Kate Coleman's Biophilia stuffs your backpack with yoga and nutrition

There's no shortage of local entrepreneurs who are tapping into yoga and nutrition. That's why Kate Coleman, founder of Biophilia, wanted to carve out her own special niche. The certified-yoga-instructor-slash-nutritionist has been backpacking for nearly a decade, since a University of Iowa school excursion first sparked her interested in the pastime by offering a much more exhilarating experience than the car-camping she'd done as a child.

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"With backpacking," Coleman says, "you're out there without any luxuries, and you're forced to really connect with the people around you. Oftentimes, these interactions and experiences can be life-changing."

Coleman's been doing personalized, private retreats for individual customers for years, but didn't start leading her unique breed of group-oriented backpacking trips until last summer. "After talking with a few people, I realized there was a need for something more group-friendly," says Coleman.

Coleman's Sangre de Cristo Yoga, Nutrition, and Backpacking Retreat will start on Friday, August 2, when participants will meet at her home at 6:15 a.m. to plan and pack their caravan for the weekend. "We should be on the road by 7," Coleman estimates.

After a three-hour drive, Coleman will lead her pack on a five-mile hike to the first campsite, where the day will end with yin yoga and a relaxing dinner. The second day will be more strenuous: another five-mile hike funneling participants across Phantom Terrance, a steep ledge named for the difficulty hikers have in seeing the trail from the slope.

"You'll have to be okay with heights," says Coleman. That said, participants don't have to be experienced athletes; she describes this particular hike as moderate to challenging. "This can be your first time backpacking," she says. "But you'll have to be able to carry your own pack."

Day two culminates with another yoga class, either yin yoga or a vinyasa flow. On the second night, the group will set up camp alongside a lake basin. Sunday opens with waterside morning yoga followed by an easy hike back to the cars. Folks can plan to be back in Denver by 4 p.m.

All meals are included in the price of the trip. And, if you thought you knew what camp food tasted like, think again. This isn't your average backpacking grub. Every meal is a Paleo-based, gluten- and dairy-free creation. Vegan options are always available upon request. "I'm a pretty good cook," says Coleman, who crafts the cuisine herself using basic clean-eating principals.

Popular breakfast items are egg cups (ham baked with eggs into muffins) and oatmeal. Lunch is typically dehydrated local and organic veggies -- Coleman personally does the dehydrating ahead of time -- and a source of protein, either wild caught and packaged tuna or protein bars for vegans. Dinners are a bigger production: One of the meals on this retreat, for example, will be salmon with a raspberry-chipotle reduction alongside kale and quinoa salad.

For more on the retreat, visit Coleman's website. Advanced sign up is required, and the group is capped at six participants; the cost is $515 per person.

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Jamie Siebrase is a Denver-based freelance writer, and author of the forthcoming Falcon Guide Hiking Wth Kids, Colorado: 52 Great Hikes for Families.
Contact: Jamie Siebrase