to be working with.
Our first activity was whitewater rafting down the Arkansas River. We took an overnight trip, traveling about 11 miles to our campsite. The River-Runners guides had a great camp set-up arranged for our group and they cooked an amazing couple of meals for us that night and the next morning. Bryan won the title as appetite heavyweight for the overnight…He helped us finish what food we needed to take care of and he was helpful in cleaning up after mealtime was over. Actually, everyone was a great help during both meal cleanups.
Peter, Margot, and Hanna have kept everyone upbeat and excited with their great chemistry and history they share. Mikey and Craig, also friends from home, are very interesting guys who have so much to offer to the group. The different senses of humor floating around the group have and will continue to create strong bonds and foster wonderful experiences.
Our leaders of the day for yesterday, Christina and Adam, did a great job helping regulate and instruct the group. Both Christina and Adam are so intelligent and caring, and it was great to see them work so well with one another as well as with their fellow campers.
The first full day, Margot and Bryan were the leaders of the day, and they performed impressively, I might add. Today’s LOD’s are Leiding and Mikey. So far they are proving to be very capable leaders.
This group has truly impressed, to reuse the word, us. The morning of our first full day, I was honestly touched when I heard people talking as I was just waking up. The fact that everyone here is able to get up in the morning with little encouragement from Jake or myself is wonderful! This is a strong and independent group of kids and I am thrilled to be getting to spend these couple of weeks with them.
Tomorrow we head out for Bear Creek for our 4-day backpacking trip. Everyone is really excited to go! This bodes so very well…
Thanks for reading and check back in 4 or 5 days for our next update! Take care, everyone.
Sarah and Jake
July 10, 2008
The trip has been progressing quite nicely. Today we arrived in Lake City, CO, where we will be doing our climbing section of the trip. Starting tomorrow, we’ll all be scaling some awesome rock faces and learning to trust one another all the more…
The backpacking trip couldn’t have gone more smoothly. The LOD’s during the outing were Leiding and Mikey, Peter and Hanna, Adam and Serena, and Craig and Margot. Everyone was so helpful throughout the trip, and I believe that the group has grown closer after spending such a time in the wilderness and away from civilization.
Our meals were great – I think the chocolate chip pancakes made by Margot, Mikey, and Christina were the best-received, but the Southwest mac ‘n cheese was pretty amazing as well…
While we did not stumble across any wildlife while in the backcountry, we did stumble upon some beautiful scenery. Meadows with wildflowers about to bloom and in bloom were such a pleasant sight. We were able to follow the Dolores River, as the Bear Creek trail hugs the water as it winds through the mountains. Bugs became our instant and constant friends upon our arrival to the backcountry, but everyone maintained their composure and made it through impressively!
Jake and I are having a great time with everyone. Our Moonups are proving to be THE best way to learn some pretty amazing things about each and every one of the members of our group. Every day brings us closer, and each activity allows the students to prove more to others and most importantly to themselves. Climbing will be a blast, and I can’t wait to let you all know how it goes. Take care and check back soon!
July 14, 2008
Everything has been going smoothly since I last wrote…We finished our climbing section in Lake City with great success. God’s Crag provided two amazing days of climbing for the entire group. We began our first day learning the ropes and testing our rock-scaling skills. Mike and Johnny, our Crested Butte Mountain Guide instructors were awesome. They were very helpful and they were such a pleasure to work with–the kids all agree that they were great!
Hanna and Adam seemed to enjoy the climbing section the most, commenting on the fun they were having and the joy they got out of it. Mikey and Craig were speedy in their ascents and descents – they proved themselves to be more thrill-seeking than we all had originally thought! Mike, one of our guides, told us that Mikey’s rappelling descent was one of the quickest he’d seen…All safely done, I assure you. Our guides have years upon years of experience in the field.
While camping at Henson Creek, right below God’s Crag, Peter, Hanna, Craig, Margot, Bryan, and Adam served as cook crew (both nights together), and came up with some great meals. Leaders included Leiding, Christina, Serena, and Peter.
