Friday, July 10, 2009

Girl's Camp at Heber Valley Camp

For those of us in the LDS Church, especially if we have teenage children, summer is crammed with summer camps, from scout and high adventure camps, to treks, stake camporees, and girl's camps.

This year, the girls in our ward, including my wife and daughter, went to a five-day girl's camp at Heber Valley Camp, on the western fringe of the Uinta Mountains.

This cabin-oriented facility can house up to 5000 campers, is built on 8,000 acres, and sits at around 8,000 feet in elevation (with sections of the camp nearing 10,000 feet.) The camp is broken into mini-sections, each named after a prominent women from the scriptures. Each has kitchens, bathrooms, showers, ample hot water and electricity, bunks (requiring bring-your-own sleeping pads, mattresses, pillows, sleeping bags and blankets), large fire rings, and volleyball courts. They have a lake with canoes, individual and team challenge courses, and plenty of hiking trails.

Each ward is asked to have two men present to assist as necessary. These are typically dads of the girls or the spouses of the young women leaders. I was able to arrange my schedule to spend 24 hours with them, arriving Wednesday morning and returning Thursday morning. My task, other than eating their good food, was orienteering and hiking. I was able to take the 16 girls from our ward on a 5+ mile hike.

In order to do an interesting hike without backtracking or doing figure eights, one needs to go into the higher elevations. That's what we did. We started at camp which sits at 8000 feet and climbed to over 9000 feet. Although a warm day, there was a breeze. Although there is a map, the trails in the higher elevation are poorly marked. The moisture of the winter and spring made for heavy growth of grasses and flowers -- lovely but shrouding the smaller, seldom used trails. Our routes was:

Abish Trail to Legacy Lake, to Hinckley Trail. Up the Broken Arrow Trail to the Reeder Trail. Up the Bald Knoll Ridge Trail to the Bald Knoll Connector and down the Spine Line Ridge and Eagle Loop Trails to the Abish Trail and back to camp. About 5.5 miles. We hike for about 2.5 hours, rested for 2.5 hours for lunch, photos, chats. A hard hike for most. But one they were proud of after it was over.

This is one camp that every LDS girl in Utah should experience. There a full-time senior couples running the camp (they did make me check my handgun despite my conceal carry permit). The Church does things right. Heber Valley Camp is done right.


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