Archive for the ‘Fun Activities’ Category

High Trails 50th Summer Staff

Monday, June 11th, 2012

Here at High Trails it’s been a long standing tradition to ask only the most important questions. You see we don’t like to waste our time on frivolous things like seating charts and upholstery patterns… Instead we wonder things like what kitchen utensil would you be and why? Or: What is your favorite musical experience you’ve experienced? We also ask ladies to imagine the most perfect weather… what are you going to do on such a day? Any particularly odd or weird things you can or like to do? Any by the way, if you were stranded on a desert island, what’s the one item you would bring with you?

This summer we are pleased to have some exceptionally talented, intelligent and strong women on our staff. We’ve also come to learn how quite funny and witty they all are, yet always kind and compassionate as well! During our 50th summer we are looking forward to remembering the history of camp with some old traditions and continuing with current projects like our GROW STRONG Initiative! Happy reading as you get to know us a little bit here and we can’t wait to meet you in person on opening day!

Juniper West

Juniper West (left-right)

Lucia Nunez

I am from Colorado Springs and am attending Scripps College to study Environmental Analysis. My dream vacation spot would definitely be Italy! I like to ballroom dance and am currently reading The Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm! If I had to choose a kitchen utensil, I’d be a water bottle because I would save someone from using disposable water bottles AND have some awesome adventures – especially this summer!

Stacey Murrell

I come from Littleton, CO and am attending Malcalester College to study History, Political Science and Educational Studies. In the kitchen I would be a fryer in order to make things crunchy, salty, and delicious with a tough exterior and savory interior, but while frying I’d probably be eating super spicy chicken wings! I wonder what they would be like fried?!? The most interesting talent I have is that I can transcribe Elvish (Lord of the Rings), so of course if I was on an island I’d take a bow and arrows! Then, I could make my own adventures and live out Lord of the Rings/ Elf dreams… someone would probably write a book about me too!

Robin Gallagher

Hello there! I am from Mason, Texas and just graduated from Texas A& M with a degree in Animal Science and Agricultural Economics. The most important thing about me is that I am a happy person and I want you to be happy too! And of course dark chocolate (my favorite midnight snack) is always an important part of a well – balanced meal! I can’t wait for the campers to arrive and we get to have adventures together!

Juniper East (Left to right)

Juniper East

Whitney Walker

I spent the last 5 years living in Westminster, CO, but recently moved back to my hometown of Springdale, Arkansas – and am now back in Colorado for the summer! I have a BA in English from the University of Arkansas and a MLIS in Library and Information Studies from the University of Oklahoma. I’m planning to also work toward an MA in Journalism in the near future! Seeing “They Might Be Giants” on their “Flood” tour last year was a pretty awesome musical experience! Although, I would like to meet Mozart and chat with him about music – maybe I could introduce him to some of my favorites! This summer I’m super excited to become an expert fire building and campfire chef!

Haley Dukart

I am from Masonville, CO and attend the University of Wyoming to study Art Education with a Spanish minor. Someday, I’d like to travel all over the world and see all there is to see! Chief Sitting Bull, Cleopatra and John Lennon are 3 historical figures I’d like to meet.  The most important thing about me is I’m a very kind, friendly, trusting, and fun person. I follow my heart and stick to my gut feeling whenever possible.

Angela Scruggs

My hometown is Hendersonville, TN near Nashville and I am studying Statistics at the University of Tennessee KnoxvilleOne. Traveling to Switzerland and seeing the Alps, especially during an Olympic Games, would be a dream come true! I love awkward moments and laughing at awkward moments. So I end up laughing at myself a lot. And my greatest passion is helping the people of Haiti in any way possible. By the way… I can wiggle my ears on command!

Ponderosa West (Clockwise from Top)

Emily Abel

I’m from the mountains of Western North Carolina – lived in Franklin, NC for a while, then moved to Otto, NC, and now – when I’m not at school in Winston-Salem – I live in Black Mountain, NC. So…when people ask me this question, I typically just say “The mountains of Western North Carolina.” :P   I’m currently pursuing a double major in Sociology and Spanish  with a minor in Psychology at Salem College.  A deserted island actually sounds like a pretty great vacation to me, but I’d still bring some sort of satellite radio communication system so that I could get in contact with someone to ah…get me off of the island that I could only bring one thing to. :P Hopefully the battery would not be dead when I got there.

Ponderosa West

Kelsey Coon

I live in St. Augustine, Florida and grew up in Jacksonville. FL. I attend Flagler College and am studying Fine Arts and Graphic Design. I love to find live music gigs at little coffee shops and enjoy the show! I love the challenge of rock climbing and am stoked to meet new people during my first summer here at Sanborn!

Casey Carr

I am from Buffalo, NY and am a sophomore at Cornell University, studying Nutritional Sciences. I am currently reading The Book Thief, which has nothing to do with the fact that my dream vacation spot would be somewhere in the Swiss/ Italian Alps! My favorite midnight snack is an orange or clementine, but the most important thing about me is that I appreciate good souls!

