Survival Hunting Tools: July 15-20

This was a week full of watery fun, skill building with knives and bows, and some good heart pumping hikes with views for miles and miles.

Monday we started with spear making at the Big Tesuque. Knife safety was the most important lesson of the day.  Campers made some pretty nice looking spears in preparation for our Atl Atls on Wednesday.  We played games to get to know one another and explored nature in all of it’s glory. (Caterpillars and all.)

Tuesday was a Rio en Medio adventure, a good wet hike to a waterfall where the campers enjoyed plunging into the icy water.  They quickly chose to wear rain jackets to protect them from the icy flow. It was a joyous day on the Rio en Medio trail.

Wednesday was our day of Archery and more tool making in Chupadero.  We worked on our spears and Atl Atls (an ancient hunting tool which provides speed and leverage fro throwing a spear).  We then tried our hand at archery.  Bark Bunnies was a fun game for all –  aiming for chunks of bark, laden with jerky. If you hit the bark, and knock the jerky down, you get to eat the jerky.  Yum!

Thursday we headed up the Winsor Trail for Raven’s Ridge.  It was a challenging climb, so Michael helped break it up by teaching the kids how to make animal traps in the wild.  Super simple and cool.  The view from Raven’s Ridge was worth the climb! Nice work, all.  We had a great week of tool making, hiking and playing with you all!

June 24-28: Wilderness Skills

The Hummingbirds (Mountain Kids’ younger group) started their week exploring the trails and waterways of the Beaver Ponds, while learning what to do should we encounter a bear and mountain lion.

The fun continued with an introduction to building survival shelters and a lesson on their importance. As the week continued, the Hummingbirds discussed the essential 6W’s (who, what, when, where, why, & weather) and why they’re important even before entering the wilderness. The children also learned seven new hand gestures in order to help them better understand the seven Leave-No-Trace Principles (ways in which we can respect and take care of our wild lands and parks with low impact practices). We also explored ways of staying S.A.F.E.R. (a mnemonic for how to stay safe while spending time in the outdoors), with one of the key elements being to STOP AND STAY PUT if you get lost.

During our week of acquiring new wilderness skills, the Mountain Kids roamed through areas such as the Rio en Medio, Aspen Vista, and the Ski Basin, all of which are  beautifully wooded locations and provided us with a wonderful setting for each camper to use their imagination while becoming animals such as deer, mountain lions, bats, and moths.

Our week ended with the Eagles (older campers) and Hummingbirds gathering together for a day filled with fun and games at the meadow of the lower Big Tesuque trail. What a fun and adventure-filled week!

Photo Safari and Adventure Filmmaking! June 27-July 1, 2016

Photo Safari!

This week the Hummingbirds and Owls went on a photo safari adventure! While the kids were playing and exploring in nature, they captured images of their adventure using photography techniques they learned from our photography master and Director, Katie. Some of the techniques they used were the rule of thirds, contrast, and close-up and faraway view points. Featured below are the photos taken by the Hummingbirds and Owls throughout their photo safari!

Photos by the Hummingbirds:

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Photos by the Owls:

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In addition to the kids capturing moments in nature, our Mountain Kids counselors caught the Hummingbirds and Owls in action throughout their adventure. To start the week, we ventured to Little Tesuque where we practiced the rule of thirds and enjoyed the river. On Tuesday, we headed out to the picturesque Rio En Medio. The kids became ever-vigilant as they carefully hiked through “poison-ivy alley” (successfully) and were awe-struck by a huge mass of hot-pink blooming Cholla.  The Hummingbirds had lots of free play that involved such things as crossing streams stone by stone, clambering up boulders, and discovering moss that became green carpet for a home. The Owls hiked all the way to the majestic waterfall and enjoyed getting soaked in the cool water. The week also took us to Big Tesuque, Norski, and the Beaver Ponds where we shot more photos with new knowledge of the elements of design from a photographic perspective: line, shape, pattern, contrast and color. The Hummingbirds and Owls accomplished a lot in one week, culminating in a end of week Photo Show where the kids favorite photo was shown at Warehouse 21.  We are mighty proud of their willingness to see nature as a thing of beauty and wonder.  Check out the kids’ adventures below!

