Archive for June, 2012

Hike the Pike Tomorrow

Saturday, June 30th, 2012

June 29,  7:00 PM

Everyone is back in camp and the Lodges were hopping at dinner!  We are all looking forward to a fun weekend together.

Tomorrow afternoon we will hold our “Hike the Pike” walk for charity.  We have held this event for almost two decades.  Campers who choose to participate (and most of them do) can walk up to 6 miles from camp to the Witcher Ranch on our property and back.  Counselors walk with the campers and some are stationed along the road with water and other support.  The camps then donate $1 for every mile walked to a charity each year.  This year we will be supporting the Red Cross through This site has been established to provide assistance to those who have been evacuated by the Colorado wildfires.

We would like to invite camp families and alums to join us on the “Hike the Pike” walk in spirit.  By clicking on the above link, you can also donate to this worthy cause.  Please let us know on Facebook if you have made a donation.  Let’s go viral with this!

We will send another news update tomorrow and will post an immense number of photos of this week’s trips and activities on Sunday night.  Thanks, Jane

Stories from High Trails Long Trips

Friday, June 29th, 2012

Long Trips, by Autumn Padilla

For my long trip, I did Oxford Belford.  Waking up at 2am was hard, but completely worth it.  It was pitch black outside so the stars looked really pretty.  While climbing up to Belford, it became difficult for many people to continue the climb but most pulled through.  As we reached the summit, it was so satisfying and beautiful.

Next, it was time for all of us to climb Oxford!  It was somewhat scary because the rocks were really slippery there.  As we thought we were at the summit, we realized that it was a false peak!  We couldn’t continue because storms were coming, but it was still a nice view.

The next day we hiked some more.  It was difficult because we were all tired and sore.  When we made it, it was one of the prettiest sights that I have ever seen.

Oxford-Belford, by Nicolette Hanson

This week was my Oxford/Belford mountain trip!  It was an amazing experience, and I won’t forget all of the memories that were made on this trip.  We started by waking up at 2am on the second day of our trip to climb Mt. Belford.  We ate oatmeal and we started up a ridge with a lot of switchbacks, and it was super cold! I will never forget the feeling when we finally made it to the ridge.  Even though it wasn’t the mountain yet, it was still satisfying to know that we were almost there.  After a packs-off food break, we started the hike up Mt. Belford.  When we made it to the top, the view was amazing and it was worth all of the hard work.  Also, it was one of our counselor’s birthdays, so we celebrated by eating Reese’s peanut butter cups and drinking tea!  After enjoying the view a little longer, we started the trail up Mount Oxford.  It was a super long hike with a lot of uphills and downhills.  We weren’t able to make it to the top of the mountain because a storm was rolling in.  It was still totally worth it though!  The next day, we continued our journey along Elkhead Pass.  It was one of the longest days, but it was beautiful.  When we were halfway to out campsite, we got sparkling apple juice that one of our AC’s brought.  Later, it started raining and we had to set up our tents and wait for the storm to pass.  We didn’t get to our final campsite until 8:30 that night.  On the last day, we got pizza and fresh water and we celebrated in a park.  Oxford/Belford was probably my favorite long trip that I have ever been on, and it was tons of fun.

Krazy Kite Lake, by Toby Utterback

I first thing I thought when I woke up was “mountain!”  I finished packing and rushed out the door.  After a delicious breakfast, I was so excited for the day.  I through my backpack in the car and hopped into the van.  When we finally left, it was a 2 hour drive to Kite Lake!

When we got there we set up our tents and took a little nap.  We ate lunch and then it rained so we stayed in our tents for a while.  After it rained, we got out of our tents and tried to play another game, but unfortunately it started to rain again! And when we tried to cook dinner, it rained again, so we had some more sandwiches!  We tried to sleep but I couldn’t because I was so happy to climb a mountain.  At  1am, we woke up and ate some delicious banana bread.

We started to climb Mt. Democrat, and Bea had to go back because she was sick.  Some other girls were not feeling great, but we continued the climb!  At sunrise, we reached the summit!  It was so pretty and I took lots of pictures.  We started the climb back down and we were calling ourselves mountain goats when we saw a REAL mountain goat!

The climb was really fun and later we caught a fish with our bare hands.  Then it started laying eggs on us.  THE END.