Today we have already cleaned out the Uhaul and van, and we’re preparing for our Banquet Dinner in Woodland Park, CO. We can’t wait until tonight, but it will make leaving in the morning all the more difficult. This has been a truly wonderful trip. I haven’t had so much fun in a good while. All of the students have been great – very helpful, considerate, responsible, and fun! I will miss each and every one of them. Tomorrow will be a sad day. Jake and I can’t wait to keep in touch with each of them…
Thanks again and take care! We appreciate your reading!
Sarah and Jake
July 16, 2008
Well, we finished out this trip with a bang! Last night the entire group showered and then dressed in some crazy outfits collected from a local thrift store in Colorado Springs and went to dinner in Woodland Park. We dined at a Mexican restaurant until we were content and then headed back to Mueller State Park for our final night together as a group. Jake and I led Moonup, and everyone soaked up as much as possible from our last intimate session together. And, seeing as how we had a very early (3:45am) morning ahead of us, we went to sleep as soon as we could manage.
Today went smoothly, as no flights were cancelled or delayed. In fact, some flights were moved earlier than originally scheduled. Christina was first to depart, and then Rico/Bryan/Murph left, and he was followed by Adam, Mikey, and Craig. After the Michigan coalition left, it was time for the Atlanta posse to depart. Peter, Serena, Hanna, and Margot all went through security together and left Jake, Leiding, and me to sadly await the final (Leiding’s) departure.
It was an emotional goodbye for some, and I know Jake and I had a very hard time seeing everyone off. This trip was so much fun – it was such a pleasure to spend all of this time with everyone. I learned a great deal from this group and enjoyed myself more than I have in a while. That might sound repetitive, but it’s true. Thank you all for coming, being great sports, and having fun with us. We won’t forget you and we can’t wait to hear about everything you all are getting into for the rest of the summer and beyond. Please keep in touch and know that we’re here for you no matter what!
Thank you, parents, for letting us in on the great gifts you all share…These kids are amazing, and I hope you all realize how lucky you are to have such unique individuals as your children.
July 22, 2008
Greetings from the wilderness of Colorado! Our group of students have been absolutely amazing since the first hours of being together. We met the crew at the airport and then departed for our drive to Five Points, our first nights campsite. On the way to Five Points we stopped in Salida for a little dinner at the local Pizza Hut as well as a celebration of Kendall’s 13th birthday! After dinner we finished our drive to Five Points and began to go through how to set up the tents that we would be using for the duration of the trip. Everyone caught on real quickly and had no problems getting the hang of putting up their new homes. Dan was great with helping those who needed a little extra help with the final steps. Our first Moonup went really well and everyone was pleased to agree with all of the expectations and rules for the trip. At the conclusion of Moonup I picked the leaders of the day (Ashley and Dan) for our first day of rafting. The first morning went extremely well and we were up and out of the campsite by 6:50 A.M!!! Yes that is in the morning!! We left our campsite and headed to River Runners where we would start our paddling for the next two days down the Arkansas. As we took the shuttle ride to the put in spot we split the boats into one of 6 and one of 5 plus me. The first boat was Grace, Charlie, Mack, Kaitlin, Will and Dillon. In the second boat with me were Clay, Ashley, Kendall, Dan, and Jack. Both boats were amazing and paddled through some of the toughest rapids on the Arkansas. As we concluded our first day of paddling we set up camp right along the river and then had an amazing meal cooked by our river guides and then sat around a fire for a “friendly” marshmallow roasting contest… Winner still undecided. Our LOD’s decided that we should take a little walk up the hill to have Moonup on the top of the plateau to watch the moon come up. It was amazing! At Moonup our new LOD’s were chosen (Clay and Grace). The next morning we woke up and hit the river to start the day with some intense and challenging class III rapids. We ended the day with a class IV called Sidel’s suckhole! Our ride back to river runners was a quiet yet exciting ride because all of the kids were ready to get rid of their foul smelling wet suits that they said caused way too much itching! We packed our stuff up in the u-haul and then made our way to Cottonwood Lake for our third night out in Colorado. Our lovely cook crew (Grace, Kaitlin and Jack) made an awesome spicy meal of chicken chili that for sure hit the spot! After the long clean up process we were all ready for Moonup Grace made a profound statement that everyone took to heart… “Many hands make light work” all of us pulled together and made everything seem like a breeze. After Moonup was over we hit the sack for our drive to Mueller State Park and our rendezvous with our new co leader, Shannon! All of the kids are in good spirits and ready for the challenge of our upcoming backpacking section! Keep checking for our latest entry!
