Week 10 – August 4-7, 2014: Wilderness Skills!

Monday, August 4: Lower Windsor Trail along Big Tesuque Creek

Rain and shine – we had it all this week! We started with a new venue for the summer.   With rain eminent we decided on the lower end of the Windsor Trail along Big Tesuque Creek. The rain held off and we had a wonderfully cool hike up to a grove of enormous Ponderosa pines where we played in the creek. The Eagles developed a deep pool with a rock dam complete with hollow reed spigots! The rain finally found us about ten minutes from the vans.

Tuesday, August 5: Deer Creek/Grasshopper Canyon

Tuesday we listened to Ziggy read Stop and Stay Put, a book about how to prepare for a hike and what to do if you get lost. Then both the Owls and Eagles hiked up Deer Creek for a well deserved dip in the deep (yea monsoons) granite pools. The pools were cool but not freezing cold and we could have played in them for quite a while longer were it not for a good hike back needing some time.

Wednesday, August 6: Aspen Vista to top of the  quad-chair lift via Carl’s Meadow.

Wednesday Dave read The Giving Tree before collecting dead yucca fronds for making cordage. It was a blue sky day for a trip up to high country. Owls frolicked in the headwaters of Rio en Medio up at the ski basin while the Eagles climbed up to the top of the Quad chair from Aspen Vista. Strawberries were abundant in the big meadow that is the top of the chair lift knoll. We worked on map and compass skills, plotted our route up through Carl’s meadow and counted contour lines to discover we had gained over a thousand feet in elevation!

Thursday, August 7: Ski Basin to Norski Trails via the Windsor Trail.

Thursday Rebecca led us in a discussion of what to pack for a day out using her own well stocked pack for an example. We then played a quick game of Mountain Lion, Lightning, and Bears, Oh my! Up the hill to the Windsor trail we went for our last day of 2014. Owls enjoyed the Rio en Medio meadow and the Eagles built shelters in the Norski environs. Popsicles brought by Shelly, Sam’s mom, awaited our return to celebrate another great summer of Mountain Kids!  Thanks for a great season all!

 

Week 9 – July 28-31, 2014: Dirt, Rocks and Clay!

On Monday’s hike in the Galisteo Basin we had a lot of fun following drainage meanders.  We picked up cool rocks after reading Everyone Needs A Rock, and messed around with found clay. Monsoons kept us in low terrain all week.

On Tuesday we were at Tsankawi where we waited out a drizzle in cavates in the welded tuff, then donned rain gear and continued exploring. We spotted a horny toad along the trail.

Wednesday we all quite easily made it up to the first pool in Deer Creek – got to love the cooler weather! We had a lesson at the sandstone outcrop with the nice tilted bedding planes of rock and looked at the fossils of decayers – crinoid stems in the limestone.  We worked on learning the sedimentary, igneous, metamorphic rock song.

Thursday Ziggy led us up the wash behind St. John’s College where we played in the damp sand and made pictures with a red sand from the decaying granite bank on the white sand of the wash. We also gained a high point on the shoulder of Sun Mountain and drew maps of our route from the van.

Owls and Eagles stayed together all week.  Eagles cooled their jets a little and the Owls stepped up. Super pleasant weather all week and a great group of campers!

Week 8 – July 21-24, 2014: Wilderness Skills!

Berries! Raspberries, strawberries, and lemony squawbush berries. We started the week up at the Norski trails where the Eagles hiked the Windsor trail to a pretty meadow on upper Rio en Medio. We played in the water and made toy rafts from sticks tied with strips of skunk cabbage.

Tuesday we again visited Rio en Medio but from the bottom up. The raspberries about half way to the waterfall were sooo good – especially after the pucker power of the squawbush berries. Wednesday found us foraging for strawberries above Carl’s meadow in the clearing near the top of the Quad ski lift. We also worked on orienting maps using compasses and plotted our route up from Aspen Vista trail head. Thursday we took a break from berries and built an awesome shelter from downed aspen logs. We learned that while campers have been elsewhere, chipmunks have moved into some of the shelters from July’s camp-out.

Week 7 – July 14-17: Amazing Animals!

The Beaver Ponds is a magical place to make forts, discover special creatures, find ancient fossils and make new friends!

Eagles were paired with Owls to study animal skulls. They had to decide, are they predator or prey? What do they eat? How’s their sense of smell or hearing? Then they would share their discoveries with the rest of the group.

Animal pelts are interesting to examine and touch too!

The Espanola Wildlife Center is a great place to see birds that you might not normally see.

Friday was a fun day of exploring the Santa Fe Ski Basin without any snow. The creek that flows down Easy Street is a great place to cool off.

July 7-10, 2014: Tremendous Trees and Biomimicry!

