Posts Tagged ‘Summer 2015’

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: June 28, 2015

Monday, June 29th, 2015

We climbed our first mountains of the season last week!  Groups from Big Spring reached the summits of Mt. Elbert and Quandary Peak on Tuesday morning. A High Trails trip successfully climbed Quandary Peak on Friday; and two different coed SOLE Mountain groups climbed Mt. Ouray on Tuesday and Friday mornings. Our third SOLE Mountain group conquered Mt. Huron on Friday. Considering the difficult conditions posed by the high snowpack and full streams in the high mountains, all of these successful summits are a tribute to excellent staff leadership and enthusiastic, persistent campers.

In addition to the climbs, we enjoyed many other amazing trips last week— fishing adventures, canoeing trips, horseback rides, fossil digging, wonderful hikes, rock climbing, bike riding, and much more.  Everyone returned to camp Friday night excited by their adventures and happy to be back with friends at camp for the weekend.

We have had a busy weekend.  Yesterday’s Saturday Special Activities were fun in the morning; in the afternoon, we had an extremely exciting coed carnival that included cotton candy, sno cones, and popcorn in addition to many games and carnival events.  It was so warm that Mike even started up the fire truck in order to let everyone cool off in the spray. The dance had a Rainbow theme, which created a very colorful event.  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 First Term Juniors depart today—they have been a wonderful group, and we are grateful for our time together.  We look forward to greeting our Second Session Junior campers on Tuesday.

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, La Plata Peak, Mt. Princeton and Mts. Shavano and Tabeguache.  The boys will also be horseback riding, fishing, mountain biking, rock climbing, camping on the ranch and visiting Cripple Creek.  Their “long trips” are scheduled for the week of July 6.

We will post photos from the week on Camp in Touch later tonight.  Keep watching our Facebook page too, as we will post a few highlights throughout the week.

News from Camp: June 21, 2015

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

One of the best activities of cabinside overnights is enjoying the sunset together!

What a great week!  As always, we feel so fortunate to work with such a wonderful group of young people, and enthusiasm has been high for all of our trips and activities.

Following our busy week of campouts and activities, we were happy to once again be all together on Friday evening for dinner, and the Lodges were exciting (and noisy) places to be.  On Saturday mornings we offer Saturday Specials—these are activities which continue every Saturday morning during the camp term.  Campers may choose to work on the coed Drama which they will present at the end of camp, take riding lessons, learn technical rock climbing, hike to different parts of the ranch, learn how to throw pots on the wheel in ceramics, and many other fun activities.  On Saturday evening, the camps came together at Big Spring for an ice cream social and dance.
Campers in both camps have been offered a wide variety of all-day and overnight trips and a number of these are scheduled for next week.  Horseback overnights, fishing all-days, mountain climbs and hikes to several spectacular locations are only some of the adventures that await. There will also be a busy in-camp program and some of our favorite special events.  Juniors at both camps will experience another campout, more horseback riding, swimming, rock-scrambling, and a number of fun, creative in-camp activities.  High Trails Juniors are looking forward to a special fishing trip while Junior Campers at Big Spring will enjoy the Bat Caves/Fossil Beds All Day.
Many of our older campers have signed up for SOLE (Sanborn Outdoor Leadership Experience) or CORE (Community Outreach Experience) next week—these 5-day adventures include service projects as well as challenging activities.  One group will work with the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative to build trails on Mt. Elbert, while two other groups will work with CFI in Missouri Gulch.  All three groups then plan to climb a Fourteener to complete their week. Two separate trip groups have chosen a rock climbing focus.  During the week they will learn climbing skills at our climbing site on Wild Goat Mountain and then venture off our property to climb at Turkey Rocks. These groups will come together on Thursday to work with the Coalition for the Upper South Platte to complete service projects at the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument. Both the CORE and SOLE programs are also offering 5-day Horsemanship experiences–these will emphasize improving horseback riding skills as well as community service. We also have a CORE mountain biking trip which will bike around the ranch, work on our biking trails, and then complete the Salida Downhill bike ride.
The Junior Counselors at High Trails and Outbackers at Big Spring are also looking forward to their special 3-day trips this week.  The girls leave tomorrow for Great Sand Dunes National Monument; on Wednesday they will meet the Outbackers in Buena Vista for an exciting day of rafting on the Arkansas River.  The girls will then return to camp while the boys head to the Sand Dunes for two-days of sand surfing and exploration.
Although we are high and dry here at camp, some of our usual activities have been impacted by the extreme amount of moisture Colorado received during the spring and early summer. The South Platte River, where we usually tube and raft, has been at flood stage for over a week now, and the part of the river we use is closed. We hope to be able to take some River Trips later this term when the water flow has decreased. The good news related to water sports is that the High Trails Lake, which has barely been a puddle for several years, is now an impressive body of water and we are having a great time canoeing and paddle boarding there.
We also are watching the high mountains closely due to extremely high snowpack in some areas. However, the snow at high elevations is melting rapidly now, and we are fortunate enough to have Forest Service permits for many different mountains, so we have been able to shift some of our permits to climb those mountains with less snow next week.  And, we are confident that most of the mountains we climb will be in good shape by June 29 when the High Trails long trips head out.
If you haven’t already done so, check out the living unit photos taken early last week by visiting our Camp-in-Touch portal.  Our photographers are also hard at work posting new photos taken at camp last week. They will be available for viewing early tomorrow morning.
Beyond reading these news updates and our Sanborn blog online, you can follow Sanborn Western Camps on Facebook. We would love to have parents, friends, and family follow our updates about camp events, trips and activities.

