Archive for August, 2015

News from Camp: August 9, 2015

Sunday, August 9th, 2015

We have had another great week at camp. This morning’s gymkhana was a real highlight—riders from Big Spring and High Trails competed in horseback games in the arena and everyone from both camps cheered them on.   Saturday night’s dance with a Hoedown theme was also a lot of fun.

Long trips at High Trails returned Thursday and Friday enthusiastic about their adventures and accomplishments. The four-day Elbert-Massive Backpack climbed Colorado’s two tallest mountains, 14,433’ Mt Elbert and 14,428’ Mt. Massive; and the 4-day Pikes Peak Backpack reached the 14, 115’ summit of one of our state’s most famous mountains.  The four-day Oxford (14,153’)-Belford (14,197’) Backpack, reached both of its summits, and the five-day Colorado Trail Backpack hiked along the spectacular Continental Divide and summited 14,073’ Mt. Columbia along the way. The Kite Lake trip climbed 14, 148’ Mt. Democrat on Wednesday and the Alpine Valley 3-day trip reached the top of 14,036’ Mt. Sherman. Backpack trips into the Tarryall Wilderness Area and Mt. Silverheels enjoyed spectacular scenery during their four days in the wilderness, and the Silverheels group also climbed 13,822’  Mt. Silverheels.  The four- and five-day horse trips had great experiences exploring wilderness areas south and west of camp as well as some of the more remote parts of the ranch.  The Pikes Picasso trip produced some impressive art while engaging in exciting hiking explorations, and the Canoe four-day paddled 18 miles around the perimeter of Eleven-Mile Reservoir.  All of the girls were excited about the beauty of their campsites and the fun they had together.

Big Spring campers enjoyed many exciting overnights and all-days last week including climbs of Quandary Peak, Pikes Peak, and Mts. Oxford and Belford.  The boys also had fun on horseback overnights, rock climbing overnights, river overnights, fishing trips, a canoe overnight, a mountain bike overnight and several trips which camped out on the ranch.

The Sanborn Juniors have been enthusiastic and energetic about their activities this week. They have enjoyed horseback riding, swimming, crafts, hikes and nature programs at the Interbarn, as well as their first campout.  Their group photos have been posted on Camp-in-Touch.

Next week, Big Spring will head out on three-, four-, and five-day backpacking trips, mountain climbs and horse-pack trips.  High Trails has a variety of overnights and all-days planned including a trip to the resort town of Breckenridge on Thursday.  Sanborn Junior campers are looking forward to another campout, more horseback riding, a hike to the Florissant Fossil Beds, and an all-day tubing trip on the South Platte River.  The term is flying by and we plan to make the most of our last week together.

Our photographers will be posting last week’s photos on Camp-in-touch tonight and they will be available Monday morning.

Flower Filled Fields

Friday, August 7th, 2015

Mariposa Lilies

After several years of drought, we have been blessed this summer by higher than average moisture. It began in May when we had several heavy, wet snows at the beginning of the month followed by daily rain at the end. The moisture continued through June with rain almost every day–in most cases, the timing was perfect and did not disrupt our program at all—although we did have a couple of downpours which had us wondering if we should put Ark Building on the program. Nice evening rains have continued into July.

The results of this moisture are everywhere. The High Trails Lake, which has not even been a puddle in recent years, is a truly magnificent lake again and we are canoeing, paddle-boarding, and fishing there. The Witcher Pond is overflowing and Lost Lake is so large that it is not lost anymore. Salamander Pond by the Tipi Village is home to many noisy frogs. The grass is waist high in some places and the camp is as green as it has ever been.

Indian Paintbrush

And the wildflowers! We have not seen this abundance and variety of wildflowers for many years and we are all reveling in their beauty. Thousands of Fairy Trumpets bloom along the roadside, and some of them are over two feet tall. Hummingbirds are drawn to them and the little birds are buzzing around constantly. The Indian Paintbrush, which were late in blooming this year, are now filling the meadows with their bright orange petals. They are taller than usual too. Columbine bloom in every forest glade and we have even seen a few of the bright red Firecracker Penstemon.  The Mariposa Lily, which has been extremely rare in recent years, is now common; the wild roses have more blooms than ever; wild flax is turning the meadows blue, and we’ve even spotted some rare orchids in shady places in the forest.

