My favorite place! You’ll see, you’ll understand.
It has been 5 years since I have been to Hume Lake. I attended the camp in middle and high school, and even lived there for two Summers as a part-time staffer in 2011 and 2012. I had applied to work there again in the Summer of 2013, but God had a different plan. Instead, I got married! 🙂
Let me share with you the magnitude of this majestic area nestled in the Sierra Nevadas. Hume Lake is a reservoir that sits at about 5,200 ft (1,585 m.) elevation. It is home to Hume Lake Christian Camps, which dates back to 1945. The camp hosts retreats and week-long camps for people of all ages. The most popular are the Summer camps, for elementary through high school ages. These camps run for ten weeks straight and bring in about 20,000 campers. In addition, Hume Lake has a retreat almost every weekend in the other three seasons. These retreats are for men, women, couples, families, and may have a different focus, such as fishing, sports, or service.
Aside from being a popular retreat destination, Hume is home to about 300 people. There are more than 150 full-time employees at the camp, along with their families and part-time staff.
Hume rests in Sequoia National Park, but Kings Canyon National Park is only a short drive away, with spectacular views of one of the deepest canyons in the USA. Both parks feature some great hiking trails – including the Pacific Crest Trail.
Okay, that’s a pretty good description, don’t you agree?
Hume had my heart since the beginning! I love the smell of the Ponderosa Pine Trees, the views of the lake and mountains, the people who live and work there, and the mission: to make disciples. One of my favorite things about Hume is recreation and how students are introduced to Jesus Christ through games and activities. Campers really open up when they feel comfortable, competing against other teams and building new friendships. And then they get wrecked. God provides a speaker with a message that hits home and breaks down more barriers. Every single week! Of course, my Hume experience had only consisted of Summer camps, so I know that there is a lot more that goes on in the off-season.
I have always told David about this special place, but we were never able to visit until now. I can’t tell you how excited I was that David would finally be able to see for himself! I arranged for the two of us to be volunteering for a week in Support Services (SS), which is the department I worked in as a Summer Staffer. SS does the necessary work to keep camp clean. There are many cabins at Hume, as well as a couple hotel-style lodges that are occupied by campers and retreat-goers. As soon as a camp or retreat is finished, everything is “turned over” before the next camp/retreat. That means SS goes in to clean the entire room to prepare it for the next occupant. In addition to all the cabins and lodge rooms, there are stand-alone bathrooms on the campus, large dining halls, and some chapels that need regular attention.
In exchange for our service, lodging and meals were provided for us. Our work days were Mon-Thurs, 7:30-4:30 and Friday 7:30-Noon. We spent our time cleaning cabins and making a lot of beds for the upcoming Women’s Retreat. It was hard work, and we both hadn’t worked for over a month. It was quite an adjustment, but I enjoyed it all the way.
We spent the weekend exploring the area by hiking. Our first hike was just up the hillside, right next to camp. It took about 1.5 hours to the top. We got lost trying to take a different way down, and ended up having to climb back up to the top to go back the way we came. Quite unpleasant! (David won’t trust me with planning a hike again.) Here’s a photo from the top!
Our next hike was stunning. We drove an hour into Kings Canyon. Highway 180 rides along the Kings River a bit, and eventually ends in a parking lot off the Roaring River Trail. There are a LOT of hiking trails, and we saw many hikers going up for an overnight trip. Our hike, though, just just about 4 miles one way. We hiked to Mist Falls, which was lovely, but doesn’t compare to the views of the valley that you get along the way. Here are some photos of this hike:
Our final hike was back in Sequoia the following day. We didn’t really plan on a hike, and it was spur-of-the-moment. There’s a trail called Big Baldy Trail, and it takes you up to a peak that is bare rock – hence, the name “Big Baldy.” It’s a fairly large bare rock, and it gives you panoramic views of the Sierras. Mountains, everywhere. We took this hike in the evening and were able to watch the sunset on our way back down. The hike is only 2 miles one way, and inclines about 800 ft. (We realized later that it dips a few times, so you’re probably doing 800 ft inclines about 3 times. Ha!)
Even though we only spent a week up at Hume, we had the best time. My heart felt content because I was able to introduce David to a huge part of my childhood/upbringing.
Check out Hume Lake’s camping, retreat, and volunteer options year-round by visiting www.HumeLake.org.