News from camp: July 1, 2019

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I’m not quite sure how July made it here so quickly, but as they say, “Time flies when you’re having fun!” And around here, that is certainly the case. At High Trails, the girls returned from their long trips full of excitement and fulfillment as they had a great week of weather to accomplish so many things. They summited some of the first mountains of the year, including the state’s tallest, Mount Elbert, along with Mount Shavano, Mount Belford and Pike’s Peak. Silverheels (13,822’) was summited, too, and they got above 14,000 feet on Mount Massive, but the final summit push was thwarted by the snow conditions at the very top. Horse trips out to Black Mountain, Spring Creek, Ranger Station, and more were successful, as well as the paddling of 11-Mile Reservoir and treks in the Tarryalls, along the Colorado Trail and through the Collegiate Peaks. While mountain summits are pinnacle moments of our mountain trips, and the high country snowpack prevented many, the girls returned with many stories of fun, adventure and camaraderie.

The boys also had a very full week of great alldays and overnights, including their first 14’er summits of Mount Shavano and Pikes Peak. Mountain biking on the ranch and through the National Forest down into Salida were highlights, along with many fishing casts, a lot of South Platte River time and fun times on 11-Mile Reservoir. LARPing adventures, star-filled campouts and exciting evening programs filled out the week.

The Junior campers have settled in very well over the last 6 days, returning from their first campouts on Friday. Getting connected with their cabinmates, up onto a horse, over to the craft shop and connected to the larger camp community were big parts of their first week at camp. This week brings another overnight campout on the ranch as well as rafting alldays on the South Platte River and a fossil adventure to the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument (and then to a private fossil digging site)!

The weekend brought everyone back together for a chance to reconnect and share stories of their week’s adventures. Saturday specials continued on Saturday morning and the Hike the Pike Fundraiser went off without a hitch on Saturday afternoon. This is our annual fundraiser hike where campers can hike 1-6 miles (or more for some), with $1 dollar for each mile hike donated by camp to a local charity. We have yet to identify this year’s charity, but last year we donated to our local firefighters and to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund (in support of an employee-created charity walk). The numbers have yet to be tallied, but well over a 1000 miles were walked/run by the campers. The dance at Big Spring on Saturday night rounded out the inter-camp activities of the weekend and was very festive as always.

This week will see the boys heading out on their long trips, with more mountain summits on their minds along with a lot of miles in the saddle. They will also be canoeing around 11-Mile Reservoir, hiking into the Buffalo Peaks Wilderness, exploring camp’s newest property at the base of Mt. Antero and more. The mission of camp plays out in so many ways in all that we do, but long-trip week at both camps is the penultimate opportunity to live it out. The opportunity for the campers to challenge themselves, with the support of the other members of the trip, while out in the beauty and grandeur of Colorado is all about fun and adventure, and so much more. It is camp!

HIgh Trails has a lot in store as well this week, with a wide range of fun and exciting alldays, overnights and 2-days planned. Summits of La Plata, Shavano and Tabequache are on the radar, along with many on the ranch activities and events. Cabinside Alldays will go out on Thursday, and they will head 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.

It’s hard to believe that this time next week all the campers will be packing and preparing to return home. Two weeks or a month at camp often seems like a long time, but around here it goes by much too quickly. It’s not over yet, though, and we have a lot to look forward to as we play out our final fun and adventure-packed week! As always, we are all very excited to hear the stories and see the pictures of their next adventures. Photos from last week are online via the CampinTouch portal, and keep watching our Facebook page and Instagram feed too, as we continue to share highlights throughout the 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.