Rick and Dorlee Freeman and their son, Luke, of Goessel, have been to Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp near Divide, Colo., for the past three years. This year it was Luke’s turn to experience a mountaintop experience on his own as part of a fourth- and fifth-grade camp that started Sunday. Just one problem stood in the way — fire.
“We’ve been keeping posted by e-mails and watching the camp website,” Dorlee Freeman said. “The camp is 10 miles west of the fire line that is moving east, so we should be OK.”
Life at camp seems to be continuing as usual, with blue skies and typical camping activities underway despite the nearby Waldo Canyon fire. Perhaps the biggest hazard for those at the camp was getting there. Several main highways through the area remain closed due to fire hazard.
“Highway 24 remains closed, and that has always been the main way in from our direction,” Freeman said. “We had to allow some extra time to go the alternate routes put out by camp directors.”
Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp is on the west side of Pikes Peak. The Waldo Canyon fire, which made national news this past week, is on the east side of the mountain, straight west of Colorado Springs, Colo.
Other than taking a northern route to the camp, the Freeman’s do not expect to have trouble navigating the area because of fire.
“We kind of know our way around there,” Freeman said. “It does add an extra element of excitement, but we are expecting nice cool weather. The forecast for Monday was 51 degrees, and when we have been to the camp before, it rains almost every afternoon at that elevation.”
According to information from the U.S. Forest Service, the Waldo Canyon fire burned 16,750 acres as of Friday and remains only 25 percent contained. Estimated containment date is July 16.