Talk to you all soon
July 28, 2008
We finally made it out of our eventful and exciting trip in the backcountry yesterday. Unfortunately the weather was not in our favor, but the kids were high spirits, and they did a great job hiking despite the rain. We even got caught in a couple of hail storms here and there, which is something all of us will never forget! The kids had the chance to cook all of their meals without the luxury of our front country stoves and cooking supplies. Our favorite backcountry meal, chocolate chip pancakes, was cooked to perfection by Grace, Charlie, and Mack. On the second day in the backcountry we ventured out on a little day hike to relieve the students of the heavy weight of their packs. Ashley and Kendall kept the group entertained during the hike with games and riddles. We all enjoyed a great lunch on a bridge over the creek until we were rushed back to our campsite by the rain, in which we all got DRENCHED! Our rain gear was absolutely pointless at that time. We all enjoyed being kids again by splashing in the puddles, especially Jack, Dan, and Dillon. Kaitlin and Clay worked the hardest and pushed themselves the most throughout the entire backcountry section. The kids had a great time, but they were relieved to see the dry van waiting for us at the end of the trail!
On our way from the backcountry to rock climbing, we unfortunately found out that we would be saying goodbye to a vital member of our Moondance team. Will sadly had to leave because of a family emergency, and we miss him so much already. We all hope to talk to him soon to catch him up on the rest of our adventures. Hopefully he can join the Moondance once again next summer! We miss you Will!!
The kids also wanted to say something to their parents while we are in the middle of our adventures.
Hey Mom, Dad, Claire, and Britt!
Hopefully everything at home is great. I’m having lots of fun in Colorado- this trip is ahhhhmazing!! Thanks sooooo much! I love you so much and miss you and can’t wait to see you!
Hey Dad and Betsy,
You may or may not be reading this-either way I just wanted to say that I’m having a good time. It’s fun and the people are cool. I’ll see you when I get home in a few days. Love you!
Hello parentals etc.
Hey family! Love and miss you!
Hey guys! I am having so much fun here! I miss you guys so much and I love you. Kelly, I hope you had a great time in Italy. Kate, I hope work is going well. Mom and Dad, I hope life isn’t too boring back in Vail. I miss you all very much! Love ya! xoxoxoxo
Hey Mom and Dad,
It’s really fun here. Hope Connecticut is alright. Say hi to Jenny for me. See you in a bit!
Hello parentals, Hudson, Claire, E.E., and Walker,
We are driving to Lake City right now. It’s been fun so far. I haven’t had a great chance to fish though, oh well. I can’t wait to get home and see y’all and use the new shower!
June 21, 2007
Greetings from Brown’s Canyon!!!
