Saturday, July 24, 2010

Weeks 6-8

Shalom and good tidings to you all!

Week 5 and 6 was rock camp. A group of nine high school students from around Colorado and Texas to learn the ins and outs of rock climbing. I was not on that trip but I was still able to get some climbing in. Nick, Meghan, Fritz, Jeremy, Ellen and myself went to Hartman’s Rock on the weekend to go rock climbing. We left camp after dinner on Friday night and drove an hour to Gunnison. By the time we got there the sun was already starting to set so we found a place to camp for the night but decided that we all wanted to sleep outside so we didn’t bother with putting up a tent. We then found a spot to go bouldering and along the way found a group of people who were having a good time with their friend Budweiser; we made sure to give them their space. When we got back to our campsite we decided to go straight to bed because we were all exhausted from the week and wanted to get up early so we could climb more. Well, we were awoken much earlier than we had expected by a rain storm at 4:00am! I must remind you that we were just sleeping on top of a tarp with no protection over top. I stayed fairly dry but the rain was loud and we were all awake so we talked until the rain stopped, which was at about 5:00am. Meghan kept yelling “Waffle House!” because she was hungry and that’s what she was wanting. Fritz decided to get up at 4:30am and go for a bike ride. He came back a bit later and asked if anyone wanted him to ride into town to get McDonald’s. We were able to fall back asleep after all the commotion and slap-happy conversation. The night was hilarious despite the rain and we still talk about it.

The next day was sunny and hot which made it perfect for climbing. I was able to climb some harder routes and I must say I’m now addicted to climbing.

After rock camp was done we expeditions staff and the Anderson family packed up for a trip to Ouray. Ouray is a small town in the heart of the mountains. It is considered the ‘Ice Climbing Capital of the World’ and is only about 40 miles from Lake City, but is about a three hour drive because to get there you have to drive on mostly 4-wheel drive roads at approximately 10-20 MPH. Needless to say it was an interesting (and bumpy) drive there.

Protecting our heads from smashing into each other on the bumpy road to Ouray

While we were there we took some time to go window shopping on Main Street, sample the local ice cream shop, and went urban bouldering. We stumbled upon a pretty neat playground in the city and the boys decided to use the playground as if it were a rock climbing area. It was a pretty funny thing to watch and we entertained ourselves with that for a few good hours.

Ryan urban bouldering

Cyndi urban bouldering

Ryan and Nick enjoying their time in the park

Also, while we were in Ouray we attempted to climb Mt. Sneffels but were unsuccessful because a large thunderstorm chased us off before we could summit. But we were all okay with that because that meant we got to spend more time in the hot springs in town. Sitting in a huge hot tub for several hours was just what we all needed. I think when we got out of there that night it was the cleanest any of us had been since we’ve been here. Yes, we do shower but this pool was able to rid us of our ‘perma-dirt’.

The next day before we left Ouray we went climbing at a local crag there which was a lot of fun. I was able to climb up a 90 ft run and from the top I could see most of the city. We then had to go back to camp but before we did we stopped for a greasy burger, sweet tea and ice cream; best meal ever!

My view from 90 feet up

Posing outside a bed & breakfast in Ouray

Week 7 I was again on logistics, but we did take a hike up Grassy Peak to break up the week. Grassy is a 12,800ft tall mountain right next to camp. There is really no trail up it so we used the hike to practice our map and compass skills. The hike up is ridiculously steep and really long but the view from the top was really cool. I could see all of camp, Red Mountain, Lake San Cristobal, Uncompahgre Peak, and most of the other mountains in the area. There was also some cell phone reception at the top so we all made some phone calls to tell people back home we were on top of a mountain. Actually most of the mountains around here have some cell phone reception at the summit but I’m usually with campers and unable to use any electronic device around them. The hike back down was tough on the knees but we made it fun by trying to only walk on fallen trees and rocks while descending.

Arial view of Camp Redcloud

This past week (week 8) I was with Fritz guiding Faith Lutheran Youth (FLY for short) from Castle Rock, CO. It was a typical base camp week. Monday high and low ropes, Tuesday rock climbing, Wednesday peak assent, Thursday rafting and Friday we did some more climbing. The bummer about this past week was how much it rained. Monday was nice but everyday after that we got a larger thunderstorm in. On Tuesday we had to stop climbing early because of lightning and on Wednesday we were unable to summit because of ominous looking rain clouds for miles that were being blown in. Thursday it was cloudy and a little cold but my group dressed warm and wore wet suits so none of them got terribly cold and all of them seemed to enjoy it.

Week 8 group on the hike up Uncompahgre

The group was one of the more hard-core groups we’ve had in. They were from Colorado and many of them had been rock climbing and hiking before. Several of the guys and one of the guy leaders were really involved with boy scouts. They had a fire starting battle to see who could start a fire quicker with mostly wet wood. The group that won used some notebook paper so I don’t know if I’d consider them the winner but the fire felt good after being stuck in the rain for a large majority of the day. The group was fun to work with and they liked to talk and discuss everything from skiing/snowboarding, to PC vs. Mac, to theological issues. I got to know all three of the girls but I also enjoyed getting to know the guys on the trip as well. The guys were big into music, beat-boxing, and overall enjoyed being outside, so, I got along with them pretty well. The girls were outgoing, were willing to talk about a lot of stuff and one of them was interested in creation vs. evolution stuff, so, her and I spent a lot of time talking about that which I loved!

Overall, the group was hard to say goodbye to. But, they all really had a great week and each of them said that God truly met with them. They were excited about all of the activities and what they were learning throughout the week.

Last night I was on a tired high. After we were done cleaning and debriefing my energy level suddenly shot up. I got Kristin, the ATC, to play catch with my foxtail and then we decided to hook ourselves up to the giant swing. We didn’t drop from the platform but figured out a way to hook the both of us up at the bottom and ‘pushed’ ourselves by running and then pulling our feet up. Every time we lifted our feet I either ended up sitting on Kristin’s lap or she ended up kneeing me in the thigh. It was an adventure and a good way to unwind after a busy and tiring week.

Kristin and I on the swing

This next week I’m helping lead a large backpacking trip with a group from Houston, TX. They actually arrive tonight and we are going to eat with them in town in a few hours. We will hit the trail tomorrow morning and get back late Thursday night. It should be a good trip. I’m excited to go but also hoping that the thunderstorms hold off a bit.

Prayer Requests:

  • Nice weather for the trip
  • Continued energy
  • Ample sleep
  • Mosquitoes leaving us alone
  • Jake has contracted Giardia – quick recovery for him
  • Enjoyment of the last few weeks
  • Safety
  • God continuing to reveal Himself to campers, leaders, and guides


  • Lots of fun with fellow staff
  • Blooming flowers
  • The most amazing rainbows I’ve ever seen!
  • Being able to enjoy the activities and views around here
  • Brianna is now able to do all of the activities once again

I can’t believe that I’ll be home in about three weeks! This summer has just flown by. Thank you for all of your prayers, letters and support!

God bless!

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