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 🙂

For future camps, check out our programs page!

Photo Safari!

This week our Mountain Kids learned and practiced everything photography! We learned how our human eyes relate to cameras, how cameras work, different composition techniques to capture the most interesting photos, and even had the opportunity to take home a print of our favorite shot!

Esha Chiocchio (CIT Zubin’s mom, and a professional photographer) came in to talk to us about composition and shared lots of fun exercises with us.

We explored a different photo challenge each day, sought objects for photo scavenger hunts, zoomed WAY in on bull frogs and goats, and took beautiful photos out on the many hikes we conquered!

Of course, sprinkled in to each day, was a number of active games to tie all of the skills we learned together. These campers were so impressive and are some of the best photographers Mountain Kids has seen all summer!

Wonders of Water!

Wonders of Water week turned out to be a huge, wet success! Our campers triumphantly discovered a natural water source at each destination and enthusiastically learned a new fact or skill everyday. We explored the water cycle, how to conserve, and how to properly filter water!

In between lessons, our campers sought out interesting looking minerals on river beds, and came across a handful of native, water living creatures.

I think we all have an absolutely enormous appreciation for water, especially here at home in Santa Fe. Keep on rain-dancing everyone, bring on the rain!

Forts & Forests!

What a fantastic way to kick off the beginning of an adventure filled summer! Week one of camp was all about exploration and creativity within our natural world in the National Forest. We had so much fun teepee building using the natural resources we discovered under the grand aspens. We loved playing relationship-building games in the chilly streams and vast meadows. Eagle Eye and Sardines were BIG hits amongst these eager to play at Mountain Kids! Thanks so much for joining us during our Forts and Forest themed week!

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.

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!

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!

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—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!