Colorado Mountain Club Blog

Another day on the trail

Summer Camp for Adults

Ptarmigan Lake Collegiate Hike | In State Outing 2013

Ptarmigan Lake Collegiate Hike | In State Outing 2013

Ahh, summer is here!  I have such fond memories of summertime and many of them include my weeks at camp: Hiking trails and peaks, sharing great food with fellow campers, singing and telling stories around the campfire.  These are all part of a very long tradition in the CMC, to be continued this year at Sylvan Lake State Park, August 10-15.  It’s not too late to sign-up at

Since CMC’s beginning in 1912, our “summer camp” has been called a variety of names, including the Annual Outing, the Summer Outing, and now the In-State Outing, or ISO.  No matter the name, spending a week in the mountains with great food, CMC friends, and hiking opportunities can’t be beat.

Outings have been continually offered, even during the two World Wars. In 1919 an identified author wrote in the Trail & Timberline, “And then, before anyone was ready to go, the day came to break camp. And as we trudged the seven miles to the railroad, down, down from our wonderful camp in the clouds, back to the world and the war, is it any wonder we felt a tightening in the throat when we recalled that last camp-fire and could hear again Mrs. Harvey’s clear voice singing “Taps.”  We know we are fortunate to have had these few days of perfect rest and rejoice that we can carry home in our hearts some of the peace we have enjoyed…stand for a moment in silent gratitude for Our Country.”

A little trail break | In State Outing 2013

A little trail break | In State Outing 2013

In addition to hikes and climbs, a long standing outing tradition is evening entertainment. The Trail & Timberline account of the 1919 outing near Long Lake, (now in Indian Peaks Wilderness Area) includes, “After a glorious tramp to mountain top, lake or glacier and a supper which you declare to the best you have ever eaten, you wander off to the camp-fire site where you find Mr. Brooks lighting the logs. The warmth and beauty of the fire make you delightfully comfortable, and in the quiet content you watch the sun sinking behind Apache, tinting sky and mountain peaks. Can you imagine a better prelude or stage for an entertainment?”

Perhaps the best part of the In-State Outings is the people who participate. The 1979 ISO at Yankee Boy Basin was directed by Ardis Rohwer. That year, first time camper Maja Apelman wrote a detailed description of her experiences in the Trail & Timberline. At the end of her essay, she wondered, “What had made (the week) so special?  “Everyone there loved the mountains. There was a base which you could take for granted. And this mountain existence seemed to bring out the best in people—after all life was incredibly simple.”

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