From: June 23 to June 29, 2018

Destination: Grand Lake, CO

  • The Art of Mountain Hiking - the Rockies

    Although hiking is essentially putting one foot in front of the other, there are many tips that can make hiking both more enjoyable and safe. There are two ways to acquire the knowledge necessary to hike safely in a variety of terrains: either through experience, or by learning from others with that experience. If you want to jump start your learning and your experience, join us for five days of experiential education in or near Rocky Mountain National Park with two experienced hiking guides. Maximum group size: 12

  • Day 1
    Arrive anytime today at the Denver airport. We'll be staying at a nearby hotel with an airport shuttle so you can arrive whenever it's convenient, and begin acclimating to the mile high elevation. Our first formal get together will be tomorrow morning, although everyone who's arrived can get together for dinner.

    Day 2
    We'll leave Denver about 9:00 am for the two and a half hour drive to Shadowcliff Mountain Lodge, elevation of 8,600 ft and our home for the week. Shadowcliff is located on Grand Lake, right on the edge of Rocky Mountain National Park. After sharing a picnic lunch, we'll talk about pack fitting, the proper use of trekking poles, pacing, and the rest step. We'll then practice our new found skills with a walk up to the Kawunweeche Visitor Center, a slow 1.5 miles uphill as we continue to acclimate to the higher elevations. We'll settle into our rooms in Cliffside Lodge, a lodge that is part of Shadowcliff but separate from the main building. We'll have dinner in the Compassionate Kitchen where we'll have most of our meals together. After dinner and clean up (we ask everyone to pitch in on this trip), we'll discuss what to take in your backpack, the 10 essentials, and have an introduction to maps and topography. This and our other discussions will take place in the third floor lounge, a wonderful place to relax anytime.

    Day 3
    This morning we'll hike on North Inlet Trail, which is part of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail, to Cascade Falls. It's 7.1 mile round trip to the falls, with 430 feet total elevation gain. The Falls are a spectacular, multi-tiered cascade that drop roughly 50 feet through a narrow granite chute. Before and during the hike we practice how to use trekking poles on uphills and downhills, as well as hiking techniques such as the rest step. We'll also pull out maps and compasses. Since painful feet are the most common way to ruin a hike, we'll spend time reviewing foot care in depth with hands on practice. We'll also discuss Leave No Trace philosophies.

    Day 4
    Today we'll hike to Adams Falls where a rocky outcrop looks down on the rushing falls, which are pretty and surrounded by small rocky cliffs. We then continue on the East Inlet Trail, through a beautiful aspen and lodgepole pine forest with classic Rocky Mountain flora. We'll experience a number of slight ups and downs as be pass along a lush meadow, and then experience significant elevation gains as we trace the Inlet River up the mountain valley. We'll have the opportunity to choose faster or slower paces as we continue to follow the trail for a timed out and back, distances and elevation changes to be determined by the groups paces. We'll enjoy our lunches on rock outcroppings overseeing our trek up the valley. As we hike we'll cover issues such as conditioning, sun and heat exhaustion, hypothermia, and lightening safety. After another delicious dinner in the Compassionate Kitchen, we'll discuss layering clothing as we decide what to wear for the next day's adventure.

    Day 5
    This morning after breakfast, we'll spend some a time talking about the history of the park as we drive to the Alpine Visitor Center, situated at an elevation of 11,800 feet, where we can learn more about the ecosystem and have a spectacular 360 degree view across the Continental Divide. We'll then hike a section of the Ute Trail from the visitors center to Milner Pass. Steadily and gradually downhill, this high-altitude trail drops 950 feet and is known for having beautiful vistas all the time. We can take a break about halfway down at a series of pristine ponds in and around Forest Canyon Pass with views of steep Forest Canyon and the 12,000-foot peaks of the continental divide beyond. To the northwest, the snowy peaks of the Never Summer Range shine in the distance on a sunny afternoon. Our focus on today's hike will be low impact hiking and being prepared for rapidly changing conditions in the mountains. This afternoon we'll pull together much of what we've learned as we plan tomorrow's hiking options.

    Day 6
    Today we'll focus on really solidifying our understanding of how to use map and compass and how to put them together to follow the hikes we planned the day before. We'll hike in an area where the Onahu, Tonahutu, and Green Mountain trails intersect where we can hike a circle route, with a few steep sections of short duration, or an out and back with time to explore some great views and historic points of interest in the area. This is moose country; with any luck we'll see one and and learn about hiking with wildlife in a way that keeps both it and us safe.

    Tonight, feeling like the accomplished hikers we now are, we'll go out to celebrate and share a final celebration dinner in Grand Lake.

    Day 7
    Today we'll pack up and clean up, sadly bidding farewell to our home for the week and this gorgeous Park. We'll be back at the Denver airport by 12pm and you can plan flights out anytime after 2PM.
  • $1450 (see this page for travel discounts) $300 deposit. There are two single rooms available (which are fairly small and do not have attached bathrooms except for the first night) for an additional $250. You can see our cancellation policies here.