We had a teeny, tiny group this week with some big energy!  We played games, did intros and talked about Biomimicry (big word!) at Fort Marcy before we headed off to the Big T for our adventure.  We hiked, ate, played capture the flag and enjoyed the Tremendous Trees all around us.  We played a lot of Frog Detective and got a little wet  – lovely!

Tuesday took us to Tsankawi where we stayed dry, despite the downpour in Santa Fe!  We found pottery shards, arrow heads and obsidian.  We read a Native American story about how humans came to be on earth.  We hiked, imagined life here, and explored caves –  enjoying a little escape from the heat!

Wednesday: Rio en Medio.  We talked about more examples of Biomimicry at circle.  On trail we played Meet-a-Tree and A-Mia, made leaf boats and fairy homes (Owls).

The Eagles did a big hike to the waterfall and even had time for games along the way.  It was a splendid day to put your head under ice cold water, if you dared!

Thursday: The Beaver Ponds brought us a new and unexpected friend – we found “Muffin” a sweet, sweet dog wandering on the road.  We called the owner to no avail, and called Animal Control.  The Owls played at the trailhead while waiting for Muffin to be rescued.  The owner finally came after lunch!  Meanwhile, the Eagles hiked around the pond and played Camouflage and Capture the Flag.  Afterward, we scooped up the (recently freed!) Owls and headed to a new waterfall across the road.  FUN!

Wilderness Skills Campout! June 27, 2014

The first Mountain Kids family camp out was a great success!  I am so proud of the campers for making and sleeping in their own shelters!  It was an adventure in sleep, just trying to keep caterpillars out of any exposed orifices, and dodge the tree debris that seemed to fall all night long. We had one camper who had never camped before, and did so in her own shelter, 200 yards or more away from Dad!  Awesome.

We ate like kings and queens (great potluck everyone!) and topped it off with a campfire and s’mores, of course!   Thanks to everyone who came and made it a success!

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Wilderness Skills! June 23-27, 2014

The week began with some basic safety tips and ended with the Eagles (7-10 year olds) sleeping in shelters they built themselves!!  For at least one camper, this was her first EVER campout – SO COOL!!

Below is a rundown of our daily adventures.  There is a separate blog post for the campout.

Monday Adventure: Norski Trails: Preparing for a Hike, Shelter Building, Stop and Stay Put (what to do if you get lost in the woods), Buddies, staying together and Sit Spots!  A busy and fun day!

Tuesday Adventure: Rio en Medio: Identifying hazards (including poison ivy in real life!:), Bats Eat Bugs (song), Fire Keeper, watercolors, Yucca Rope making, and a huge waterfall to cool us off.  Great hike, fun day!

Wednesday: Ski Basin (Owls) – Maps and Orienteering, How to use a Compass, Magnetic North versus True North, Landmarks, Mapping your Hike, How to use a Topo Map!  The Eagles went to Carl’s Meadow, but the visual memories are only in our minds. 🙂

Thursday Adventure: Norski/Winsor Trail:  More Shelter Building, Nature as a Resource, Ropes, Knots and how to tie them, and the many uses for (your very own!) Bandana! 🙂

Friday: Bonus Adventure!  Fun hike on the Winsor Trail!

 

Dirt, Rocks, and Clay! June 16-19, 2014

We began the week by learning about each other, camp rules and a Rock Song about the three types of rocks: Sedimentary, Igneous and Metamorphic.  Our adventure took us to Deer Creek where we got to see some great examples of sedimentary rock and talk about how it formed.  We collected special rocks for painting the next day, and had fun hiking and getting wet in the pools (Eagles) at Deer Creek!

Ditto for the Owls, except they explored different pools and played games!

Tuesday: We began our day with a great game of Park Ranger and some Rock Painting!  We sang the rock song and did a Dirt True and False before heading up the mountain.  The Eagles did a HUGE hike up to Raven’s Ridge!  Nice work, Eagles!  It was chilly, so we had to stay moving to keep warm!

The Owls also hiked along the Winsor Trail to a beautiful meadow where they played rock games and explored.

Wednesday: Galisteo Basin Preserve.  Morning games and working with clay were followed by a quick stop in Galisteo where the mosquitoes were out and biting – one of the drawbacks of all the lovely June rain!  We quickly aborted this location and found some great dirt, rocks and clay to explore at the Galisteo Basin Preserve.

Thursday: Tsankawi.  Our final stop for Dirt, Rocks and Clay was the amazing ruins at Tsankawi.  We talked about volcanoes and made a human volcano at Fort Marcy before we headed out.  it is always impressive to see the remains of the supervolcano that erupted and is now the Valles Caldera.  We found pottery shards and obsidian and arrow heads on our hike to the caveates.