How can three three-week adventures impact the way you live for the rest of your life? They shape your frame of mind, change your expectations of other people, and provide many life lessons. They create unforgettable memories, strength and stamina, and friends for years to come. These incredible experiences are organized by a charming company named Moondance Adventures.
I have been fortunate to embark upon three Moondance Adventures: first to the Colorado Rockies to explore the San Juan peaks, second to the Pacuare Nature Reserve on the Costa Rican coast to protect endangered leatherback sea turtles, and third to the Pacific Northwest to climb Mount Rainier.
Two summers ago on my trip to the Pacific Northwest, we arrived in Seattle, and every team member was focused on one goal – to get to the top of Mount Rainier, no matter what. It was to be the pinnacle of our trip and a true test of how much we had developed as a team after spending two and a half weeks backpacking on the Olympic Peninsula, hiking through the Cascades, and rock climbing at Smith Rock in Oregon. However, a very unexpected mental change was to occur within each of us. With each passing day, we grew closer into a tight-knit family and closer to the huge mountain. We completed snow school with no setbacks and were fully prepared to successfully summit Mount Rainier with Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. the next day. After mountaineering for at least four hours on our way to Camp Muir in an unusual late July blizzard, our clothes and gear were soaked, our bodies were frozen, and our guides decided it wise to turn back. Of course, we still wanted to get to the top of the mountain, but over the course of the three weeks, our thoughts had evolved from goal mentality to team mentality. I think every one of us had undergone this incredible transformation, and the disappointment of Mount Rainier was what it took for us to realize it. The instant we discovered we could go no further, we were momentarily extremely disappointed, but almost immediately we realized our appreciation for the group and what we had accomplished together over the past three weeks. I had envisioned the walk down the mountain as a “walk of shame” symbolizing failure, but it was quite the opposite. I was able to clear my head and to think about how fortunate I was to be a part of such an amazing experience. Knowing that in just three weeks time we had grown from a group of strangers to a family of lifelong friends, I was able to overcome my disappointment and fully appreciate where I was and the friends I had made. This will forever be one of the most influential moments in my life.
Moondance Adventures has influenced my current lifestyle and has shaped my perception of disappointment. Moondance has given me the opportunity to take on new challenges, to share experiences as a team, and to enjoy every minute of it. Moondance has taught me many life lessons and I have been fortunate enough to realize their value. Moondance has become my way of life.
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