Live By Living 2017 Summer Retreats



Sign up for ONE or TWO retreats now. In June, we’ll open up unlimited registration, and you can sign up for additional trips at that time, space allowing. You may only register for ONE of the Rocky Mountain National Park retreats.  If you have been on our retreats before, you are welcome to return as a participant (or a volunteer).  We do reserve the right to give preference to people who have not been on a retreat. 


At the bottom of this page, past the listings for all of the trips, is a registration form for all of the trips. Decide which trip (or which two trips) you want to go on. PLEASE check your calendars carefully when registering for these trips.  Be sure you don’t have a conflict. And be sure to select the trip and date that you want!


For 2017, Live By Living is currently offering nine summer and fall cancer survivor/caregiver retreats, with more to come. All trips are open to cancer survivors and their caregivers. (In our book, once you have been diagnosed with cancer, you are a “survivor.” “Caregiver” means a spouse, grown child, parent, or a good friend. Sorry, no dogs allowed on retreats.)


This year, we have two types of retreats on tap.  “Hut trips” are our traditional retreats, where we hike to beautiful log cabins high in the Rockies.  These retreats are 3 days and 2 nights long.  We will meet at the trailhead for each retreat between 8 and 10 on the morning of the first day, hike to the cabin, spend two nights at the cabin, and return to our cars around noon of the third day. Our other retreats are based at the YMCA Conference Center in Estes Park.  These retreats are 3 nights, 3 days.  We meet for dinner at the lodge Monday evening and head home Thursday afternoon.  In between, we have three days of hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park.


This year’s trips are:


July 15th – 17th:  Peter Estin Hut
July 22nd – July 24th:  Francie’s Cabin

August 5th – 7th:  UC Health Retreat to 10th Mtn. Division Hut (UCHealth patients/caregivers only)

July 29th – 31st:  Peter Estin Hut (YOUNG ADULT RETREAT)

Aug 19th – 21st:  Uncle Bud’s Hut
Aug 26th – 30th:   Fowler/Hilliard Hut
Sept 9th – 11th:  Francie’s Cabin

September 18th – 20th:  YMCA conference center, Rocky Mountain National Park

September 25th – 27th:  YMCA conference center, Rocky Mountain National Park


This year, our young adult survivor retreat will be to the Peter Estin Hut, July 29-31. We’re also offering a retreat specifically for families. That retreat has not been scheduled yet, so stay tuned!


Read more about each of the trips and register for them below. (Keep scrolling, it’s a long page!)


Trip costs: Zero!  But, you can pay it forward.


We are glad to announce that our 2017 retreats are FREE, thanks to generous grants from the George Karl Foundation, the Colorado Cancer League, the Colorado Cancer Coalition, UCHealth, the Miller Family Foundation, the McWayne Family Foundation, Brad Feld and Amy Batchelor, and Tebo Properties.

After you attend one of our retreats, we do ask that you “pay it forward” in some manner so that others can participate as well. To find out how you can do this, click here.


What trip should I go on?


Well, there are two things you might want to consider:  your fitness level, and the type of accommodations that are offered.


On the fitness side, this year’s trips vary in difficulty.  In general, the YMCA retreats are easier than retreats to the huts, because they are at much lower elevation, and you just drive to the lodging instead of hiking in.  If you want to go on one of the hut trip retreats, we strongly encourage you to join us for at least one day hike so you and we can both judge your level of fitness.


Even if you are not be ready for one of these trips today, you can make it a goal to work towards. As we post this web page, it’s the middle of April. That leaves 3 months until the first retreat, and 4 1/2 months until the last one in mid-September. Why not join us for some hikes in May, June, and July, and see how you progress? We have regular programs of walks and hikes. Participating in these programs is the perfect way to prepare for a retreat. You may be stronger than you think, and you will be even stronger after a couple months of regular walking or hiking. Plus, you’ll have fun and make some new friends in the meantime!  Worst case, we can give you a ride to the cabin.


On the accommodations side of things, while all of the trips are FABULOUS, there are some big differences between the trips to one of the huts, and the trips to the YMCA facility in Estes Park.  The accommodations at the huts are on the RUSTIC side: outhouses (or composting toilets), NO RUNNING WATER, AND NO ELECTRICITY. Also, most of the sleeping quarters are semi-communal (4-6 people per room). The YMCA cabin and lodge rooms are MODERN, with running water, electricity, full bathrooms, etc.  We book two people per room on the YMCA retreats.


