Education: University of Montana
Working: Outdoor Photographer and Baker
Medical Certification: Wilderness First Responder
Certain moments in life should be remembered forever. 5280' or Mille Passuum (In Latin, pronounced ME-lay PA-soo-um) is one of them. The 5280’ middle school community service trip and wolf conservation program, named for Denver's elevation of 5,280 feet above sea level, is one of The Road Less Traveled’s most diverse introductory middle school summer programs. It’s designed especially for students ages 12-14. We explore all the best of Colorado hiking, whitewater rafting, rock climbing, and challenge ourselves on the sky-high aerial course.
Every day felt like an adventure and it definitely is an experience that I'll never forget.” - Kathy F., Colorado: 5280
Setting aside time to get our hands dirty and give back, volunteer at an organic farm, and volunteer at Mission: Wolf, a sanctuary in southern Colorado – one of our favorite places. Here we lend a hand to the staff and improve the lives of these majestic creatures.
Keep scrolling to learn more about our middle school summer program that combines a passion for service and a love of animals with a desire to spend a summer making a difference in the beautiful Wild West!
For this magical experience, we wake up to wolf howls, do meaningful work, and watch the sun set over the 14,000-foot peaks in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
Browns Canyon, one of the most popular stretches of river in the country for whitewater rafting, is the ultimate introduction to outdoor adventure in Colorado. Enjoy beautiful scenery, see mountain wildlife, and conquer famous rapids along the way.
#3 Cottonwood Pass
Place one foot west towards Gunnison National Forest and one foot east towards the San Isabel National Forest and stand on the highest paved crossing of the Continental Divide. High peaks soar to meet the clouds and sky, stretching almost 100 miles.
Between the famous Brown’s Canyon Wilderness Area and the towering 14,000-foot peaks of the Sawatch Range, five crags of exceptional guided rock climbing await all ages and abilities, no experience necessary!
At Mission: Wolf we'll help the staff with projects such as repairing fences, pen cleaning, chopping firewood, path maintenance, and gardening in the greenhouse.
Claiming 19 of the state's 54 “fourteeners” (peaks over 14,000 feet high), including Colorado's highest point, Mount Elbert, San Isabel is at the core of America’s natural riches. We learn how this treasure is threatened by unprecedented challenges.
This amazing course above the Lost Canyon is full of interconnected elements such as swinging bridges, swinging logs, cargo nets, balance beams, and tunnels.
#8 Garden of the Gods
Explore the unique landscape of ancient red rocks at The Garden of the Gods, one of the most iconic sites in Colorado. Hike along the peculiarly arranged red and pink sandstone and learn about how this park came to be.
Environmental community service at Mission: Wolf. Our time is spent assisting the staff in activities that directly benefit the health and well being of the 30 resident wolves.
Additional projects include spending the day at a local organic farm.
A Certificate of Community Service indicating total hours worked and a Presidential Volunteer Service Award will be issued upon successful completion of the program.
Whitewater Raft: Arkansas River
Hike: Garden of the Gods, Cottonwood Pass, Mueller State Park
Rock Climb: San Isabel National Forest
Aerial Course: Lost Canyon
Visit: Organic Farm
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 #5280RLT for a behind-the-scenes look at photos from past participants and leaders.
After we’ve all arrived at Denver International Airport we’ll transfer to our first campsite in Mueller State Park. Here we’ll spend time getting acclimated, taking day hikes, visiting Garden of the Gods, and enjoying our first classic Colorado sunset.
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, the enclosures, and helping out at the farm. Part of the experience will include learning about the wolves and having a chance to socialize with the ambassador wolves.
Depart from Mission: Wolf. Head north to Buena Vista to begin the next adventure: rafting down Class 2 and 3 rapids through Brown’s Canyon on the Arkansas River. The next day, harness up for a high aerial course over the river. Final day of adventure is spent trying out basic rock climbing in San Isabel National Forest.
Spend a day lending a hand at an organic farm. Learn about the ranching culture.
Gentle hike along the Cottonwood Pass on the Continental Divide Trail. Prepare a final banquet and spend the last evening together before heading home.
Homeward Bound (Day 12):
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).
For 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.