Bug Out! June 15-18, 2015—Eagles (9-12 Year Olds)

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.

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Bug Out! June 15-18, 2015—Owls (7-8 Years Old)

Bugs, bugs, bugs! The Owls dug in the mud and scavenged through grasses, spotting many spiders, beetles, flies, and butterflies. On Monday, we explored the Beaver Ponds, and we made potato and cup bug traps, which we hid in the arroyo next to Fort Marcy. Every morning, we checked our bug traps to see what we caught. Commonly we caught many ants, but some managed to catch ground beetles. On Tuesday, the Harrell House Bug Museum and Science shop shared their collection of bugs with us. In the collection, we saw living black widows, tarantulas, vinegaroons, and many more. Wednesday was our mud day as the Owls dug into the moist dirt, finding many worms. We finished our week hiking with gnats, spiders, and moths. Our week was Bug-tastic!

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Bug Out! June 15-18—Hummingbirds (5-6 Year Olds)

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!

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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.

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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.

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(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!):

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Hummingbird Adventures!

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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.

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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!

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