Frequently Asked Questions
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Do not bring the following items with you to camp:
- Music players (CD, MP3, iPod, etc.). If you bring these to camp, we will keep them safe for you while you are with us, and return them to you when you depart.
- Hunting knives
- Firearms or ammunition
- Fireworks or firecrackers (they are illegal)
- Alcohol, illegal drugs, and smoking or chewing tobacco are not permitted
- Also, it’s not wise to bring large quantities of snack foods with you. While you’re at the main camp your personal foods will need to be placed in special rodent-proof storage. On the trail, all personal food items you have must be placed in the bear bag each day when you make camp. Some personal snacks are fine, of course. Just keep in mind: low weight and bulk.
This checklist reflects the experience of many backpackers, and should be helpful as you prepare to come for backpacking at Christikon. Of course, this list is not “the final word” on what to have while you’re on the trails, since individual needs, budgets and preferences may vary. But please consider this list seriously.
- Hiking shoes (an extra set of laces is sometimes a good idea)
- Sneakers or sandals (not “flip-flops,” though. You need something that will stay on your feet during stream crossings. And lighter shoes are more comfortable and have less impact around camp in the evenings)
- Sleeping bag and stuff sack
- Sleeping pad
- Rain poncho or other light rain gear
Clothing (be prepared for extremes of weather):
- Socks for hiking
- Upper-body: shirt, jacket, sweater, sweat shirt, down or fleece vest. T-shirts are fine for warm weather, and are typical hiking wear. But have something for cool nights and nasty weather. Consider combinations: windbreaker & sweater & T-shirt; or rain jacket & sweatshirt & long- sleeved underwear & T-shirt; or jacket & vest & sweater, etc.
- Hiking shorts. Most people wear shorts much of the time.
- Long pants for cold weather and to protect against evening mosquitoes. Jeans will work, but don’t provide much warmth when they are wet. Some prefer to have wool pants. Some prefer to have lightweight rain pants, and use them with long underwear. (Remember: multiple use.)
- Gloves or mittens
- Stocking cap.
- Mosquito repellant. Some like a hat with mosquito netting too.
- Sun screen lotion. This is important! At higher elevations you are much more likely to get a serious sunburn, even on cloudy days.
- Small flashlight (perhaps spare batteries)
- Toothbrush and toothpaste, soap (biodegradable is best), comb, etc.
- Small towel, washcloth
- Kleenex (travel pack), handkerchief, or bandanna
- Bath towel for showering at camp (you can leave it at camp while you’re out on the trail).
- Camera (and film, if the camera isn’t electronic)
- Foot powder
- Lip protection (Chapstick, etc.)
- Sunglasses or sun visor or cap
- Long underwear (polypropylene, fleece, etc.)
- Pen or pencil (for journaling)
- Fishing gear (see information on fishing).
- Plastic bags (see packing considerations)
CreationCare participants could be working in wet or muddy conditions. An extra change of work clothing may be handy. Include a long-sleeved shirt to protect your arms when carrying brush, logs, etc. Leather work gloves are also a good idea.
Christikon will provide you and your group with backpacks, tents, cooking equipment and food, water bottles, and other community gear.
Sharing together in the common life during meals is a significant part of the Christikon life. On the trail you’ll be sharing “family style” in meals that you and others prepare for the whole group. We try to serve tasty and nutritious meals, even as we try to live within budgets and to use ingredients that don’t weigh too much or take up too much space. So there are some limitations on what we can have for meals. But we hope you’ll find the food good for you, and that you’ll participate as graciously as you can in the meals offered you.
If you have special dietary needs because of allergies or other health conditions, please let us know on your health form, and make sure we have the form well in advance of the time you are at camp. We will make every effort to accommodate medical needs. If you prefer a vegetarian diet, we hope you will be able to exercise some flexibility in that during the brief time you are with us. There’s not much meat in our menu: some tuna on one night, a bit of chicken on another.
We also hope that camp will help you grow in your faith. You don’t have to be a Lutheran to be at Christikon — you don’t even have to be a believer. But the faith shapes our life together at Christikon. We worship together at the beginning and end of every day. We take time each day to study the Bible together. We usually have daily Quiet Time, so each of us can have a brief chance to be alone with the Word before God. And there are all kinds of unscheduled times where we find ourselves both challenged and deepened.
What’s in store for you.
While you’re out on the trail, you’ll be learning to know yourself better, and to reflect on your abilities, your goals, and your calling. You’ll be part of a community where everyone matters. You’ll become involved more deeply in caring for the Creation, by developing a sense of life with minimum impact, and by sharing in trails work and rehabilitation projects.
When you register, the packet of information you receive will include a health form which requires the signature of a parent or guardian, and the signature of a physician. This health form helps us to to provide appropriate medical care when necessary. The form should be mailed to the camp at least three weeks before you arrive at camp.
When you come to Christikon, you will go through a brief health screening, where one of our staff (under the direction of our Health Care Manager) will go over your Health Form with you, and discuss any special needs you may have. You will need to turn in any medications you bring with you to camp. Following the accreditation standards of the American Camp Association, Christikon must have all medications (including non-prescription ones) under the control of the Camp Health Manager (or the appropriate counselor when persons are away from camp). Special arrangements are made during health screening with campers who must carry certain medications with them at all times (e.g. asthma inhalers).
When you arrive at Christikon, you will spend the first night at camp, for packing-out and orientation to life in the wilderness. You’ll learn how to set up and take care of your tent (in which you will stay that night). You’ll be briefed on safety and low-impact camping practices (water treatment, group hiking, camping in bear country, latrine procedures, health care, etc.) Your group will leave the next morning after completing your packing-out.
Most people in reasonably adequate shape can participate.
People who should not be in Christikon trails programs include those who have physical disabilities that interfere with walking (for example, a “trick knee” that “goes out” from time to time), or who are unable to carry the extra weight of a pack (perhaps because of a “bad back”), or who are seriously overweight, or who are not interested in a more “primitive” camping experience away from modern conveniences. (There are no shower houses out in the wilderness!)
Yes, it’s likely the trails at Christikon will challenge you physically (and mentally and spiritually, too). Trails camps are not designed simply to “push you to your limits,” however. We want you and everyone else to taste the delights of the Christikon life in some of the world’s loveliest country, and to find it a good experience in which to participate.
At the same time, there will be challenges. At the start, you’ll probably develop some sore muscles; and you might find your first day or two in the higher altitudes can contribute to tiredness and even a headache. But most people don’t find this too much a problem. You can expect to do a fair amount of hiking (up to 5-8 hours some days), and you will be carrying between 1/4 and 1/3 of your body weight in your backpack.
Junior high Wayfarers and senior high CreationCare participants hike with packs on usually only the first and last days. Senior high Mountaineers backpackers, who typically cover more terrain, normally have routes that include a layover day, when packs are not carried.