MindStretch Travel Adventures
2017 Annual Report
the most entertaining annual report you'll read all year

December 2017

Looking back at some of our highlights in facts & figures anyone can understand...
We had two very incredible trips this past summer enjoyed by a total of 47 boys and five different leaders. We hope you'll enjoy reliving a bit of our fun by checking out some of our notable happenings.

Our first trip last summer was a week spent in the North Carolina mountains basing our program out of the Cherokee area. We followed that with two weeks out in the Colorado Rockies spending most of our time around Manitou Springs and Granby.
How many pizzas did MTA boys consume this summer? We stopped counting.
And how many boys broke the number one gold mine regulation
noted on this sign?
Our lips are sealed.
How many boys attempted this leap of faith? Actually, quite a few attempted this confidence building activity and three actually made it. This was out at Snow Mountain Ranch (where we spent nearly a week) during our Colorado stay. On this particular element, boys had to climb a pole high above the ground and then make a flying leap out into space to attempt to grab the swinging bar. (Don't try this at home!)
How many boys took the height-reducing pill in Manitou Springs? Just one...and you can see what happened to him. But don't worry moms...we had a reversing agent he swallowed immediately afterwards. 

This school desk graces the main drive through downtown Manitou Springs, Colorado.
Just  so you get a sense of the "leap of faith" element on the ropes course, here's a glimpse of a successful jump by camper James. Needless to say, anyone who even attempted this is incredibly brave! (Or maybe that's foolish!)
How many boys were attacked by a bear this summer? Only this one, and he is living proof that a bear is more afraid of two dozens boys than boys are afraid of bears. Actually, we didn't see any real bears on either of the trips this summer. This was as close as we got. We did see elk, bald eagles, coyote, bighorn sheep, wolves, and other really cool animals.
How many National Parks did we explore this summer? Two. The boys above did several activities in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park during our North Carolina trip. 
And these guys enjoyed a day in Rocky Mountain National Park. This photo was taken up on Trailridge Road which runs through the park from Estes Park to the side where we were staying near Granby.
How many boys ate "rocky mountain oysters" this summer? Well, that would be just four. Google "rocky mountain oysters" if you're not sure what this delicacy is.
How much are all of these gemstones worth! We didn't ask, but certainly worth more than the time it took to mine for them. Boys have always enjoyed hunting for these treasures.
How many boys earned some real spending money on the North Carolina adventure?  A bunch. These guys are showing off some of their take-home pay after winning various phases of our own bowling tournament.
One thousand, four hundred and fifty-three. That's the estimated number of rocks these boys skipped during one of our hikes in the Smokies.
One! That's the number of major league baseball games we witnessed this summer. This is from our seats in Coors Field in Denver where we almost witnessed the Denver Rockies have a no-hitter. It's was fun to be there for the excitement.
How many boys had their first sky-diving experience on the North Carolina Trip? That would be ZERO. These guys are suited up for a high-ropes adventure course and zip-line at the Nantahala Outdoor Center.
And while these boys out in Colorado might not have been skydiving, it wasn't far off. They were experiencing the Royal Rush Skycoaster at Royal Gorge Park. These guys and a dozen or more others were strapped in, pulled back in a kind of sling, and then catapulted over the Royal Gorge. They were flying 1,200 feet above the Arkansas River below.
Don't believe us? Check out this video of one of the groups of three as they took the plunge.
How many boys fell off a horse this summer? None! We had horseback options on both the North Carolina and Colorado trips this summer. Boys enjoyed riding horses with names such as: Greased Lightning, Buckmeister, Gone Bananas, and Farts-a-Lot.
How many boys got caught cheating at the famous Penny Arcade in Manitou Springs? Not these two. They got "caught" attempting to get glimpses of an old-fashion attraction that offered no thrills at all. And of course, no one got busted for cheating at anything this summer.
We invented the term "fake news" way before the politicians got hold of it. See, this guy is not actually playing the slots at a casino in Cripple Creek. Boys were not permitted in the gaming area but we did have a fantastic pizza lunch at the joint.
What's the highest mountain we visited this summer? That would be the summit at Pikes Peak at an elevation of 14,115 feet. And just a couple of days before this photo was taken, we were 1,000 feet down before the surface of the earth touring the Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine.
How many of our boys were sworn in as Junior National Park Rangers for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. All of them. And what about the guys who were older than 13? Well, they were sworn is as "Not-So-Junior National Park Rangers," and that included the adult leaders.
What's the average age of the MTA leadership crew? Take a guess. 20's? Well, that would be about right for a typical summer camp. 30's? 40's? 50's?

STOP! Let's just say we're all young at heart...and we had a blast just like the boys.
What's the toughest trail ever hiked by a MTA group? That would be the famous Manitou Incline that this group of gung-ho boys woke up very early to tackle this summer. The trail gains 2,000 feet in less than one mile with an average grade of 45% (24 degree angle) and at one spot has a grade of 68% or a 34 degree angle. These boys were basking in their glory when they got back to base camp in Manitou Springs.
And while the group of Colorado boys had the Manitou Incline as one of their "optional" challenges, all the boys on the North Carolina trip had their own small challenge to attempt. Their first introduction to MTA activities was unloading all the luggage at our Cherokee hotel without dropping a piece. One piece dropped and the whole process would have to start over.
They proved they could "get 'er done" in record time.
Boys on the North Carolina adventure were also challenged with a fast-moving trip down the Nantahala River. I think everyone managed to stay in their raft...which is no easy feat.
We could go on and on...but we hope you've figured out that we had some great times this past summer.
We're sure boys are still telling stories about the adventures they had.
So a big thanks to the 22 boys on the North Carolina Mountains trip. Here they posed outside the Oconaluftee Visitor Center for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
...and a big thanks to the 25 boys on the Colorado Rockies trip. And of course, a huge thanks to the leaders who made it all smooth trekking. These boys were posing in front of a B-24 replica at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.
We hope this look back gives you just a taste of the experiences and adventures we have on our trips. No day is ever the same.

We have two great adventures lined up for 2018. We've made room for three more boys for our Virginia Highlands trip - July 15-21.

Click for more information.

The Europe by Eurail trip is full but there's always a chance of an opening
later in the year.
Share us with others...

Thanks for checking out just some of what we did last summer. Most of these same boys are going with us on one of our two trips this coming summer and we'll be welcoming several new boys into the MTA family.

Please don't keep us a secret. Share our news with friends, neighbors, and relatives. 


Mark Levin
MTA Director
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