WOMEN’S YOGA + HIKING RETREATS IN TWIN LAKES, COLORADO
SESSION 2: SEP. 11 – 15, 2019
Room With a View Spend four nights at the Wolf Den, located at the base of Colorado’s tallest peak, Mt. Elbert. The home offers unparalleled views of Twin Lakes and the surrounding Rocky Mountains. View more photos of the house.
Daily Yoga Instruction + Meditation Instructors Krystle Sangillo and Erin Thomas will lead energizing vinyasa flow complemented with small-group sessions focused on building your personal strength and awareness. Guided meditation will help you unwind from the rush of daily life and connect with the beautiful natural setting.
Scenic Alpine Hikes Led by Wolf Den host Gretchen Sparling, the group will explore several hiking destinations with vibrant fall foliage, including the famous Interlaken Resort and a challenging trek to the top of Colorado’s tallest peak, Mt. Elbert (14,433 ft.). Choose to participate in the group hikes or enjoy extra relaxation time at the Wolf Den.
Recovery Massage & Relaxation During the four-day retreat, guests will enjoy a full day of relaxation, the highlight of which will be a hour-long recovery massage.
Delicious Meals & Wine Included with registration, guests will fuel body and mind with healthy breakfasts, lunches and dinners at the Wolf Den.
For those traveling from out of state, Denver International Airport is recommended for air travel. Gretchen will help coordinate rental cars among guests. The drive from Denver is approximately a 2.5-hour trip.
While the Session 1 retreat is designed for beginners, the Session 2 retreat offers more physical challenge. That said, you can still be new to yoga or hiking — just be prepared to dig a little deeper during the three active days. A fourth relaxation day has been added to Session 2.
Yoga instruction will build upon basic poses with optional challenges. The hiking route up Mt. Elbert will be challenging, but the pace will be relaxed. No person will be left behind. If you have a specific concern or question about fitness levels, please ask Gretchen.
The Wolf Den sits at 9,475 ft. elevation. Many guests will be traveling from lower elevations, and that means we will allow our bodies to acclimate the first day or so. Drinking lots of fluids prior to travel and during your trip, as well as getting plenty of fresh air helps. That said, don’t be surprised if rolling up into Mountain Pose makes you a little dizzy the first few times.
The hike up to Mt. Elbert’s summit will bring even more altitude gain; be prepared to feel out of breath and perhaps even a little light headed during the hike as we approach the summit. If you have a question about tolerating higher altitudes, please ask Gretchen.
Payments and Cancellations
Fifty percent of the total fee is due to hold your spot. The remaining balance is due 30 days before the first day of the retreat. PayPal is preferred, but checks will also be accepted.
Deposit will be refunded in full for cancellations made 30 days prior to the first day of the retreat. For any cancelation made 29 days (or fewer) before retreat, 50 percent of total reservation is refunded.
A love for yoga and the outdoors makes new friendships blossom with ease. Please consider joining us even if you’re traveling solo; we welcome new friends and old!
What to Bring
Travel with clothing you can move in, including yoga clothes for daily practice. Yoga mats are provided. Hiking gear for this session is described below in “Hiking Mt. Elbert” section. These gear items are required if you wish to join the group hiking Elbert.
SAVE THE DATES: Wednesday, Sep. 11 through Sunday, Sep. 15, 2019. Arrive by 5 p.m. Wednesday, and depart after 12 p.m. Sunday.
OVERVIEW: A 4-day retreat geared for those who seek more challenging yoga practice and a hike up a 14er, Colorado’s tallest peak, Mt. Elbert (14,433). Guests will celebrate their accomplishments with a full day of relaxation, including a one-hour recovery massage.
REGISTRATION: $1,000 for a shared-occupancy room. Registration includes all meals and beverages. Fifty percent of deposit due at registration; remaining 50 percent due 15 days before retreat. Sales and lodging tax included at checkout. Register now.
VIEW SESSION 1, Sep. 5 – 8, 2019, if you are seeking a more beginner-friendly experience with gentle yoga practice and less challenging hiking routes.
On the first retreat day (Thursday), Krystle and Erin will help the group kick off the weekend with invigorating yoga followed by intention-setting outdoor meditation. After lunch, we will acclimate our lungs and legs to the elevation of Twin Lakes with a scenic 4-mile hike to the Interlaken Hotel, an 1800s resort on the south side of Twin Lakes. That evening, Gretchen will review Mt. Elbert trek route planning, hydration, and preparation before guests retire for the night.
The second day (Friday) will start very early — approximately 5 a.m. at the trailhead — and guests will begin the ~10-mile roundtrip journey to the summit of Mt. Elbert (14,433 ft.). Please see below segment about what to expect when hiking Mt. Elbert. The group will tackle the hike together, taking anywhere from ~6-8 hours. Once we return to the house, guests can relax with recovery stretching and time spent in the hot tub. The hike is weather permitting, and may be moved to Saturday.
The third day (Saturday) brings a full day of relaxation for guests, including a 1-hour recovery massage and more. This day will be a backup weather day for the hike up Mt. Elbert, if needed. Build your day’s schedule by selecting as many (or as few) yoga and/or meditation small-group sessions. (Or read a book or take a nap! Whatever you wish.) Instructors Krystle and Erin will offer a diverse menu of activities to help improve and grow your personal yoga practice in an intimate small-group environment. Saturday evening, guests will enjoy an outdoor celebration dinner followed by s’mores at the fire pit.
