Join Us On A Mountain Adventure!

Women's Trip: July 15-20

Men's Trip: August 1-6

Join us for an adventure in the Colorado mountains! Both retreats will be held at AEI Base Camp in Almont, CO. You'll be staying in cabins and tents and hiking, climbing, backpacking, camping and connecting in the great outdoors on the Continental Divide. (All camping gear is will only need some good hiking shoes/socks, a daypack and a water bladder or two 1 litre water bottles. More details below under FAQs.)

Equipped with a reflection guide and led by a team of Heartlanders and AEI wilderness guides, you will have opportunity to unplug from the pace of every day life and connect with Jesus, yourself and one another as we explore together. A series of backpacking training hikes will be offered May through August.


We are going on an incredible trip to AEI Base Camp, a team we have worked with since 2014. The guides at AEI host us in hand-hewn cabins at 10,000' elevation below the Continental Divide. In turn, they create and lead us through activities designed to encounter the glory of the Colorado mountains and the incredible creativity and love of Jesus. Our adventures are July 15-20 (women's retreat) or August 1 - 6 (men's retreat). Here are some questions you may have!

If your question hasn’t been answered, CLICK HERE to email Lisa Zulke. or CLICK HERE to email Brad Herndon

We’ll depart from Heartland at 4:30 AM on your day of departure (aka Crack-o-dark, July 15 or August 1), and return to Heartland between 7 - 8 PM on July 20, or August 6.
Cost is $875 which includes all activities at camp, meals, transportation and lodging. It also includes your backpack and tent for the mountain campout (sleeping bags available by request). Deposit of $200 is required by June 1 to reserve your spot. Final payment due on June 15 (women) or July 1 (men). After initial registration and deposit, you can make payments via Heartland's online portal HERE.

CLICK HERE to email Lisa Zulke with questions on payment options or financial assistance on the women's trip.

CLICK HERE to email Brad Herndon with questions on payment options or financial assistance on the men's trip.

