August 4th-6th, 2021
Location: Silverton, CO area
Colorado is a land full of towering mountains, colorful wildflowers, jaw-dropping sunrises and sunsets, and pristine alpine lakes. There’s no better place to immerse yourself amongst all of these things than the rugged and scenic mountains of southwest Colorado! Summer in southwest Colorado is something that should be experienced by everyone at least once in their life!
Join Mandy and Kendrick on a guided backpacking, photography, and camping trip to some of Colorado’s most iconic alpine lakes. During three-days and two-nights we’ll journey to the thin air over 12,000 feet elevation; hiking 10-15 miles and gaining about 4,000 vertical feet, total. This trip isn’t for the faint of heart, but your efforts will be rewarded with views most people only dream about!
Our route will take us to several of the most famous alpine lakes in Colorado. The surrounding 13,000’ peaks and sprawling fields of wildflowers combine with the almost unbelievable blue water of the lakes to create the feeling of being in a fairytale land. You might even have to pinch yourself just to make sure you’re not dreaming…
It’s hard not to be inspired and awestruck by the rugged beauty of southwest Colorado. Mandy and Kendrick are so drawn to the area that after a few years of teaching photography workshops they just couldn’t pass on the opportunity to take people deeper into these mountains. Hiking to over 12,000’ elevation will test your limits and is only intended for those in good physical condition. On this trip we will provide more services than your typical backpacking and camping experience. Our goal is to take people to a place they might not be able to reach on their own and share our knowledge of backpacking, photography, hiking, and camping.
- Backpacking and camping services
- Photography instruction
- Pre-trip review of each individual’s backpack and all the gear they intend to bring.
- Two nights of backcountry camping in beautiful southwest Colorado
- All meals while backpacking
- We will set up and take down camp, but will take time to teach anyone how to do this, if interested
- We will cook all meals
- One (well, maybe more than one) text to family/friends from our campsite at 12,300’ via our Garmin inReach satellite communication device
- 1-2 professional photos of each participant taken by Mandy or Kendrick
- Ultralight two-person tent
- Ultralight and compressible down sleeping bag—rated to 20 degrees
- Inflatable sleeping pad
- Inflatable pillow
- Osprey backpack
- Trekking poles
- Dinnerware kit (Plate, bowl, coffee mug, long-handled spork)
- Portering (if desired) of sleeping gear. Including: tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, pillow.
Note: If a participant insists on using their own gear and having it portered we reserve the right to refuse carrying it based on size and weight. Our gear is REALLY lightweight and packs down small, which allows us to offer portering services.
WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED:
- Transportation to/from the trailhead where we begin our hike
- Accommodation in/near the Silverton, Colorado area before/after workshop
- Any food/drinks purchased before/after our hike (even if we meet as a group for these meals)
- Portering services of all non-camping gear (personal clothing items, water, snacks, miscellaneous gear, etc.)
- Personal snacks, drinks, and preferred foods during the workshop. If you have any special food/drink preferences then bring those items for yourself.
ABOUT YOUR GUIDES:
Mandy Lea has certifications in Basic First Aid and Adult CPR. She will be the lead photography instructor for our group and will assist with backpacking guiding. She grew up in Colorado and has been camping her whole life, which makes her a wealth of camping and outdoor knowledge, in addition to being a great photography instructor.
Kendrick Callaway has completed certifications as a Wilderness First Responder, Adult/Child CPR, and using an Epinephrine auto-injector. Kendrick will serve as the lead backpacking guide for the group and will assist with photography instruction. He’s been making annual trips to the San Juan region since 2012 and has run/hiked extensively in the area.
Together, Mandy and Kendrick have guided seven backpacking workshops in Grand Canyon National Park and hope to continue expanding their offering of guided backpacking trips across the country. They’ve also led numerous photography workshops over the last four years. This trip is a dream come true for them—combining a photography workshop with a multi-day backpacking and camping trip!
Group Size Limit – 6 Note: The group size is being limited to six participants to ensure an experience where everyone gets to know each other.
OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER:
Physical Fitness: This is NOT one of our usual photography workshops! This is a strenuous hiking experience with three nights of tent camping at 12,300 feet elevation. Over the course of this workshop, we’ll hike between 10-15 miles and gain roughly 4,000 vertical feet (and descent 4,000 feet, too). Our hike up will be about four miles gaining 2,700 feet. Our hike down will be the same, but with a descent. Our other days will include option day hikes up to a few miles. Please be in decent shape and train accordingly for this adventure!
Altitude: We will be doing strenuous hiking at elevations between approximately 10,000-13,000 feet during this trip. Everyone’s body reacts differently to the effects of elevation. Some people have no problems at all, while others struggle. The most common symptoms of altitude sickness are headaches, tiredness, nausea, dizziness, and shortness of breath. There are over-the-counter medicines to help alleviate these symptoms. We will be sleeping at 12,300’ elevation. It is HIGHLY recommended to arrive at least a few days early to begin acclimation.
Weather: Average temperatures in the Silverton, Colorado area are low-70’s for the highs and high-30’s for the lows. At 12,000 feet elevation the averages will be more like highs around the low-60’s and lows around the low-30’s. We will likely experience both the cold AND hot ends of the temperature spectrum. It is strongly recommended to bring warm gear (gloves, hats, warm coats, water/windproof jackets, warm pants, base layer pants, etc.) and dress in layers if you are not used to mountain weather. The sun is also much stronger at higher elevations than most people are used to experiencing—WEAR SUNSCREEN!
Transportation: Participants will be responsible for their own transportation to the Silverton, Colorado area where we’ll initially meet and to the trailhead where we’ll begin our hike.
If you’re flying, Denver International Airport (Denver, Colorado) is the closest major airport, but it’s 6 hours 45 minutes away from Silverton. It’s probably the safest bet for having a flight that arrives on time and doesn’t get cancelled.
The Colorado towns of Durango (Durango-La Plata County Airport) and Montrose (Montrose Regional Airport) both have regional airports and are about 1.5 hours away from Silverton. Also in Colorado, Grand Junction (Grand Junction Regional Airport) is about 2 hours 45 minutes away. These airports have limited flight offerings.
Other airport options include Albuquerque International Sunport (4 hours 45 minutes away) and Santa Fe Regional Airport (5 hours away), both in New Mexico. Again, these small airports will have limited flight offerings.
Insurance (Travel and Search & Rescue/Medical Evacuation): Travel insurance and/or refundable tickets are highly encouraged as weather, government shutdowns, or other factors may cause last minute changes or cancellations to any session of this workshop. Mandy Lea Photo and its representatives will not be held responsible for any losses incurred as a result taking a workshop or cancellation of a workshop. Search and Rescue/Medical Evacuation insurance is another good thing to consider. View our general cancellation policy here.
Recommended Accommodations: Lodging reservations in/near Silverton, Colorado both before and after the hiking/camping portion of this trip are the responsibility of each attendee.
We recommend arriving early the day before our hiking departure. This will allow us to meet with each participant to review their backpacks and gear, as well as have a meet & greet and possible dinner with the entire group. We also recommend staying in the area on the night we complete our hike.
More information on accommodations will be available in the coming months.
For our Backpacking workshops, we’re giving the option of paying in total or paying a non-refundable deposit, which will secure your spot and ensure it doesn’t get sold to someone else. If you pay the full amount then your work is done! If you choose to pay the non-refundable deposit then here’s what you need to know…
Non-refundable deposit of $300 is required to reserve your spot.
Remaining balance ($599) is due approximately 60 days before start of workshop
If you must cancel OR full payment is not received by the deadline then the $300 deposit will be forfeited. If the workshop must be cancelled the deposits will be refunded less any PayPal fees or other expenses than cannot be recovered.
Our refund policy for this excursion is different from our photography workshops. All student fees include a non-refundable $300 deposit. If you cancel before the final payment date for your session then you will receive a full refund less the non-refundable deposit. If you cancel after the final payment date for your session then you forfeit the total amount of $899 (we will refund any fees paid for portering or gear rentals) unless we can find a replacement. If we can find a replacement then you will receive a full refund less the non-refundable $300 deposit.
Kendrick Callaway is Wilderness First Responder, Adult/Child CPR, AED & Airway Management, and Epinephrine Auto-Injector certified
Mandy Lea is Basic First Aid and Adult CPR certified