From the national forests to the most renowned ski resorts, Colorado is one of the quintessential destinations for outdoor activity. The beautiful valleys spread below the epic rocky mountaintops are home to 25,000 square miles of forest covered by, roughly, fifty trees and large shrub species native to the state of Colorado area. Living among this lush habitat are an array of mammal, insect, and reptilian species, also unique to Colorado. Not forgetting, also, the hundreds of flowing rivers that carry water throughout every nook and cranny of the state.
Local to the Colorado Springs area-where Serenity Peaks Recovery and Triple Peaks Recovery are located-are many outdoor activities and hikes. Manitou incline, for example, provides a quick climb and escape from the daily work environment. The sites from the top of the Manitou incline are, literally, breathtaking. The beginning of the climb begins at 6500 feet in elevation and, with a 68% grade in certain parts of the climb, the ascent to the top covers 2000 feet in elevation in less than a mile. The record for climbing the Manitou incline is just under 17 minutes set by the tri-athlete Mark Fretta. Climber beware, most people climb to the top in well over 45 minutes and some have, unfortunately, died on the climb due to health complications during the ascent. Remember to keep a steady pace and, also, remember that we are not all tri-athletes like Mr. Fretta!
Presently, Jason Friesema holds both the Clinical Director and a Primary Therapist positions for Serenity Peaks Recovery and is, also, an avid outdoor and mountain climbing guru. He has summited all of the fourteeners (slang for 14,000 foot or higher summits in Colorado) under various weather conditions, he has hiked various trails within the local Springs area, as well as a variety of other hiking endeavors including Mt. Rainier just south of Seattle, Washington. As proof of his journeys he has documented all of the routes he's taken and provided a great source of hiking information from his personal site: hikingintherockies.com. He has even guided members of the Triple Peaks and Serenity Peaks staff to the top of Mt. Yale, Colorado for a staff meeting at 14,197 feet.
Given our access to the immense beauty and rocky mountaintops, Serenity Peaks Recovery and Triple Peaks Recovery have been considering ways to get our young adults out of the city environment and clinical office settings into the serene landscapes described above. Recently, we rented out a large house called the Broome Hut to the northwest of Denver. The Broome hut is located at the top of a steep climb at 11,350′ just a mile and half west of Berthoud Pass. This turned out to be both a highly enjoyable trip and a well-earned escape from the daily grind for our young adult men in recovery.
Accompanying the young men were all of our house managers, our residential manger, and our two primary therapists from Serenity Peaks. Among all the hikes and outdoor activity, we replaced the clinical office setting with a clinical setting among the beautiful scenery provided by the Broome Hut's location. Without their cell phones, the young adults in our recovery program were given the opportunity to be present among staff and nature: A genuine opportunity to be connected with nature and each other.
Overall the experience was completely positive and we will be offering both programs, in the near and distant future, the opportunity to be outdoors more often, weather pending of course. Either way, the goal for Serenity Peaks and Triple Peaks is to not be stagnant and rely solely on the office environment for therapy. The surrounding landscapes provided by Colorado's natural and lush forests provides a beautiful escape from the daily grind and we are fortunate to have these remote locations to help motivate and connect our young adults with the beautiful outdoors while in our care.