Lisa and Amarya Talk Camping at Spring Lake Ranch

Gardens Crew Manager Lisa and Recreation Supervisor Amarya discuss a recent SLR camping trip to Camel's Hump

Amarya: Hey Lisa, does Spring Lake Ranch ever go camping? 

Lisa: Hey Amarya, the Ranch usually takes a few backpacking and overnight canoe trips a year. Remember how we took a group to hike Camel’s Hump earlier this summer? That was so fun!.

Amarya: Yeah, that was pretty sweet! We took five residents and spent two nights and three days in the glorious and very therapeutic wilderness! 

Lisa: Why do you think the wilderness is therapeutic? 

Amarya: The residents I chatted with while hiking kept telling me how nice it was to spend the day enjoying Vermont’s views while using hiking time to think about everything they were working on at the Ranch. There’s also plenty of scientific research that points to people being happier when they’re surrounded by nature! A lot of people find exercise helpful as well, and on our backpacking trip we had lots of nature AND lots of exercise!

Lisa: I’ve led a lot of trips over the years and have observed this, and also in my own life. Being a part of the wild connects us with the natural world, and also with some pretty deep parts of ourselves. Plus, it’s fun! And beautiful! And challenging! All good qualities to have on hand for personal growth. What was the most fun part for you? 

 Amarya: My favorite part was when one of the residents led us in group yoga at the top of the beautiful mountain we had just climbed! Bonus points to the nice passerby who joined in. What was your favorite part, Lisa? 

 Lisa: I was going to say that! The hike was great, but I also loved being in camp – hanging out, having a fire, making dinner. Just spending time together in an unstructured, unhurried way is wonderful. 

Amarya: – – Ohh, ooh! I also really enjoyed watching the residents cringe when we drank the water we used to rinse our dinner bowls. Leave no trace! We are all about recreating responsibly.  

 Lisa: I’m certain that was several people’s LEAST favorite part of the trip. Something else I enjoyed was spending time with people in the community I don’t always interact with and getting to know people in a deeper way. 

Amarya: Yeah, seeing people first thing when they wake up after a night of camping is always a real…eye opener! HA!

Lisa: Better than coffee? Better than the incredibly strong coffee we made because we didn’t look at the portion size when we packaged up the instant coffee?

Amarya: Nah that coffee was pretty good. Shout out to powdered milk. Stay light and packable. 

Lisa: Hey Amarya, what other trips do we have planned?  

Amarya: Well, we’re going on a canoe camping trip in October! We just bought some new sleeping pads so folks can be nice and comfy when we sleep outdoors, and we have some new camping cookware to go with them! We also have a gorgeous new-to-us canoe that I’m very excited to take with us. Canoe camping is my favorite way to spend time outdoors, and I’m glad to share it with the Ranchers.

Lisa: Any last thoughts about camping with Spring Lake Ranch?

Amarya: Just that Vermont is beautiful and I’m excited for residents to experience nature in an immersive way that might be a little bit outside their comfort zones. I like helping residents accomplish something difficult! What about you?

 Lisa: Don’t tell the garden, but leading backpacking trips is one of my favorite parts of being at the Ranch! Building skills and comfort in the outdoors is a great way to gain confidence and help people empower themselves. And being in nature and on top of beautiful mountains with great people is just a lot of fun. Especially when someone leads us in a yoga class as we do it! 


CARF Accredited: Spring Lake Ranch programs are CARF accredited. The CARF accreditation signals our commitment to continually improving services, encouraging feedback, and serving the community.

Spring Lake Ranch is a member of the American Residential Treatment Association (ARTA). ARTA members are dedicated to providing extraordinary care to adults with mental illness.