4 main elements of AWE
AWE will include overnight backpacking trips into the Rocky Mountains. Expect to hike an average of 8-10 miles a day on these trips that will take you to some of the more secluded and beautiful locations.
The Estes Valley is know for its world class climbing and is home to some of the world’s greatest climbers. Learn to belay and climb in one of our climbing gardens, such as Jurassic Park.
An adventure in Colorado wouldn’t be complete without a white water rafting trip down one of its rivers. Trips may be held on Clear Creek or the Arkansas Rivers, depending on water conditions.
As the mountains and alpine flowers raise their arms in praise to the LORD, we will raise our voices and celebrate who He is and what He is doing as we journey through the wilderness.
We will have daily lectures, both in the backcountry and at Ravencrest Chalet. We will cover pertinent topics and books of the Bible with excellent teachers to engage with you in God’s Word. Most of the teaching will be lecture style, but some of the most valuable lessons will be those you learn through your own experience.
Wilderness is one of the greatest teachers, as the Creator uses His creation’s silence, magnitude, harshness to humble us and speak to our heart in a way that human words never could.
Part of the Ascension Wilderness Experience will be a structured time of solitude to reflect on your life, experiences, and what the LORD is speaking to you as you sit in silence with Him.
Throughout Scripture, God emphasizes the beauty and importance of resting with purpose. We want to structure your time to highlight the importance of rest as we play hard throughout the week.
Whether in structured time or as you walk along the trail, there will be a plethora of time to reflect upon your life, your purpose, and who God is calling you to be.
During AWE, you will be divided up into smaller groups with an instructor leading you through the program. You will get to hike together, cook together, eat together, camp together, and enjoy the journey together as you process through the teachings and activities together.
You will be met with challenges throughout the program, whether it be physical, the weather, or your team members. The nature of the program will create opportunities for you to confront and overcome the challenges you are faced with.
Whether it’s giving directions, listening to others in your team, making decisions together, good communication is key. Being in a community, it is essential to learn how to communicate well and is an integral part of AWE.
AWE Course Objectives
During your three-week experience, our hope is that you encounter Jesus through the Scriptures, in your community, and in creation. During your journey with us, there will be backpacking trips in the wilderness, Bible studies that dive into relevant topics, climbing, rafting, and challenging team building activities. All parts of the program are designed to point us to Jesus, and to challenge each one of us to become more fully human, as we learn to reflect his image.
Learn new skills
You will be equipped with the necessary skills to thrive in the backcountry. This will include: Basic map and compass skills, ‘Leave No Trace’ principles, efficient backcountry travel, camping and cooking, team building and leadership skills.
All participants will be placed within a team with an instructor. In this team, you will hike, camp, climb, cook, laugh, tell stories, sleep and adventure together. Part of the experience is learning to live out what you are learning within a community through debrief times, team challenges, and other experiences.
Experience the Mountains
Ravencrest Chalet will be basecamp for the duration of the Ascension Wilderness Experience. Our course has a maximum capacity of 17 participants, and therefore will allow a personal, intimate experience with your fellow team members in close community. Part of our time will be spent in the backcountry, but when we are at basecamp, you will have shared dorm-style accommodations.
A ten-minute drive from Ravencrest is Estes Park – a cozy, mountain town full of opportunity to shop, get sweets from the many ice cream and candy shops, go fishing, or play mini golf.
"It was an amazing time to let God challenge me and show me who I really am, and what I believe and not just what others expect me to believe. I am so happy I went and would encourage others to learn more about God and themselves through one of the most beautiful landscapes on earth."
"I've definetly grown in many ways from my experiences on AWE, but the main thing would be deepening my relationship with Christ."
"I learned how to rest on AWE, rest in a spiritual sense. Even though we were constantly doing things, hiking and just being together in community, I experienced rest because we were in God's creation and my time in the Word and being detached from the world resulted in a spiritual rest - a rest that we don't experience a lot of the times."
Participants must be at least 18 years old, of good health and willing to be challenged in body, soul, and spirit. Prior mountaineering, backpacking, or camping experience is not required for participants. However, it is important for participants to be in good physical health and condition, as we will be hiking 8-10 miles with 30-40lbs packs during our backpacking trips.
You will be expected to bring with you the following list of gear to participate in AWE:
- Large backpack (approx. 50 – 60 liters, padded hip-belt, with rainproof cover that fits over entire pack)
- If available: small backpack (day pack, approx. 25 – 30 liters)
- Sleeping bag (comfort zone 0°C and less)
- Foam or air insulated sleeping pad (light weight)
- Head lamp or small flashlight with extra batteries
- Pocket knife (small)
- Cup and bowl (plastic or aluminum), spoon
- Water bottle or Camelback (2 liter minimum)
- English Bible (small, translation, not paraphrase), Notebook and Writing Materials
- Sunglasses (100% UV rating recommended) and sunscreen
- Band-Aids and moleskin
- Personal toiletries
- Any required personal medication
- A camera is recommended (note that mobile phones are not permitted while we are on tour and so can’t be used as your camera)
- Hiking boots (these must have strong ankle support and VibramTM or equivalent soles.
Note: Boots need to cover and support your ankle (over the ankle boot) “Day Hikers” or Hi TecsTM are not adequate. Boots may be purchased here ($120 upwards). If you are bringing boots, you should wear them before you come to “break them in” as well as your feet. Also, bring along waterproofing agent (e.g. SnosealTM for leather and sprays for Gore-Tex material).
- Waterproof rainwear (jacket, cap or hood, pants)
Note: Breathable fabric is preferable. Goretex or similar products are great but not a necessity.
- Long underwear (it can snow in July!)
- Multiple Pairs of Socks (including wool socks)
- Swimsuit – one piece for ladies
- T-shirts (a few of fast drying materials i.e. wool or nylon)
- Long-sleeved shirts
- Hiking pants (not jeans)
- Hat (for sun protection)
- Warm mid-layer sweater (preferably fleece)
- Wool or fleece mittens or gloves
- Warm beanie (eg. wool or fleece)
- Running shoes
- Clothing for various activities at Ravencrest (Church Services and special events, lectures, practical work, recreation)
Note: Participants should maintain a general neatness in appearance. We also recommend easy care clothes that may be put in a dryer. Label your clothes for easier identification.
- Personal climbing equipment
- Portable musical instruments
- A couple of heavy-duty garbage bags and a 1/2 dozen large Zip Loc™ freezer bags – excellent for watertight packing