- Summer Term
- Apprentice Program
- High Peaks Adventure
- Adult Programs
- Educators Expedition
- Lake County Backpacking Trip
I firmly believe that the HMI Summer Term has made me a more confident, more competent, more self-aware person. In short, this past summer I made lots of friends, challenged myself, and fell deeper in love with nature.
Two expeditions are the capstone of each HMI Summer Term
During the Summer Term, two week-long wilderness backpacking expeditions provide a unique environment to practice leadership and develop skills to live and travel in remote settings. Expeditions also provide an amazing backdrop for our academic classes, as the stunning scenery of the Rocky Mountains becomes our laboratory, source of inspiration, and fodder for debate.
The wilderness curriculum during the summer delves into skills you can transfer to your life at home and/or to expeditions you lead in the future. Among other skills, we’ll teach you how to read a map, how to cook delicious meals over a one-burner stove, and how to camp comfortably and in style. The backcountry also provides an ideal setting for you to develop your leadership skills by leading your peers, while receiving coaching from faculty. Serving as a team member in a group is a fantastic way to learn about yourself, and to develop interpersonal skills that will transfer far beyond the wilderness boundaries.
First Expedition: In the Sawatch Range near Leadville, learn the basics of backpacking from how to purify water to finding the best campsite. Be inspired by the Colorado Rockies as your expedition group quickly becomes some of your closest friends.
Second Expedition: Explore a new route throughout the mountains surrounding Leadville, while building on all the skills you have developed so far. Navigate off-trail, fly-fish, summit one of Colorado’s high peaks, go rock-climbing and sleep on a portaledge for the first time.
Typical Day on an Expedition
Typical Day on an Expedition
7:00 am: Begin the day by making gingerbread pancakes with your tarp group while watching the sun rise.
The morning chill subsides as you pack your backpack and get ready for the day. Today you’re a “Leader of the Day.” Look over the day’s hiking route one last time before heading over to join the small group you will lead for the day.
As you hike through green meadows and past shimmering mountain lakes, students reflect on how differently people view and value wilderness. As you approach a trail intersection, you wonder whether to make a directive decision or consult the group about which way to go. You decide on the latter and pull out the maps to look at them together. Jokes and stories, plus a lunch break, fill out your time on trail.
3:00 pm: Arrive in camp by mid-afternoon and set up camp. Pack a snack to take with you to today’s leadership class which is a debate about ethical decision making.
For dinner, make macaroni and cheese from scratch, followed by brownies, for dessert.
8:00 pm: Under the summer sky, now filled with stars, gather as a group one more time to debrief today’s hike, reflect on the day’s accomplishments, play games, and share stories before bed.