Nature of a Wilderness Trip
Who will be leading the trips?
All trips will be led by two counselors with extensive experience in backpacking and outdoor living skills, and at least one will be certified in wilderness first response (WFR). Female guides will be present on trips with female campers and vice versa.
What are they going to do in the evenings?
The magic of the Augustan spirit will be alive at nights as well. In addition to making camp and prepping food (both large endeavors), there will also be Evening Embers chats, special wake-ups, and activities/games. Camper engagement is a high priority, and boredom will have no seat at the table.
How far away are they from emergency care?
Although distance from professional medical care will depend on the trip location and on the stage, at least one counselor leading the trips will be certified as a Wilderness First Responder and thus qualified to provide emergency care to most routine back-country injuries. In the case of a more serious injury or illness, they will have the option to call for help via satellite phone. The amount of time they are away from emergency medical services fluctuates during each trip depending on location and situation.
What kind of planned activities are involved with the trip?
It depends on the trip. All involve hiking, most will include optional swimming at some point, one includes climbing and another one offers an opportunity for a “solo” adventure in which campers build a personal shelter and spend a set amount of time alone with the wilderness. Team endeavors to orienteer and read maps, make and break camp, and cook together are also included. Evening Embers and Special Wake-Ups will happen in the evenings.
What kind of outdoor skills will my camper be learning?
Map and compass skills, shelter creation, outdoor cooking, Leave No Trace practices, safe waste disposal, meal planning and packing, and more.
At camp there is a lot of choice about which activities you want to do. Will backpacking campers be forced to do activities that they don’t want to? Will they be forced to write in a journal, for example?
It is far outside the realm of the Augustan philosophy to force any camper into an activity that they are aversive to. However, we do use our best skills to encourage, scaffold, support and facilitate participation in activities when we believe there is something worthwhile for the camper to gain.
Meals, Sleep, and Health
How will they get food or water? –will they be able to pack that much food in?
Packing for a backpacking trip is an art and our guides are very skilled. Weight is distributed according to the size and ability of each camper. There will be ample food brought along, and equipment for filtering and purifying water. The packs will potentially be 25-40 lbs a piece, and the guides will be prepared to take on extra weight in the event of injury or illness.
Will they be bringing stoves to cook on?
Sometimes. Camp stoves are light, efficient and use only small amounts of natural gas fuel. However, when campfires are allowed in certain areas, they may be used for cooking and activities. Throughout the hikes, campers and counselors alike will be applying Leave No Trace principles.
Will my camper get snacks? How will food be stored to be safe from wildlife?
Healthy snacks are an integral part of health and energy management, and will be a daily staple. Storage during the night involves either a bear-proof container (bear can) or hanging our food from a tree (bear hang), far away from where campers and staff are sleeping.
Where will they be sleeping at night while they’re camping?
The groups will mostly sleep under the stars. For the unlikely case of rain, a tarp will be brought along to create shelter.
What about Lazy Dog? Does my camper still need store money?
As those who are part of our Augusta family know, Lazy Dog ice cream is a camper favorite. While they are away on their wilderness trip an ice cream will be reserved for them in anticipation of their return. It’s certainly a treat to look forward to when we get back to camp!
My child is a picky eater. Will this be a problem?
Campers without legitimate personal or medical dietary constraints MUST be able to eat a regular and varied diet. If this is a serious problem, then attending the trips may be something to reconsider.
My camper has specific food requirements (gluten free, allergies, vegan, vegetarian, etc.). Will this be a problem on the trips?
With advanced notification, we can easily make reasonable accommodations for this just as we would at regular camp.
My camper needs medications – who will be responsible for those?
The trip leader with a WFR certification will handle this.
What kind of food will they be eating? Is it balanced nutritionally?
Most definitely. We strive to provide tasty and nutritional options that give us plenty of energy with bases including pasta, grains, oats, legumes, etc. It will be planned in advance and prepared by the campers and counselors conjunctively.
If my camper is homesick, do they have the option of returning to camp?
Overcoming adversity is one of the many benefits of spending time in the backcountry, and one of the primary roles of the counselors is to provide mental, emotional and physical support for the campers. As returning to camp mid-trip would affect all campers and staff involved, this option is available only in the case of a serious injury, serious illness and severe weather conditions.
My camper wants to know how they will be able to use the bathroom?
We make every effort to ensure that our campers feel comfortable doing their business in the backcountry. We teach Leave No Trace principles to minimize our impact on the beautiful places we travel through. This may at times involve walking a short distance away or may involve a longer hike and a shovel. Rugged, but one learns to appreciate and get used to the roots of their humanity. It’s a growing experience.
My camper is a girl, what if she gets her period while out on the trip?
If she is already on a regular cycle, then carrying supplies for this is wise. If she is not but it is possible to occur for the first time, the female staff on the trip will provide supplies and guidance if necessary. If this is a big concern for your daughter, please call and speak to us.
If my camper does the wilderness trip this year, will they be considered a returning camper next year?
What’s the minimum number of campers for a single trip?