Ponderosa East (Left to Right)

Kat Jarvinen

I traveled to camp from Evergreen, Colorado – it took near forever to get here! I am attending Reed College in Portland, Oregon and

Ponderosa East

am still figuring out my best course of study. I’m considering Chemistry, Anthropology and Religion as potential majors! I’m currently reading House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski, but can’t wait to also start reading something aloud with my campers in the evenings. I’m excited to be back at camp and have lots of adventures!

Chelsea Davenport

Tulsa, Oklahoma is my hometown, but I attend Colorado College in Colorado Springs, CO to study Psychology with a, Art: Theory and Practice minor. Currently my dream vacation spot is Greece, but we’ll see what other places I learn about that might intrigue me! I love to dance and performed an interpretive dance piece to a piano piece my friend composted for the final performance of one of his classes! I’d love to meet Einstein and discuss Quantum Physics as well as hair products.

Kelsey (Kelso) Shumate

I am from Fayetteville, Arkansas and am studying French at the University of Arkansas.  Thailand is definitely my dream vacation – A day of elephants, yoga, beaches, and endless Pad Thai sounds like a dream come true to me. Nothing compares to music around a campfire – so all of my friends playing all kinds of different instruments and singing around a fire is a great musical experience! With all the love and energy in the kitchen, I would be the sponge, so I could soak it all up!

Silver Spruce West (left to right)

Hannah Flink

I am another Colorado girl from Littleton and am attending the University of Colorado at Boulder to study Psychology/ Sociology. It was really cool when I performed in an a cappella group! I’d like to be a spatula that spends a lot of time mixing cake batter – yummy! I am so excited to share my passion for the outdoors with the campers! And P.S. I can make air come out my eyes…

Silver Spruce West

Maggie Kittner

I am from a very small town on the border of Mass. and NY called Great Barrington. I am attending Elon University in North Carolina to study Acting. I saw Lady Gaga in concert at 6 Flags New England before she was famous! I would take a huge radio/ boombox that has access to every music station ever to a deserted island! Don’t forget to ask me to wiggle my eyebrows like Ace Ventura!

Kelsey Wessels

I am from Howard County, Maryland and am attending Wake Forest University, studying Political Science and Middle Eastern Studies. Chocolate covered pretzels are my favorite midnight snack and I think sporks are the silliest (and yet most genius) utensil ever! The most important thing about me is that I’m always the one who laughs the hardest at my own jokes!

Silver Spruce East (left to right)

Silver Spruce West

Hannah Weisbecker

I am from Lincolnwood, IL, but am currently attending Tulane University and am deciding whether to study English or physics engineering. Currently I love learning to longboard in great sunshiny weather. I’ll know I’m really good when I can longboard on the camp roads! Really the most important thing you should know about me is that I love eating Cheerios and 2% milk for a midnight snack!!! Also, I am really looking forward to playing my guitar at vespers this summer!

Taylor Indrebo

I am currently studying Recreation and Outdoor Education at Western State College of Colorado! My perfect weather day is crazy thick fog. When you walk through it, it’s like being in another world! Along those lines, I would like to vacation on the Moon – I like cheese! But the most important think about me is – I am who I am!

Claire Pendergrast

coming soon

Cedar Lodge West (clockwise from top)

Cedar Lodge West

Eva Metz

Coming soon

Katherine Friedel

I am from Overland Park, KS and am studying Environmental Studies at the University of Kansas. Fun fact about me: I can touch my tongue to my nose and cross my eyes at the same time! I am so excited to be here for the camping, hiking, horseback riding – this is my dream vacation spot! And when I’m not doing any of those things you’ll find me sitting outside reading a book!

Hailey Jung

My hometown is Billings, Montana and I attend Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington where I am studying Anthropology, Global Studies and French.  The most important thing about me is that I am a devoted Hanson fan and I got to see them in concert with my sister Megan last year! I love pretzels, dry cereal and ice cream – separate or together! And if it were a bit cloudy and rainy, but warm I would hike all up and down the Pacific Coast!

Cedar Lodge East (left to right)

Kate Smith

I am from San Anselmo, California and am attending George Washington University to study Security Policy and International

Cedar Lodge East

Affairs. Probably the first thing you should know about me is that I can lick my nose (comes in handy when eating ice cream cones)! I’d like to have a girls’ night with Katharine Hepburn – she’d probably appreciate the nose trick too! I’m most looking forward to meeting people that I will become best friends with, and climbing mountains this summer!

Bry Meloni

Hello! I am from the great state of Michigan and earned a BFA in Production Design with a focus in Stage Management from Michigan State and will be attending the University of Colorado in Denver to study nursing in the fall! I’d love to travel anywhere I haven’t been and has a sense of adventure to it! One of my greatest memories is sitting backstage of Phantom of the Opera in the Broadhurst Theatre with the calling stage manager and the conductor struck up the orchestra for the overture. Not only was the music striking and stunning, but I literally felt it in my bones. It was one of the most full-bodied experiences I have ever had.