On the other hand, the huts are really IN the wilderness, and there’s a lot more solitude on them than in busy Rocky Mountain National Park.  Finally, the huts are much higher than the YMCA conference center:  11,200 feet elevation vs. 8,500 feet.  If you have difficulty with high altitude, the YMCA is a better choice.  For more details on each type of trip, check out the Survivor Retreats page.


Peter Estin Hut Survivor/Caregiver Retreat — July 15th – 17th & July 29th – 31st (both trips are Saturday – Monday)


The Ironedge Trail that leads to the Peter Estin Hut is about a 3-mile hike, with 1800 feet of elevation gain. It’s not the longest hike in, but it’s the most sustained steep climb of any of the huts we go to. The hut sits at 11,200 feet above sea level. This cabin sleeps 16 — 8 in a communal area, 2 each in separate bedrooms upstairs, and 4 in a secluded garden-level room. You can read more about the Peter Estin Hut here. The trailhead for the Peter Estin Hut is south of Eagle, about a 3 hour and 15 minute drive from central Denver .


The wildflowers around the Peter Estin Hut are fabulous! There’s a great moderate hike from the hut to Charles Peak that overlooks the Holy Cross wilderness, including Gold Dust Peak and New York Mountain. You really feel like you’re on top of the world!
We will hike in on Saturday, July 15, spend 2 nights at the cabin, and hike out on Monday, July 17.

The second Peter Estin trip is for young adult (40-ish and under) survivors and their caregivers.  On this trip, we will hike in on Saturday, July 29, spend 2 nights at the cabin,and hike out on Monday, July 31.


Francie’s Cabin Survivor/Caregiver Retreat — July 22-24  & Sept. 9th – 11th (both trips are Saturday – Monday)


Francie’s is the easiest of the cabins we will go to this year. Francie’s Cabin is located just south of Breckenridge, below treeline in the Crystal Lakes Valley. The hike in is about 3.5 miles long, and gains about 900 feet. We take our time, though, so this trip is suitable for most folks. Francie’s Cabin is located at 11,264 feet.



Francie’s Cabin is owned and managed by the Summit Huts Association. It has 6 bedrooms (2 2-person rooms and 4 4-person rooms), and sleeps 20 people total. This cabin has indoor composting toilets and a SAUNA. You can read more about Francie’s Cabin here. There are options for great day hikes, including an easy one just up the valley to an old ruined cabin that sits below Father Dyer Peak. It takes about one hour and 45 minutes to drive to the Francie’s trailhead from central Denver.

We will hike in on Saturday, July 23, spend 2 nights at the cabin, and hike out on Monday, July 25. We will also have a second retreat at Francie’s this year in September.  On the second trip, we will hike in on Saturday, September 9, spend 2 nights at the cabin, and hike out on Monday, September 11. 




UCHealth 10th Mountain Division Hut Survivor/Caregiver Retreat — Aug. 5th – 7th  (Saturday –Monday) (UCHealth patients/caregivers only)


Our thanks to UCHealth for sponsoring this retreat.  This retreat is for current and former patients at one of UCHealth’s hospitals. 




Slide Lake, near the Tenth Mountain Hut



This year marks our third summer trip to the 10th Mountain Division Hut, named in honor of the US Army’s mountaineering corps that trained here during World War II. It has great views of Homestake Peak, and great hiking to Slide Lake, or up the ridge to Homestake Peak. The trip in to the Tenth Mountain Hut is easier than the hikes to Peter Estin or to Uncle Bud’s, and a bit harder than the hike to Francie’s. The trail is about 3.25 miles long, with about 1000 feet of elevation gain. 








Tenth Mountain Division Hut, Homestake Peak

Tenth Mountain Division Hut, Homestake Peak


The cabin has 2 bedrooms (one sleeps 4, the other 6), and a communal area with one double bed and 4 single beds. You can read more about the Tenth Mountain Hut here. We’ll meet around 9 on Saturday, hike in, spend 2 nights, and hike out Monday morning.





