Deer Crossing Camp

Pollock Pines, CA
All bookings are free!
/ per session
Camp Category: ACA Accredited, Adventure, Archery, Arts, Arts and Crafts, Bouldering, Canoeing, Coed, Fishing, Kayaking, Orienteering, Overnight, Rafting, Rock Climbing, Sailing, Summer, Survival Skils, Swimming, Traditional, Wilderness, Windsurfing
Camp Prices 2020

About Deer Crossing Camp

Deer Crossing Camp is a co-ed overnight summer camp for youth ages 8-17, located in a wilderness location on Loon Lake in California near Lake Tahoe.

A great summer camp experience means that you get a good match between a camper's needs and what a camp has to offer.

With no road access into camp, campers hike in and all gear goes in by boat.
Founded on the concept that competence builds self-esteem, campers learn wilderness safety, canoeing, map and compass, and much more.
Camp Overview
Originally built in the 1960s for the Boy Scouts, the main lodge has been described as a cross between an upside-down ark and a small cathedral.

This is a wilderness camp. There is no road access. Ice House Road ends at Loon Lake's main public campground. From there, Deer Crossing Camp is 2.5 miles (4 km) down lake. Campers hike in to camp. Their gear—as well as food, supplies, and everything else needed at camp—are delivered by boat. Completely off the grid, we generate our own electricity, pump our own water, and maintain our section of forest. For camp business and emergencies, we use a satellite dish for Internet access and satellite phones. There is no cellphone service or landline phone. Campers should expect to leave behind all electronic equipment, make their own music, and dry their hair in the breeze. Because we are a boat ride plus 80-minute drive from the nearest town, mail is picked up and dropped off once a week, sometimes more often.

Deer Crossing has attracted campers and staff from around the world since 1983. We're proud to offer an experience where so many different talents come together each summer. We foster an atmosphere that encourages leadership qualities in all campers, starting with techniques for leading themselves. Many campers enter camp's Counselor-in-Training (CIT) and Leader-in-Training (LIT) courses, which offer more focused and intensive practice of leadership skills.
Deer Crossing Camp is located on the shore of Loon Lake in Eldorado National Forest in Northern California. We're west of South Lake Tahoe, in the heart of the Sierra Nevada mountain range.

At an elevation of 6,410 feet, Loon Lake is surrounded by spectacular scenery. Our back door borders Desolation Wilderness, a designated preserve of towering peaks, wildflower meadows, waterfalls, and over 120 lakes. Winds across Loon Lake make for great sailing and windsurfing. Towering Jeffery pines turn campers into tree-climbing squirrels. And we are surrounded by granite walls of all heights for aspiring rock climbers.
One-week Session
The one-week session is appropriate for younger campers who are new to Deer Crossing and its wilderness location or for whom homesickness is expected to be especially challenging. Campers in the one-week program get a good feel for life at Deer Crossing and a head start on the canoe class, taken by all first-time campers. One-week campers participate during the first week of a two-week session along with all other campers.

Sunday Arrive, hike in, orientation
Monday Swim test, activities
Tuesday-Friday Activities
Saturday Departure day, hike out

While bus transportation is available for going to camp, parents must pick up their one-week campers at Loon Lake.

Two-week Session
Your two weeks at Deer Crossing are packed with everything that camp has to offer: tons of activities, campfire, whitewater rafting, out-trips, and more.

Week 1
Sunday Arrive, hike in, orientation
Monday Swim test, activities
Tuesday-Friday Activities Saturday Activities, campfire

Week 2
Sunday Rest day: sleep in, brunch, no activities, open beach
Monday Activities, whitewater rafting
Tuesday Activities
Wednesday-Friday Out-trips
Friday End of session, BBQ
Saturday Departure day, hike out

Campers may also sign up for a four-week session, which is two back-to-back two-week sessions.

