The Wonders of Water was the absolute perfect theme for our very last week of camp this year. With excitement at its peak, we had a blast all week long, playing our favorite games and enjoying the highly anticipated swimming at our favorite lakes and rivers.
Location, Location, Location!
We explored the Santa Fe Ski Basin, Deer Creek, Santa Cruz Lake, and the infamous Abiquiu lake! Our primary objective was to get as wet as possible to celebrate the end of summer – our campers dug their fingers deep into the damp soil and absolutely covered the counselors in mud at every opportunity. They said they were giving us mud tattoos, but we knew better than that.
Some of our highlights this week included mushroom hunting at the Santa Fe ski basin (with strict guidelines!) and jumping into Abiquiu Lake. We made earthworm rock castles, built the best dams and bridges of the summer, learned the importance of water filtration (and how to do it), and ended the week with a lively social with lots of snacks – fruits and veggies, chips and guac, and popsicles… Oh my!
This summer we laughed, made friends, and created memories for our Mountain Kids! to remember for years to come. We hope to see you all soon – many thanks! for a fantastic summer. – JR, Max, Carmen, Katie, Keifer, and Morgan
For upcoming cames or additional information please check out our Program page!
The Muddy Buddies week is highly anticipated by our campers and counselors alike, and this year did not disappoint! With the heavy monsoon rain becoming more and more frequent, all of our favorite trails have been transformed into muddy wonderlands with endless possibilities!
5 to 7-year-olds
Challenging our Mountain Kids! to dig a descending mudslide into a knee-deep mud pit in Galisteo, mud tattoos, mud painting the counselors, and of course “who can get the muddiest?” contests are few of the many highlights of our week. We visited the Santa Fe ski basin, Deer Creek, Galisteo, and Santa Cruz Lake as our filthiest destinations, with Galisteo being the choice location for mud deep enough to fully submerge in! Ski Santa Fe and Deer Creek offered some nice hikes and were great, beautiful places to play games and enjoy stream-side mud, whereas Santa Cruz lake was an amazing place to get as muddy as possible along the lakeshore and have the option to clean off during a relaxing swim afterward. When we weren’t playing in the mud, making natural clay pots and bowls were a great pastime.
Mud fights broke out numerous times throughout the week and it was impossible not to get caught in the crossfire! All week our campers took being “clean” as overrated, so it might take the entire weekend and multiple showers for these kids to regain their usual skin tones and hair colors. One more week left of the summer for us Mountain Kids! and we’re aiming for it to be one of the best yet!
8 to 12-year-olds
Muddy Buddies was the goofiest, dirtiest, most fun week of Mountain Kids! yet. The week consisted of getting gloriously muddy, rinsing, and repeating. Our muddiest locations were Galisteo Creek and Santa Cruz lake, both of which were muddier than you can imagine! You imagination may not even bee enough, the photos will speak for themselves! Our kids were knee deep in the dirt, slipping and sliding around, camouflaging themselves, wrestling, and making fabulous creations out of clay. Close behind these mud havens were Deer Creek (where we got to do some fantastic swimming in watering holes that, while they were dry a few weeks ago, are now full to the brim) and Ski Santa Fe, where we were playing in the muddy headwaters of the Rio En Medio. Our week ended poignantly with some of our favorite Mountain Kids! returning to their home state! 🙁 Thankfully we get to see them next year 🙂
Our campers LOVED “The Secret Language of Birds and Bugs” week! What a natural theme to enjoy at our favorite Mountain Kids! locations.
5 to 7-year-olds
On Monday we adventured to the Beaver Ponds, where we had Wade Harrell from The Harrell House Bug Museum identify all the bugs we found during our hours of bug hunting! We split downed tree trunks, looked under dead bark, meandered through tall grass, and still never ceased to see new, exciting creatures!
On Tuesday we hiked up Deer Creek, where our campers would sum up our day with one word: MUD! A beautiful hike through mud, a nice picnic in mud, games in mud – nothing but mud! Tuesday called for some great photos and tons of dirty fun.
Wednesday and Thursday were also great! We paired a lot of active games with education and opportunities to see some extraordinary creatures. We began Wednesday with some rejuvenating swimming and courageous rock jumping for the daring at Abiquiu Lake and ended with a trip to the Santa Fe Raptor Center. Here we saw such beautiful birds all up close! Some of our favorites were the Bald and Golden Eagles, and Barn Owls – so pretty.
Thursday, we played hours of Capture the Flag down the Little Tesuque trail! Such fantastic teamwork and equally impressive strategies were on display from both groups. By the time we were all covered in sweat and fishing twigs our of our hair, it was time to head over to the Harrell House Bug Museum to see their widely impressive 4000+ bugs on display! Our bravest campers even held a furry tarantula, a colossal millipede and more!
8 to 12-year-olds
This was a week and a half at Mountain Kids! Our week was filled with (unsurprisingly) bugs and birds, as well as an insane amount of water play! On Monday, a local entomologist helped us hunt unusual insects at the beaver ponds, and we managed to get our kids home with a thousand-year storm at our heels. Fueled by that rain, we went to our favorite swimming holes at Deer Creek on Tuesday. We got wet and muddy exploring the recently flooded wash and the waterfalls that had come to life with the excess of rainwater.
