Summer 2013: Week 2 – Wilderness Skills Part 2

Buddies!
Buddies!
Great vista, great hikers!
Great vista, great hikers!

Week 2 began with our usual games, group contract and getting to know each other at the SFCM.  We also talked about what to take on a hike, and how to stay safe and healthy outdoors. After circle and snack we headed off on our adventure for the day.  Each group started at Aspen Vista and went in different directions. The Bigs hiked up to Carl’s Meadow where they played games –  camouflage, blind old owl and park ranger, among others.

The Littles hiked up to the Aspen Vista trail to the Big T while playing Red Light-Green Light (as well as silver light, blue light, yellow light, and brown light)!  We sang, played, drank water, snacked, and hiked until we found the trail down to the Big Tesuque – we were excited to see water! We talked about how to stay hydrated and feeling good on a hike and drank a lot of water!  We ate lunch and then headed to a beautiful “new to us” river location.  Some kids built a very unique shelter with a river running through it, while others engaged in imaginative play  – fishing and being animal families.  All enjoyed getting wet in the river!  It was an accomplished hike for both Big and Small today!

On Tuesday the Littles played games to learn the cardinal directions and had lots of time to play at the Big T in the river. They read folk tales and hiked to a tiny waterfall. The kids did activities with their buddies such as making up secret code names to call to each other in the woods.

The Bigs went to base camp on Tuesday for the first ever: archery, slackline, art, and mountain biking day! Small groups rotated through the activities, which kept it interesting and fun for everyone.   By early afternoon we were ready to cool off so we headed to Shidoni, hoping to get wet in the river.  We found the river bed dry, but made the best of it with water games under a big shady tree on the grass. Blind Old Owl and Drip Drop Splash cooled us off, were a lot of fun, and a great way to finish the day!

On Wednesday, we all went on an amazing trip into the Santa Fe Watershed with Eileen Everett and Erin from the Santa Fe Watershed Association!  Before we left, we learned what a watershed is and used a tarp and water to illustrate how water always flows down to the lowest point. We talked about how to find and purify water in a survival situation and made a group “waterfall” to encourage drinking plenty of water throughout the (hot!) day.

On the field trip we learned about good fires and bad fires and how fires have historically helped the forests. We saw where they have done a lot of cutting in the watershed, so it was helpful to learn why.  We walked by the Nichols reservoir and learned about the capacity of our reservoirs and how low they are this year.  We also used nets to search for aquatic macro invertebrates (our new term for the day!) and found many.  This tells us that we have good water quality – yay, some good news about water!  We also got wet and played in the Santa Fe River.  We were grateful to get to see this bit of the Santa Fe watershed and mountains that has been closed to the public since 1932.  Thank you, Eileen and the Watershed Association for inviting us to go for the day.

At the end of the week we went to the Ski Basin and talked about how to avoid lighting, how to stay safe when lost (stop and stay put), and what to pack in an equipment kit. We hiked, ate and played games in Adventure Land.  It was a good way to cool off and take it easy after a very hot week!

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