Four-week Sessions
  • Sessions 1 & 2 Sessions 2 & 3 Sessions 3 & Leadership Sessions
  • Counselor-in-Training
  • Leader-in-Training (Requires 4–8 participants to run)
  • Guide-in-Training 1 & 2 (By invitation only; limited space)
  • Guide-in-Training 3 & 4 (By invitation only; limited space)
Deer Crossing Difference
A great summer camp experience means that you get a good match between a camper's needs and what a camp has to offer. A summer at Deer Crossing means:

Lots of personal attention. A maximum of 50 campers per session means we get to know you. By name. Our activity offerings are designed daily, based on the interests and needs of each camper. Character building. Deer Crossing campers are well adjusted youth who thrive on challenge. One of those challenges is leadership and campers learn that true leaders first learn to lead themselves. Our program is designed to promote character traits associated with leadership: positive attitude, empathy, courage, persistence, and responsibility. Instructional depth. Using a time-tested system of reinforcing feedback and working with multiple learning styles, Deer Crossing instructors bring out the best in campers. A camper can start, never having seen a windsurfer, and progress to full lake hot-dogging racer. This goes for climbing, sailing, kayaking, canoeing … The depth of instruction allows campers to return year after year and progress in their chosen skills. Real wilderness. Deer Crossing is the only lodge-based, roadless, wilderness summer camp in California. The camp is only accessible by boat or a 45-minute hike from the nearest trailhead. We enjoy a lake at our front door, peaks rising to over 9,000 feet at the back door, and 100 square miles of national forest around us. Family. Deer Crossing is a second family for many campers. Those who first come for two weeks find themselves returning year after year. Lifetime friendships are made. Many of our instructors are former campers. Even when campers grow into adults and start their own careers, they often return to Deer Crossing to visit and recharge their great memories.
A day at Deer Crossing Camp
7:30 AM Wake-Up. The sun is in the sky, the air is warming, and a woodpecker is tapping on a nearby tree. It's time to wake yourself up, get dressed, and begin cleaning your tent. Instructors inspect tents for cleanliness and organization at 7:50, and a clean tent is your ticket to breakfast.

"Old-timer" campers, who have previously completed a two-week session at Deer Crossing, can help set up the daily activity board at 7:30, based on the specific needs and progression of campers. If you're an old-timer and have been dreaming of doing your first kayak roll, you can request that a kayak rolling class be offered that day. If you are at camp for the first time and you're really excited to take a Bouldering class, ask an old-timer to request it for you. Our daily activity board process helps ensure that every camper gets to do the activities they're most interested in.

8:00 AM Breakfast

9:00 AM Chores.
Everyone at camp—campers and staff alike—does chores. New campers begin with Pine Needle Patrol where they learn basic forestry, tree identification, and fire causes and prevention. In Pine Needle Patrol, campers get a hands-on chance to help care for the forest in and around camp. Old-time campers help with a variety of chores, ranging from cleaning areas like the lodge or bathrooms, doing dishes, and assisting with carpentry and equipment repairs.

9:45 AM Activity Board Sign-Up. This is your chance to sign up for the day's activities! Sign-up order is rotated so that all campers get a chance to be first for sign-ups. Activities are offered during four periods each day.

AM-1 10:00 AM–12:00 PM
PM-1 2:00–4:00 PM
PM-2 4:00–6:00 PM
Evening 7:00–9:00 PM

In each activity period, up to eight different activities are offered. For example, AM-1 might offer core canoe, beginning kayaking, intermediate rock climbing, archery, beginning windsurfing, advanced sailing, pottery wheel, and open beach.

10:00 AM AM-1 Activities. When the instructor for your AM-1 activity makes a "first call", you meet them at the lodge to gather gear and head off to class.

12:00 PM Lunch. You will be hungry and lunch will have something for everyone! At the end of the meal, instructors and campers can make announcements. This is a good time to congratulate a friend on an accomplishment or thank the cooks for a delicious meal.

1:00 PM Rest Period. During the daily rest period, the three R's rule: Read, 'Rite, Rest. Campers can read a book or magazine, write letters home, or take a nap. A bit of quiet time helps everyone keep their energy up during a busy day.

2:00 PM PM-1 Activities. Choose from another array of fun-filled activities.

4:00 PM PM-2 Activities.
If you're a first-time camper, you may learn canoeing with other first-timers about your age. Or you may take a rock-climbing class or have a bit of extra downtime by playing board games with a new friend.

6:00 PM Dinner. Dinner is a hearty meal and a time when all of camp celebrates birthdays, the 4th of July, and camper achievements.

