BIGS (7-9 year olds)
We had lots of fun this week with our Big “super hikers”. We hiked the Black Canyon trail, the Rio en Medio trail to the waterfall, the trail to Carl’s Meadow at Aspen Vista, and the Ski Basin.
We went over maps, directions, compass, orienteering, poison ivy identification, equipment, safety, lightning position, and knots. The kids drew maps in their journals, played the game fascinating facts where each kid had one fact to tell all the others on the trail and then there was a trivia game at the end. A lot of water drinking games, wilderness facts, wilderness trivia in the car “Worst Case Scenario Game”. We went over stream crossing, lots of riddles, camouflage, flash flood, dead bugs, white out, compass course, and more. Tomorrow we are going to be signaling, shelter building, making a travois, and playing more games. Today we didn’t even make it to the meadow before we had some serious thunder and lighting so we retreated and went to Fort Marcy. Mark set up a compass course while Heather taught how to tie a figure 8, clove hitch, and then the knot of their choice from the knot book. It was lots of fun. Tomorrow we will finish with our super hiker ceremony.
We ended super hiker week with a bang and no rain. We went over topographic maps, built lean-to shelters, stopped and made many shelters for Smoky the Bear; both tee pee and desert-style. We practiced signaling with mirrors and creating SOS signs. We built a Travois, and saw five grouse – very exciting! We super hiked part of the trail and Mark and Heather handed out bracelets for their great hiking skills and knowledge. They all left knowing how to read a compass. Overall, it was a great week!
LITTLES: (5-6 year olds)
Today we went to Black Canyon. It was so beautiful. We choose our animal for the week. Mountain Goats seemed to fit us since we are super hikers (or really, wee wanderers). We learned about North, East, South, West (Never Eat Soggy Waffles) and how to find our way with compasses and maps. We made a group flag and played camouflage games. It was great to play in the woods. We looked at pictures of poison ivy so that we can be ready if we see any on the trails. We also gathered ‘instruments’ (rocks and sticks) and made a symphony! Then we heard the thunder. We headed back to the vans as the rain began to fall. By the time we got to the van and escaped the rain we decided to head back to the Children’s Museum and play. We reflected on our day and played in the sandbox. A great day!
This morning we had some pretty tired campers, so we decided to call off our hike and play some games by the Tesuque Creek at Shidoni. It was FUN! When we got there we had a little tour of the place where they make the sculptures and then went to play in the river. It was wonderful and much needed play time. We then played tons of tag style and hide and seek games. We practiced being still and stealthy hiding in the sculptures. Then we worked on observation skills and played ‘Museum’. We were preparing to see the small movements of animals in the forest. We took on the movements of deer, alligators, butterflies, and other animals that may be still in order to protect themselves. After some more river play and lunch, we went to the glass blowers studio and they let us watch while they made a shellfish. It was super cool! Then we headed to the museum to play and reflect before heading home! It was a really rejuvenating and delightful day.
With our energy stored up we were ready for a super hike. We went to Big Tesuque where we hiked up the river to play and collect bugs. We played camouflage games and then began to feel the drops of rain. There was no thunder, so we continued to play. Then, as the kids started to get cold, we headed down to stick close to the vans. The thunder began, so we loaded up. As the doors shut, the rain got heavier. We headed to town to have a treat of hot chocolate and story time. At the museum, we made fairy houses and rock collection bags. We had snacks of white cheddar popcorn and strawberries. Yum! Even though we got rained out, it was a great day.
Today was a blast! We went to the Ski Basin, identifying landmarks along the way. Once there, the kids collected grasshoppers to carefully look at in glass jars. They released them and then began their search again! We played tree tag, museum, and blob. All the kids used their rock collection bags and some carefully selected a few rocks to take home. We hiked to the top of the double chairlift and some opted to go further with Jennie. We wandered into the woods and made a lean-to and tee pees out of fallen wood. Then we hiked down to play in the river. At the end of the day, we reviewed safety tips and backpack essentials as well as the cardinal directions.