News from Camp: August 5, 2018

Hello from camp!

With only a week of camp left, everyone is excited to close out their session in a big way, and we have a lot in place to do so!

For the Juniors, they will be heading out on their final overnights of the summer and are looking forward to camping out under the amazing Colorado sky. Mars, Saturn, Jupiter and Venus are dominant in the sky and line up east to west across the southern half of the sky. The moon is rising late, so the Milky Way is cutting a brilliant path across the sky as well. The dark skies will also aid in viewing the early stages of the Perseid Meteor shower. The peak night will occur August 12, but shooting stars will be streaking across the sky every night this week. The Juniors will also be hiking out to the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument and then going to a private site to dig for their very own 38-million year old fossils, saddling up for several horseback rides, floating down the South Platte River and getting in all sorts of last chance activities like crafts, hikes and pool events.

At Big Spring, today kicks off their long trip week, with plans to summit eleven 14’ers, including the state’s highest (Mt. Elbert), most famous (Pikes Peak), and “camp’s own” Mt. Sherman (twice!). They’ll also cover many scenic miles as they backpack through spectacular areas along the Colorado Trail, the Tarryall mountains, and up and along the Continental Divide on the Silverheels 4-day (including the summit of Mt. Silverheels, 13,829’). The horses are saddled up as well, and the 5-day pack trip out and around Black Mountain is leaving the barn this morning. The first 3-day trip for the younger guys is heading out this morning, too, to explore the southern reaches of the ranch, with another riding out on Wednesday. The 4-day sets out for 39-Mile mountain tomorrow. The boys will also make their way out to our property at the base of Mount Antero for a four-day fishing trip. From there, they will explore some great fishing areas in the Arkansas River Valley, and on Wednesday, the last long trip of the week will begin as the boys will ‘canoe-up’ for their 3-day circumnavigation of 11-Mile Reservoir.

HIgh Trails, coming off of their incredibly successful long trip week last week, has a lot in store as well this week, starting with their Cabinside Alldays today. They are heading out all across the ranch (and beyond!) to hike, explore, ride, float, relax and enjoy the wonderful spaces, places and faces of camp. After going in lots of directions last week, these alldays give the girls a chance to have a great day out and about while reconnecting with their cabinmates. The JC’s will use the day to prepare for the JC dinner, their end-of-session extravaganza – something they plan and look forward to all year. The rest of the week is filled with all sorts of fun and exciting alldays, overnights and 2-days. Planned summits of La Plata and Princeton are on the schedule, along with horse rides, cowgirl camp, paddle and floating trips to the reservoir and South Platte as well as some NASA overnights and other fun and unique overnights.

Once everyone is back at camp on Friday, everyone will come together after dinner at Big Spring for the final co-ed, all-camp shindig of the summer. The High Trails schedule captures it best – “Dance Party/Gymkhana Awards/Drama Performance/Film Showing/Slide Show at Big Spring” (Phew!) Saturday will be all about packing up and getting trunks, duffels and campers ready for the airports, UPS and cars. (UPS will only be used for trunks and duffels:) Saturday night will bring the closing campfires at each camp and a final night with friends before heading home Sunday morning. Lots of fun but bittersweet at the same time.

It’s hard to believe that this time next week all the campers will be home and staff will be on their way back to home or school as well. Fifteen days or a month at camp often seems like a long time, but it usually goes by much too quickly. It’s not over yet, though, and we are all looking forward to our final fun and adventure-packed week!


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Mike MacDonald
About Mike MacDonald

Mike came to Big Spring in 1991 and, after working in a variety of roles from counselor to Program Director, became the Director of Big Spring in 1999. In October 2017, he was appointed Executive Director by the COEC Board of Trustees. Mike has a BS from Centre College and a Master’s Degree in Whole Systems Design from Antioch University Seattle. He has also been active in the American Camp Association, including serving two terms as President of the Rocky Mountain Region. He is married to Maren MacDonald, who directs the riding program at camp, and they are raising their three children at camp.