We stopped for a water game, then stopped and sat looking out over the mountains and made landscapes using the chalk pastels. We sang the song “Aru cha cha aru cha cha” which is a rain song and then had lunch. Heather told a story using their ideas which was really neat. We played the “Salmon Game” where we used blind folds and guided our salmon up and down stream. The kids really enjoyed the blindfolds. We stopped again for “Bob The Weasel” game and then again under the Douglas Firs for more art using oil pastels. We told the kids they could challenge themselves if they wanted to draw with a blind fold on. When they were done they had free time to build shelters, stack rocks or whatever they could dream of. It was a hot one but overall a very fun day!
On Monday, the Littles explored Aspen Vista. We found a tee pee and cleared space under it to eat our lunch. We found charcoal and drew on paper and our bodies, then we made our nature journals and painted the cover page. We continued on our hike and hiked up to where the trail heads down to Big Tesuque. It was hot, so we stopped to play in river; we splashed and cooled off and had a snack. It was a challenging hike for the little ones and they all did incredibly well!
On Tuesday, we started the day by playing games and then in our circle we talked about water conservation. We practiced by water conscious with a water passing game. After snack, the Bigs headed to the Rio en Medio trail for a hike to the waterfall, while the Littles headed to the Big T.
The Bigs were strong hikers today – everyone wanted to get to the waterfall. We discovered a lot of plant and animal life along the way (including poison ivy!). We discovered insects, lizards, butterflies, squirrels, and birds on our hike. Once at the waterfall it was great to cool off under the falls, or in it’s spray. Some kids chose to build a small pond, while others enjoyed trying to catch minnows. We all had a chance to do some watercolors after we had had plenty of time to play, and some chose to hike to the top of the falls for a big view down to the bottom! I was proud of all of the Bigs for their strong hiking. Despite the hot temperatures out in the “real world”, it was plenty cool all along the trail.
Tuesday was an easy and fun day at Big T for the Littles. We played in the river, we did pastels and water colors, and we painted on a big drop cloth that the Bigs had drawn on. We used charcoal and painted cat whiskers and ears and ran around pretending to be cats. We went on a mini hike up to a meadow where we read a story. On the way we counted how many butterflies we saw, then we found sit spots and listened to the wind and the water. We played a few games and did an imagination exercise remembering our day. We had a little time to play in the water and have a snack before heading back. A great way to spend a hot, hot day!
On Wednesday we had the opportunity to go to the Day family ranch up on Rowe Mesa. We were excited to check out a new location, with the promise of water! it was beautiful up on the mesa, and after a bumpy drive down the dirt road, passing several cows (playing sardines?) along the way, a plenty of moo0ing from the vans, we arrived at our destination. It was a short hike to a watering hole that had water in it. Just enough for the kids to get wet, and REALLY muddy! We did manage to do some watercolors and pastels before heading back. The Littles went back a different way and saw a dead cow – a first for many!
It was a three-part bath that night in our house. For most Mountain Kid parents, this is the sign of a good day! The kids will not soon forget our day trip to the Day Ranch. Thanks for Jennifer and Carson for making it happen!
Thursday was a very different story – clean, cool water at Nambe Falls. We had a wonderful time. The Bigs found a nest of baby birds as they hiked up the river canyon. Many discovered the fun of whirlpools and spent a lot of time watching sticks being sucked down and to another location. Others just enjoyed splashing a playing in the water. At last, the Bigs had a chance to paint their glass jars here after doing some watercolors by the river.
The Littles hiked up a ways before eating lunch in a shady spot. We returned for sit spots and watercolors and pastels in our journals. Everyone filled all of their pages with beautiful, colorful art work! We played monster tag, and some built rock cairns/dams in the river, while others pretended to be animals – like frogs and loons, running from Katie and Alexandra and chanting to have them chase them. Afterward, we headed up the river to get closer to the falls. It was a challenging walk through the river, but everyone did it. Once there, some settled in to hear a story, while others enjoyed finding the wood pieces worn smooth by the water. All in all it was a wonderful way to spend the day – staying cool and having fun!