News From Camp: June 1, 2015

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015

June is finally here and we are excited for the arrival of campers in two weeks. We had a significant amount of moisture in May, which has made the Ranch more beautiful than ever. The grass is green, the Aspens are leafing out, and the wildflowers are beginning to appear. We see deer every day in the immediate camp area, the Mountain Bluebirds are settled in for the summer, the hummingbirds are back, and the Abert’s Squirrels are exceptionally fat and sassy.

We have been preparing the facility and are almost ready for everyone’s arrival. The Big Spring tents are up, the BS Lodge is open for business, and fresh paint is being applied in many places. The flowers are planted, the horses have new shoes, and the swimming pools are full and heating. We think you will be pleased by the facility improvements we have made over the winter: a new floor in the HT Lodge, renovations at the Real Estate Office at Big Spring, a new bathroom in Crystal Palace, and new tent frames for the Outbackers at Big Spring are just a few of these. Although we are still finishing a few last minute facility projects, we have now turned our attention to staff training.

The leadership staff arrived last week and we are conducting a special training for our Senior staff team over the weekend. Several staff are also taking a lifeguard training course over the weekend. On Thursday and Friday last week, our rock climbing staff enjoyed a two-day training at our Wild Goat Mountain climbing site, while several staff completed a riflery instructor course. Our wranglers have been here for two weeks now and have been busy getting our horses ready for the summer and completing their specialized training.

On Monday and Tuesday, many of our trip leading staff will complete a two-day Wilderness First Aid course taught by the Wilderness Medicine Institute. Also on Monday, several staff will complete a course in archery instruction. On Wednesday, we will hold an all-day driver training course and also will conduct First Aid and CPR courses. Our entire staff of more than 100 will arrive on Thursday. For the following nine days, we will hold sessions on youth development, outdoor skills, our mission and core values, leadership tools, and health and safety, as well as trainings in our many program areas.

It is always special when our wonderful summer community comes together. We are looking forward to the mountains we will climb, the horseback trips we will enjoy, the sunsets we will share and the friendships we will make. We especially anticipate the opportunities we will have to learn more about ourselves, our companions and the natural world.

We again plan to post weekly updates and photos on the website once camp begins. Although we cannot promise to show every camper or every activity, we think these photos will help parents, friends, and family members to get a peek into life at Big Spring, High Trails, and Sanborn Junior. So visit us again on June 14!

News from Camp: May 1, 2015

Friday, May 1st, 2015

The catkins are out and we are anxiously awaiting some leaves!

