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 🙂
For our rock week, we found many fossils, learned about the different rock types, and, most importantly, played in the mud! On Monday, we explored the rocky, fossil covered hills of the Beaver Ponds. After a large rain storm on Monday night, Tuesday became the perfect day to splash in the mud at Galisteo Basin Preserve. On Wednesday, we hiked through the iconic tent rocks and rock climbed up into a cave. We ended our week diving into the pools of Deer Creek. Mountain Kids Rock!
The Eagles enjoyed a week of bugs, hiking, and capture the flag! On Monday, we explored the Beaver Ponds, finding numerous fossils and making hematite face paint. Back at Fort Marcy, we set up our bug traps in the arroyo. Deer Creek was our destination on Tuesday, where we swam in the pools and scrambled up rocks. On Wednesday, we enjoyed a hike through the trees. We practiced our orientation skills, using a map and compass and by identifying landmarks. Bug week ended on Thursday with hiking to a gushing waterfall, identifying poison ivy, making cone and stick boats, and playing in the mud.
The Hummingbirds had lots of fun making bug traps and exploring nature and bugs in their own habitat. On Tuesday, Wade Harrell from the Harrell House Bug Museum and Science shop shared his collection of bugs with us. In the collection, we saw living black widows, tarantulas, vinegaroons, and many more. We got muddy in the creek on Monday, explored the Beaver Ponds on Tuesday, hiked all the way to the pools at Deer Creek on Wednesday (wow!), and had a blast playing in the trees on Thursday! All in all it was a buggy and dirty week of fun!
Lights, camera, action! The Hummingbirds enjoyed a week of pictures and nature. Exploring New Mexico’s backyard, the Hummingbirds played in rivers, made fairy houses, and fiddled with cameras. Throughout the week, the Hummingbirds created sun prints using collected leaves, sticks, and pine needles. Some of their adventures and discoveries are captured in their photos taken throughout the week.
Monday, August 4: Lower Windsor Trail along Big Tesuque Creek
Rain and shine – we had it all this week! We started with a new venue for the summer. With rain eminent we decided on the lower end of the Windsor Trail along Big Tesuque Creek. The rain held off and we had a wonderfully cool hike up to a grove of enormous Ponderosa pines where we played in the creek. The Eagles developed a deep pool with a rock dam complete with hollow reed spigots! The rain finally found us about ten minutes from the vans.
Tuesday, August 5: Deer Creek/Grasshopper Canyon
Tuesday we listened to Ziggy read Stop and Stay Put, a book about how to prepare for a hike and what to do if you get lost. Then both the Owls and Eagles hiked up Deer Creek for a well deserved dip in the deep (yea monsoons) granite pools. The pools were cool but not freezing cold and we could have played in them for quite a while longer were it not for a good hike back needing some time.
Wednesday, August 6: Aspen Vista to top of the quad-chair lift via Carl’s Meadow.
Wednesday Dave read The Giving Tree before collecting dead yucca fronds for making cordage. It was a blue sky day for a trip up to high country. Owls frolicked in the headwaters of Rio en Medio up at the ski basin while the Eagles climbed up to the top of the Quad chair from Aspen Vista. Strawberries were abundant in the big meadow that is the top of the chair lift knoll. We worked on map and compass skills, plotted our route up through Carl’s meadow and counted contour lines to discover we had gained over a thousand feet in elevation!
Thursday, August 7: Ski Basin to Norski Trails via the Windsor Trail.
Thursday Rebecca led us in a discussion of what to pack for a day out using her own well stocked pack for an example. We then played a quick game of Mountain Lion, Lightning, and Bears, Oh my! Up the hill to the Windsor trail we went for our last day of 2014. Owls enjoyed the Rio en Medio meadow and the Eagles built shelters in the Norski environs. Popsicles brought by Shelly, Sam’s mom, awaited our return to celebrate another great summer of Mountain Kids! Thanks for a great season all!
On Monday’s hike in the Galisteo Basin we had a lot of fun following drainage meanders. We picked up cool rocks after reading Everyone Needs A Rock, and messed around with found clay. Monsoons kept us in low terrain all week.
On Tuesday we were at Tsankawi where we waited out a drizzle in cavates in the welded tuff, then donned rain gear and continued exploring. We spotted a horny toad along the trail.
Wednesday we all quite easily made it up to the first pool in Deer Creek – got to love the cooler weather! We had a lesson at the sandstone outcrop with the nice tilted bedding planes of rock and looked at the fossils of decayers – crinoid stems in the limestone. We worked on learning the sedimentary, igneous, metamorphic rock song.
Thursday Ziggy led us up the wash behind St. John’s College where we played in the damp sand and made pictures with a red sand from the decaying granite bank on the white sand of the wash. We also gained a high point on the shoulder of Sun Mountain and drew maps of our route from the van.
Owls and Eagles stayed together all week. Eagles cooled their jets a little and the Owls stepped up. Super pleasant weather all week and a great group of campers!