7:00 PM Evening Activities. Before evening activities start, you'll be able to spend time with friends, visit the flagpole, play music, etc. At around 7:30, instructors start activities, such as ping-pong, improv theatre, volleyball, guitar, and story-time.

9:00 PM Lights Out for 12 and Unders. After a busy day, younger campers should be in their tents, tucked into their sleeping bags, with flashlights turned off. Instructors come around to say "Good night" and make sure everyone is in bed. It's been a great day!

9:30 PM Lights Out for 13 and Ups.
Older campers are off to sleep, recharging their batteries for another day filled with excitement, challenge, and laughter.
Waterfront Activities
Canoeing - All first-time campers learn the basics of handling a canoe. Each paddler starts with their own boat, learning to paddle solo before advancing to tandem paddling. We play lots of games in the canoes to develop competency and train campers in canoe rescues. Many campers say that canoe class is one of their favorite parts of camp.
Once you complete Deer Crossing's canoe class, overnight island camping, trolling for trout, and dinner on the lake are added to your activity choices. Loon Lake has several picturesque islands and the canoe camping out-trip is a favorite of many campers.

Kayaking - Kayaking courses start on the flat waters of Loon Lake. The lake course covers strokes, wet exits, bracing, sculling, turtle swimming, Eskimo rolls, hand rolls, and rescue skills. In addition to instruction, there are many opportunities for kayaking games, such as "Pirates and Galleons" and kayak water polo. Campers who reach a certain proficiency in kayaking can paddle a kayak on the canoe camping out-trip.

Sailing - Loon Lake's consistent wind patterns make Deer Crossing a great place to learn to sail. Sailors practice running, tacking, jibing, rigging, 360 spins, captaining, man overboard rescue, and capsize recovery drills. Advanced sailors can sail solo (under supervision, of course) and participate in lake races. Advanced sailing theory and racing tactics help give motivated captains an edge.

Stand-Up Paddle Boarding (SUP) - Lots of campers enjoy the opportunity to practice their balance in stand-up paddle boarding. They may explore the lagoons and islands of Loon Lake in search of the elusive Loonie, whose cousin lives in the Loch Ness in Scotland, or enjoy the quiet of the lake at sunset.

Swimming - Recreational swimming, known as "open beach" at camp, is usually offered several periods each day. Campers can swim in the crystal-clear water or relax on the warm granite beach. Open beach is supervised by certified lifeguards with advanced open water training. Other activities available at open beach include snorkeling, training for the one-mile lake swim, and inner tube water polo.

Deer Crossing does not offer instructional swimming. Campers must know how to swim—face in water, crawl or freestyle—prior to coming to camp.

Strong swimmers at Deer Crossing may participate in the lake swim, which usually takes place during Sessions 2, 3, and 4. Campers swim from the Deer Crossing lakefront to Loon Lake's Second Dam, a distance of about one mile. Some campers even swim back to camp! For safety, a canoe or rescue board trails each swimmer. Campers prepare for the lake swim by practicing in lake swim prep classes.

Whitewater Rafting - Whitewater rafting is an exciting optional one-day trip on the American River with the rafting company Mother Lode. This day trip rafts down the upper South Fork of the American River through class 2 and 3 rapids. If you haven't rafted before, you won't want to miss it. Many of our returning campers sign up for this trip every year!

The raft trips are staffed by the professional whitewater guides of Mother Lode as well as two Deer Crossing certified lifeguards. This special trip has a ten camper minimum. Whitewater rafting is an optional trip at an extra charge and requires a special waiver form. To go on the raft trip, campers must be at least 4'10" tall, weigh at least 85 pounds, and know how to swim.

Windsurfing - Loon Lake's unique location results in consistent wind patterns, which makes for a lot of great windsurfing. Combining the power of sailing with the balance of surfing, we have a full range of sail sizes and boards to match for windsurfers of different ages, sizes, and at different skill levels.

