Tamarack alumni get together for back-country hikes.
Founded in 2008, the Aggressive Deer Adventure Club is a group of proud Tamarack Alumni from the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, who lead normal lives as doctors, lawyers and business owners. Every few years, using the camping skills they learned at Tamarack, they take backcountry hiking trips to beautiful destinations in North America: Yosemite (Half Dome), Kings Canyon (Rae Lakes), Mt. Assiniboine Provincial Park (The Nub), Mt. Robson Provincial Park (Berg Lake) and Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness (4 Pass Loop).
Aggressive Deer is led by two former board presidents, Joe Lash and Darren Findling, who “bicker for months before each trip about the destination, and then blame each other when something goes wrong,” they joke.
Members are former Tamarack campers, counselors, supervisors, Western and Alaskan trip staff, Fresh Air Society Board Members, and parents of Tamarack campers. They include Mitch Rosenwasser, Robert Blacher, Joel Smith, Dr. Joel Topf, Dr. Noah Siegel, Dr. Jefferey Michaelson, Daniel Findling, Dr. Jeffrey Zonder, Marc Nakisher, Dan Tucker, Matt Egrin, Darren Findling and Joe Lash.
Lash explains: “It’s not really a club. Although we have a logo, we’re really just a bunch of Type-A Jewish guys, who have been camping together since our Tamarack years. We now use valuable vacation time to sleep on the ground, often at high elevations, in frigid temperatures, and at ages and in declining physical conditions that are probably better suited for the golf course. And we wouldn’t have it any other way!”
So why do they call themselves the Aggressive Deer? “We are named after a harrowing encounter with a precocious deer (think Bambi, but smaller), who menacingly walked through our campsite and wouldn’t leave, until a few brave souls stepped up to defend our group,” said Daniel Findling.
This September, the group completed a four-day, 26.5-mile backcountry hiking trek near Aspen, Colorado (the iconic Four Pass Loop), where they traversed four 12,500-foot passes with full packs. “It was one of the most challenging trips that many of us have ever taken,” said Robert Blacher.
“Tamarack Camps and the outdoor experiences we enjoyed as campers and staff fostered our love for nature and adventure,” said Darren Findling. “We learned valuable leadership and problem-solving skills as young adults that we still use today in our jobs and as parents. Like many others in the community, we made some of our closest friends in the world during our summers, while proudly celebrating being Jewish in a fun and joyful way. Quite simply, Tamarack made us who we are today.”
This story was originally posted in the Camp Tamarack newsletter.