Pony Express, by Jovanni May

My trip was a horse 3 day.  It started Tuesday and ended Thursday.  My wrangler was Jamie.  The other counselors were Jessica and Maggie.  We were told to bring sleeping bags the night before to the barn.  Tuesday morning at the barn was LONG.  Some of the horses, including mine, were still in the pen, but it didn’t take long to get them out.  My horse, Amigo, was very sweet.  He was very handsome.  He had a white coat with brown specks and a brown mane.  It took us about an hour to get ready to leave!

We rode to Pike’s Peak Research Station first, and then we rode to Quick’s Homestead.  In between, we were caught in a storm, but otherwise it was a great trip!

Long Trip!  By Izzy Nunez

For my long trip, I did Oxford/Belford, where we climbed two 14ers and Elkhead Pass.  On the first day, we got dropped off at the trailhead and started hiking.  It was only about two miles to our campsite, and it was all uphill.  A lot of my friends and some great counselors were on the trip, so it was lots of fun.  When we got to the campsite, we had some dinner that was delicious, including my personal favorite, no bake cheesecake.  Then we hit the sack to get enough sleep for the next day!

Day 2 was climb day, when we would summit Oxford and Belford.  We woke up at 2am and started climbing at 3am.  We had to start early because thunderstorms come in around noon so we had to be off the mountain by then.  Before we reached the top ridge, one girl had to go back because she was sick.  Once we reached Belford, the view was amazing!  Then we proceeded to climb Mt. Oxford, which was also amazing.  The hike back to the campsite was short because it was almost downhill.  We had dinner, then went to sleep to wake up early the next day to climb Elkhead Pass!  On the 4th day, we hiked super fast so we could get to the pick up spot and go back to camp.  On that hike, we even saw a cowboy riding a donkey!  During this trip, I made lots of new friends and had some moments that I will never forget.  I love Oxford/Belford!

Highest Mountain In Colorado!

Friday, June 29th, 2012

June 29,  9:00 AM

A group from High Trails reached the top of 14,440’ Mt. Elbert, Colorado’s highest mountain, this morning in time for the sunrise!   We have trips from Big Spring climbing Mts. Oxford and Belford as well as Mt. Princeton this morning and are looking forward to hearing from them during the next two hours.

At High Trails, we will be picking up our remaining trips today—the 5-day Colorado Trail Backpack, the Elbert-Massive 5-day backpack, and the Tarryalls 4-day Backpack, and the 5-day Horse Trip will be heading back to the stables.  We look forward to being all together again this evening.  The boys’ trips will also return by dinner so the Big Spring Lodge will be full as well.

The Junior Campers in both camps will be returning from their overnights by lunch and we look forward to hearing of their adventures!

News from the Waldo Canyon Fire continues to be good.  Firefighters are announcing 15% containment and allowing some of the evacuees in Colorado Springs to return to their homes.  The Air Force Academy is resuming normal operations.  The western line of the fire appears to be secure which is good news for Woodland Park.  Rain yesterday afternoon over the whole area, including camp, has helped the firefighting efforts.

More news this evening…Jane

Adventures In the High Country

Friday, June 29th, 2012

June 28, 8:00 PM

We have had a super day at camp and the High Trails Lodge was extremely exuberant at dinner as many of our trips returned to camp and everyone was eager to share their adventures.  They all spent time in some of Colorado’s most beautiful wilderness areas, many of them climbed mountains, and all enjoyed the comradeship of their peers and counselors.  A few trips are still out tonight and will return tomorrow, and then everyone will be here together over the weekend.

There were only about 30 campers eating dinner at the Big Spring Lodge tonight because most of the boys are on overnight trips.  These boys have some super adventures planned for tomorrow including an all-day climb of Mt. Princeton and an all-day Sanborn Spring tank Bomber Hike, a major undertaking to hike to all of the 30 spring tanks on our property.

The Junior Campers in both camps are camped out tonight on camp property and are enjoying this overnight adventure.

Firefighters made good progress on the Waldo Canyon Fire today and reached 10% containment.  They are beginning to discuss the possible opening of Highway 24 so hopefully that will take place in the not-too-distant future.

More news tomorrow…Jane

Summits, tipis & saddles

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

Our day has dawned bright and clear.  The boys are preparing to head out on overnight trips this morning and we have sent vans out to pick up some of the girls’ long trips.  Our Oxford-Belford Trip will be returning today after climbing both Oxford and Belford;  Silverheels will return after 4 days of backpacking and a successful summit of Mt. Silverheels; Wheeler Trail/Quandary will return today and we heard from them this morning that they have summited 14,265’ Quandary Peak;  our alpine valley trips will also return today after successful mountain climbs.  And three horse trips will be back in the stables before dinner.  We just heard from our Antero/Ouray trip that they are standing on the top of Mt. Ouray!  They will also be heading back to camp this afternoon.