Campers start on a dry-land simulator, learning how to rig a board, read the wind, uphaul the sail, balance, tack, and jib. Next, they practice their new skills on the lake in a leash class. When a student needs advice, instructors reel the student in and talk about technique. After passing leash, windsurfers take triangle classes where they learn self-rescue techniques and practice their skills in a controlled area off our beach. Advanced windsurfers move out onto open lake, often taking trick classes to learn sail spins, 360's, helicopters, and other stunts. They may participate in races, take long-distance windsurfing trips to the islands, and play trick tag with instructors.
Land Activities
Archery - Using traditional bows, campers learn safety and target shooting techniques. There's something about the solid "plunk" of an arrow going true to the target that makes this a popular activity at Deer Crossing. Campers often design archery targets, such as the dreaded T'NACI monster, themselves and participate in informal archery competitions.

Bouldering - Bouldering is a separate sport from rock-climbing. It focuses on specific techniques rather than long climbs. At Deer Crossing, campers can specialize in one or both. Bouldering is all about choosing and perfecting physical moves. Each rock is a climbable puzzle. Climbers stay within 3–6 feet of the ground, protected by a spotter, so equipment needs are minimal: a helmet, some chalk, and a pair of athletic shoes.

Orienteering - The orienteering program introduces land navigation using a map and compass. All campers learn the basics on the small, beginner course and use their orienteering skills on the backpacking out-trips. If desired, campers can advance to the level used by professional wilderness guides. Classes focus on course setting, taking bearings, triangulation, and backcountry travel. There are also opportunities to learn geocaching using GPS units.

Rock Climbing - At Deer Crossing, we are surrounded by awesome climbing sites, from small 15-foot beginner walls to 50- and 75-foot intermediate walls and big 100-foot walls. No manufactured climbing wall is necessary.

Beginners start with an introduction to climbing where they learn about equipment, how to tie basic knots, climbing etiquette, and safety principles. Then students move to the beginner's wall and learn how to set protection, belaying commands, and climbing techniques. When climbers are ready, they graduate to the intermediate walls at Frogstone, Cypress, Lagoon, and Vertical Heaven. Advanced climbs are done at Dragon's Lair with 100-foot climbs, depending on campers' abilities.

Safety, safety, safety. All climbs at Deer Crossing are belayed by qualified instructors using Gri-gris, a mechanical belaying device noted for its reliability. Even when campers are taught to belay, an experienced instructor is part of the loop. Climbers are protected with a top-rope climbing system. When climbers practice rappelling, they have a second rope attached to an instructor's belaying system for security. Every climb has three solid anchor points, in a multiple-redundancy system. All equipment is inspected before each climb and all climbing sites have been choreographed multiple times. This means they are analyzed for the best way to set protection, then diagrammed, sketched and photographed, followed by an OK from an experienced safety officer. New routes become available only after careful analysis.

Deer Crossing is a great place for both novice and experienced climbers. Advanced campers can learn belaying, leading, equipment inspection, Hollywood climbing, Tyrolean traverse, and vertical rescue skills for both personal and team use. Our goal is to train well-rounded, safety-conscious climbers.

Survival Skills - An introduction to survival skills includes shelter building, tracking, and how to build traps. No actual trapping of animals is done. Advanced survival techniques are included in the Leader-in-Training (LIT) program.

Technical Tree Climbing - We are one of the first summer camps in the U.S. to offer technical tree climbing. The strong 100-foot Jeffrey Pines in our camp vicinity are perfect for this activity. Using techniques similar to those used by Forest Service arborists and scientists exploring jungle canopies in tropical rainforests, campers learn the skills for climbing big trees with ropes and ascending devices. They may get to hang out in the upper branches for lunch with a bird's eye view of the lake. Advanced tree climbers learn how to rig tree boats (hammocks specially designed for living in the forest canopy) and can take their rest period 60 feet off the ground while reading a book or relaxing on a swaying hammock.
Arts & Crafts
This is the place to turn on your creativity! The arts and crafts program at Deer Crossing is designed to teach children creativity and basic skills in arts and crafts. We do not sell or use craft kits. Instead, campers enjoy classes in drawing, watercolor, tie-dying, painting, sketching, cartooning, clay, pottery wheel, mask-making, book-making, beading, weaving, friendship bracelets, kites, knitting, sewing, making hacky-sacks, fly tying, leather work, dream-catchers, mobiles, art from natural materials, jewelry-making, rubber stamps, and paper-making, and more.
Evening Activities
Campfire Program
Campfire takes place in a natural granite amphitheater nestled in the forest and roofed by the Milky Way. Each campfire is different and everyone participates. There are stories, songs, jokes, riddles, skits, charades, naming the constellations, musical performances, and improv comedy routines. Talented campers show how they can wiggle their ears, sing songs they have written, and play the guitar, flute, or violin. Performers have shared original poems, gymnastics, martial arts, and magic. It's always a surprise and there's always applause.
Of course, our campfire includes a traditional marshmallow roast and making of s'mores. To make it special and to give campers time to prepare their routines, there is one campfire in the second week of every two-week session.

