Coed | Grades 10th or 11th Completed
Pathfinding is an expedition program for teens to experience the joy of wilderness travel and leadership by way of a 26-day trek through the beautiful Weminuche Wilderness of Southwest Colorado.
Pathfinders start their journey on the first day when they arrive at camp and meet their Pathfinding Instructors to begin preparing and packing for their trip. Our Pathfinding Instructors are experienced wilderness leaders who have extensive experience in outdoor education and recreation. They are also required to have a Wilderness First Responder (WFR) Certification. Pathfinding Instructors introduce all the Pathfinders to each other and begin to develop the group dynamic with initiative games while they make sure each individual Pathfinder is packed properly and prepared for the journey ahead.
On the second day, Pathfinders depart for the trailhead where they begin their 26-Day expedition. Groups are kept small (8 – 11 campers) and are led by one male instructor and one female instructor. Pathfinding is a program designed to provide youth with the ultimate wilderness experience, incorporating the fun, creativity, and personal development of the CSC philosophy. Here the focus is on helping each Pathfinder explore their leadership abilities, build their technical wilderness skills to self-sufficient levels, and create a strong group dynamic with their peers that includes the simple joy of traveling with friends in the backcountry.
My group became more than friends, and more than family, they became a part of myself, and how I identify myself. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about camp and the wonderful people that have become a part of my life forever.
Pathfinding itineraries are developed keeping all abilities and skill levels in mind. The itineraries consist of 4 sections (legs) and are planned and created each season making each itinerary new and unique. The first leg being relatively easy as Pathfinders adjust to the altitude and life on the trail. The following legs progress in difficulty as the Pathfinders get stronger and more proficient with their learned leadership and wilderness skills. Pathfinding itineraries consist of 3 re-supply drops where the groups are resupplied with food and gear. During these drops, we check in with the campers and staff to evaluate the progress of the trip as well as deliver and collect mail. During the trip, Pathfinders have an opportunity to climb a technical peak with the assistance of local certified climbing guides, Kling Mountain Guides.
They also have an opportunity to experience a Group Solo, where their instructors allow them to lead and navigate themselves through the day’s itinerary as instructors closely observe the groups progress and make sure the experience is safe. The last and most anticipated part of the Pathfinding program is the Individual Solo. The Individual Solo is an experience like no other. Pathfinders have the opportunity, and the choice, to participate in the Individual Solo. Their instructors brief them on all safety rules and procedures and take each Pathfinder to a nearby location where the Pathfinder will remain for nearly a 36 hour period and experience the wilderness and reflect on their experience in solitude.
The Pathfinding program is very unique in that the itinerary always leads back to our site. On the 26th and final day of their adventure through the wonders of the San Juan Mountains, the Pathfinders hike into Colvig Silver Camps and are met at the wilderness entrance to camp with the warmest welcome one could imagine – the cheers and congratulations of our entire camp community giving them a hero’s welcome as they return from a successful expedition.
The Pathfinding program offers an emotionally and physically challenging experience through which campers grow and develop both as individuals and as a group. Campers leave this program with memories and achievements that last forever.
"Now I see the secret in making the best persons.
It is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth."
~ Walt Whitman ~