The Junior Campers in both camps will be going out on the ranch for their first overnight campout this evening and they are excited!

There is good news about the Waldo Canyon Fire this morning.  The weather today is supposed to be cooler and calmer than in previous days and firefighters are hopeful that they can make significant progress in fighting the fire today.  The fire did not grow yesterday, and it has not crossed Highway 24.

More news this evening!

- Jane

Wonderful day for trips…

Monday, June 25th, 2012

June 25, 9:00 AM

Today has dawned bright and clear. Our blue skies are back and there is not a whiff of smoke from the Waldo Canyon Fire. We have posted a couple of photos of camp taken this morning on Facebook and our website.

Trips are headed out! High Trails has backpacking/mountain climbing trips going to Elbert-Massive, Oxford-Belford, Antero-Ouray, Mt Silverheels, and the Colorado Trail today. A 5-day horse trip and one 4-day horse trip are leaving the stables now. We have several more long trips which will begin tomorrow.

Big Spring has a Mountain climb going to Mt. Huron, a Fishing 2-day, Horse 2-day, and River 2-day. We also have several trips camping out on the ranch including a Gourmet Overnight, and a Cowboy overnight. Camp is a bustling place this morning!

Highway 24 continues to be closed west of Colorado Springs because of the Waldo Canyon Fire, but our food delivery has already arrived this morning! (A camp travels on its stomach) We have access to everything we need in Woodland Park including an excellent medical facility and Wal-mart! We’ll keep you updated. Thanks, Jane

Big Spring – Sunday Vespers

Monday, June 25th, 2012

“Little by little, one travels far”

― J.R.R. Tolkien

Thursday, June 21st

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

We have climbed our first Fourteener of the summer!  Our SOLE Mountain Group called from the summit of 14,155’ Mt. Democrat this morning.  The group was elated and very, very proud of their accomplishment.  We have two more mountain climb trips going out today so hopefully we’ll have more mountain-top news tomorrow.

Our horses are coming back today!  The first trailers driven by our wranglers have already arrived and begun to unload.  With 125 horses to move, the process will take most of the day, but rides will be heading out of our stables tomorrow.  Our horses and our wranglers are very happy to be heading home.

Today, we have a wide variety of overnight trips beginning as well as some fun all-day trips to the Florissant Fossil Beds, Cripple Creek, and the South Platte River.  The Sanborn Junior boys are leaving for an overnight camping trip to the Tipi Village and Quick Homestead (about a 20 minute walk from Big Spring J )  The Sanborn Junior girls are heading to the South Platte River for their tubing trip.

The news from the Springer Fire is good.  They are now saying it is 39% contained which is a big increase over yesterday. I attended the fire information meeting last night and the Incident Commander feels that the primary burning still taking place is in the center of the fire and that the perimeters are holding.  They have relaxed their evacuation orders for some of the residents living nearby.  Today’s weather is cool with relatively high humidity which will help the fire fighters.

We may not post new photos today because both of our camp photographers are out on trips, but we’ll have some great ones tomorrow evening.

- Jane

Wordless Wednesday Wisdom

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

Evolving Education: Exploring Nature Together

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

In a recent Edutopia column, Mark Phillips writes about schools, happiness, and nature.

Sounds about right.

Phillips on Nature as a Teacher and at-risk students:

While most adolescents aren’t identified as “at-risk,” there is considerable evidence that an increasing and significant number are stressed, depressed, and/or emotionally detached. Adolescent suicide levels are much higher than they should be. Sleep deprivation is a significant problem. And more and more kids are more connected to their computers than they are to the world outside. Schools and parents would do well to consider that educational programs with a wilderness component could provide both compensation and amelioration of some of the negative effects of contemporary culture.

And on the Need for Connection:

Too often our schools have nothing to do with character or place and are part of that anonymous monotonous landscape. Too many of our children are more familiar with the mall or town square than they are with the woods that may lie only a few miles away. In my own San Francisco Bay Area, I never cease to be surprised by how many inner city kids have never been in the wilderness, though there are wilderness areas less than a half hour away. And in the heavily wooded county in which I live, few schools integrate those areas into the educational experience.

Mark Phillips is a columnist for the Marin Independent Journal and the The Answer Sheet. He volunteers with the California Film Institute’s Educational Outreach Program and serves on the Board of the Buck Institute for Education. You can find him @MarkPSF on Twitter or on Facebook