Lake County Backpacking Trip

Are you a current 7th or 8th grader at Lake County Middle School? Come join us!

The Lake County Backpack Trip is a fun, week-long adventure that culminates with a backpacking trip in the very mountains that make up our backyard. Visit beautiful high alpine lakes, learn how to cook on a camp stove, sleep under the stars, make great new friends, and challenge yourself! The trip is free for all participants and will be run by the High Mountain Institute in partnership with Full Circle of Lake County and the Lake County School District. No experience is necessary.

July 23 – July 28, 2018

Applications and Enrollment Paperwork are due on Friday, May 4th, but you can turn them in at anytime. Please return your application to the front desk at the Lake County High School, to a GOL! representative, to a Full Circle (719-486-2400), or to Libbey Holewski from the High Mountain Institute (719-486-8200 x107;; 531 CR 5A, Leadville, CO 80461). We will notify you by May 11th if you have been selected for the program.

Las solicitudes y documentos deben ser entregadas antes del viernes, 4 de mayo. Por favor llena la aplicación adjunta y entrégala a la oficina de Lake County High School, a un representante de GOL!, a un representante de Full Circle (719-486-2400), o a Libbey Holewski de High Mountain Institute (719-486-8200 ext 107;; 531 CR 5A, Leadville, CO 80461). Le notificaremos para 11 de mayo si ha sido seleccionado para el programa.

After May 4th applications will be accepted on a first-come first-served basis based on available space.

What to Expect

Days 1 – 2 (two overnights): The first two days are spent getting to know each other and preparing for the upcoming backpacking trip. We learn how to set up a tent, cook a meal on a camping stove, and read a map. We also go on a couple of day hikes and take a refreshing dip in Turquoise Lake. Transportation is provided to the High Mountain Institute’s campus on the first day (just outside Leadville by the Fish Hatchery) and back home at the end of the trip. We will spend the first two nights camping out on HMI’s campus. On the final day before our four-day backpacking trip, we pack all of the food and gear that we need. All equipment is provided. We also find some time to play games with our news friends, such as soccer or basketball.

Day 3 – 6 (three overnights): Then it is off into the backcountry for four days of backpacking! We hike through spectacular mountains and camp under the stars near crystal-clear lakes. Over the course of the trip we learn the basic skills to camp and travel comfortably in the wilderness. Plus, we have lots of fun while we’re at it!

The Lake County Backpacking Trip is made possible thanks to the generosity of the Kayne Family Foundation.


Becca Katz

Becca has a long and varied history with HMI, having served as Dean of Students, Spanish Faculty, Summer Term P&P Faculty, and a leader of the Lake County Backpacking Trip. She is thrilled to be back at HMI this summer to lead the Lake County Backpacking Trip, a perfect fusion of her HMI experience and her new role as the Community Learning Director with Lake County School District and Get Outdoors Leadville! In addition to spending time outdoors, Becca loves to talk and laugh, ride her bike, and hang out with her hilarious husband, Eric, and silly dog, Arty.


Emily Blau

Emily grew up in New York City, where the closest thing to the backcountry was Central Park. Emily willingly left “the city” behind and attended Deerfield Academy and was a student for HMI Semester 21, when she explored the highest mountains she had ever seen. Emily spent her college years on Cumberland Plateau at Sewanee: University of the South, graduating with a B.S. Natural Resources. Remembering the influence HMI had on her, Emily studied abroad for a semester in Freiburg, Germany and took classes in forest ecology and sustainability. She then returned to HMI as an apprentice for Semester 33.