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 Jessica Fuller 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 Jessica Fuller 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.

2018 Staff

Barrett Donovan

Barrett was born in Louisville, KY and first made her way to Leadville as an HMI Semester student in RMS 26. There, Barrett fell in love with the Rocky Mountains and returned to Colorado a year later to attend Colorado College. She graduated with a degree in Environmental Science and a certification as a Colorado Environmental Educator. When she is not in Colorado, Barrett works as a guide in Svalbard, Norway leading hiking, backpacking, and snowmobile trips. Barrett has returned to HMI in several capacities including Summer Term intern, Semester science apprentice, assistant gear room manager, and Summer Term Science Faculty. When she’s not working, you can find Barrett skiing, running, and hiking.


Ari Gino

Ari grew up in Southern California and moved to Colorado to study Environmental Engineering at CU Boulder. It was here that she learned to love the mountains, and spent many a weekend exploring Colorado’s open spaces. Since graduating, Ari has taught math at a variety of schools and led expeditions around the West and in South America. She joined the HMI community as a Semester 35 Apprentice, currently helps out around campus, and is thrilled to work in another capacity as an instructor for the Lake County Backpacking Trip. Ari is very excited to explore the Sawatch with her LCHS students!




Bianca Gonzales

Bianca is currently a student at Lake County High School. She has lived in Colorado her entire life. Even though the mountains were literally her backyard, she did not spend too much time outdoors until she attended HMI as a member of Semester 39. During this experience, she found a new passion for the outdoors which she wishes to keep fulfilling. Bianca is very involved in her high school as an athlete, leader, and academic scholar by participating in clubs/organizations such as Student Government, cheerleading, track, and mentoring programs. She occasionally volunteers with Get Outdoors Leadville to encourage her community to become more involved with the outdoors. When Bianca is not busy with her homework, she can be found reading, writing a short story, or spending time outdoors with her friends and family. She is excited to share her newfound love for the outdoors and new skills with her fellow students.