Crystal Palace East (left to right)

Crystal Palace East

Mary Gigliotti

I am from Jamestown. NC and attend the University of NC in Wilmington and am studying Environmental Studies. Good thing I’ve come back to camp where the food is amazing, since I can eat an impressive amount of food when it is something really yummy! That, and I love river trips, cabinside overnights, long trips, the scenery, etc. etc.  Of course, I would be the cookie jar and make sure I’m always full for midnight cookie runs!

Julia Hunter

I come from New Orleans, LA and am currently attend Duke University to study Pre- Med and French. In the kitchen, I would be a wooden spoon because they stay cool – even under heat! They are also good for making popcorn, sweet potato fries and pumpkin pie – all things I enjoy eating at midnight! This summer I am so excited to spend my time OUTDOORS walking through the mountains!

Maya Witte

My hometown is Columbia Heights, Minnesota and I am studying Liberal Studies – Global Non-Profit Leadership at the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire. I love musical jam sessions with my friends and stove-popped popcorn. Just so you know – I can cluck like a chicken while shaking my eyes!

Crystal Palace West (left to right)

Annamaria (A.M.) Viazzo

I come from Larchmont, NY, am attending Stony Brook University to study Biology and Bioengineering. I would really like to travel

Crystal Palace West

around Australia. Wherever I am, when the weather is sunny and dry, I’d go hiking with friends; bring a picnic lunch and a soccer ball for a pick- up game! If I could be a kitchen utensil, I would pick a man powered rotary egg beater because they’re pretty handy and just fun to play with!

Katie Powers

I come from Sherwood, Oregon and study Business Marketing at Portland State University. The one item I’d bring to a deserted island would be Emily Katz – of course, she’d be both helpful and entertaining! I love a good apple, anytime of day, but especially at night – good thing we have so many apples here at camp! And everyone should know that I can fold my tongue in half – hamburger style (not hot dog style!)

Kinnikinnik East (left to right)

Kinnikinnik East

Valerie Peterson

I am from Wichita, Kansas and am studying History and Sociology and would like to teach sometime in the future.  If I could imagine my plans for a day with the most perfect weather, I would have an outdoor party in the grass with cute little lights and awesome music (and since this is imaginary I’m adding a white fine sand beach and a lake) and lots of my friends and we’d all be barefoot and play outdoor games. And then, I’d sleep in my hammock under the moon! – And since I’ve perfected the most perfect combination of cheese we’ll dine at that! (Toasteds Buttercrisp Crackers with marbled colbyjack cheese. So. Good.)

Tess Cohen

I come from Palm Beach, Florida and attend Colgate University and am studying Art History. I am currently reading The Happiness Project which fits – since I love spreading happiness myself! With no other explanation needed – I would definitely be the ice cream scooper in the kitchen, but maybe more so the one at the ice cream shop in Breckinridge! The most important thing about me is that when there is music, WE will DANCE!

Tully Sandbom

I have traveled south from Anchorage, Alaska to be at High Trails this summer! Cookies, milk, and a book are a sure fire way to relax for me, and I’m currently reading Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. I love playing outside and am so excited for long trips and vespers this summer! Besides all that – if I were stranded on a desert island, I think I would like to have a magic lamp because my happiness is infectious – I think the genie and I would have a great time surviving on the island!

Kinnikinnik West (left to right)

Kinnikinnik West

Lindsey Herman

I am from Warrenton, Virginia and am attending Salem College in Winston-Salem, North Carolina to study Environmental Studies and Women’s Studies with a minor in Music (Oboe Performance). I’m a patchwork quilt of stories and pictures. Also, I legitimately am as open-hearted as I seem, even though I look a little… funny (try to see past the mohawk). I’m so excited to be here this summer and sit on the porch and diddle around on the banjo… Run around and play ultimate frisbee… garden…jump on things. There’s so much stuff to do!

Sarah Merfeld

I am from Madison, WI and attend Colorado College to study Religion/ Philosophy. I would love to meet the Dalia Lama and just listen to him talk about anything. Also, I love the band Phish, and listening to an awesome fiddler is thrilling! You should probably all know that I can shoot water out of the gap in my teeth really far!

Kiley Falcone

I was born in Denver, Colorado. I live in Wilmette, IL, a town right outside Chicago and I go to school in Burlington, VT. I am a double major in English and Studio Art at the University of Vermont. I am currently reading Jane Eyre and love it! My favorite midnight snack is ice cream with more rainbow sprinkles than ice cream! I am most excited to reunite with friends this summer and finally getting to be an AC (I’ve been thinking about it since I was in Juniper!)

Columbine East (left to right)

Columbine East

Elizabeth Kirby

I come from Wilmette, IL near Chicago and am Pre-Med at the University of Virginia. I, myself, am not really musically inclined, but I had a great time at the Lollapolooza music festival. My perfect weather includes a 6 foot base of snow and a perfect powder day – then I’d go skiing. I would really like to visit Tahiti and Patagonia – they’d be pretty great! And p.s. I can pull out my belly button!

