Wednesday, June 29, 2011

DMC Update Week 1

Hi Parents and Friends of Durango Mountain Camp,

It’s 8:30 on Monday evening.  The campers have just finished a lacrosse game down by the river, a dessert of fruit, and now have just dispersed with their books to read for the next hour with their staff.  The sun is down and the temperature has dropped from about 85 to 65, and will hit about 50 tonight.

Today was our first full day of camp. So far the camp is running smoothly and the campers seemed engaged and energetic.  After a good morning of academics, then lunch, the campers split up into a mountain bike group that peddled the forest service road from Haviland to Forebay Lake. Their big challenge was trying to make it across a 3 foot deep stream on the way back.  It was good fun watching them try to make it, fall in the middle, and keep trying.  The river group was on rafts today and paddled Smelter rapids.  The water is still big from the hot weather and resultant massive river runoff.  They are talking about running the rapids backwards tomorrow.  Wild Colorado was foraging in the forest near Haviland Lake and building shelters.  The climbers were roped and up and scaling the vertical face of X rock.  A good day today.  The campers will stay in these same groups, then switch next week.

Saturday was a testing day, where each camper was given a battery of test that will then be used to compare their progress when they are given the same tests at camp’s end.  While ½ the camp was testing, the other half was hiking up to Potato Lake in the higher mountains.  We put out a challenge to see who could catch a snake, and the campers caught three of them.

Sunday was a recreation day, when the whole camp and quite a few parents rafted the Animas.  With all the snowmelt, the water was the highest we’ve ever attempted, which made form some wild rides through the rapids.  Later that afternoon, the campers explored Durango, then back to camp for dinner and soccer.

Here are a couple of reminders for you.  Mail is greatly appreciated by the campers and is given out each night.  Packages and mail can be sent to Durango Mountain Camp 35554 Hwy 550 Durango, CO 81301.  Or, you can email your camper through my email.  I’ll print the email out and then we’ll give the email out as mail.  You can use for this.  The campers can also email, check their facebooks, etc. every weekday afternoon from 5-6.  Our campus phone is 970-385-4449.  The office is staffed by Stephanie or Kristine from 9-1 Monday through Friday.  Or you can leave a message and we try to make calls back in the afternoon.

The campers can call out once each week from 5-6 PM, and sometimes on the weekends.  Here is a list of the calling nights:
                Monday – Banditos Cabin (Youngest Boys)
                Tuesday – Rafiki Cabin (Girls)
                Wednesday – Yeti Cabin (Older Boys)
                Thursday – Drop Bear Cabins (Middle Boys)
The Counselors will always remind the campers to call their parents on calling night.

I’ll put this email and other communications on our DMC website at  We’ll also start putting photos on that site that you can check out every few days.

This next Saturday the camp will head over three 10,000 foot mountain passes, through Silverton to Ouray where we’ll play in the hot springs. Then give the campers a chance to check out the town, have dinner out, before driving back to camp in the evening.  Day campers and parents are welcome to join us on that day.  Sunday will be a camper/counselor choice of activities.

The campers are embracing camp, seem interested in their academics, and excited about the outdoor pursuits. It’s going to be a great summer!

Zane Bilgrav