    Trip Includes

    • Two of our experienced hiking guides
    • Six nights lodging in rooms with 2 or 3 people
    • All meals from breakfast Sunday to breakfast the following Friday
    • All transportation once you arrive in Denver CO

    What's not included: Travel to and from the Denver airport, alcoholic beverages, guide gratuities, and travel insurance.
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  • Common Questions

    If you’ve never traveled with us before, you may have some questions about how we do things and what you can expect. We’ve answered the most common ones below and are always available by phone or email to answer any others.

    How do I pay for my trip?

    You can make the deposit by submitting a secure form with your credit card information after filling out the registration form or calling us with your card information. We will send you an invoice for the balance due with your Predeparture Information 4 months before an International trip and 3 months before a domestic trip. You can get a 3% discount for paying the balance by check.

    What if I’m coming alone?

    The majority of women who travel with us come by themselves. If you want to pay a single supplement to guarantee your own room, or if you want to share a room with someone with whom you are traveling, you can indicate that on the registration form. Otherwise we randomly assign roommates and rotate every time we change lodging – it’s a great way to get to know different women on the trip.

    Can you accommodate special diets?

    It depends on both the trip and on your specific needs. With advance notice, we can accommodate most dietary restrictions or allergies on our domestic trips, including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten intolerant. This is not always true on international trips, so please contact us in advance if you have specific dietary needs. We've found that if you are willing to bring some of your own snacks and a couple of items to supplement what is on the menu (peanut butter is always good!) and possibly have less variety than you are used to at home, then dietary needs usually are no obstacle. If in doubt about your specific dietary needs, especially if you have Celiac disease, please give us a call (877/439-4042) or send us an email.

    What if I have to cancel my trip?

    The amount of your refund depends on how close to the trip you cancel and whether it is a domestic or an international trip. You can read our cancellation policies here. We highly recommend travel insurance because cancellations are always unexpected; we will send you additional information about insurance when you register.

    Will my family be able to get in touch with me in case of an emergency?

    Yes, we always send out emergency contact information. On a few trips, because of limitations in communication, the best approach is to give them the office number and let us make the contact.

    What other information will you send me?

    When you register, we’ll send you a Trip Summary that includes the itinerary, travel information, and a packing list. Three to four months before your trip we’ll send you Pre-Departure information that includes detailed information on how to get to the trip starting point, pre- or post-trip lodging suggestions, suggested books and websites etc. Four to six weeks before the trip, we’ll send you a list of everyone who is registered along with their travel plans; and a Pre-Trip letter with the name of your guide(s) and how to contact them if your arrival is delayed as well as any other important updates.

    Do you help with pre-trip and/or post-trip hotel reservations?

    For international trips, if you want to stay at the hotel where we’re staying the first night before the trip, or at the hotel we’re staying the last night after the trip, we’re happy to make a reservation for you. Otherwise our PreDeparture Information will have hotel suggestions. Our travel agent is also happy to help you with this.

    How does the waitlist process work and how often do people cancel?

    If you are interested in a trip that is full, you should sign up here. If there is a cancellation, we send out an email to everyone who has expressed interest and ask them to respond within 24 hours. If more than one person is interested, we give the space to the person who has traveled with us before or in the order of being put on the waitlist. Frequently, even when we have a long wait list, it is the last person to sign up who is still available to go. Whether or not there will be a cancellation is completely unpredictable, although not uncommon.

    What is the role of the guide(s)?

    On every trip, the primary roles of the guide(s) are to ensure your safety and to make sure that, to the extent possible, you are having the trip you want. The guide(s) will also make sure that you know what is happening each day and what you need to bring to be prepared. On domestic trips the guide(s) will also likely be driving, preparing picnic lunches and sometimes other meals, providing skills instruction, and giving you information about the natural history of the area. On any trip where we partner with another company (which is most international trips and some trips that require special equipment), the AGC guide will work with the local guide to make sure that the trip is conducted in accordance with the AGC philosophy.

    What if I have more questions?

    Give us a call (877/439-4042) or send us an email. A Program Manager is assigned to each trip. Once you have registered, she will send you a registration confirmation letter that includes her name and email, and she will be your primary contact. Her job is to make sure that you get all your questions answered and that you feel completely prepared for your adventure.

    What if I'm the oldest/youngest/heaviest/least in shape/only single woman/only mom on the trip?

    You might be. Someone has to be the oldest/youngest/heaviest/least in shape person on the trip. And while the great majority of our trips have both single and non-single women, and moms and non-moms, sometimes they don't. But it doesn't matter if you're "different" in any of those ways - what you will share with everyone else is a desire to experience adventure in your life, and an appreciation of the joy and camaraderie of being in an all women's group.

Trip highlights

  • Gaining a solid foundation in the skills and knowledge needed to hike safely and have fun in the mountains
  • Learning to anticipate and prevent the most common hazards
  • Learning to read a map and use a compass
  • Participating on a variety of mountain hikes
  • Experience a variety of Rocky Mountains ecosystems, from alpine tundra to a network of blended forests, mountain meadows and wildflowers
  • Enjoying the camaraderie of other women who love to hike

Register for this trip today

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