Janie Cole

I am from Chapel Hill, North Carolina and will be a senior at Salem College in the fall. I am double majoring in Sociology and Women’s Studies. I got to see and hear Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel… it was a beautiful night. :) I believe that midnight snacks are the best type of snack! Some of my classics would be lucky charms, or pickles, but not usually together. Oh, and I pretend that I am two inches taller than I really am. I am really good at it. The truth only comes out when I try to reach for things at the same time as friends who are actually two inches taller than me.

Darcy Kuhn

I am from Birmingham, Michigan and attend Adrian College to study Secondary Education. I think that visiting an ice hotel in Iceland is a pretty great dream vacation spot! In the kitchen, I would be the whisk – cause they’re just cool! And I would definitely take sunglasses with me to a deserted island!

Columbine West (clockwise from left)

Columbine West

Caitlin Rosso

My hometown is Birmingham, MI and I am attending Central Michigan University to study Entrepreneurship and Museum Studies. I really enjoyed seeing the Lion King musical production! If I could meet a historical figure, it would be Homer and I would like to know all about the Trojan War. And Obviously, if I were stranded on an island – I would want a boat and maybe some ice cream for a cool snack!

Sean Sudekum

I come from Defiance, Missouri and am studying Urban Development at the University of Redlands. I am so excited to be back at camp climbing 14ers, being with my girls and doing dishes – obviously! My favorite midnight snacks are sparkling lemonade, chocolate chip cookies and cashews! And of course – I would take a magical genie to a deserted island and he could make sure I had all the cookies I needed to survive there!

Morgan Coffey

Hey! I am so excited to be back at High Trails this summer and can’t wait to spend more time on trips with my girls and at the barn! I am from Kentucky and study biology and chemistry at Samford Pharmacy School. Besides camp, if I could vacation anywhere, I’d probably go to Greece and go island hoppin’ and see Athens!

Gold Hut East (top to bottom)

Sara Everhart Coming Soon

Gold Hut East

Jessica Locke

I am from Nocona, Texas and am attending Texas A and M – Commerce to study Agriculture Sciences and Technology with Education Certification. I would love to meet Annie Sullivan and discuss the keys to being an exceptional teacher and the challenges she faced in teaching Helen Keller. In the kitchen I would be a blender because I am a peacemaker. We can all come together from different walks in life and I would help us mix together to become something amazing. Oh, and I love Oreos and milk – really at any time of day!

Cade Beck

I am from a “little” mountain town by Golden, Colorado and am attending Whitman College. I am a history major who does a lot of theatre and a lot of photography! Hmm… dream vacation – somewhere deep in the woods. Well, I’m a gymnast, so I can do quite a few stupid human tricks if you give me a wide open field! And, I would be a spatula because I think that flipping pancakes would be really fun!

Gold Hut West (left to right)

Gold Hut West

Alex Tilsley

I come from New Hampshire and am attending the University of Southern California to study Comparative Literature with a Psychology minor. Dream vacation – hmmm – can it be somewhere where there is a city, the ocean and the mountains all in one? I am super excited about seeing the stars — we don’t get that often in LA. Also hiking, camping, and getting to meet amazing people. For obvious reasons – I would be a coffee maker!

Clara Troyer

I am from Denver, CO, but attend school at George Washington University and study English and Sociology. In order to help with homework, I’d like to meet Shakespeare and get his perspective on things! One of my goals in life is to emulate the ultimate combination of Beyonce, Tina Fey, and Audrey Hepburn… it’s a work in progress! Toward that goal I’d like to be Vicky’s (the High Trails baker) cookie jar, because I aspire to make people as happy as a chippy dippy bar can make me!

Aspen (top to bottom)

Irina Rasner

I consider Fairfax, Virginia my hometown and where I grew up for the majority of my life, but for the past few years, I’ve been living in Salt Lake City, where I feel I have grown the most as an individual. I graduated from James Madison University in 2009 with a degree in Psychology and minor in Russian Studies. I would like to travel to the Canary Islands off the west coast of Africa and hike all through them! You should all probably know that I’ve been to 5 Backstreet Boys concerts!

Helen Higgins

I am from Mission Hills, KS and am attending Hamilton College studying math and art. I loved hearing an alpine horn while hiking in the Swiss Alps! I love to talk with Dr. Seuss about cheese, and I’ll have a carrot eating contest with Jessie Spehar any time of the day or night! But really, the most important thing about me is I love peanut butter – especially on carrots!

Lucy Stockdale

I am from Denver, Colorado and am attending Trinity University. I am still in the process of deciding my major, but am thinking about education/ communication. I am so excited to be back at camp and climb some more 14ers! I would want a Genie if I were stranded on an island! And the most important thing about me is that I’m a very loyal person and am open to anyone who wants to talk to me. (Plus, I secretly wish I was Cat Woman!)

Ridge Leaders (left to right)

Kristy Burt

I come from Mount Vernon, Ohio, but have spent the last couple years in Fort Collins, CO. I graduated from Colorado State University with a degree in Natural Resources Environmental Communication. I love playing ukulele while campers sing along and another of my favorite music experiences was listening to Trampled by Turtles play at the Southeast Alaska State Fair. I am excited to climb so more mountains and sleep under the stars this summer; and you can count on my having a musical instruments at most times!

