Survivor Retreats

2018 Retreat schedule


Our 2017 retreat season is in the history books. We had a great time on all of the retreats. You can see some photos on the community link on the website, and on our Facebook page (be sure to “like” us).


In 2018, we will be offering 11 retreats, with more to come.  Two will be Winter snowshoe retreats, and the remaining nine will be in the Summer & Fall.  Of these retreats, eight (one snowshoe and seven Summer/Fall) will be at cabins managed by the Tenth Mountain Division Hut Association and Summit Hut Association.  One of the Winter retreats and two Summer/Fall retreats, we will stay at the YMCA Conference Center in Estes Park, and explore the beauty of Rocky Mountain National Park. 



Here are the dates for the currently scheduled 2018 retreats:

  1. March 16-18 (Fri-Sun)(2-night):  YMCA Winter Snowshoe Retreat
  2. April 9-11 (Mon-Wed)(2-night):  The 10th Mtn Hut Winter Snowshoe Retreat
  3. July 14-16 (Sat-Mon)(2-night):  Francie’s Cabin
  4. July 21-23 (Sat-Mon)(2-night):  Uncle Bud’s Hut
  5. July 28-30 (Sat-Mon)(2-night):  Peter Estin Hut – Sponsored by UCH
  6. August 4-6 (Sat-Mon)(2-night):  The 10th Mtn Hut – Young Adult Retreat
  7. August 18-20 (Sat-Mon)(2-night):  Uncle Bud’s Hut
  8. August 25-27 (Sat-Mon)(2-night):  Peter Estin Hut
  9. September 8-10 (Sat-Mon)(2-night):  Fowler Hilliard Hut
  10. September 24-27 (Mon-Thurs)(3-night) YMCA
  11. October 1-4 (Mon-Thurs)(3-night) YMCA



Registration for the 2018 winter retreats is now OPEN. 


Registration for 2018 summer retreats will open in APRIL 2018. To ensure you receive notice when retreat registration opens, and also to receive notice of our upcoming walks and hikes, be sure to sign up for our email list — just click on “contact” at the top of the page, and fill out the form.

Why a Live By Living Retreat?


I did it!

Cancer treatment can leave you feeling pretty crummy. You want to feel better — physically, emotionally, spiritually. Recovering from cancer is hard work, and sometimes it helps if you can set a goal for yourself. One of our cancer survivor-caregiver retreats could be just the thing. Maybe you want something that’s not too strenuous. Or maybe you want a challenge, but want to be sure it’s something that is still realistic. Perhaps you’re recovered physically, but still looking to find that “new normal.” Whatever the case, we have a retreat (or a day trip) that’s right for you.


Uncle Bud's Hut

Uncle Bud’s Hut



On most of Live By Living’s 2-night retreats, we hike to cozy log cabins deep in the Rockies, and spend a couple days relaxing, hiking, and enjoying the beauty of nature.  We lead the way, and we have a sag wagon to carry your gear and the food (and you, if necessary)! Volunteers will help you along the trail, cook and clean up, and lead the group activities at the hut. 




We also offer slightly more “civilized” retreats based at lovely cabins and lodges at the YMCA Conference Center in Estes Park.  On the Estes Park retreats, you drive right to our lodging at the Y.  We then carpool into Rocky Mountain National Park for day hikes, and return to the Y for the evening meal.


Is this a cancer support group?


Well, yes and no.  We sometimes say Live By Living is a support group for people who don’t really want to sit around a table talking about cancer.  By the time most people have finished treatment, they have had it up to their eyebrows (or where their eyebrows used to be) with cancer, cancer treatment, cancer side effects, and talking about cancer.  They just want to relax, and try to figure out how to get on with their lives. 


We can help with that.


The experience of being in nature does something to our brains, to our spirits, that helps recalibrate our internal compass, and gives a clarity and assurance to our outlook. And being there with people who understand what you’ve been through means you’ll be in a supportive, caring social environment while you’re exploring the natural environment.  Want to share experiences with that really nasty chemo drug?  Sure, no problem.  Want to talk about the last book you read instead, or just sit on the deck and watch the sun and shadows lope across the forested mountain ridge?  No problem, there, either. What you won’t find is a 45-minute scheduled discussion about “Fear of recurrence,” or “Dealing with Difficult Emotions.”   

