August 12 : The Artist’s Adventure

What better way to start an adventure than by making a pouch to place all of your treasures in! On Monday we began our week by setting up a felting station in Hyde Park Campground, from where we played games, took a hike to a waterfall nearby and got wet and soapy. The smell of wet wool and lanolin was an interesting experience for the children. We learned that heat, water and friction together create an effective felting technique.

On Tuesday we had a go at needle felting a picture each. This is a fun art project to do – painting through color and form with felt onto a flat piece of felted fabric. These pictures were completed the following morning as we had a hike to make and some old-style camp shirts to turn into handy shopping/gear bags! We did this in the field down from Big Tesuque after lunch by cutting the sleeves and neck off the t-shirts, cutting one inch sections along the bottom part of the shirt and then knotting these together in pairs – Et Voila! A bag with a Mountain Kids Logo and design!

Games, of course, are a most important piece of our days together – tail Tag was voted as a number one experience this week, and Eagle Eye was also liberally enjoyed!

On Wednesday we went to Los Golondrinas for a day of learning about the times gone by and their life styles. The school room was tiny, our children looked well fed and way too big to stay seated and work at those desks! There was a little something interesting for each child there, but we sure were tired on our return!

Thursday saw the completion of the felted pouches at a second felting station by the river at the Ski Basin. We made a quick pot of Osage Orange bark to dye our cotton yarn for to make finger knit handles with, then left these to dry and settle while we took a hike down to the meadow below. Two female cows and their calves were in the middle of the trail at some point but we navigated the protective parents and this sweet scene with ease and frolicked in and over a river lined with wildflowers, clover and big mushrooms.

It sure was a busy and productive week with a lot fun to be had while crafting our way through!

 

 

August 19: Cooking Adventures in Nature

Monday morning greeted the Mountain Kids with the chance to harvest apples at the beaver ponds, which of course included some tree climbing for those who felt called to do so!

The Eagles were very successful in the apple hunt, picking more than 200 apples in a short amount of time! They did most of the coring and slicing of apples to make apple sauce for everyone to take home. (The Hummers would have their turn on Thursday with the peaches!)

On Tuesday morning we sliced and strung apples to dry them for a lovely dried fruit snack.

The remainder of the day was spent hiking at Tsankawi,
part of Bandelier National Monument. The children learned about how the Ancestral Pueblo people once lived. While enjoying lunch in a wonderfully cool cave dwelling. Mountain Kids learned of the many different types of food and animals in the local area and the ways in which the Native peoples would have gone about harvesting and hunting them for food.

 

On Wednesday, we headed out to Rio en Medio, where we were able to gather fallen acorns and experience the sweet taste of freshly plucked red currant berries and a few raspberries along the trail.

The heat of the afternoon was spent splashing about the crisp river water, creating dams and building boats from nature to sail down the river. On our travels back to Santa Fe, the Mountain Kids spotted a couple of beautiful fruit trees full of apricots and apples, which they harvested for a juicy afternoon snack! Foraging sure is fun, and tasty. 🙂

The Eagles hiked to the Rio en Medio waterfall, crossing the river many times, an adventure in itself. It was a challenge if you wanted to keep your feet dry!  We and had a blast getting wet and exploring the frigid waterfall at the end of the hike.

That afternoon the Eagles headed to Chupadero for our Cooking Adventure Campout. We roasted our dinner in the ground (Chicken, sweet potatoes, and corn), learned how to use a handdrill and bowdrill to start a fire, and pitched a large shade structure to provide respite from the hot sun.

We enjoyed time around the campfire roasting apples, apricots and telling stories. A quick rainstorm didn’t deter us from a fun evening under the stars.

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday morning started with an early trip to the Tesuque Pueblo, where the Hummingbirds and the Eagles joined together to pick peaches for the Pueblo people.

In return for the hard work gathering the fruit, we were able to pick our own peaches to enjoy and take home. Soon after we found our way to Chupadero where we spent the afternoon slicing peaches for a fruit compote and practicing archery.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everyone got to take home fresh peaches that afternoon. YUM!!