Kelly Muedeking

I am from Baltimore, Maryland and just graduated from St. Lawrence University with a BS in Environmental- Sociology and a Gender Studies minor. My most perfect day would include a nice long bike ride. Then, I’d grab a blanket and a book and lounge around outside. I’d end the day with a big BBQ with friends! And when I woke up in the middle of that night, I’d pop a big ‘ol bowl of popcorn.  One of the proudest moments of my life was when I beat a group of my friends (including two boys on the football team) in a pancake eating competition! I ate a pancake the size of a turkey platter in the least amount of time- 32 minutes!

Ashley (Smash) Robin

I come from Rehoboth, Mass. and attended St. Lawrence University and studied Geology and Environmental Science. If, by chance, I was on a deserted island I would take my Lord of the Rings books because they shaped my life and I would need to read them to all the wild animals that would be there. I am also hoping that maybe someday New Zealand will become a deserted island, and then I would be able to visit the hobbit holes! Obviously, I would want to meet J.R.R. Tolkien … we’d talk about EVERYTHING and speak Elvish with each other!

Lela Payne

I am from Jackson, MO and attended the University of Missouri and studied Political Science and Religious Studies. Speaking of musical experiences: Coldplay, but then there’s David Gray, Feist, John Mayer, and The Swell Season too … all equally impressive, earth shattering and magical – hard to choose! I would invite Queen Elizabeth II to dinner and I’d ask her how she really feels about the Spanish Armada… along with me maybe living in Buckingham Palace, full time of course!


Jenny Hartman

Hi! I am a Colorado girl from Littleton! I graduated from Colorado State University in 2010 with a degree in Human Development and Family Studies! I’m so excited to continue working as a wrangler at the barn and teaching the campers to ride and care for their horses! You can definitely find me on my favorite horse, named Aspen, any chance I have, but I also enjoy reading. One of my favorite authors right now is Jodi Picoult, and you can find me in a hammock, in an aspen grove, in the mountains.

Lacey Ellingson

Well hello there – I am from Shoreview, MN and studied biology and Pre-veterinary Medicine at Willamette University. You can find me on my horse most days and as soon as I can figure out how to cook and eat a superhuman amount of s’mores while on my horse – life will be complete! I currently am reading A People’s History of the United States, so I might want it on a deserted island, but I’d definitely take my sister, since we keep each other entertained!

Amanda Nooter coming soon

Emily Katz

I am from the great plains of Kansas where buffalo roam through tornados made of sunflowers! I am currently attending the University of Colorado at Boulder to study Geography and Peace and Conflict Studies. On a nice sunny clear day I would find a grassy knoll and just roll, and roll, and roll until I got back to my tent – which would be pitched perfectly in a grove of aspens! In terms of music, I like to sing – and I sang Enrique Iglesias in Spanish on the streets of Spain once.

Jaime Olivette

Howdy! I am from Cazenovia, NY and am studying Elementary and Special Education at Syracuse University. I am very adventures and love to always be doing fun and silly things! My most perfect weather scenario is 80 degrees and sunny, and I would go kayaking, then for a long run, and take a nap in a hammock! I also think I would be a pyrex pan, if I were a kitchen utensil, because it can go in both the kitchen and the oven, and it’s see through – so you always now what you are getting!

Creative Quartet (left to right)

Bea Raemdonck - Kitchen Coordinator

Jenn Dalton – Arts and Crafts Guru

I am from Ohio and attended Ohio University to study Fine Arts. Interestingly enough my favorite midnight snack is jalapeno poppers and I LOVE art! I would definitely invite Vincent Van Gogh to dinner and I’d ask him how he felt about his success. Even though I love backpacking, if I were stranded on a desert island I would like a satellite phone!

Ali Ardery - outcamp

I come from Harper, Kansas and attended Oklahoma Wesleyan University and studied Psychology. Everything about seeing Cirque de Soleil was an exciting experience- I loved the music, entertainment and acrobatics! My favorite midnight snack is peanut M&Ms, and if I were the mixing bowl in the kitchen maybe someone would make M&M cookies in me – that would be pretty great! I am so excited to go on trips and learn new skills this summer!

Jessie Spehar – paparazzi

Hey! I am from Laramie, Wyoming and attended the University of Wyoming to study Elementary and Special Education. I am so excited to continue taking photos all summer and be in the out of doors with all the girls! My favorite midnight snack is tator tots, but you can probably find me eating them any ‘ol time! My water bottle has climbed 16 mountains with me in the last 6 summers and if I were on a deserted island I would probably bring my camera and homesick pills (the m&m’s from Julie’s desk)!

Nurses (left to right)

Ashley Noelke

Hello! I am one of the nurses this summer and can’t wait to help everyone stay healthy and hopefully get to come do some activities with you outside of the infirmary! I am from Washington, MO and went to Southeast MO State University for my nursing degree. I love to bake and if I got to pick any kitchen item to become for the day it would definitely be the mixer! The most important thing about me is that I’m a nice person and love fixing boo boos so you can get back to having fun!

