Designed for dedicated backpackers, the Summit to Summit program maximizes trail time for total wilderness immersion. Summit to Summit campers will hit the trail on the day the buses arrive and spend all 15 days of the session out exploring some of the most spectacular country in the region.
The hike will be planned and campers prepped before the session starts, so participants will be able to spend twice the amount of time on the trail compared to the standard Base Camp program. The Summit to Summit experience minimizes contact with base camp and the built environment, for an unadulterated, pristine wilderness experience. The extended time on the trail means that participants will see more of the spectacular mountain lakes, rugged peaks, tumbling streams, and bejeweled meadows that the Trinity Alps, Russian, and Marble Wildernesses have to offer.
The setting and extended time together will also provide a unique opportunity for community building and friendship. Sharing a backcountry challenge builds strong bonds that last well beyond the summer. The group will learn to live cooperatively, working together in harmony with each other and nature. Practicing No Trace wilderness ethics together will provide further opportunity to learn about nature and community.
Pre-summer planning will also give parents an opportunity to get to know their kids’ counselors and get familiar with the experience they’ll be having when they hit the trail. Returning campers will also get a chance to re-kindle bonds with friends and counselors from previous summers.
The nature of each hike will vary depending on the counselors and campers involved. However, the program will always provide ample time for activities such as: off-trail cross country hiking, orientation skill building, survival skill building, fishing, swimming, star-gazing, solos, music and, of course, a layover day here and there.
Campers interested in this program should be in good physical condition with significant previous backpacking experience. These trips require repeated strenuous outdoor physical activity, hiking distances from 5-10 miles a day on average, carrying a multi-day backpack.
Summit to Summit trips have an enrollment maximum of 8 and minimum of 5 campers. Enrollment deadline is May 15th.
Ages 13-17. Previous backpacking experience REQUIRED.
2017 Summit to Summit Leaders
Please note on your application which leaders you would prefer to have if you have a preference!
This will be my fourteenth year at Unalayee and my four year on staff. When I was twelve I went on my first trail program and instantly fell in love. Trail offers a unique opportunity to form a close bond with a small group of people, and I am so excited to lead an even longer 15 day one! The friendships and growth I experienced as a trail camper were very meaningful to me, and I hope to give the same experience to current campers. I love to teach wilderness skills, such as fire starting, knot tying, map and compass reading, or whatever else the campers are interested in. A guitar is a must for me on trail. Ultimately, the campers will get to customize the experience, but there is guaranteed to be a lot of hiking, a lot of fun, and adventure galore!
This year will be my second year on staff, but I have been immersed in the Camp Unalayee community for longer than I can remember. Unalayee was incredibly important to me as a camper because it helped me grow as a person and it built in me a love of the outdoors. Because of its importance in my life, my goal in co-leading a summit to summit is to help facilitate an outdoor experience which can be as useful for other campers as it was for myself. I hope to do this by creating space for campers to share stories and learn outdoor skills.
Last year was my first year on staff at Unalayee and I am so excited to keep exploring the Trinities and beyond. I fell in love with backpacking in Nepal and since then have been all over California with my trusty backpack. When I’m not adventuring around the back country I teach survival skills, wild edibles, wild crafting, and other outdoor adventures at the Riekes Nature Awareness program. I’m stoked on what my campers are stoked on and love letting them to lead the way. They can count on me to bring crazy stories – mostly from my dreams, epic games, enthusiasm about epic birds and flowers, and telling the time by the sun.
This summer will be my third at Unalayee and I am excited to rejoin the wonderful camp community and get back on mountain time! This community has been a pillar of empowerment and personal growth in my life and I am grateful for the opportunity to share and encourage the Unalayee values with the campers. While rummaging through my backpack, I usually come across anything from a guitar to a sketchpad, poetry and field guides, watercolors and games of all sorts. I enjoy letting campers lead their own experience on the trail, but be forewarned– there will be laughs, crafts, tasty snacks and sweaty backs with a big splash in a lake or two!