Photo Safari! June 8-11, 2015 – Eagles (9-12 Year Olds)

This Week the Eagles used their Eagle eyes peering through camera lenses to capture and share the beauty they found all over New Mexico.  On Monday we hiked through an Aspen Grove and played games along the way.  On Tuesday we mustered heroic persistence for a long but beautiful hike .  The magical, misty, wide open view was worth all the complaining on the way up and hail/rainstorm on the way down.  On Wednesday we donned our camping gear and headed out to Abiquiu Lake for a camping trip.  As the rain clouds cleared we spent the day working on out photo transfers, swimming in the lake, and learning about its history from the park rangers.  Once night fell, we shared stories, songs and s’mores by grandfather fire.  The next day we had the opportunity to hike Chimney Rock at Ghost Ranch and cool off in the lake, before heading back to Fort Marcy filled with vitamin nature, cameras of artfully composed photos, and lots of great memories.

Photo Safari! June 8-11, 2015—Hummingbirds (5-6 Year Olds)

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.

 

(Advanced) Wilderness Skills! June 1-4, 2015

“Focus, Patience and Practice,”  this was our mantra as we learned some of the skills our ancestors used to survive 75,000 years ago.  These “Ancient Lifeways” were taught to us by Matt Brummett, a skilled expert in the field.  All of the older campers made their own hand drill, a tool used to make fire.  We practiced a lot, some campers getting close to making a coal–a very difficult skill!  We also made gourd canteens, a container our ancestors carried water in before the age of Nalgene and stainless steel!  Our youngest campers each made a gourd bowl to eat out of, as our ancestors did.  Everyone had the chance to learn how to make cordage (rope) out of cattails.  We talked about how to make shelters to keep you warm and dry and then made shelters to sleep in on our campout.  It was awesome to witness the TEAMWORK of the group as they made a coal together with a hand drill for our campfire (see photos below). We talked about the 5 Ws of preparing for a hike, and what to do if you get lost.  We found some edible and medicinal plants on our hikes (Mmmm… dandelions!), and played lots of games to get us up close and personal with nature (Eagle Eye, Sardines, Capture the Flag and Meet-a-Tree, to name a few). We asked the Eagles how this week changed them.  Here are a few responses: “I learned survival skills, and I am more confident in my ability to survive.” – Keifer “I got AWESOME!” – Joaquin “I got more creative.” – Jack J. “I got more peaceful.” – Merrick “I feel sorry for ancient people, and I am happy and thankful to have a house. I had fun!” -Jack D. All of the campers concurred with this last thought shared by Keifer, and agreed that PERSEVERANCE was needed for many of the skills and activities this week.  Great life lessons! Thank you to all of the campers for all of your focus, patience, practice and fun this week! Photos of Eagles and Owls (See Hummingbirds below!):

Hummingbird Adventures!

Photo Safari! June 8-11, 2015—Owls (7-8 Year Olds)

On their photo safari, the Owls fearlessly captured many pictures of their natural surroundings. Among the birds chirping and the wind rustling the trees, the cameras shuttered harmoniously. The Owls played with light and dark, macro and micro shots, and portraits, taking photos of rivers, flowers, trees, moss, and campers. Choosing one original photo, they also created photo transfers, which required diligent work. The memories of playing and observing are held within the owls’ photos.

Backpacking the Sangres! May 26-29

This was Mountain Kids first ever backpacking trip and an amazing start to the summer! On Day One we checked and learned how to pack our gear – going light is the key!  We made survival bracelets and survival kits so we would be ready for anything on our adventure.  The very next day, a small group of (mountain) kids and adults backpacked along the Rio en Medio Trail for a fun-filled overnight in the forest. We worked together to get there, wading through the watery trail and navigating new stretches of trail due to the high water.  We were happy to arrive and then worked to set up our camp.  We played capture the flag and roasted hotdogs and marshmallows over the fire. We learned how to purify our own water and how good food tastes on a backpacking trip! A small group went on an adventurous night hike with Jim, while the rest of us sung camp songs by the fire before tucking in and sleeping like logs for the night. The next day we hiked to waterfalls #2- #4 on the Rio en Medio for a change of scenery.

We were all exhausted, dirty and happy by the end. Everyone left with new friends and newfound confidence in their strength and abilities! Thanks to a great group of kids for an amazing, adventurous and fun first week of Mountain Kids 2015!  Many thanks also to our wonderful staff: Magnificent Max, Fearless (French Fry) Fran, Crunchy Katie, and Jumping Jim for keeping everyone safe and happy!

This says it all: A journal entry by a camper!
This says it all: A journal entry by a camper!

Week 10 – August 4-7, 2014: Wilderness Skills!

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!

 

Week 9 – July 28-31, 2014: Dirt, Rocks and Clay!

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!

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!