Tressa Rudik coming soon

Atlas Obscura

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

“There is something new under the sun, every day, all over the world …

Atlas Obscura is for people who still believe in discovery.”

This is the mantra of Atlas Obscura, a neat collection of the world’s weirdest, most wonderful places, and what you’ll find there.

No matter where on Earth you are (literally, they have every continent, every state, even the littlest of towns), there are places to discover such oddities as “miniature cities, glass flowers, books bound in human skin, gigantic flaming holes in the ground, bone churches, balancing pagodas, or homes built entirely out of paper.”

Pretty neat, huh? And wait, look-y here!

Our very own Florissant Fossil Beds made the grade:

“Fossilized stumps of a redwood forest litter the site, which is the most prolific source of fossilized insects anywhere in the world.”

I mean, I’d go check it out.

Keeping snowflakes, forever

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012


One of earth’s incredibly overwhelming phenomena. How can each flake be so distinct among others, and yet, there’s just so, so much of it?

Well, to help us gaze into the infinite, here’s a neat little activity to harness each little speck of snow, forever!

Check out Instructables to get the play-by-play.

Happy Weekend – Unplugged

Saturday, February 4th, 2012

As we are quickly nearing the weekend, I came across this Denver Post article that made me think about my plans for the next several days. David Brown writes about his family occasionally unplugging for the weekend. It is hard for many people to do – limiting their use of cell phones, not turning on the computer, avoid sitting in front of the television. Brown reveals the fun the family had playing games, laughing, telling stories – essentially spending time together.

We luck out living in Florissant; we have limited access to cell coverage and the outdoors are easily accessible. But even here, technology creeps in and takes hold. Just one more check of email, send a quick text, okay, maybe one more email. When looking at a screen, time disappears much too quickly.

Sledding is always fun, regardless of the amount of snow

Snow hit Colorado today. Some places more than others. I was just watching the news and saw a story about people enjoying sledding on their snow day. You could see the grass coming through the snow, but that didn’t stop these happy sledders from having some fun. This article has impeccable timing. The snow, or sun (depending on your location), or just a normal weekend is a perfect excuse to unplug for a day, or a couple of hours, and enjoy time with friends and family.

I recognize the irony of writing this blog post and suggesting you read an article about unplugging. It is easy want to stay plugged-in when the temperature drops and snow starts falling. On the other hand, isn’t it more rewarding to unplug and reconnect with people instead? For me, I need these small reminders to turn off the computer, phone, television and enjoy what we have around us, even for just a little while.

Happy 2012 Sanborn Camps News Update

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

Happy New Year to all of our friends across the world.  As we reflect on the happy moments and blessings of 2011, we are so grateful for the wonderful campers, staff members, friends and alums who are such an important part of our lives.  And, as we look ahead to 2012, we are especially excited about the friendships and adventures that will occur at Big Spring, High Trails, and Sanborn Junior next summer.

Mike and Julie will be heading out in mid-January with the new digital slide show about a summer at Sanborn Western Camps and look forward to seeing many of you as they tour the Midwest.  Beginning January 18, they will visit Denver, Omaha, Chicago, Louisville, KY, St. Louis, Kansas City, Tulsa, Oklanhoma City, and Santa Fe.  Those of you who are on our mailing list will receive information in the mail and all the details are posted on the website.  It is a great program and takes less than an hour so save the date!

We have a lot of projects underway to make 2012 great!  We are looking at every aspect of our program and pursuing ways to make it better.  We’re ordering the equipment we will need and hiring the staff who will become our outstanding counselors, wranglers, assistant counselors, and ridge leaders next summer.  We have already had an excellent response from our 2011 staff and are looking forward to working with many of them again next summer.

Our maintenance crew has begun building all new tent frames on MOPQ Ridge at Big Spring.  During the winter, they will be working on repairs and painting in the cabins at High Trails as well as the continuing restoration of the outside of the Big Spring Lodge.

Maren, Rosie and Scot are busy caring for the horse herd and planning some exciting new rides and trips for next summer.

Enrollment is well underway for 2012 and many of our age groups are over half full.  We are always happy to send our brochure, DVD and references to interested families.

We hope that you have the happiest New Year ever!

Top 10 Holiday Inspirations From the Natural World

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

Broomball=Family Fun! (Helmets are always a good idea!)

10.  Outdoor Ice Skating…especially fun on ponds.  Broomball is a great game for the whole family.  Part hockey, part hilarious this game is a slippery way to burn off a few of the too-many-holiday-cookies calories.

9.  Animal tracks.  Fresh snow, or even wintertime mud, is a great way to discover the critters in your neighborhood.  See if your kids can identify the differences between canine and feline tracks, and try to find a mouse track (the impression left by the tail is a great way to identify one).

8.  Outdoor icicles.  The ones hanging on your Christmas tree are nice…but the ones hanging from the tree in your front yard have historical legacy….and are much tastier.