Hummingbird adventures:

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Owls Adventures:

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Adventure Filmmaking!

Adventure Filmmaking was Mountain Kids first two week camp! For the first week, the Eagles went on a backpacking trip to Rio en Medio. During their trip, the Eagles filmed their adventure, capturing footage of the river, forest, and fellow campers. Throughout their second week of camp, the Eagles went to Warehouse 21 to create a movie out of their taken film. When they weren’t in the studio, the Eagles also took nature adventures to the Santa Fe River and Deer Creek. Their two weeks culminated in a show of their videos, along side the photo show.  It was great to see these beginning film makers work, and was an awesome two weeks of film and nature!

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Amazing Animals! June 20-23, 2016

The Amazing Animals week was a hit!  The Hummingbirds and the Owls eagerly participated in a variety of animal-themed activities.  Tracing animal tracks, playing animal charades, and handling different skulls and pelts made for a full week of learning!  There was one animal that stood out more than any other, however, and it received a mixed reception: the tent caterpillar.  Yes, this fuzzy, creature can be seen by the thousands, chomping away at aspen leaves at Big Tesuque.  Whether the children chose to save them from floating down the creek, or opted to organize an anti-tent caterpillar campaign in favor of the Aspens, it cannot be questioned that the critters proved fascinating..  The Hummers and Owls ended their week at the Norski playing hide and seek, and building forts from fallen branches. The kids learned to efficiently get ready to go, and we made it back just in time for a deluge, huddled in the van. A big thank you goes out to all the parents who tolerated the rain and quickly picked up their kids! We hope that they will come back to Mountain Kids for more fun and excitement!

Adventures of the Hummingbirds and Owls:

Forts and Forests! & Plein Air Art and Adventure! June 13-16, 2016

Forts and Forests!

Hummingbird Aventure:

This week the Hummingbirds explored Forts and Forests. We began our week at the Beaver Ponds and discovered clues that these master fort builders lived in the area. Tuesday we headed out to Norski where we constructed several lean-to forts using fallen branches, grass, and little yellow flowers to add a bit of pop to the look. Wednesday we were off to Big Tesuque where the kids had ample time to splash around in the creek, and use its water for water colors! We ended our week at Little Tesuque, where children caught a glimpse of a sneaky snake hiding in the bushes. They also made there way up the little creek as branches draped above them like a tunnel and they began to feel like they were in a whole new world. We had a lot of fun building dams, deconstructing dams, building forts, and tearing down our forts in order to leave no trace, and generally getting lost in the wonder of nature.

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Owl Adventure:

This week the Owls enjoyed exploring the forests of Santa Fe! On Monday, the Owls cooled off in the water at the Beaver ponds. Tuesday, they played in the trees on the Norski trails. At Big Tesuque, on Wednesday, the Owls built a huge tepee fort and enjoyed splashing around in a waterfall. the Owls also created a clever hiking game as they pretended the forest floor was lava and so they walked on fallen aspen trunks in order to survive the heat of the lava. By the end of the hike the Owls had gain a lot of trust in their balance. The Owls concluded their week at Little Tesuque. There, the Owls built a dam and later they tore it down, creating a huge wave that filled the whole stream. Overall, this week was filled with trees, water, and imaginative play!

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Plein Air Art!

The Eagles enjoyed a week of art and nature! Each day they worked on a different project while enjoying the outdoors as their model. The Eagles concluded their week with an overnight at Abiquiu Lake. There, they created masterpiece paintings, roasted apples, and splashed in the lake!

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Natural Art Projects! & Mountain Biking! June 6-9, 2016

Natural Art Projects!

