News from camp: August, 5, 2019

August is upon us, and it’s amazing how quickly it arrived! As they say, “time flies when you’re having fun!”, and around here, that is certainly true. We wrapped up another fantastic week with a wide variety of trips, activities and events and are rolling into our final week together with a lot of energy, excitement and anticipation.

Last week’s trips were very successful, as the girls returned from an amazing assortment of long trips. Successful summits of ten fourteeners, including Harvard, Oxford, Massive and Pikes Peak were achieved. A four-day backpack through the spectacular Tarryalls Wilderness, a circumnavigation of Eleven-Mile reservoir and Pikes Picasso, a trip of artistry and exploration based out of our property at the foot of Mt. Antero, were a few of the other great trips taken during the week. Of course some fantastic horsepacking trips went out as well, with the Horse 5-day riding out to Black Mountain and the 4-day taking the Spring Creek tour. All the girls returned tired, exhilarated and proud of their many accomplishments.

The boys were successful in their summit attempts of Oxford, Belford and Ouray last week, and they got above 14,000 feet but were unable to make it all the way to the top of La Plata as the weather began to change. Some very successful fishing took place on two overnights and an allday, and geology was front and center on trips to Cripple Creek and the Florissant Fossil Beds. The mountain biking two-days on the property and into Salida were a ton of fun, and great times were had at the Space Foundation, exploring Manitou Springs, canoeing out on 11-mile Reservoir and taking in the views atop Dome Rock. Hogwarts was in session as well as the boys practiced their wizarding during the Harry Potter overnight.

The Junior Campers jumped into their first week with a lot of energy and excitement and have settled in very well to Big Spring and High Trails, returning from their first campouts at the end of the week. 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 a rafting allday 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 was scheduled for the afternoon. An afternoon rainstorm shortened the hike about midway through, but the fun wasn’t dampened too much. This annual fundraiser hike allows campers to hike 1-6 miles (or more for some), with $1 dollar for each mile hiked donated by camp to a local charity. We will again support the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund this year (through support of a charity walk created by an employee and her daughter). The dance, movie and games in the field at Big Spring on Saturday night rounded out the inter-camp activities of the weekend and were very festive as always.

This week will see the boys hit the trail (and reservoir) 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 the Colorado Trail, exploring camp’s newest property at the base of Mt. Antero, trekking through the spectacular Tarryall Wilderness 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 this week as well, with a wide range of fun and exciting alldays, overnights and 2-days planned. Cabinside Alldays are out today, and they are venturing 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. Summits of La Plata, Elbert and Quandary are on the schedule later this week, along with many on and off the ranch trips such as NASA, Gourmet Fishing, Lone Vigil, Photography, and Mad Scientist. There’s a lot in store as we close out our time together this summer!

It’s hard to believe that this time next week all the campers will have left camp. 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.