Uncle Bud’s Hut  Survivor/Caregiver retreat, August 19th -21st (Saturday – Monday)

Uncle Bud's Hut

Uncle Bud’s Hut

Uncle Bud’s Hut is a perennial favorite. At 4 miles, the hike to Uncle Bud’s is the longest of this year’s retreats. The trail climbs about 1,300 feet, so it’s not as steep as the trail to the Peter Estin Hut. Uncle Bud’s is a very comfortable place to rest and relax. It sleeps 16 people in two bedrooms (one has 4 beds, another has 6) and a communal area with one double bed and 4 single beds. It sits at 11,370 feet. You can read more about Uncle Bud’s Hut here. It takes about 2 hours to get to our meeting point in Leadville from central Denver.



Mt. Massive from Uncle Bud’s


With the panorama of Mount Massive right out the front windows of the hut, Uncle Bud’s offers “intrepid trailblazers” a truly rewarding vista. There are great day hike options from Uncle Bud’s hut, whether you just want a fairly easy walk to the nearby Bear Lake, or a more challenging climb up the ridge toward Galena Mountain.







nutritious and delicious!

nutritious and delicious



On the August trip, we may be able to find the king of wild mushrooms, boletus edulus (also known as the porcini mushroom). Mushrooms are a great cancer-fighting food!

We will hike in on Saturday morning, August 19, spend 2 nights at the hut, and hike out on Monday morning, August 21.





Fowler-Hilliard Hut Survivor/Caregiver retreat, August 26th -28th (Saturday – Monday)


This is our first year going to the Fowler/Hilliard Hut.  The Fowler/Hilliard hut is the HIGHEST cabin we go to: 11,500 feet above sea level.  Wow!  It sits in a spectacular setting, on the east flank of Resolution Mountain.  The hike in is about 3.75 miles, with about 1140 feet of elevation gain. Ptarmigan Hill and Resolution Mountain offer a couple different day hike destinations. The Flower/Hilliard hut is another good spot for mushroom foragers! The Fowler/Hilliard Hut sleeping layout has 1 room with a double bed, 1 room with 4 single beds, and 10 single beds in a communal sleeping area. You can read more about the Fowler/Hilliard Hut here.


Rocky Mountain National Park retreat, September 18 – 20 & 25th – 27th (Monday — Wednesday)



This retreat is quite different than our traditional retreats that all go to the beautiful, rustic Tenth Mountain Division Hut Association cabins located above 11,000 feet.  Instead of hiking to the cabin, we drive right to the front door!  Our base of operations is a beautiful, modern 6-bedroom cabin with all the amenities (electricity, running hot and cold water, showers, appliances, etc.) that is part of the YMCA Estes Park Conference Center.  We’ll spend our nights at this cabin and our days hiking in nearby Rocky Mountain National Park.  This 3-night trip will give us three full days to hike in one of America’s Crown Jewels while she is bedecked with blazing fall colors.





On the Rocky Mountain National Park retreats, we meet Monday evening in time to get settled in our rooms and enjoy dinner together.  We spend the next three days hiking in and near the Park, and head home Thursday afternoon. You may only register for ONE of the Rocky Mountain National Park retreats. But, you can register for a second retreat at one of the huts, if you like.




To sign up for a retreat, please fill out the form below, being careful to select the retreat you want. Click on the “submit form” button at the bottom. After you fill out the form and hit the “send” button, the form will go blank, and you should see a message to the left of the “send” button saying your form was sent successfully.


Please sign up for no more than two retreats now.  Later in the summer, we will start unlimited registration, and you can sign up for additional retreats at that time, space allowing.


We will send you an automated email acknowledging receipt of your registration form. (If you do not receive an email within a day of submitting your form, please contact us at If there is still space on the trip when we receive your registration form, we will send you a MEDICAL CLEARANCE FORM that you will need to fill out and return to us. YOUR DOCTOR WILL NEED TO SIGN THIS FORM. Please return the medical form within two weeks of receiving our email.


We keep a wait list for each trip that fills up. If you are on the wait list, DON’T GIVE UP! Keep the retreat dates open, if you can. Past experience has shown that people pretty far down on the wait list often get to go on the trips.