We just got back from our two day rafting trip and it was AWESOME!! Incredible weather and some great rapids. We started Wednesday morning and in the first boat was Gunter, Lauren, Helen, Aubry, Will and Berry. Gunter described the river as “heaven on earth” and it is certainly an appropriate term for our environment. We rafted some hard core rapids and everyone shrieked and hollered as we went through and got super soaked! Will soaked it up sitting in the front almost the whole time and Lauren too enjoyed her fair share in the front getting totally drenched. Aubry and Helen took the lead after lunch and although the water was freezing, everyone persevered and it was awesome! In the other boat, Ben, Nina, Laura Beth, Hannah and Bryant had some intense moments, as Laura Beth and Nina became seasoned swimmers in the Arkansas River. But thanks to Hannah and Ben, they were safely pulled back in the boat and everyone was all smiles! Ben eagerly sat in the front of the raft with great gusto. That night we camped on the river and watched a gorgeous sunset over the Rockies. We finished Thursday afternoon and everyone can’t wait to hit the river at the end of the trip!! Hope all is well at home and we miss everyone tons!!!! Stay tuned!!!!
Berry and Bryant
June 27, 2007
We are back! After a very strenuous venture of five days and over thirty miles in the backcountry, we have returned. The group spent the backpacking section climbing the massive peaks, traversing the many ridges, and crossing the numerous creeks of the Bear Creek Basin, located south of Telluride.
The extended stay outside of civilization called on the many talents and abilities of all of the students in the group. Though the setting did not lend itself to the situation, Laura Beth was able to illustrate perfect culinary form through her light and fluffy (and perfectly flipped) pancakes. Also, Nina, with her strong sense of leadership and ability to motivate, was able to lead the group over a long fourteen mile hike…in one day! Also, Hannah, Helen, and Aubry quickly showed the group that the many streams throughout the area were just as good for washing dirtied clothes as they were as water sources.
Over the course of the five day period, several members of the team showed incredible strength. Will, for instance, powered through the many switchbacks and turns with amazing enthusiasm. Ben found a way to thrive without showers, using any nearby stream to grab a quick campsite cool down. Lauren exhibited perfect “Leave No Trace” ethics by continually picking up tid-bits of trash left by other groups in the area. And Gunter led the group on the last day, through the remaining switchbacks and meadows and back to the van.
July 2, 2007
It was another adventurous day for the team on Rocky Mountain Way as we made our way down the class III and IV rapids of the Arkansas River!! This time the waters were much more exciting and thank goodness a little bit warmer! We started early in the morning and in one boat, Gunter, Hannah, Helen, Lauren and Berry paddled their hearts out so that they didn’t flip or have any swimmers (on purpose)! Once again Lauren courageously sat in the front the whole time and grinned the entire way with the huge rapids splashing her. While they weren’t working hard pushing through the rapids, Gunter, Hannah and Helen were trying to push each other in, and everyone in the boat successfully swam in the river at one point during the trip. Our boat laughed the entire time at each other and our crazy rafting guide’s antics! The waters were much more difficult to paddle, but all in all the team did awesome and everyone made it down the river safe and relatively warm! IN the other boat, Will, Ben, Nina, LB, Aubry and Bryant enjoyed an intense splash war with the other raft, as Will and Ben took the lead and Nina LB and Aubry were right behind them riding the awesome Royal Gorge! We watched helicopters fly above our heads and people on passing trains wave as we boldly went the course. All in all it was an extremely exciting day and everyone had TONS of fun! It was a great way to end the trip as everyone bonded a little more and shared many happy memories together!