Hummingbird Adventures:

This week the Hummingbirds made art projects using materials found in nature! On Monday, we explored the rocky, clay arroyos of Galisteo Basin Preserve. There, we collected different colored rocks, which we later used to make paint. On Tuesday, we went to the Ski Basin where we collected natural objects to create a nature collage. We also made clay figures. Wednesday we headed to Big Tesuque, and there we spent the day playing in the river and creating rock paintings and felted rocks. To end the week we went to Las Golondrinas. We learned about and even tried the different types of work the children of the ranch performed. We learned how to write with a quill, how to weave a small blanket, and how to make a leather pouch. The Hummingbirds had a great week making art and playing in the wilderness!

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Owls Adventures:

This week the Owls and Eagles campers explored the beauty and craftiness of nature. We began our week at Galisteo Basin Preserve, bouldering up sandstone walls and searching the landscape for rocks that could later be used as pigment. On Tuesday we ventured up in altitude to the Ski Basin for some cool relief. This more riparian habitat flooded the kids with a sense of wonder as they inspected golden flowers, blue flowers, swirling, fuzzy green plants and became intimately aware of how fast the creek could carry a boat (stick) down its waters. Several kids watched in awe of the miniature eddies and whirlpools that sucked there boats out of the moving channel. After working with clay, making nature collages and playing games it was time to go. Wednesday we visited Big Tesuque where the Owls and Eagles learned the art of felting, creating some seriously cute felted rocks with googly eyes, using wool that they had dyed on Monday. They also worked hands-on with a mano and metate, grinding pigment for paint, which they used to make pictographs. We ended our week at Las Golondrinas, which hammered in the utility of nature and its relationship with crafting. The campers ended their week on a reflective note, with the realization that nature crafts were not always a source for fun, but for survival. The week produced a lot of fun and new skills, and also a new-found appreciation of the heritage of nature crafts!

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Mountain Biking!

This week the mountain bikers explored La Tierra trails and Norski trails. The bikers also explored the Santa Fe River in order to stay cool in the summer’s heat. We had a blast shredding on the trails this week!

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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!

Owls Explore Amazing Animals (and more!:) June 2-5, 2014 (5-7 year olds)

Hello Owl Families!  If you read and enjoy the BLOG, please let me know…. write a comment, or send me a quick note.  Constructive feedback is also appreciated!  BTW, any of the images below can be enlarged and viewed as a slideshow by clicking on them.  Enjoy! :~) Katie

Monday: Before we took off for the mountains, we played games, we learned names, and made a group contract (rules about how to have fun)!  We snacked and buddied, and then loaded up for our adventure at the Big T!

The Owls hiked and paused for lunch and play.  We talked about animals of New Mexico and played animal charades  and frog detective.  We got animal names and got into our roles as we listened to the forest and tried to think like our animal.  We had story time and snack time before heading back to the Adventure van and Fort Marcy!

On Tuesday we hiked along the Rio en Medio.  Before we set out, we played a game where we learned and practiced various animal gaits.  At circle we got to examine the skulls of various forest animals of New Mexico and thought about how certain traits aid their survival. Some kids drew animals using the Ed Emberly books.

On the trail we played “Stalk”, drew in our nature journals, played in the river, explored the forest, had fun, got wet, and found wondrous things!

We learned a song called Bats Eat Bugs on Wednesday.  It’s a great reminder that “nothing out there wants to eat you, nothing out there wants to make you it’s meal!”  We looked at Animal pelts and paws today and talked about each local animal and some if it’s characteristics.

Our adventure took us to the Ski Basin where we found out how cold that water really was by dunking our heads!  It was silly and felt great on this hot summer day!  We played the Habitat Web game and learned how everything in the forest is connected and depends on one another for survival.  We pressed flowers, found insects, sang songs, and got dirty.  A super day!

Thursday: We were busy as little beavers today!  We learned about Beaver adaptations and dressed up some unsuspecting children to illustrate them.  We hiked along the Little T(esuque Creek) and tried our hand at beavering, a.k.a. dam making.  It was hard to make the water stop completely, but we sure slowed it down, and had fun working together in the process. I wonder how beavers need to work together to build their den?  We played some (other) team building games and made scrolling animal stories.  The End ~ of a(nother) and (FUN!) week.