Am I up for this physically?


Our retreats vary in difficulty. Contact us, and we’ll help you determine whether you’re ready for a trip, and if so, help you choose the trip that’s best for you. We’ll work with you and your physician to assess your level of fitness, and what training you may need to prepare. While a certain degree of fitness is required to hike to one of the Tenth Mountain Division cabins, you certainly don’t need to be Lance Armstrong to go on one of the trips. It’s not a race, and with appropriate training (which we can help you with), going on one of our cancer retreats is a realistic goal for many cancer survivors.  And if you’re just not able to hike to the cabin, we can always give you a ride.


On the YMCA retreats, as mentioned above, you drive to right to the cabin.  The hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park are at lower altitude than those at the Tenth Mountain huts. The RMNP hikes vary in difficulty, from flat one-miles walks to 5 mile hikes with several hundred feet of elevation gain.  We have options for easy or moderate hikes each day. 

What are the accommodations like?


It depends on whether you are going to one of the Tenth Mountain Division cabins, or to one of our retreats based at the Estes Park YMCA.


The Tenth Mountain Division Huts are beautiful log cabins, but they are rustic.  These cabins have wood-burning stoves for heat, propane cooktops, well-equipped kitchens, solar-powered lights, and stunning vistas. Some things the cabins do NOT have: private bedrooms, running water, electrical outlets. Sleeping accommodations vary from cabin to cabin; Uncle Bud’s and Peter Estin have a couple bedrooms that sleep 2-4 people, and a larger area that sleeps up to 10. Francie’s Cabin has 6 bedrooms with 2-4 beds per room. Each bedroom has comfortable foam mattresses and pillows. The cabins sleep 16-20 people; trips typically will have 10-14 guests and 6 volunteer staff. Live By Living appreciates the generosity of the Tenth Mountain Division Hut Association and the Summit Huts Association in supporting our use of these huts.


If you want to read more about the cabins, click here, then browse under the “10th Mtn Huts” drop-down menu for the name of the cabin you are interested in.


The accommodations at the YMCA are fully equipped modern cabins and lodge rooms with electricity, showers, etc.  Rooms configurations vary, but our trips are based on double occupancy.

What if I’ve never climbed a mountain?


You don’t need to be an experienced mountaineer to enjoy these trips! Whether you’re a veteran of the Appalachian Trail, or your outdoor experience has been limited to walks in the park, you can enjoy our retreats. If you’ve never done a trip like this, we will provide the necessary instruction and training events to help you get in shape. We will work with you to be sure you have appropriate clothing and gear to keep you comfortable on the trail and at the hut.


Once we’re at the cabin, you’ll have a choice of activities. Join us for a hike or snowshoe tour, or just relax around the cabin and soak in the views and solitude. We also offer training in various techniques to help you through the cancer journey. Discover the healing practice of Qigong. Gain calmness and clarity with mindfulness (meditation) training. Relax and center yourself with a gentle yoga practice. Or really relax under the skilled hands of a masseuse. Specific activities offered vary from trip to trip.


But it’s not just about filling your soul: we’ll pamper you with great food, too!


Eiseman al fresco

On our summer retreats, we will spend 2 nights at the cabin before heading back to the trailhead. Winter retreats are one night. All meals are provided, and we can accommodate special dietary preferences. We generally expect participants on the overnight trips to have joined us for at least one day trip.


All retreats are open to survivors and caregivers. Feel free to bring a spouse, significant other, friend or relative to accompany you on this restorative retreat weekend.


Thanks to the generosity of the George Karl Foundation, the Miller Family Foundation, the Colorado Cancer League, University of Colorado Health, the Colorado Cancer Coalition, Anchor Point Foundation, Plaza Construction, Inc., Tesaro, and Anadarko Petroleum, this year’s retreats are FREE!