Plein-Air Arts & Crafts Week – July 2018

Mountain Kids! loved our Plein-Air Arts and Crafts week! We focused on the simplicity of nature journaling while hiking beautiful trails, diving into color combinations while water coloring, and even guided acrylic paints onto canvases by the end of the week!
Our group’s favorite destination was Tsankawi, where we tried our skills at landscape sketching. We challenged our group to complete the designated one-mile loop and were soon met by an abundance of chilly raindrops that promptly steered us into Tsankawi’s impressive cliff-side caves. Don’t fret, our Mountain Kids! were safe and dry, imagining what life was like for the people that lived here.
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On Friday we ground different rocks and minerals into fine powder creating earth-based paint. With a rekindled understanding of how much material mother nature provides, we even harvested yucca stalks and engineered our own trailside paint brushes.
These campers were so eager to churn their creative juices this week – the resulting masterpieces were wonderful. What a fantastic week of plein air art!

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For upcoming camps, please check out our Programs page!

Digging Into The Past June 2018

What a fun-filled “Digging into the Past” week we’ve had. Our Mountain Kids! explored as far as Villanueva State Park and Bandelier National Monument learning all about different rocks, minerals, and all the unique contributions they offer.

Our week’s adventure at the Beaver Ponds on top of Fossil Hill where we collected fossils – what a group of junior archeologists! We discovered that Santa Fe used to be underwater and home to creatures like shellfish that left their beautiful shell imprints in the earth.

Then we ventured to Villanueva State Park and Bandelier National Monument where we were able to see and imagine how natives lived before there were modern houses, grocery stores, and dare we say it… video games! We climbed in and out of ancient ruins. We played games and even created our own painted clay pottery like the ancient pueblo children did.

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We concluded our week learning all about metamorphic, igneous, and sedimentary rocks, enough to be able to identify the differences. The gorgeous river and chilly waterfall at Nambe Falls kept us feeling cool while exploring the many rocks and minerals found in the depths of its canyon. An excellent week and even better campers. Hope to see your smiling faces again this summer!

There is still a lot of summer left! Check out our Programs page over at the Mountain Kids! website for upcoming camps.

 

Bikes & Boats! June 18-22

This week our campers proved their abilities both on wheels and on water. On Monday and Tuesday, we honed our mountain biking skills on the La Tierra Trails learning the basics of terrain navigation. They were very impressive, piloting their bikes through the flow trail, the wee-whoops, and the terrain park with confidence.

On Wednesday we loaded up our kayaks and headed to Abiquiu Lake for our overnight camping trip, where we were very grateful to spend the day swimming, splashing, and paddling. Our kayaking instructor, Steve, taught us how to efficiently paddle and toured us along the shoreline. We ended the day soaked and satisfied, and returned to our camp for dinner, songs, and sleep. On Thursday we packed up camp and returned to the water spending most of the day relaxing on the beach, casually kayaking around, and jumping into Abiquiu’s cool water. It was a fun and full week of camp, just how we like it! Thank you, Mountain Kids!  – Max

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Photo Safari!

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This week our Mountain Kids learned and practiced everything photography! We learned how our human eyes relate to cameras, how cameras work, different composition techniques to capture the most interesting photos, and even had the opportunity to take home a print of our favorite shot!

Esha Chiocchio (CIT Zubin’s mom, and a professional photographer) came in to talk to us about composition and shared lots of fun exercises with us.

We explored a different photo challenge each day, sought objects for photo scavenger hunts, zoomed WAY in on bull frogs and goats, and took beautiful photos out on the many hikes we conquered!

Of course, sprinkled in to each day, was a number of active games to tie all of the skills we learned together. These campers were so impressive and are some of the best photographers Mountain Kids has seen all summer!

Three Day Backpacking to Wheeler Peak!

We climbed Wheeled Peak on our three-backpacking trip to find out what we were made of. It turns out we are made of tears and laughter, dancing and determination, strength and acts of kindness.

It was a long, tough climb to 13,170 feet (5 miles one way) to the highest point in New Mexico. When the going got tough for one camper in our party, we called a group meeting to talk about how we could support one another to get there. One friend stepped forward to carry their shared backpack. We gave another permission to play his music so he could dance us up the mountain, which was cheering for all. The friendship and camaraderie of a third helped both of them to feel supported and able to carry on.

I stayed in the back with the slower campers. We took lots of breaks, enjoyed the scenery, the rainbow of wildflowers, and saw a whole family of big horned sheep. The going was hard but steady. After multiple (disappointing) ‘false summits’, we finally made it to Wheeler Peak, the top of New Mexico!

This kind of experience can’t be measured in feet and miles however, but sweat, tears, and gumption.

The memories made, the friendships gained, and the confidence that comes with overcoming hardship to achieve the seemingly impossible is what will stick with these kids as they move back into their daily lives.

I am so proud of all the Mountain (climbing) Kids! for working hard and supporting each other to reach this incredible goal.  – Katie

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What an impressive week! Our courageous campers hiked, ran, skipped, and occasionally danced their way to the top of Wheeler Peak, the highest point in New Mexico, after a serious amount of preparation. Their physical capabilities and positive mental attitudes were truly impressive. We rounded the week off with some kayaking at Santa Cruz Lake. Nothing beats gliding around on cool, calm water after spending the week aiming to summit the next grand peak! – Max

Wonders of Water!

Wonders of Water week turned out to be a huge, wet success! Our campers triumphantly discovered a natural water source at each destination and enthusiastically learned a new fact or skill everyday. We explored the water cycle, how to conserve, and how to properly filter water!

In between lessons, our campers sought out interesting looking minerals on river beds, and came across a handful of native, water living creatures.

I think we all have an absolutely enormous appreciation for water, especially here at home in Santa Fe. Keep on rain-dancing everyone, bring on the rain!

Mountain Biking Skills and Thrills! June 4-8

What a great way to kick off summer for the Eagles – our 9-12 year old campers! On Day one we rode at La Tierra where we tackled the Flow Trail, climbs to and from the trail, and then the pump track at Alto Park.  We talked about specific skills for climbing, descending, braking and turning.

On our second day we rode Dale Ball, which was short and sweet!  Day three took us up to the Rift Valley Trail south of Taos. It was a long drive, but we had fun playing games along the way, and the views and riding were worth it!  We also had time for a dip in the Rio Grande, which was a treat!

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On Day four we checked out the Oak Flats campground in the Tijeras District on the east side of the Sandias.  It was perfect riding. At 7000ish feet, we rode through a ponderosa forest, which was a bit cooler than previous rides, and the trails were a combination of beautiful smoothness with a few technical spots to challenge our skills.

We are so proud of these campers for all the hard work they put into riding, and the fun they had!  Apparently, hard work and fun go hand-in-hand and provide great learning and growth for kids exploring their limits.

 

Forts & Forests!

What a fantastic way to kick off the beginning of an adventure filled summer! Week one of camp was all about exploration and creativity within our natural world in the National Forest. We had so much fun teepee building using the natural resources we discovered under the grand aspens. We loved playing relationship-building games in the chilly streams and vast meadows. Eagle Eye and Sardines were BIG hits amongst these eager to play at Mountain Kids! Thanks so much for joining us during our Forts and Forest themed week!

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