What an incredible 2 weeks the Moondancers of Rocky Mountain Way had in beautiful Colorado! Beginning with an overnight rafting trip down the Arkansas River, everyone honed their rafting skills and adapted well to the chilly waters. Everyone bonded immediately and we definitely had a unique group of young men and women who were always up for the next adventure! Lauren especially loved the rafting section, as she sat in the front soaking up the glory of every rapid! Laura Beth and Nina had a thrilling start to the trip as they both fell in the river! Luckily, Hannah and Ben came to the rescue and everyone was smiling at the end of the day. Gunter was also a strong paddler and courageously led his raft through some tough rapids. During the backpacking section Aubry showed great strength and determination and was always encouraging the team and making everyone laugh with her stories and jokes! During the rock climbing section we learned we had a Spider Man on our hands, as Will scaled the mountains in record time! Helen too was quite the climber and was a great source of motivation for her rock climbing team! Everyone successfully climbed and repelled down God’s Crag and It was so exciting and totally rewarding! The van rides were another memory to share as everyone sang songs together including “Meet Virginia”, “Drops of Jupiter”, “Take Your Mama” and “Mr. Jones”. Everyone showed their creativity during Iron Chef and the winning group, including LB, Gunter, Helen, Will, and Lauren cooked up a delicious dish of honey mustard chicken sandwiches and they were absolutely mouth watering!! Other highlights include getting ice cream and shakes at the Lake City Soda Fountain, visiting Telluride and riding the gondolas into town, and our final banquet at a Mexican restaurant that was muy bien! Everyone truly proved themselves this trip, especially during the back packing section, as we hiked 14 miles in one day! Everyone was so motivated and the leaders were absolutely floored with the team’s strength and determination. There were so many memories made over the past two weeks and we’re so happy to have so many adventures to share!
June 28, 2007
Hey Moondance Family and Friends!!!
Its Molly and George, coming all the way from Telluride, Co, in the heart of the Rocky Mountains! Our adventure is off to a great start, and we are having TONS of fun. We just got back from our two day white water rafting excursion down the Arkansas River, which was highlighted by awesome rapids, great food, and a prime campsite right beside the river!
Our group felt right at home from the very beginning of the trip.
Audrey has helped everyone step out of their comfort zone with her “go big or go home”(direct quote) attitude. Her laughter spreads easily, and we have quickly learned to love and cherish her lighthearted sense of humor. Duncan, our number one sweetheart, looks out for everyone in the group, and brings a rock solid personality to the trip.
Despite dealing with a previous foot injury, he has embraced each challenge wholeheartedly. Emily is a truly dynamic young woman.
Despite her love for makeup and the color pink, she is the toughest girl we both have yet to meet! She was the first volunteer to sit in front of the boat. She took wave after wave, despite the cold water, with all smiles. She loved every minute. Emily is always the first to try foods and encourage others to do the same. Kevin is a riot.
He is incredibly eager to learn, and his curiosity amazes us all.
While riding on the river, Kevin took full advantage of our knowledgeable guides, asking them interesting and important questions about the river, campsite, and foods. He holds our group together by that special wit he shares. Maria is one of the most selfless, kind hearted young women around. She brings this “ready for anything and everything” attitude with her that rubs off on everyone she meets. We love the stories she shares about her sisters and they have given us many of laughs. Last but not least, Henry is mature way beyond his years. He has this sense of confidence that relaxes all that surround him. He shares his knowledge while still learning much along the way.
Along the river, his inner-child came out through each rapid, screaming louder than the last. We are pretty sure that all of CO heard these wonderful laughs while crashing through the waves.
We miss you all and will check in after we get back from our EXCITING backpacking section in the famous San Juans!!!!!
Molly and George
June 29, 2007
Today brings the rock climbing section of the Rocky Mountain Way. The two days full of climbing and repelling on the rock faces of God’s Crag were simply amazing. With its beautiful views and technical climbs, the landscape just outside of Lake City provided an excellent location for the group to continue their Moondance Adventure.
The group camped just below the rock face, having just a steep 30 minute hike between them and some of the best climbing in the area. The team was met by guides from Crested Butte Mountain Guides on the morning of the 28th, and was immediately charged and ready for the day.
Day one of the climbing section was full of great climbs, with every member of the team hitting the rocks. The entire group spent a time in “Belay School,” learning the ins and outs of outdoor climbing safety. The team then split into three groups, each tackling a different route on the cliffs of the area.
The incredible climbing of day one was replicated on the second day. In addition, the group was able to practice their repelling skills. Each student that climbed to the top of the rock face would then lower themselves to the ground on a repel line.
As a whole, the rock climbing experience that the group had was full of incredible views and great climbs.