Sand Dunes N.P. Adventure
2022 Summer Adventure
Dates: June 20-25
Duration: 6 Days
Grades Entering: 6th-8th
Explore Great Sand Dunes National Park and the Arkansas River Valley in Colorado. This adventure combines hiking, sandboarding, rock climbing and whitewater rafting. You will explore the dunes by foot, while also getting the opportunity to slide down a dune on a sand board or sled. The second part of the trip will be just as action-packed as you rock climb and whitewater raft through the newly designated Brown’s Canyon National Monument.
Skills & Leadership
Students with any experience level will find growth and challenge. This Adventure is designed to expose students to new outdoor and wilderness skills while learning how leadership can be applied to their life beyond. Mentorship is an important aspect of an Adventure. Every student will be provided individual coaching to further their skills.
Outdoor Living & Cooking
Each Adventure offers hands-on opportunities to learn how to travel in the backcountry, practice outdoor living skills such as Leave No Trace, hanging a bear bag, and map reading. Students will also learn the ins and outs of backcountry cooking. Armed with a camp stove, spice kits, and basic pot set you will take a turn preparing meals for the group. We will provide ingredients to meet the needs of any dietary restriction.
Base camping allows us to set up tents and kitchen in one area which serves as a jumping-off point for multiple adventure activities. When we are base camping, we are only carrying with us what we need for that specific day and we are sleeping in an established campground next to or near our van. Base camping often means access to pit toilets or even bathrooms with running potable water. Because we don’t need to carry everything with us, our kitchen can be bigger with more supplies— like a double-burner propane stove, pots and pans, and access to picnic tables.
Wilderness camping, or backcountry camping, refers to when we are camping away from our transportation in a primitive or unestablished campsite with only the things that we carry with us. This means we need to carry on our backs everything from our clothes and sleeping bags to group gear like tents, food, and cooking gear. The challenge of carrying everything with us is rewarded by getting further into the wilderness than possible by someone hiking in a day. The other benefits are the secluded sounds of nature and expansive views of the night sky without the haze of nearby lights.
Rock climbing is the art or moving up or along natural rock formations with the use of specialized gear— like sticky-rubber climbing shoes, harnesses, ropes, and anchors. It’s can be both physically and mentally demanding as it requires both endurance and agility to overcome the obstacles and puzzles that the climbing path presents. A rock climber is tethered through an anchor to a belayer— someone who is holding taut the other end of the rope. With safety systems in place, rock climbing is a fun and rewarding sport that is as difficult as you want it to be, and as safe as any other outdoor activity.
The thrill of exploration can be felt as the group paddles the river together. With the help and direction of professional guides, a group navigates the moving water in an inflatable raft— usually around 6 to a group. Depending on the age of the participants and amount of spring runoff, we will choose different sections of river. We have over 40 years of experience working with rafting companies and running Colorado rivers, and we monitor the river levels on a daily basis.
Hiking on trail presents the perfect opportunity to slowly and quietly take in the beauty and wonder of our natural environment. Along the way, we will focus on map reading and compass skills, hiking etiquette, and leave no trace principles. We might stop to observe wildlife, or look closely at the different rock types— around every bend of the trail is a new vista, a new memory, and a new learning opportunity. Take one step at a time—a valuable life lesson—as each trail presents its own unique challenges to overcome.