The Road Less Traveled
2331 N. Elston Ave.
Chicago, IL 60614
June 12 - June 28, 2018 // 17 Days
July 1 - July 17, 2018 // 17 Days
July 20 - August 5, 2018 // 17 Days
August 1 - August 17, 2018 // 17 Days
Our 17-day teen community service trip and wolf conservation progam takes place in the mountains of Colorado. We partner with a wolf sanctuary on important conservation efforts, including observation and documentation along with the care and feeding of 40 resident wolves.
No school can teach what I learned in 17 days with RLT” - Dhruva D., Call of the Wild
We top off the program with a wild whitewater rafting trip down the Arkansas River, venturing through a high aerial course over the river, soaking in hot springs, and rock climbing along the Continental Divide with 14,000-foot peaks as our backdrop.
Keep scrolling to learn more about “Call of the Wild,” which combines a passion for teen service and veterinary studies with a love of animals and a desire to make a difference in the beautiful Wild West!
An Important Note: Due to our respect and desire to provide the best experience for both the young people who join us and the wolves we are caring for, this program is limited to 12 students. We strongly encourage you to apply early if you would like to reserve a space on this exceptional experience.
In the intensity of a single gaze we catch a glimpse of the untamed beauty, power, and mystery of the wild.
We combine drifting through the dazzling mountain river country of the Arkansas River Valley with the majestic beauty of Colorado’s snow-capped peaks. Add the excitement of continuous whitewater on the Arkansas River, one of the best on Earth!
We experience Great Sand Dunes National Park, an otherworldly landscape of breathtaking dunes up to 750 feet tall, extending mile after mile.
We soar over a rugged canyon and explore the majestic Rocky Mountains to challenge ourselves and test our limits!
One of 11 national forests in Colorado, San Isabel includes breathtaking scenery with snow-capped mountain peaks, wildflowers, crystal-clear mountain lakes, and big blue skies.
We kick back, dip into one of the many bubbling hot springs and soak our muscles in soothing mineral waters after a great day of hiking.
#7 One of the Largest Conservation Efforts In U.S. History
The Continental Divide is one of the world’s most significant trail systems, spanning 3,100 miles between Mexico and Canada. It traverses five states and connects countless communities along its spine.
We learn to understand and respond to their body language and experience the roots of their behavior as we care for unwanted horses.
We climb towers of granite with exceptional views and enjoy an awesome rappelling experience in one of the best sport climbing areas in the state.
Environmental community service, wolf conservation at Mission: Wolf Refuge
A Certificate of Community Service indicating the total number of hours worked and a Presidential Volunteer Service Award will be issued upon successful completion of the program.
Whitewater Raft: Arkansas River
Aerial Course: Lost Canyon, San Isabel National Forest
Rock Climb: San Isabel National Forest
Explore: Great Sand Dunes National Park, Buena Vista, Cottonwood Pass, Astronomy Tour with Dr. Robert Astalos
Swim: Princeton Hot Springs, Chalk Creek
We sleep in tents, shower about every three to five days, and use latrines or flush toilets as bathrooms.
Join in on the fun! Check out #CotwRLT for a behind-the-scenes look at photos from past participants and leaders.
All of the lectures, films, photos, and books combined cannot compare with an eye-to-eye encounter with a live wolf. In the intensity of a single gaze, we catch a glimpse of the untamed beauty, power, and mystery of the wild. To touch, feel, smell, hear, and experience these wild creatures benefits not only the wolves but also us, the people who want to understand and contribute to the delicate balance of their threatened future.
We head to the Great Sand Dunes National Park, home of the tallest dunes in North America. For two days we explore the rolling sand waves and make them our playground as we get acclimated and prepare for our time at Mission: Wolf.
Sadly, selling wolves and wolf dogs as pets is a big business. Hundreds of these majestic creatures are abandoned when their owners can no longer provide the space and care they need. For nine days we live with the wolves in their sanctuary home between the red alpenglow of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and the jagged peaks of the Greenhorn Wilderness. Working deep inside the pens, we assist the staff in the care and feeding of the 40 resident wolves. We repair old fences, construct new pens, restore habitat, and assist in the observation and documentation of wolf behavior to ensure the animals are well adjusted. At sunset, we hike and explore the many rivers and streams in this remote sanctuary.
Our adventures continue as we raft down the Arkansas River, challenge ourselves on an aerial course outside of Buena Vista, rock climb in San Isabel National Forest, and take a nice soak in the natural hot spring. The hot spring pools are located in the midst of the cool rushing waters of Chalk Creek. Each pool is fed by its own natural geothermal spring, bubbling up into the creek bed and into circles of stones that create natural pools of warmth and rejuvenation. We spend our last day together on “the road less traveled,” taking in the expansive views of the Continental Divide at Cottonwood Pass and celebrating both our new pack of friends and the difference we can make preserving an endangered species.
Arrive in Colorado Springs, CO, head out to the first stop, Great Sand Dunes National Park.
Explore some of the tallest dunes in North America, just over 750 feet high. Hike up and down the small valleys and hills to reach Star Dune (the highest). From the top comes the fun part: sledding back down!
Depart for Mission: Wolf in the morning and, upon arrival, get acquainted with the wolves. Projects include building fire bunkers, rebuilding wolf enclosures, cutting firewood, making repairs to staff housing, repairing the enclosures, and helping out at the farm. Daily tasks include feeding the wolves in the morning and socializing with the ambassador wolves. Interact with a special group of wolves used to educate the public about these beautiful and often misunderstood animals. Horses also call this home; they need to be fed, cleaned, and trained.
Departing from Mission: Wolf, head north to Buena Vista to begin the next adventure, rafting down class 3 and 4 rapids through Brown’s Canyon on the Arkansas River. Next day, harness up for a high aerial course, then head to the local hot springs to unwind. Spend final day trying basic rock climbing in San Isabel National Forest.
Pack up and explore Buena Vista and Cottonwood Pass. We’ll prepare our final banquet and have our last evening together before heading home.
We say our final goodbyes and board our flights for home.
The Road Less Traveled does not require any vaccinations or immunizations to travel with us, other than an up-to-date tetanus shot or booster (within the last nine years).
Please click below to view your program’s equipment and packing list!
To receive an emailed copy of this program’s day-to-day calendar, please call our office between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. CST at 773-342-5200 and we’ll happily send you one!
It is imperative that no one make any travel arrangements until RLT provides instructions for specific arrival and departure time windows. Those details are typically released in mid-spring.
Families are individually responsible for booking their own airfare to get their student from home to the starting destination on the first day of the trip, and from the ending destination back home on the last day of the trip.