Acoustic Guitar
Our guitar classes get you playing a song in the first lesson. Take more classes and you learn chording, tuning, and finger picking. When campfire comes along, you can play songs you've learned from the Deer Crossing playbook or write your own original songs. Campers may perform solo or get together a band.

Improvisational Theater
Love to laugh, act, role-play, or just be silly? Join the evening improvisational comedy theater program. We base these classes on the Bay Area Theatre Sports play book and the classic television program What's My Line?

Trout Fishing
Bring your own tackle and land a delicious meal or catch and release. Loon Lake is stocked with brown and rainbow trout. Most fishing is done from the lake shore. Campers who have graduated from our canoe program can go out with a guide and canoe fish. Those who go on the canoe-camping trip may fish at the mouth of Dragon's Lair, an underwater cave one mile long that goes to Buck Island Lake. The biggest fish caught by campers has been a 24″ rainbow. Treks into the backcountry provide numerous opportunities to cast your hook into the many streams and lakes of Desolation Wilderness where rainbow, brown, brook, and even golden trout hang out.

More Fun
Evenings at camp ring with the sounds of campers playing ping pong, volleyball, charades, Frisbee golf, or taking first aid classes. The game cabinet is stocked with everything from Monopoly to chess. In some sessions, theme night allows everyone to dress up Western style, in Roman togas, or with ties made in the craft room, followed by a dance.
Perched on a granite knoll overlooking the lake, it includes the kitchen and dining hall, boys' and girls' bathrooms with hot showers and flush toilets, staff training room, first aid room, workshop, and storage.

Campers and instructors sleep in the forest behind the lodge in platform tents.

Tents house 2–5 campers and are furnished with mattresses. Younger campers live in tents closer to the lodge, while older campers' tents are set farther back in the forest.

Boys' and girls' tenting areas are separate and supervised. Friends may request to share the same tent. Instructors are housed in their own tents, spaced throughout the camper tenting areas.
Food & Nutrition
Well-balanced meals, including fresh fruits and vegetables, are served family style in the dining hall. Food supplies are delivered weekly to the boat launch ramp at Loon Lake. We load everything aboard the camp boat and transport it down lake to Deer Crossing Camp. While the camp kitchen looks like a regular kitchen, our wilderness location means we use no electric appliances and dishwashing is done by hand. With limited refrigeration and storage space, we cannot accommodate special foods for individual campers.

Our cooks turn out delicious meals, with vegetarian, gluten-, dairy-, egg-, and nut-free options as needed. However, we cannot guarantee that our kitchen is allergen free. Breakfast may include scrambled eggs, fruit, sausage, pancakes, cereal, oatmeal with toppings, French toast, juice, and hot chocolate. Lunches range from grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup to make-your-own burritos. Campers' favorite dinners are often spaghetti with garlic bread and salad, and pulled pork with broccoli and cornbread. To keep everyone healthy, we offer salads and fresh vegetables, and creatively add kale to the most surprising dishes.

In place of soda machines and candy dispensers, the kitchen always has bananas, oranges, apples, or other fresh fruit for between-meal snacks. If there is interest, the cooks teach campers how to make bread, chocolate chip cookies, and other foods for all to share.
Each year, Deer Crossing assembles and trains enthusiastic young adults who possess skills and talents that enhance campers' wilderness experience. Some come from colleges and universities throughout California and the U.S., and others from overseas, including Europe, Asia, Latin America, Australia, and New Zealand. All have something special to offer the campers at Deer Crossing, and they're dedicated to bringing the best out of campers and themselves.