One of our all-time favorite books at camp is “The Immense Journey” written by Loren Eiseley in 1946. One of the chapters is titled “How Flowers Changed the World”. In this chapter, Eiseley describes, in exceptionally beautiful language, how

Wild Rose with a bug friend

flowering plants evolved on the Earth about 100 million years ago (recent in geologic terms). The development of the true encased seed of flowers allowed plants to move away from the waterways and to reproduce much more efficiently than more primitive plants dependent on spores. “True flowering plants grew a seed in the heart of a flower, a seed whose development was initiated by a fertilizing pollen grain independent of outside moisture. But the seed, unlike the developing spore, is already a fully equipped embryonic plant packed in a little enclosed box stuffed full of nutritious food”.

Fairy Trumpets

But the story doesn’t end there. Warm-blooded birds and mammals thrived on the nutritious high-energy seeds of the flowering plants and many of them evolved in ways that helped to spread the pollen and seeds of the flowering plants. As Eiseley says,

“Flowers changed the face of the planet. Without them, the world we know—even man himself—would never have existed.”

Those of us fortunate enough to be living with our abundance of wildflowers this summer, campers and staff alike, are taking the time to smell the roses and appreciate the wild beauty that surrounds us. We only wish you were here to enjoy them with us.

Best, Jane

Photo Credit:  All photos taken by Carlotta Avery.

News from Camp: August 2nd, 2015

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015

Hot Chocolate and a View!

We had some fabulous trips last week, including five successful mountain climbs. Groups from High Trails reached the summit of Quandary Peak on Tuesday morning while two other girls’ groups stood on the tops of Mt Huron and Mt. Antero early Friday. A group from Big Spring summited Mt. Princeton on Thursday, the same day that one of our SOLE Mountain Trips made it to the top of Mt. Antero. Our second SOLE Mountain trip spent 3 days hiking the Colorado Trail; both of these trips also spent days working with the Colorado Fourteeners’ Initiative doing trail work on Mt. Oxford.

All of our trips last week enjoyed warm, sunny weather and we had some amazing views of the “Blue Moon” on Friday night. Horseback riders rode through fields of clover and camped out at several of the established spring tanks on our property; CORE tech rock experienced great climbing both on and off the ranch; mountain bikers glided along our trails and one older group did the Salida Downhill bike trip. Other campers tubed on the river, fished in mountain ponds, visited the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument, and enjoyed some wonderful rock scrambling all-days.

We have also had a busy weekend. Yesterday’s Saturday Special Activities were fun in the morning; in the afternoon, we all enjoyed a coed Carnival with all kinds of games, as well as cotton candy, sno cones, and popcorn. The dance on Saturday night had a “Just off the Yacht” theme and there were many creative costumes. Today, we prepared for next week’s trips, and both camps will end the day with our traditional vespers services. The boys climb to the top of Little Blue for this special celebration and the girls go to “Sunday Rocks” on B-Bluff.

We were sad to see our Third Term Juniors depart on Friday—they had been a wonderful group, and we are grateful for our time together. We have had a lot of fun greeting our Fourth Term Juniors today. They have a busy week planned including their first camp-out on the Ranch, horseback rides, exciting hikes, swimming, crafts and much more.

Next week the girls will leave camp for three-, four- and five-day trips. Some will head out on horse pack trips; others have chosen four- and five-day high mountain backpacks into some of Colorado’s most pristine wilderness. Other trips will be based in spectacular alpine areas like Silver Heels and Kite Lake near Alma. Many groups will have the opportunity to climb mountains, and we know that our summit count will grow.

Big Spring has planned an exciting program of overnights and all-day trips including mountain climbing trips to Quandary Peak, Pikes Peak, and Mts. Oxford and Belford. The boys will also be horseback riding, fishing, mountain biking, rock climbing, camping on the ranch and tubing on the river. Their “long trips” are scheduled for the week of August 10.

Photos from this past week will be available Monday morning. We’re looking forward to another adventure-filled week!