7.  Quiet nights.  Long, star-filled night skies make for great evening walks and story telling.  Check out H.A. Rey’s The Stars for stories about wintertime constellations like Orion and Gemini.

Eating snow is a favorite winter activity, too!

6.  Going sledding and building snow people.  One of the times you are guaranteed not to have to cajole your children into multiple layers of clothes, but you might need to cajole them to come inside for dinner.

5.  Making holiday decorations from natural objects.  Besides cutting down your own tree (a great family tradition), you can make fragrant wreaths, centerpieces, and door swags from the nature that you have nearby.

Pinecone Bird Feeder

4.  Creating animal trees.  The animals will appreciate a few treats around the holidays, and nothing is better than peanut butter-birdseed-pinecone ornaments.  The birds (and maybe your dog) will love you forever.

3.  Seeing different (read: not evergreen) trees illuminated by lights.  One winter, in La Paz, MX,  I saw a palm tree wrapped in a strand of multi-colored lights and now I look for out-of-the-ordinary trees and bushes that have been festooned for the holidays.  Most recently: a pile of stacked tumble weeds illuminated by a farmhouse on the Kansas prairie.

2.  All-NATURAL workout.  Shoveling snow and scraping ice?  Thank you, Mother Nature, for the requisite motivation to get out and move this morning.

1.  A REAL Context for Christmas Carols.  While we walk in a winter wonderland, we can build Frosty the Snowman because, now the ground is white, and we are heedless of the wind and weather. O’er the fields we go, laughing all the way to where the treetops glisten, and to where all is calm and all is bright.  We are caroling out in the snow, while fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains remind us that heaven and nature sing.  We were expecting a silent night, but the sun was hot that day, then—with a look down from the sky—we shouted, “Let it snow!”   The snow came upon a midnight clear, and folks dressed up like Eskimos.  In fields as they lay making snow angels with their friends and family, those of us who love the natural world hope that all your Christmases be white.

Happy Holidays!

Lyrics and Video for This Summer’s Hit Song: High Trails Queen

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

You’ll be my Julie Richardson, I’ll be your Mike MacDonald

You’ll be my pair of Chacos, I’ll be your pair of Keens

You’ll be my Big Spring Warrior, I’ll be your High Trails Queen

Hey, we just said it all

We’ll miss camp in the fall

We’ll miss the Big Spring mail and Pony Express

We’ll miss the Hipster Hoedowns

And all those Viking Showdowns

We’ve got a love for camp we must confess

You’ll be my pita pizza, I’ll be your breakfast crepe

We’ll be like Ryan and Ashley,

They’re havin’ a Sanborn babe

You’ll be my aspen grove, I’ll be your Grow Strong Tree

You’ll be my Big Spring Warrior, I’ll be your High Trails Queen

You’ll be my Crazy Creek, I’ll be your Nalgene bottle

You’ll be my Julie Richardson, I’ll be your Mike MacDonald

You’ll be my pair of Chacos, I’ll be your pair of Keens

You’ll be my Big Spring Warrior, I’ll be your High Trails Queen

Sanborn Homecoming and Reunion: Will YOU Be There?

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

On top of horses, on Top of the World

October 13-16, 2011

As we enter August, do you find yourself longing for those long-ago carefree days of summer when all you had to worry about was which pair of dirty jeans to put on in the morning and whether you could find your water bottle (or canteen)? Would you like to ride a horse through aspen groves, catch the view from the Top of the World, have delicious meals served to you—and cleaned up for you?

If so, it is time for you to come back to camp!

Please join us for our Alum Homecoming Reunion, October 13-16, 2011. The event will take place atThe Nature Place, so your accommodations will be warm and comfy, the food great, and our “bug juice” will be of the adult variety. We’ll be hiking, horseback riding, rock climbing, mountain bike riding, mountain climbing and enjoying all types of camp activities. We’11 reconnect with friends, camp, and the natural world.

A View from A-Bluff

And this reunion will be special because we will celebrate the successful conclusion of our first ever Capital Campaign: Sanborn 60. It will also be special because Jim “Herc” Roth has already promised to provide his world-famous St Joe barbequed ribs. And it will be special for a hundred reasons we can’t even define yet—maybe you will see a Red Tail hawk soaring over Little Blue, or reconnect with a friend from long ago. Maybe you will be energized by the smell of the pines or the crisp mountain air. Maybe we’ll have one of those long gentle nighttime rains that provides the best sleeping anywhere on the planet or maybe we’ll see the first snowflakes of the season. The possibilities are endless.

Registration information is on the alum section of our website or we can mail you a form. We hope to see you in October!

This post was copied from the Alum e-News.  The Alum e-News  is sent monthly to alums of Sanborn Western Camps. To add your name from the Alum E-News list, please send an e-mail to

Musings On Lost and Found

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

A lone water bottle (without a name) has been sitting on the back porch of the Big Spring Office for the past two weeks. I first noticed it just before dawn on Closing Day and have been watching it ever since. I should pick it up and send it through the dish machine and put it in the great pile of anonymous water bottles we keep around to loan to future campers. But I haven’t moved it, because in some small way, that water bottle reminds me of the great summer we just experienced.