On Wednesday, we did even MORE swimming in Abiquiu Lake and went to the Santa Fe Raptor Center. This was a new location for Mountain Kids!, and it rocked! None of us (as far as I know) had ever been so close to owls and eagles before. On Friday, we had a leisurely day of capture the flag and dam building at Little Tesuque and rounded out the week at the Harrell House Bug Museum.
Whew! What a week. See you next time!
Thanks to everyone that participated in our Secret Language of Birds and Bugs week. The counselors had just as much fun as we hope all of our campers did. Until next week Mountain Kids!
What a fun-filled week these campers had! This week’s “Amazing Animals” theme invited quite exciting animal-themed games along with many opportunities for impressively completed team building activities each day for both our 5-7-year-olds and our 8-12-year-olds!
5 to 7-year-olds
Our 5-7-year-olds began our week at Leonora Curtin Wetland Preserve, summited the Dale Ball trail, explored open aspen meadows at Big Tesuque, and finished with a gorgeous flowing waterfall at Rio en Medio! We spent our days’ birding, catching flying critters, fishing for local tuna and sardines (ask your campers – ha!), and wildly transforming into animals with their amazing pelts provided by New Mexico Game and Fish
These Mountain Kids! were really put to the test being challenged as individuals and a collective with mind-bending team building exercises. We had two favorites! One, we imagined crossing a bridge made up of different colored bandanas placed flat on the ground. These campers had to successfully walk across to get to the other side – the trick was, only one person could go at a time to find the SINGLE correct route! And did I mention that no one could speak? Another favorite, “Minefield”, is played with a small box drawn on the ground with items messily placed inside. Each of our campers was blindfolded and verbally helped across the minefield without touching anything. Quite the challenge for some, but a ton of fun for all!
When not hiking to gorgeous waterfalls, building extravagant forts/nests, or appreciating the grand views we climbed trails to reach, our campers were playing Eagle Eye and Bear, Salmon, Mosquito – the best of running, tag, and hiding games. Freeze tag, although skinny from this week’s theme, was hands down our whole camp’s favorite game every day! It was just the perfect way to get our blood pumping so early in the morning. And to wake us up in the heat of each afternoon, a good water fight sure reenergized us! Thanks all for such an amazing week – until next time Mountain Kids!
8 to 12-year-olds
This week was a serious one for 8-12-year-olds at Mountain Kids! At least, it was a little bit serious. Under the auspices of our amazing Carmen, we studied the pelts, skulls, and claws of many of our furry friends, exclaiming at how soft they were and wondering what it’s like to be an otter or a bear. We also learned about bird calls and how to use binoculars, which helped us get a look at some very cool avians! Among all this was the usual contingent of games (some very unique forms of tag evolved this week!) hiking, and splashing. Another great week of Mountain Kids!
What a week for our Mountain Kids! We had two groups exploring last week our 5 to 8 year-olds and our 9 to 12 year-olds. See what they got up to last week!
Mountain Kids! are celebrating cooler weather at every opportunity with the glorious monsoon season now upon us. The (almost) every afternoon thunder and rainstorm this past week kept us cool and energized for all the “Let’s Grow” activities in store!
We began our week with the initial, seemingly far-off concept of having a Mountain Kids! feast on Thursday with wild fruits we harvested, yogurt we processed into cheese, and even homemade sourdough bread! By the end of the week, our campers couldn’t believe how much tasty food we were all able to eat with the same plants and natural, earthly elements we worked so hard to gather.
What a success! It’s still a mystery how our Mountain Kids! had time to gather and create such homemade delicacies amongst so many games, hikes, and swimming. Park Ranger, a camp-favorite game, was requested and played every single day this week! When we weren’t playing, we were found climbing trees at El Rancho de las Golondrinas, swinging over streams on tire swings, and swimming at Santa Cruz Lake.
Thursday’s plentiful feast we shared consisted of cow milk yogurt processed into cheese, goat milk cheese with fresh herbs, an apricot jam made from freshly picked apricots, sourdough bread risen with natural yeast we collected from aspen tree bark, and wild berries for a sweet dessert. So good! Great job this week Mountain Kids! – it was quite a treat to have you!
Bikes, Hikes, and Boats!
This was a seriously full week for our Mountain Kids! in the Bikes, Hikes, and Boats group! After enjoying the newly reopened forest on Monday, our week got more dramatically awesome mountain biking, visiting waterfalls, and lake kayaking. Our kids made some of the best dams we’ve ever seen, rocked out on the bike trails, kayaked across Santa Cruz lake at incredible speed, and had one of the most extreme water fights ever. It was satisfyingly exhilarating and exhausting! As well as the pure fun, we were very impressed with the kindness of this group: everyone was very supportive of each other’s differences and needs. Fantastic week!
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.
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!
For upcoming camps, please check out our Programs page!
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.
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.
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