All staff complete applications and are interviewed in person or via Skype video by the camp owners. We check references through phone interviews and/or written questionnaires and Facebook pages. International staff submit local police background checks and U.S. staff complete full background checks, including criminal history. Every member of the staff is checked against the Nationwide Sex Offender Database, every year.

Our instructors are qualified beyond the standards set by the State of California and the American Camp Association. They complete an intensive nine-day training course prior to camp and are certified in Professional CPR, Standard First Aid, and Wilderness First Aid as well as American Red Cross lifeguarding with advanced waterfront training. Some staff arrive already certified as Wilderness First Responders (WFRs) or EMTs. Each instructor is responsible for the 24-hour-a-day safety, well-being, and happiness of the campers.

Program staff at Deer Crossing are called "Instructors" for a reason—they are not typical camp counselors. We hire instructors who can teach beginning to advanced classes in their area of expertise (e.g., sailing, rock-climbing), who have counselor capabilities, and who want to work with youth. Staff are highly trained and create a positive impact on the lives of young people and each other.
Since 1983, Deer Crossing has maintained a consistently high safety record due to training and awareness. Instructors exceed the American Camp Association requirements for safety training. They are certified in Standard as well as Wilderness First Aid, including Professional Rescuers CPR. Some staff arrive already certified as Wilderness First Responders (WFRs) or Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs). While many camps have only a few lifeguards on staff, most of our staff are certified American Red Cross Lifeguards with advanced waterfront training. In addition to the regular training, we conduct hands-on safety scenario training for all instructional staff.

It's not just our instructors who are concerned about safety. In our core program, first-time campers learn artificial respiration, canoe rescues, and other wilderness safety skills. Working with both staff and campers results in a safety awareness that filters through all our programs. As part of all activities—from archery to climbing, waters sports to campfire, and rafting to day hikes—campers are taught the safety procedures and techniques to ensure their own and others' safety.

A hospital with ambulance service is just an hour's drive away. Emergency helicopter service is available from the Pollock Pines and Lake Tahoe areas to a nearby landing pad. Deer Crossing maintains satellite phones and satellite Internet service for emergencies. We also have ongoing relationships with the El Dorado County Sheriff, County Health Department, State of California's Fire Department (CalFire), and the two nearest school districts for assistance in case of emergency or evacuation order.
Directions & Transportation
There are two ways to get your camper to and from camp: (1) the camp bus; and/or (2) parent transportation. One-week campers: Bus transportation is available only TO camp. Parents must pick up campers at Loon Lake at the end of the one-week session.

Camp Bus
The trip to and from camp is part of the fun of overnight camp. Campers ride a comfortable, chartered bus accompanied by camp instructors, with stops in Cupertino, Concord, and Sacramento. Seating is limited and taken on a first-come, first-served basis. The camp bus offers an opportunity to meet old-timers and friendly staff, talk with other first-time campers, find a tent mate, and begin feeling like a member of the camp community before arriving at camp. It's a gradual transition for campers from a familiar place and faces (home and parents) to an unfamiliar place and unfamiliar people (camp and new friends).

Bus Stops
Cupertino Concord Sacramento (Rancho Cordova)
If you will be late, the bus to camp does not wait for late campers. If you miss the bus to camp, it is your responsibility to drive your camper to camp. If you miss the bus returning from camp, your camper will stay on the bus to its next stop. At the Cupertino stop, camp staff will escort your camper to our Redwood City office to await your arrival.

Parent Transportation
Meeting Place: Loon Lake Boat Launch Ramp Parking Lot

Allow plenty of time to get to Loon Lake so you arrive on time. Due to the distance from the boat ramp to camp, staff do not wait at the boat ramp area for late arrivals.
Arrival: Sunday (first day of your session), 3:00 PM
Departure: Saturday (last day of your session), 11:30 AM
In the Camp Information Packet, you'll find bus transport and driving information, packing list, and a wealth of other useful information for preparing your camper for a successful stay at camp.

Packing for Camp
At Deer Crossing, campers are expected to be responsible for themselves and their belongings. Please give your camper the camp packing list and have them pack pack their own gear so they know what they have and where it is.

For ease of carrying on rocky mountain paths, use a backpack (see below) and duffel bag for your camper's gear. No footlockers, suitcases, or roller bags. Pack everything but the sleeping bag and ground pad in the backpack and duffel; then tie the sleeping bag below the backpack and the ground pad on top of the backpack. Ready to go!

