At Sanborn, our trip program is integral to our mission: “to live together in the outdoors building a Sense of Self, a Sense of Community, a Sense of the Earth, and a Sense of Wonder through fun and adventure.” For our month-long campers, long trips are a culminating experience in outdoor living. The opportunity to spend 3-5 days in the backcountry is a chance to build on all of the senses we hope to develop at camp. Campers gain a sense of self by pushing themselves both physically and mentally; they build resilience and grit as they backpack through national forest, climb a 14er, or ride their horse for hours. They build a strong sense of community as they encourage each other, cook meals together, and share a tent. They develop a deeper appreciation for the Earth as they sleep under the stars, hike in the rain, and struggle with the mountains. By immersing themselves in nature, they strengthen their sense of wonder as they experience the awe of a sunrise from a mountaintop, watch the clouds shift above them as they hike, and look closely at the wildflowers around them.
In an effort to better support our staff and increase the success of these trips, our program directors, Martie Adams at Big Spring, and myself, have tasked ourselves with becoming more familiar with the trails we travel. As avid lovers of the outdoors, Martie and I are passionate about providing quality experiences for youth to connect with nature. In our time at Sanborn, we have had the opportunity to go on several trips but have not been able to get out to all of our amazing trip locations. That is why we set out to learn more about where we go. ( But really, it’s not hard for two outdoor professionals to come up with a reason to go camping and hiking during the week.)
We spent a day hiking to the second campsite at Pikes Peak, a beautiful alpine valley above tree line. We took two days to complete the Buffalo Peaks loop and scout a dry, marsh free route to the summit (this necessitated an extra day of hiking in from the opposite side of the ridge). Finally, we went to our property at the base of Antero and scouted a trail to connect with the Colorado Trail and eventually Little Brown’s Creek, the trail we use to summit Antero. Through our travels, we found that some things look different since the original itineraries were written. The trees have grown taller, trails have been rerouted, and, in the case of Buff Peaks, the beaver ponds have grown in size and number. We took many pictures and carefully documented our journeys. The information we collected will be put into binders that our staff will then use to plan and execute these amazing trips.
The hope is that through these updates and added information, staff will feel more comfortable with where they are going and what they are looking for, and thus be able to better capitalize on those opportunities to “build a sense of self, a sense of community, a sense of the earth, and a sense of wonder through fun and adventure.” Martie and I also aren’t mad that a normal Tuesday meant loading up our dogs and heading into the backcountry.