Muddy Buddies – July 2018

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 🙂

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July 3, 2017: Digging into the Past, Week 1, Galisteo Basin

Today was an adventurous, hot and muddy day, and boy did we have fun! The morning was mellow with all the new campers shuffling in. Some decided to make the art project which was nature journals and some decided to play Park Ranger.

We circled up afterwards and had a great time playing a name game, and learning how to stay safe and have fun at camp. Next up was eating our snack while hearing an incredible story about archeology. We talked about how to be archeologists, and our plans for the week ahead. We then got ready to load into Steve, our adventure van. After water bottle re-fills, bathroom breaks and buckling, we were ready to hit the road!

The day began with some good clean fun, and ended with the joyful abandon of bug catching, mud slides and mud balls!

We arrived at the Galisteo Basin excited to see what we could find. Specifically we were looking for colorful rocks to make paint with, clay, and other clues to the past.

First off on the trail we found an old still working windmill! It was so neat to see it pump water up from the ground with wind power right before our very eyes. Back on the trail, we soon found an entire old ruin, a perfect find to practice being archeologists! We looked for clues about what this old ruin might have been and made some educated guesses. We also found what we thought were bells from a distance, and turned out to be a complete mystery when examined up close. (See photo, ideas about what this is are welcome!)

Afterwards, we happily trotted down the trail until we began to descend into a tiny canyon that had really unique and interesting rock formations. The colors kept changing from pure white to dark burgundy, to yellow ochre and varying shades of browns, greens and blacks. After finding many specimens of different colors, we ate our lunches and chatted about fun things.

Then off to the river, which was a short drive down the road to Galisteo, a tiny cute town with a beautiful river running through it. In this spot we found an excellent area of deep clay for making things and playing. The kids mostly enjoyed playing in the river, collecting bugs and tadpoles, making mudslides and mud balls and other imaginative and joyful activities!

After such wet, muddy fun there were lots of clothes to change! After putting on dry clothes, we drove home, laughing and smiling the whole way. What a fun day and an awesome group of kids.  We are looking forward to more historical and playful adventures in the week ahead!

Enjoy some photos of the day below.  More to come! 🙂

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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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Volcanoes Rock! July 20-23, 2015

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!





Natural Art Projects! June 29-July 2, 2015—Hummingbirds (5-6 year olds)

During our natural art project week, clay, grasses, flowers, leaves, and rocks were our featured materials. The week’s adventure started with a last-minute location change, when our original location was infested with stealthy mosquitoes. The Galisteo Basin Preserve proved to be an excellent alternative, and the kids enjoyed collecting clay, which they then turned into little pinch pots. Tuesday was spent keeping cool at the Beaver Ponds. After discovering a particularly deep spot in the river, we all enjoyed taking a dunk before heading back to work on nature collages. On Wednesday, surrounded by croaking frogs and soaring dragonflies, we made grass headbands, bracelets, and rings by the pond at Las Golondrinas. We ended our week flying our handmade kites and painting flagstone with rock paint. The hummingbirds made beautiful natural creations all while enjoying the splendor of the outdoors.

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Dirt, Rocks, and Clay! June 16-19, 2014

We began the week by learning about each other, camp rules and a Rock Song about the three types of rocks: Sedimentary, Igneous and Metamorphic.  Our adventure took us to Deer Creek where we got to see some great examples of sedimentary rock and talk about how it formed.  We collected special rocks for painting the next day, and had fun hiking and getting wet in the pools (Eagles) at Deer Creek!

Ditto for the Owls, except they explored different pools and played games!

Tuesday: We began our day with a great game of Park Ranger and some Rock Painting!  We sang the rock song and did a Dirt True and False before heading up the mountain.  The Eagles did a HUGE hike up to Raven’s Ridge!  Nice work, Eagles!  It was chilly, so we had to stay moving to keep warm!

The Owls also hiked along the Winsor Trail to a beautiful meadow where they played rock games and explored.

Wednesday: Galisteo Basin Preserve.  Morning games and working with clay were followed by a quick stop in Galisteo where the mosquitoes were out and biting – one of the drawbacks of all the lovely June rain!  We quickly aborted this location and found some great dirt, rocks and clay to explore at the Galisteo Basin Preserve.

Thursday: Tsankawi.  Our final stop for Dirt, Rocks and Clay was the amazing ruins at Tsankawi.  We talked about volcanoes and made a human volcano at Fort Marcy before we headed out.  it is always impressive to see the remains of the supervolcano that erupted and is now the Valles Caldera.  We found pottery shards and obsidian and arrow heads on our hike to the caveates.