Who knows where that water bottle has been? Did it sustain its owner on a climb to the summits of Mt. Elbert and Massive? Or did it travel to the Puma Hills in a saddlebag? Did it sit beside its owner at Sunday Rocks or backpack along the Colorado Trail?

That’s the way it is with Lost and Found.

Even though all the campers and staff (and most of their stuff) left on Closing Day, we continue to find physical reminders throughout the year, and often they make us smile. How did that baseballcap get on the roof of Ponderosa?  Whose sierra cup is underneath the sink at the Big Spring Chalet? Why is there a dirty t-shirt under the driver’s seat in Van 106? When did the single Chaco get left in the High Trails Pool House (and did its owner even miss it?) Many, many minor mysteries.

I sometimes wonder if there is a sock somewhere, hidden in some forgotten nook, from each year of camp. We found a few of them when we tore down the tents on HKL Ridge and built new ones. Unfortunately Carbon 14 dating did not work, and, in our experience a sock which may have been left in 1960 looks much like a sock left in 2008 after a year or two. So we’ll never know…But, to be honest, with the remarkable number of single socks we do find on Closing Day and during the weeks following, odds are really good that there is at least one we have missed every year. We did find a couple of really ancient towels when we renovated the STUW Ridge washhouse a few years back.  They were so disgusting that even Jerry did not want to keep them as an historical display.  And speaking of washhouses, we always find a lot of shampoo, shower gel, and toothpaste on the day after camp. It is the unopened ones that worry me.

And so the Cycle of Camp continues. Campers come and campers go, but most of them leave something to remind us of their presence—water bottle, sierra cup, sock, toothpaste. And it all brings back great memories.

-Jane Sanborn-
Taken from this month’s Alum E-News.
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September 2011 Camp News Update

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

All is Quiet on the Eastern Side of Pikes Peak

It is much too quiet around camp since second term campers left on August 14.   The fields, hills, and lodges are filled with great memories from the summer of 2011, and we are grateful to have had the opportunity to spend this time with so many outstanding campers and staff.

One of our tasks during the weeks following camp is to collect and distribute all the lost and found items.  We have mailed every major article from High Trails which has a name to the owner.  Big Spring items have been mailed more recently so they may still be in the mail.  We still have some jackets, boots, and other items of clothing which do not have names.  Please let us know if your camper is missing something and we will do everything we can to track it down and send it to you.

Our outdoor education program staff arrives today and we will begin welcoming sixth graders to High Trails Outdoor Education Center on September 13.  Among the staff who will be returning to teach during this program are wranglers Jenny Hartman and Lacey Ellingson, High Trails ridge leaders Stacey Robinson and Lela Payne and Camp Trip Leader/Photographer Jessie Spehar.  Big Spring staff from the summer of 2011 include Ian Stafford, Zach Schoenfelt, Kevin Robinson, Jackson Blackburn, Falcon Craft and Adam Beard.  Andrew Jones will return from the summer of 2010.  Chris Tholl, Carlotta Avery and Chris “BC” Miller McLemore direct the program;  they are assisted by camp leaders Elizabeth Rundle and Ryan and Ashley McGowan.

We have several exciting events this Fall in addition to our traditional schedule.  On September 9, September 18-19 and October 6-8 we will be providing leadership training for students from several different area high schools.  We have developed this outstanding program over the past few years and are always excited to work with these motivated teens.  On September 10-11, we will be partnering with the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument as part of the National Park Foundation’s America’s Best Idea to provide a fun nature-based experience for the families of soldiers who are serving abroad.  And on September 24, we will again join with the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument to celebrate “No Child Left Inside Day” by hosting an open house.  We will be offering a program of nature-based activities and hikes for families who would like to get their children outdoors for the day.  There is no cost for the event.

On October 13-16, we are excited to host a Reunion for camp alums.  We’ll be hiking, riding, climbing mountains, biking, rock climbing, relaxing and reconnecting.  This Reunion is also special because we’ll be celebrating the successful conclusion of our Sanborn 60 Capital Campaign.

We are already thinking about next summer and have established our dates.  The first term at Big Spring and High Trails will be Sunday, June 10 – Tuesday, July 10, 2012.  The second term will be Friday, July 13 – Sunday, August 12.  The four terms of Sanborn Junior will be June 10 – June 24, June 26– July 10, July 13 – July 27, and July 29 – August 12.  We have sent this information to current camp families and will send additional information in October to camp families, former camp families, and prospective camp families. If you would like to receive our catalog and DVD or know someone who would, we will be happy to mail them at any time.

Each month we will post news from camp and photos from the summer of 2011 on the website, so keep checking it out!  Right now, a few gold leaves are showing on the Aspen, and the sky is incredibly blue.  A large herd of elk is hanging out at Potts Spring and the horses are wondering why no one comes each day to ride them.  We wish all of our camp friends a great beginning to the school year and hope that everyone will keep in touch.