Tuesday, July 26, 2011

DMC by Pete Kornoff (Head Counselor)

As camp nears the end we have the challenge of cramming 2 weeks worth of fun into just 1. The way we do this is by starting off the week with "Extreme Weekend." One of the coolest offerings we make is an extreme summit attempt. This year we chose to climb a "14er": 14,028 foot tall Redcloud Peak. We started our mission Saturday morning traveling from camp to Silverton and facing progressively rougher off-road conditions to the trail head. Many "Jeepers" stared mouth-agape as we maneuvered the narrow trails in the low-slung, lengthy, 4 wheel drive camp "Soccer Mom" Suburbans. Along the way we stopped at the top of 12,640 foot tall Cinnamon Pass and just for fun some did some extreme snowplay, glissadeing on 40 degree snowfields ,while other campers decided to find their inner polar bear and go swimming under an ice bridge in a frigid tundra lake. From there we made our way to the trail head, and set up camp for the night. The campfire food and entertainment was phenomenal and we almost got to dine on fresh venison steaks when the campers tried to stalk a deer. We went to bed early in anticipation of an extreme(ly) early 5:30am start. Carrying on the extreme theme, it got extremely cold at night and one camper made it more so by sleeping sans-sleeping bag.
Waking up was tough but the hot cocoa got the juices flowing and eventually we started our hike at 8:00. We hiked up a beautiful forest valley, enjoying the changing climate zones until we topped out at the summit among spectacular views of most of the San Juan Range of the Rockies including at least 7 other "14ers" as well as hundreds of other snow-specked peaks, lush valleys, and distant high mesas. Upon gazing at such wonder, one camper exclaimed: "What...there's nothing up here!" After enjoying a well deserved lunch we made our way down the mountain, and all experienced one more extreme; exhaustion. Bumbling and stumbling we got back to the Suburbans and pigged-out, make that replenished calories, on brownies and cold, 2 day old, burritos. On the way home everybody gripped about the aches and pains, some slept rocked to sleep by the violent, jarring sway of the rough trail and road-tuned Suburban suspension. When we made it back to dinner (only 10 minutes late), all the campers recounted the numerous tales and basked in the sense of accomplishment that can only come from pushing oneself to the limit and triumphing.

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