Shadowcliff Opens for the Season on Memorial Day. Now Taking Reservations!

Gail Spinden is a long-time Colorado native, former Rocky Mountain National Park ranger, and gifted instructor of 3rd grade at Mountain Sage Community School in Fort Collins. But you can also find her at Shadowcliff this month for Session 1 of Critters, Creeks & Crows, happening June 25-28!

Here are some fun questions to learn a little more about Gail and her passions:


Q: Where are you from?

A: I’m almost a third generation Coloradoan, my grandpa lived in Victor while his uncle manned the telegraph for the railroad around 1912. Annual summer vacations in the mountains were and are a family tradition. I am a graduate of CSU with a BS in Outdoor Recreation, a minor in Botany and an elementary teaching certificate from UNC. I have also lived in Alaska and Scotland. Home for the last 28 years with my husband and children is Fort Collins.


gail1Q: How did you first discover the passion for your area of expertise?

A: As a worker for Youth Conservation Corps I fell in love with the lifestyle and knew I wanted to be in outdoor education. I worked as the ranger aboard the Alaska State Ferries in the summers and a ski instructor at Granby Ranch in the winters. My dream job was working at Rocky as a ranger for 10 summer seasons. When I decided to start my family we settled in Fort Collins where I have been teaching for the past 25 years. I am excited to have the opportunity to lead Critters this summer!


Q: What are you most excited about discovering at Shadowcliff this season?

A: Although I lived in Grand Lake summer and winter for a number of years, I never spent time at Shadowcliff, but its reputation proceeds it and as a ranger in Rocky, I often heard wonderful stories from visitors that were staying there. I am excited to discover it for myself!


Q: Sunrise or sunset? Why?

A: Sunset, the alpine glow on Baldy (Mt. Craig) the quieting of the birds and the gloaming are my favorite time of day! I love to go for twilight hikes when the crepuscular animals are becoming active again! I hope to take you all on a twilight hike when you are with me. (Bring a flashlight because we will return in the dark!)


Q: What do you do when you’re not leading an amazing program at Shadowcliff?

A: I am currently teaching at Mountain Sage Community School, a Waldorf based charter school in Fort Collins. I just moved with my class from second grade to third. Teaching this age is a joy every day with their love of learning, their amazing discoveries, their enthusiasm and the way they embrace life. We take a nature walk every week and I find I learn from my children every day. I am truly blessed!


mountain sage