The two most important items that all campers should bring to camp are:

Sleeping Bag, which should weigh a maximum of 6 pounds for backpacking and be rated for at least 30°F (-1.1°C). Sleeping bags designed for indoor sleepovers at friends' houses will not keep your camper warm at night in our mountain location. Hiking Boots. Boots should be made of sturdy material, give good support, cover the ankle and the entire foot, lace up, have a sure-grip sole, and be well broken in. Wearing shoes without ankle support in our mountainous terrain invites sprained ankles (or worse). Hiking boots are required for hikes, backpacking trips, and other camp activities. For two-week campers who wish to go on a backpacking out-trip should bring a backpack, preferably internal frame with hip belt. It should fit your camper and accommodate 3 days of clothing and gear. A backpack is required for all out-trips, except the canoe camping trip. It is also the easiest way to carry gear in the wilderness.

If your camper plans to fish for trout, they will need a rod, 6–10 hooks, split-shot sinkers, tub of worms or other bait, clear-float bobbers, and favorite lures, flies, or trolling rigs. Campers 16+ years old must bring a valid fishing license.

All medications—over-the-counter, prescription, supplements—must be listed on your camper's Health History form. Send enough medications to last the entire time at camp. If your camper uses an inhaler or epinephrine injector (e.g., EpiPen), send 2 to camp—one for your camper to carry (we provide a fanny pack for use at camp) and one as back-up. Keep all medications in original packaging that identifies prescriber (if Rx), name of medication, dosage, and frequency of administration. In our off-the-grid location, we cannot accommodate medications that require refrigeration.

Pack the medications in a labeled zip-lock baggie and give them to the designated staff member at the bus stop, or if you are driving your camper to camp, at the boat launch ramp area. Do not pack medications in camper luggage.

Do Not Bring:
Cellphones or any electronic equipment (e.g., Kindles, iPads, laptops, iPods) Knives or any other type of weapon Fireworks, fire starters, or matches Food of any type (including gum) Valuable jewelry, watches, expensive cameras, make-up Lost and Found

We do not return items left at camp, so to minimize lost and found problems:

Label your camper's clothing and gear with first and last names. Pack only items that you are willing to lose, forget, or break. Give your camper a list of important items to bring home (e.g., fishing rod, sleeping bag, boots). Visiting Camp
Meeting Place: Loon Lake Boat Launch Ramp on pointed dates and time.

Guided by one of our staff, you will hike into camp, tour the campground and enjoy light refreshments, and hike back out to your car. It is a 2.5-mile, 45–60 minute hike each way. Wear comfortable hiking shoes or boots, long pants, long sleeves, and jacket (Sierra weather can be quite changeable, so this is "just in case"). Bring water (potable water is available near the Loon Lake boat launch ramp), sunscreen, and bug repellent. Remember the elevation at Deer Crossing is nearly 6,500 feet!

Mail & Communication
At our wilderness location, there is no mail delivery to camp. Once a week (sometimes more often), mail is picked up at the nearest post office, a 90-minute drive from camp. To ensure that your camper is included in mail call:

Mail your first letter 2-3 days before your camper leaves for camp (especially for one-weekers). It can easily take 5 days for a letter posted in the Bay Area to get to your camper. Do not send food of any type to campers. If sent, it will be collected by a staff member and will not be returned to campers. If you want to send your camper more than a letter or postcard, consider a magazine, book, deck of cards, small game, or clean teeshirt. Send all mail by US Postal Service. The post office does not accept mail from UPS, FedEx, etc. Campers love to receive mail that is newsy, upbeat, and supportive of what is going on at camp. They want to know that you look forward to hearing stories of their adventures at camp and are proud of their ability to handle new and challenging situations. Avoid telling them how much you or their pet misses them as that can make any homesickness worse.

Communications with Camp
If you have an urgent message for your camper, call camp's Bay Area Office for assistance. There is no landline or cell phone service at camp. For emergencies and communications between camp and the Bay Area Office, we use satellite phones. The phones are turned on to make essential outgoing calls and at pre-arranged times with the camp office. Camp also has satellite-based Internet service, which is limited to staff use only.
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