News from camp: July 28, 2019

Reaching the midpoint of Second Session is always a bit surprising – both how quickly it arrived and that there are only 2 weeks left in the summer! We closed out the week with some fantastic high points. Our SOLE and CORE trips concluded with great stories of camaraderie and fun, along with many opportunities for leadership and service. The evening rains didn’t dampen their spirits nor those of the mountain climbers, canoers, tubers and all the other campers who were out on alldays and overnights throughout the week. Over the course of the week we added six mountains to our summit list, including Mt. Quandary and Mt. Elbert, the state’s tallest! Both the JC’s and Outbackers came home from their trips tired and excited after their visits to the Great Sand Dunes National Park and their shared rafting trip on the Arkansas River.

The weekend was full of its usual reconnecting and catching up as everyone was back together after the week of trips. Our visitors on Saturday enjoyed a beautiful afternoon filled with fun hikes and games in the field, and the dance/social/movie on Saturday night was very engaging and full of excitement. The theme of “Superheroes” brought out another wide array of costumes and outfits! Saturday was also our time to say goodbye to the 3rd Session Sanborn Junior campers. They were a really great group with a strong sense of adventure and willingness to jump into all that we do at camp. We will miss them but will look forward to their return to camp next summer. Our fourth and final Junior session begins tomorrow, and everyone is looking forward to getting to know our newest campers and to welcome them into our community. They always bring such a fun new energy to camp. For many, it is their first overnight camp experience and they are excited, and a bit nervous, about the adventures and fun ahead. Almost half of the campers at Big Spring and HIgh Trails experienced their first Sanborn Summer in the Junior program!

Today was also a big day for the girls as they prepare to head out on their long trips Monday and Tuesday. Fourteen 3-, 4-, and 5- day trips will depart, with plans to summit thirteen different mountains, ride many miles of trail on horseback, explore natural art on Pikes Picasso, and circumnavigate 11-Mile Reservoir on a canoe and paddle sports adventure. Certainly a lot is in store for them, and through these long trips the mission of camp is carried out in profound ways. A small group adventure with challenges, camaraderie, opportunities to put skills to use and the time to be together in the outdoors, is precisely why we do what we do. What an amazing opportunity to learn about yourself, others around you, and the natural world while taking it all in with awe and wonder! We look forward to hearing the stories of their many accomplishments when they return at the end of the week.

The boys, meanwhile, will be plenty busy this week as well, ahead of their long trips next week. The Oxford/Belford 2-day mountain climb is scheduled, along with a 2-day climb of LaPlata and another of Mt. Ouray. A couple of mountain bike 2-days – one around the ranch and one ending in Salida – are in the works along with a lot of tech rock, fishing, horseback rides and a Harry Potter overnight. We’ll also be visiting Cripple Creek where we will go 1000 feet underground at the Molly Kathleen hard rock mine and learn about the techniques and equipment of modern mining. The boys will also enjoy the cool (some might say cold:) waters of the South Platte River and Eleven Mile Reservoir during some rafting and canoeing alldays and two-days. The observatory will get some star- (and planet) gazers as well, and a climb up the largest granicular dome outside of Yosemite will be undertaken when the boys head out on the Dome Rock allday.

The newly-arriving Junior Campers will jump right into their adventures as well. After getting settled in on Monday with some orientation and get-to-know-you activities, Tuesday will kick off their first rides and hikes across camp. Over the week they will have several rides and will hike to A-bluff, the crystal beds, The Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument (via the Bat Caves) and head out on their first overnight camping trips. A lot is in store for them, and I’m sure they are excited for their adventure to begin!

As we’ve come to the midpoint of the month-long session, the boys and girls are hitting their strides and are very excited for the upcoming week and all that it has in store. They know how quickly these past two weeks have gone and are making sure they make the most of their remaining time at camp. 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 will share a few highlights throughout the week. Until next week…

Back to Blog
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.