May is a busy, exciting month here at camp. In a week or so, the tents will go up along the Big Spring ridges. All the Big Spring buildings will be opened up, cleaned, and prepared for summer. The Outbacker tents on ABC Ridge have new tent frames this year, the Lodge has a new roof, and the REO Welcome Center has a completely new look.

At High Trails, the cabins and Lodge are already open, but everything will be cleaned and given a fresh coat of paint. In addition we will put up tennis nets, order crafts supplies, organize the backpack tents, and put the final touches on all of our facilities and programs. The Lodge has a new floor and Crystal Palace has a new bathroom.

Maren, Jaime, and Martie will bring in the horses from the pastures at Fish Creek and get them fixed up with new shoes for all the great rides this summer. There are plenty of things to keep us busy, and everyone is excited about these projects because they mean that a new season of camp is almost here!

The Aspen are showing catkins now and we’ll begin to see the first leaves later in the month; the bluebirds and robins are back, and a herd of deer has been hanging around Big Spring and High Trails. We have had a wonderful amount of moisture during the past two months so our grass is green and we anticipate spectacular wildflowers as we move into summer. The Pasque Flowers have already bloomed; it won’t be long before we begin to see Indian Paintbrush and the spectacular wild Iris in the field in front of the Witcher house. The first hummingbird has been sighted and a couple of porcupines have been seen lumbering along the road at night.

Late this month, we will begin staff training for our ridge leaders and trip leaders. During the weekend after Memorial Day (not a holiday here) we will do a leadership training session with our Ridge Leaders and Wranglers. On Monday and Tuesday, any members of our leadership staff who do not have current certification in Wilderness First Aid will take that class taught by instructors from the Wilderness Medicine Institute. On Wednesday, we’ll be providing more first aid instruction and a full day of driver training. On Thursday, June 4, our entire staff will arrive for a 10-day training period before the first campers arrive. And on June 14, first term campers arrive and we’ll be off…

We are still accepting enrollments in some age groups in the Second Term so let us know if you are interested in receiving our brochure and DVD. Summer—2015 promises to be a fantastic experience for everyone!

News from Camp: March 2015

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

Everyday we watch to see how covered in snow Pike's is and dream of the day when the snow is gone and the Aspens begin to pop!

Although we cannot compete with the East Coast in amount of snow that fell in February, we have had some great snows during the past two weeks and are very happy to look ahead to the green grass and wildflowers which this moisture will make possible during the summer. The longer days and increased activities of our wild animal friends remind us that Spring is just around the corner, and this makes us even more excited about the coming camp season.

We have many projects underway in preparation for camp next summer.  Mike, Matthew, Ariella, and Elizabeth have been hiring outstanding staff members for next summer.  We have some great returning staff as well as some wonderful new staff signed up for the summer of 2015.
We are working on many areas of the program, too, which will provide some exciting new activities and trips this summer.  Everyone has been busy putting together plans and resources for each activity so by the time June arrives, we will have everything ready!
Maren and Jaime have been making plans for our super horseback riding program, designing activities and trips that will be lots of fun and also allow everyone from beginner to advanced riders to improve their riding skills.
Our maintenance crew is working on a variety of projects to improve and update our facilities in both camps.  These include renovations of the Real Estate Office at Big Spring and the bathroom in Crystal Palace at High Trails.  We also plan to have a new floor in the High Trails Lodge before summer begins.
Jessie, Ariella and others are keeping our Facebook site fresh and active with new posts.   You can also check out our blog which has fun stories about what is going on at camp during the winter.
We are mailing our Getting Ready information to enrolled camp families this week.  All of the needed forms are on line this year, and we hope this will make the preparation for camp much easier for our families.
Camp is only three months away and we can’t wait.  Already we have campers and staff from 40 states and 9 countries—and we’re adding more every day.  The fun and friendship which occur when all of these great people get together is what makes camp so special!  We are happy to send our brochure and DVD to anyone interested in learning more about the exciting programs at Big Spring, High Trails, and Sanborn Junior.