The fourth (and final) day will include one last energizing flow practice followed by reflective meditation to help guests gather up a last bit of peace and quiet before departures begin after 12 p.m.
Meet the Hosts
Krystle teaches yoga at Texas-based Uptown Yoga in Dallas and The Colony. Her yoga journey began in 2011 when she was searching for something to keep her grounded while dealing with heavy challenges in her personal life. Over time, she became stronger and more balanced – physically, emotionally and mentally. Her practice is a daily reminder of the freedom that comes with acceptance of self and appreciation of the beauty of the present moment. Her goal is to help students find that same clarity on their mats. Krystle received her 200-hour certification in 2015. When she’s not practicing or teaching yoga, Krystle is living a life she loves with her beautiful young daughter, and working from home as a freelance copywriter. Get to know Krystle on Instagram @yoginikrystle.
Erin teaches yoga in Marion, Iowa, where she owns the mindful nest. She started practicing yoga several years ago for cross training, but her practice quickly developed into so much more. Yoga has done so much for her mind, body and soul that it became Erin’s passion to share it with others. She completed her 200 hour Power Yoga Teacher Training in 2017, and has been reaping the positive vibes ever since. Expect Erin’s adventurous spirit to shows up as she helps guide students to move, breathe, and sweat. When she’s not teaching yoga, you can find Erin photographing families, couples and weddings as half of the husband-wife duo behind thomas + co. Get to know Erin on Instagram @themindfulnestyoga.
Wolf Den Host and Hike Leader
Gretchen owns the Wolf Den, where she hosts guests for family vacations and events such as reunions, retreats and weddings. She’s hiked the Central Colorado area for 10+ years, summiting seven 14’ers, including Mt. Elbert. She’s also a big fan of yoga, and began practicing yoga to help balance her running. The yoga gathering at the Wolf Den is her favorite celebrations of friendship and the things she loves most: mountains, yoga and hiking!
Hiking Mt. Elbert
On the hike up Mt. Elbert, expect breathtaking views, rocky and steep trails, and memories that will last you a lifetime. Image: Last year’s retreat guests climbed Lost Man Pass.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE an expert hiker or professional athlete to summit Colorado’s tallest peak, Mt. Elbert. The hike is suitable for those who wish to challenge themselves with a beginner-friendly climb. Mt. Elbert is considered one of the easiest 14ers in the area (Class 1). However, the distance, about 10 miles, and elevation gain will test your endurance and attitude.
In a nutshell, hiking Mt. Elbert is a long, slow, steep grind. Once on top, you’ll enjoy some of the most beautiful views of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. Who needs a souvenir when you can take home bragging rights that you climbed the tallest mountain in Colorado?
Build Your Endurance: Several months before the retreat, build your endurance with three or more walks/runs that gradually increase to an hour or more each session. This can be on a treadmill, sidewalk or trail. Your exercise should be of moderate intensity, focused on building your endurance, versus speed. Consider finding a hill in your area and walking hill repeats. (You are planning to climb a mountain, after all.) You may even wish to wear a weighted pack — for instance, carry extra water bottles in a pack to add challenge. Pushing a jogging stroller totally counts, too. Decide which shoes you wish to wear while hiking, and break them in!
Gear You’ll Need: Pack a positive attitude, first and foremost! As silly as it may sound, your attitude is the most important gear you’ll bring! Well, shoes are pretty important, too. Other personal gear needed for the hike:
A lightweight daypack
Water bottles or a Camelbak-style bladder with at least 2 liters of water capacity
A trail lunch, including fruit and snacks will be provided. Consider packing snacks you know your stomach prefers when you’re exercising (such as a bar or gel).
A headlamp with new batteries. We will start hiking in the dark!
Sun protection, including a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen
Lightweight gloves, an ear band or warm hat
Comfortable hiking shoes. Sneakers are OK to wear. (I prefer trail running shoes to hiking boots.)
Top clothing: A base layer (short-sleeve shirt), a warmth layer (long-sleeve shirt, with collar is a bonus) and an outer shell (water- and windproof) jacket. Avoid cotton fabrics.
Bottom clothing: Three-quarter pants, full pants or leggings will likely be fine to wear on their own. Please also bring a secondary outer shell layer (water- and windproof) pants in case of cold temperatures, high winds or an emergency. Ankle socks are preferred versus no-show socks.
Other “nice to have” items: a watch; hiking poles for those who want extra stability; battery backup for your phone (you’ll be taking lots of photos!); small personal first aid including blister bandages.
Safety Precautions: The group will begin hiking very early so that we can reach the summit before noon, after which time the danger of a thunderstorm increases. This minimizes the risk of lightning exposure when hiking above treeline. Additional precautions include hiking with a designated buddy, whom you will be keeping an eye on and making sure that person is hydrating, fueling and staying positive. Gretchen will also carry a group first-aid kit, and she will cache extra water on the trail.
Please Note: Just because we aim to summit Elbert does not guarantee that we’ll make it to the top. The group will make its best effort to reach the top, but will have to assess things like weather, conditions, group morale, etc., and make adjustments, as needed.