We will be traveling from Heartland to AEI Base Camp in a 15-passenger van. We will ask for 2-3 additional drivers to help take turns (license and proof of insurance required). We will plan several stops along the way, but will keep our stopped time to a minimum in order to arrive at Base Camp before dark! The van will have a cooler to hold lunches so we can eat at a rest stop without standing in long lines. (If you are leaving a car at Heartland while we are gone, we will park along the north side of the building, in view of security cameras.)
AEI Base Camp is located in Almont, CO, near the Continental Divide. We will be sleeping at 10,000' elevation. The camp address is: AEI Base Camp 2 Illinois Creek Road Almont, CO 81210 (970) 641-4708 (for emergency use only) For more information about AEI, CLICK HERE.
Cell service isn’t great, and there is no wifi or cell reception at Base Camp. We will be very much “off the grid”. Let your people know in advance that you may not be able to get a call out every day. The emergency camp phone number is listed above, and can be used by anyone needing to reach you in a time of crisis. There are no electrical outlets in the cabins. The camp runs on solar and generator power, making this a GREAT opportunity to practice a tech fast! If using your phone as a camera, bring back-up battery packs, fully charged. Use Airplane Mode as much as possible to save battery.
AEI is providing our meals . . . and they are pretty great! Keep in mind that they aren’t in a big city and do not have vending machines. If you have favorite snack foods, protein bars, or non-alcoholic beverages, please bring them! We are responsible for our own trail snacks. They will have a place for us to store those types of things out of the reach of critters. The water is cold, clear and delicious! Please bring a 2-liter Camelback unit, or a minimum of 2 1-liter water bottles. CLICK HERE to email Lisa Zulke so we can work with you to make necessary arrangements for dietary restrictions. CLICK HERE to email Brad Herndon so we can work with you to make necessary arrangements for dietary restrictions.
We will have some free time each day, typically right before or after meals. This is a connection and spiritual growth retreat. Our time is pretty focused on ADVENTURE, so we will be on the go most of every day. We will be backpacking and camping on the mountain two nights. (The camp provides high quality backpacks, fitted to each person. You will only need to bring a day pack.) In the evening we will have group gatherings in the chapel or around the campfire, with teaching, discussion and prayer. A more detailed schedule will be shared prior to departure. A variety of Heartland leaders will be sharing the teaching, discussion and prayer leadership, along with our AEI guide staff.
Base Camp is an incredible facility at the base of the Collegiate Peaks on the western side. Our early activities will take place at camp, including team building and hiking. We try to offer opportunity the first couple days to adjust to life at altitude. Remember to hydrate double what you normally would in advance . . . this will make life at altitude much more enjoyable! We will leave camp for our backpacking and camping portion, and eat dinner made over the campfire.
AEI Base Camp sits right on the continental divide, so it’s a lot higher than Kansas City. In the weeks leading up to the trip, PLEASE do all that you can to start preparing your body for the altitude. We want you to be able to enjoy every minute of the trip and not be dealing with altitude sickness. We have planned our activities for the first two days to help us acclimate (not a lot of altitude gain). Here’s what we suggest for altitude preparation as a “flatlander”: • Start drinking a LOT more water NOW, and especially the week of the trip. If you know you have issues with altitude sickness, you may want to discuss options with your doctor (Rx or over the counter). We also have several people who use an herbal beverage mix called Acclimate for electrolyte replacement. You can order it on Amazon. Nothing can prepare you better than NOT being dehydrated going into the trip. • Amp up your cardio (get yourself breathing heavily several times per week; intervals are great - a few minutes of an activity at a higher speed alternating with a few minutes of a more normal pace). Also begin adding weight to your backpack/water pack until you are able to do a long hike/walk with up to 40 lbs by July. We will begin a series of optional (but very fun!) training power walks, hikes, hill repeats and strength training meet ups. These typically run mid-May through the week before we leave, after work or on weekends.
Please see the packing list from AEI (link below) for a specific list. Here are a few additional reminders and things to consider. • LAYERS!! Including good rain gear (jacket or poncho) and hat/gloves (we may be out in the evenings and it can get pretty chilly; we will also be up early the day of our peak assault - early morning is usually the coldest). Tech fabrics work better than cotton, as they keep moisture away from your skin. • Water bottle(s) and/or hydration pack, you will need at least 2 liters with you for the long hike. Many people opt for a hydration pack which can hold a larger amount of water as well as have pockets for snacks or layers. In past years people have found off brand packs at Aldi so be sure to check out your options. • Swimsuit, towel. If you have a camping towel (kind of like a yoga towel or shammy) it will dry out better than a traditional towel. • Hiking boots & good hiking socks (if you’ve recently purchased hiking boots, be sure to break them in so you don’t get blisters). It is possible to hike in trail runners or running shoes if you don’t want to invest in hiking boots just for this trip. *AEI requires close-toed shoes around camp, but you can bring flip-flops for around the cabin. • Sleeping bag, blanket and pillow. The beds do have a twin sleeping pad, but since we’re only there for four nights, they recommend just bringing a sleeping bag with an extra blanket for the chilly evenings. For backpacking, you will want lightweight gear. AEI has backpacking sleeping bags that you can request to use on the mountain. • HEADLAMP - we may be doing some activities after dark and you’ll need to see what you’re doing. Headlamps are easily borrowed or bought. You might want to have a set of extra batteries, too. (You can also bring a flashlight.) • Bible and journal. (We will provide a trip journal if you prefer to use this, too.) • Ear plugs (if you’re a light sleeper). • Battery powered fan (if you’re a hot sleeper). • Any medications or personal items you think you might need. Altitude can change how your body acts, so be prepared. AEI has emergency medical supplies, but participants need to bring their own medications, etc. • Money for other incidentals. AEI has a “store” where you can purchase t-shirts, etc. At the end of our stay at camp, we will also collect money for a tip for the AEI guides who have led us all week. Cash is best for the tips.
$30-100, depending on your preferences! We will have access to the AEI camp store that has great tshirts, hats, hoodies and stickers. They take cash or credit card. Each person is responsible for meals on the drive. We invite all participants to chip-in on a personal tip for our guide staff. This is an optional and confidential contribution that you will drop in an envelope in the cabins prior to our departure.

Required Forms

You will need to complete both the Heartland Registration and the AEI Registration forms. To register with Heartland, click the blue button below. To complete all AEI trip forms, click to download each set and drop off in the Hub at Heartland, or mail to us: Attn: Lisa Zulke, Heartland Community Church, 12175 Strang Line Rd, Olathe KS 66062. NOTE: You only need a signed medical release form (page 3 in AEI packet) from a physician if you answered YES to any of the health questions that might be impacted at altitude.

AEI Forms

CLICK HERE to download and complete.

Heartland Form

CLICK HERE to complete this digital Heartland release form.

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Colorado Highlights


Brad Herndon

Lisa Zulke