What’s the maximum number of campers for a single trip?
How old are the campers on the trips?
12-17 years old
Are the trips co-ed?
YES. Options for all-girls or all-boys trips may be available, contact us to find out!
What if my camper is the only one of their age/gender on the trip?
There will always be support from a staff member guide of the same gender. We organize trips to include campers of similar age.
Since this is co-ed, where will my camper change?
Privacy can be created via tarp shelters or by seeking it in the woods. Respect for this privacy is a core value of team functionality on trips like these.
Can I get tuition insurance for wilderness trips as well?
Yes. Contact us to find out more.
In what circumstances would a trip be canceled or end early?
(i.e. drop outs/weather) Drop outs to less than 4 campers, extreme weather conditions (heat, cold, rain), serious injury and/or illness.
Will there be more than one trip happening at the same time? If there are 30 campers that want the same trip in the same session, will they be split into smaller groups?
Trip dates and scheduling reflect interest. Multiple trips can be run each week and will be limited by our number of qualified staff members.
What if my camper is recovering from an illness the week before? Normally at camp, they could attend once the doctor says they are ok, so they could arrive a day or two late. Is this possible with the wilderness trips? If not, can I send them to the regular camp session instead and pay the difference?
If in the event that a unique circumstance such as this unfolds, we will discuss the best options with you personally and decide on the best course of action together. Adjustments can sometimes be made, but will be reviewed on a case by case basis.
How will my camper arrive and depart camp?
Campers can be dropped off and picked up by personal vehicle. Additionally, a bus can transport both wilderness and main camp campers to and from the Bay Area at the start and end of main camp sessions. These sessions will not always line up with wilderness sessions. Ask us when bus transport is available!
Risk and Safety
What is the approach to risk management?
Please refer to our comprehensive philosophy on risk that our wilderness trip team is all trained with. Risk management is always, always important to consider on wilderness trips. Our staff has Wilderness First Responder training, and has been through a specialized Trip Leader Training through our risk philosophy at Camp Augusta. Please contact us with any specific questions about risk on the trail, and we’ll be so happy to chat.
Does my camper need to prepare physically for their trip?
The short answer is sort of. The long answer is that in order for all of our wilderness trip campers to have a healthy and safe experience, we would prefer that they are in good cardiovascular condition. Our staff also prefer that leading into the trip (or months before, of course) your camper participates in a cardiovascular workout at least three times a week for one hour. Examples may include biking, cross-country skiing, running, soccer, swimming, etc.
Is there cell phone service in the event of an emergency?
A satellite phone will be brought for the event of an emergency.
What kind of training has the trip leader had in this kind of activity?
Trip leaders carry a range of certifications depending on which trips they are leading. Climbing guides carry an AMGA (American Mountain Guide Association) and others may carry a WFR (Wilderness First Responder). Our leaders are experienced, seasoned backpackers with years of trips under their belts.
What if something happens in the family, how will you contact my child if they need to know something?
The trip leaders will have check in points (depending on trip length) via a satellite phone. If it is a very serious issue that your camper MUST know about, the trip leaders can be notified this way.
What if a camper is misbehaving? What’s the process there? Do they have to stay with the group for the rest of the trip?
Behavior management is one of our many specialties—all standard success counseling methods will be in effect via the standard training that all of our staff receives. We make every counseling effort to ensure that our trips run according to plan at the appropriate pace.
What happens if a child is hurt or sick (e.g. sprained ankle or the flu) and can’t continue? How does that affect that child and how does it affect the rest of the backpacking campers?
WFR training includes extensive training in how to respond to minor injuries of illnesses such as these. For serious complications, the group has a satellite phone and back up plans for early return.
Will the kids ever be on their own? Even to gather wood? Should I be concerned about my teen attending with a boy/girl that s/he likes?
On some trips there is the option of a solo adventure, however during that time the camper will have planned projects to complete, letters to read and a journal to write in. Additionally, they will be checked on very frequently by the trip leaders to ensure that all is well. For the rest of the trip, supervision and proximity by leaders will be in effect nearly 100% of the time save instances in which a camper must have personal privacy.
What kind of insurance does Camp Augusta have for these trips?
Medical, emergency rescue and accident insurance are standard.
Will the counselor(s) have experience working with teens?
Yes, at the same level that all of our trained counselors have.
What is the notification and evacuation plan should they be in a region with a forest fire?
If the region was in the midst of a forest fire, then the trip would not run. If a fire broke out while the trip was already active, then the leaders would be notified via their satellite phone and would revert to a planned, alternate exit route and evacuate as soon as possible.
Will they be able to swim?
Some trips involve optional swimming depending on timing, water quality, interest and ability.
Do they need to provide their own backpacks?
No, we will provide them. If a camper has his/her own equipment, however, they are certainly allowed to use it.
How much will all the equipment they need to purchase for the trip cost approximately?
The main costs are for clothes, a strong fitted pair of hiking boots, and 2 water bottles. Most campers will already have these. If you need help finding good boots, we can recommend places and brands. Remember to wear them EARLY and break them in!!