Tuesday, August 17, 2010
The Best Week of My Life - AKA The Great Compromise
A great time for me would be to backpack a 100 miles down the Rainbow Trail along the Sangre de Cristo mountains in Colorado. Anything less than a Holiday Inn with 500 thread count sheets is considered roughing it for my wife Bren. Thus, when presented an opportunity to spend a week in the aforementioned Sangre de Cristo mountains in a cabin with and indoor shower and toilet…with cooked meals, the Elliott family decided to go out on a limb.
The Lodge Cabin...Where we stayed.
How we came to actually knowing about Camp Horn Creek is a bit convoluted with a circuitous route…our family getting an email from a member from our church…not meant to be sent to us…inviting us to family camp for a week….at Camp Horn Creek. We called Mr. White, the original author of the email…and his response is, “Absolutely you are Welcome to come!” So Friday before we left for Colorado, I found myself looking up on line for driving directions….to Camp Horn Creek (elevation 9000ft), nestled at the base of Horn Peak Elevation 13500 ft…about 45 miles from Pueblo. My wife ask me the week before we left if I had any idea what we were getting into? My response was simple, “No, if it’s bad…we will go into Colorado Springs and stay there.” By Sunday evening, after arriving at Camp Horn Creek Lodge, 3 hours earlier, we both knew we were to have a special week.
Founded in 1951, Camp Horn Creek, is a Christian based camp that caters to the family…much like Pine Cove except that you don’t attend a camp with the East Texas 105F temps with humidity. The crisp, cool, dry Colorado air at 9000 ft caused me to have amnesia of the sultry, hot, Hell like temperatures of a Texas August.
I would love to give you a minute by minute account of the entire week….but I am not writing that much…and frankly you couldn’t stomach reading that…so I will give a feeble attempt of the Highlights with pictures.
Macy and Andrea who was on staff...and loved on my kids...
As I previously mentioned, this was a “family” Camp. These families constituted about 110 people and there were children of all ages. For some, this camp was generational as parents who attended as kids were now bringing their kids to Camp Horn Creek. By mid week, there were no strangers as all the kids run off into the woods to go play together or head down the to rec center to play an organized game. Each family has more activity options to partake in than you can fit into 4 weeks…little lone a single 7 day period. Russ the camp director could not have done a better job either….knowing he and the staff were working there rear ends off…and making it look effortless.
Luke with his new buddies on skit night.
On Pancake morning...you had to catch your first pancake...Macy trying not to go hungry...
Tuesday found Me, Macy and Luke shooting the white water rapids with Noah’s Ark Rafting. We would hit the Cat III rapids and Macy and Luke couldn’t stop laughing. Thursday, Macy and Bren went Horseback riding…Luke, Hope and I went bowling in the Rec Center. Friday morning I took Hope kayaking on a peaceful Colorado Lake. Wednesday morning, Bren took the girls to an arts and crafts activity while Luke and I went geo caching, trail blazing over 2 miles as the crow flies. Monday morning the Elliott family went for a 2.5 mile hike along the rainbow trail…and Hope even held her own. When we came to Horn Creek, we took off our shoes and held a contest of who could keep their feet in the extreme frigid water the longest….Macy Won! Every afternoon found the kids at the water slides.
Ok…lets talk trail running and training…every morning at 5:30 you would find me at the Rainbow trail head…running up to about 10,500 feet of elevation…ranging from 6 to 8 miles…on what I would call “technical” terrain due to mainly rocks and few tree roots. I would be back in time for breakfast and then the day would commence. Training at 9000+ feet took some acclimation and I have to say after 7 days, I still was not completely acclimated as running uphill at 10000 ft elevation left me huffing and puffing. My endurance was good for the week though and this showed when I went 11 miles round trip to summit Horn Peak at 13,500 feet for sunrise and descended in time to catch some breakfast. (This adventure will have it’s own blog post with details later this week!) The coming week it’s time for me to climb back on the bike…but with the increased red blood cell count, I am hoping to make some of my buds suffer trying to keep up with me…the Hotter N Hell 100 mile bike race and ½ marathon run is less than two weeks away.
Horn Peak...I eyeballed it all week...gazing up 13,500 feet elevation....
Most evenings would consist of a post supper Christian devotional from Andy Neillie and music by Nathan Clark George. Both of these guys are incredibly gifted. On Wednesday there was an old fashion Western Melodrama and square dance in a barn…Ok…I can’t believe I am saying this…but that “Western Night” was a blast…ok… I said it....
So the week came to a close…spending wonderful quality time with the family… lots of trail running …standing in awe of my Maker’s creation…meeting new friends….the fun and fellowship cannot be fully described here…heck, my kids have already booked in their minds for next year.
If you are interested in attending next summer, drop me a line….would love to have some of my peeps show up…and my endurance peeps…yeah…we got some running to do in the Sangre de Cristo mountains…I need those people at Camp Horn Creek to know that I am sane in some circles….Press On…