Indian Peaks Wilderness Adventure: 9-day Camp Wojtyla Backpacking Experience
Dive deep into the questions of what it means to be a son or a daughter of God, while exploring pristine wilderness areas of the Rockies on foot. Partake in adventure activities that engage what it means to live the Christian life. Learn how to grow as a disciple and a witness in your home and at school, while rising to meet new opportunities and challenges. Gain skills and friendships that can last you a lifetime… whether or not you are in the mountains!
Duration: 9 days
Backpacking in the Indian Peaks Wilderness, Colorado
Approximate backpacking route length: 25-40 miles
Average group size: 9 students / 3 instructors
Elevation range: 5,500 to 12,500 ft
Programming focused for upper-class students, single gender groups
Sacraments in the Mountains! Opportunities for Mass, Confession, and Adoration while on trail, along with daily prayer
Experience a diversity of Rocky Mountain environments: alpine; subalpine; and montane ecosystems
Opportunities for: summit attempts, navigation, observing wildlife, honing wilderness living skills, faith programming, stargazing
End the trip with a day of whitewater rafting on the Arkansas River
The Indian Peaks Wilderness* makes up over 120 square miles in the Front Range of Colorado. The Continental Divide crests a number of the peaks along this range. Rich in Native American History and home to a wealth of plants, animals, and geological features, this area is a true American gem and sets the stage for learning, challenges, and simply soaking in beauty. Therefore, days spent traveling through this landscape are marked by stunning views and glimpses of unique wildlife while traveling as an expedition group.
During this expedition, campers will learn the basics of outdoor living, from tent setup and cooking to navigation and packing a backpack. As the group travels and becomes accustomed to life in the mountains, campers will have opportunities to form friendships and practice their skills as a leader, while still learning faith-based, outdoor, and leadership skills from their instructors. This trip is designed for a range of campers: those who have never gone camping before to individuals who have backpacking experience, perhaps even with Camp Wojtyla. By the end of this excursion, campers can gain a greater love and understanding of God, their Self, and Others and be more excited to spend time outside in Creation!
(*Due to permitting constraints, course area subject to change)
Weather and Other Challenges
The Indian Peaks Wilderness is filled with places of great beauty, and these locations are often difficult to reach. The areas the groups visit may be remote, and may be many miles and hours from medical facilities. Each group will be staffed with experienced instructors trained in wilderness medicine and emergency response.
While wildlife are an amazing sight to see, some can be dangerous. This course will travel through known black bear habitat, with the unlikely potential of mountain lions as well. Some mountain wildlife, such as rattlesnakes, are venomous. The instructors will implement proper risk management practices and teach campers how to properly travel and camp to avoid encounters with such species other potential hazards. Groups travel with bear-deterrent pepper spray as a precaution, and always store food in bear-resistant canisters.
Weather and Climate
These trips will encounter a wide range of weather and temperatures. In the Rocky Mountains, bright and sunny mornings are frequently followed by passing thunderstorms in the afternoons. Lightning, rain, hail, and even snow are possible outcomes of these storms at higher elevations. Wind conditions can vary from day to day, as well as from peaks to valleys. Under the sun’s heat, average June temperatures can reach over 80℉ during the day, while dropping down below 40℉ at night. Snow may still be covering parts of some areas in which these groups will travel and camp.
Groups may find themselves following a smooth and straight-forward trail one day, and then bushwhacking off-trail through thick vegetation or scrambling over boulders the next. Expedition groups may have to traverse slopes of loose rock and carry a heavy backpack up steep passes. There may be a chance for small river crossings managed by the instructor team.
Due to the above descriptions, it is necessary that campers are prepared and fit both mentally and physically in order to undertake such an experience . While it is not necessary for participants to be star athletes, they should come with a solid baseline fitness for a person of their age and size. Individuals should be able to carry packs weighing up to 50 lbs for up to 8 miles on uneven mountain terrain. They should also have the fortitude of mind to be able to continue on if and when challenging circumstances arise. A suggested training and preparation plan will be provided with the packing list.
Adventure at Camp Wojtyla
Camp Wojtyla backpacking trips are designed to bring the Catholic faith alive for young men and women in a challenging yet fun and supportive environment. Campers have the opportunity for a positive, transformational experience and often leave our trips inspired and empowered to act, with newfound friends and mentors along for the journey.
“Many camps and outdoor programs offer incredible high adventure experiences like rock climbing and mountaineering. Still other camps offer faith formation and inspire growth in one's relationship with God. Some even offer them all throughout the same week...after you rock climb you'll learn a little about Jesus. We wanted to teach about our Lord, Jesus Christ and the life He has called us to WHILE rock climbing---engage the big questions of life AS we whitewater raft---KNOW what it is to depend on your brother in Christ within the adventure experience at hand. We wanted BOTH the amazing adventure experience AND the faith formation --- TOGETHER.
We know first hand just how much adventure can teach us about Jesus Christ, the Church He founded and the life he has called us to. We know how important it is to know one's faith, to read and understand the scriptures and to have solid fellowship with other Catholics. We also know that extensive research points to the positive effects of outdoor experiences on self awareness, confidence and leadership skills. Our lives are not compartmentalized, so why should camp be? St. Therese of the Child Jesus is quoted as saying "I choose all" when faced with a choice of many extreme goods. At Camp Wojtyla, we choose ALL---adventure and faith formation, integrated seamlessly--- and that is what makes all the difference.” (from Camp Wojtyla Director, Annie Powell).
The mission of Camp Wojtyla is to lead and challenge young people through adventures in the wilderness into a joyful and transformative relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church.