With our bellies full of sweet fruit, it was nice to spend Friday playing in the woods and exploring our creative side. The Mountain Kids headed up and into the mountains where we spent the afternoon building shelters at Aspen Vista, creating hand made bows, arrows, and spears (from sticks, rocks, and yarn). It was a ‘sweet’ end to a super sweet and tasty week of foraging, eating, camping and archery! What an awesome end to an amazing summer 2019! Thank you families for being a part of it! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

August 5: Mud, Clay, & Camouflage

It’s been another muddy good week with the Mountain Kids! It all began with an adventure to Deer Creek, where the Hummingbirds and the Eagles discovered several puddles of mud, camouflaged themselves from head to toe, and cooled down with an afternoon spent playing in the flowing water. While the Hummingbirds played in the stream much closer to the trailhead, the Eagles enjoyed a lengthier hike up to the ‘swimming pools’, where they practiced their [what felt to be] cold plunge and admired the beauty of the waterfall!

Tuesday, the two teams parted for different adventures. While the Eagles explored their way up the Santa Fe river, from Patrick Smith Park, the Hummingbirds took a sweet little adventure to Glorieta, where they gathered local clay, before heading back to the park due to incoming weather. While the adventures in Glorieta were short lived, the two teams enjoyed the opportunity to recombine at the park and spend an afternoon sculpting sweet pieces of art with our freshly harvested clay.

Wednesday morning started with a fun craft which showed the Mountain Kids how to create paintbrushes from yucca and painting pigments from different crushed up elements and stones. Before long, both teams were on their way to Abiquiu Lake, where the Mountain Kids found ample amounts of mud, dug through the dirt, sand, mud, and clay, and made a splash for several hours in the lake.

The Eagles and Hummingbirds headed up to the Big Tesuqe Trail for their Thursday adventures. While the two teams participated in separate hikes, both, the Eagles and Hummingbirds were able to practice their camouflage skills through games such as Eagle Eye” and “Pig”. Of course there was plenty of time, too, for the kids play in the water as they wished! Several of the Eagles competed in a dam building competition and used their wild imaginative creativity in order to build fairy houses along the river.

Friday found both teams exploring the Santa Fe River with an adventure up to the nearby tire swing. During our hike up the River, the Mountain Kids found several different berries and plants which we broke down into vibrant body paints. The afternoon was filled with much fun, playing at the Cerro Gordo Park, in the river, and on the tire swing! Our day was finished with a sweet little treat and a lovely lesson on bee keeping. One of our Hummingbird campers is a local bee keeper and brought a jar of his recently harvested honey to share with us, in addition to showing us his gear and talking us through the process of beekeeping. It wasn’t long after our lesson on bees that each Mountain Kid began running around and involving themselves in a massive water fight to end an exciting week!

 

July 8-12: Robin Hood’s Secrets

“The story of Robin Hood evokes clever and thoughtful adventures in the woods, stealthy river crossings, balancing on logs and fine homes in trees.” The Hummingbirds had an adventurous week discovering ways to heal wounds, practicing archery and fire making skills, and uncovering techniques for keeping invisible and camouflaged in the woods! A Monday spent at the Norski Trail was the perfect opportunity to learn about the Leave-No-Trace Principles, how to stay prepared with the 6W’s (who, what, where, when, why, and weather), and to gain some practice building shelters and hiding huts.

A day of hiking at Rio en Medio, on Tuesday, allowed for the Mountain Kids to romp throughout the woods and experience several beautiful and refreshing river crossings. A handful of the Hummingbirds chose to challenge themselves with an extra long hike all the way back to the waterfall – a glorious feat well worth each step!

Wednesday, the Hummingbirds began their morning learning how to create Pinon Pine Salve which can be used to help in healing small scrapes and wounds. After their fun craft, the Mountain Kids headed out to Chupadero where they worked with, Michael, a wonderful primitive skills educator, who taught them new archery safety and skills and how to create fire with sticks! After a day spent in the sunshine, Thursdays trip up the Santa Fe River, allowed the Hummingbirds to use their imagination while balancing on logs, crossing the river, and walking stealthily up the waterway!

The Hummingbirds and Eagles joined together, on Friday, for a day spent splashing in the mud and water at Abiquiu Lake. The low waters allowed for endless amounts of clay and mud which was just perfect for practicing camouflage skills!

June 24-28: Wilderness Skills

The Hummingbirds (Mountain Kids’ younger group) started their week exploring the trails and waterways of the Beaver Ponds, while learning what to do should we encounter a bear and mountain lion.

The fun continued with an introduction to building survival shelters and a lesson on their importance. As the week continued, the Hummingbirds discussed the essential 6W’s (who, what, when, where, why, & weather) and why they’re important even before entering the wilderness. The children also learned seven new hand gestures in order to help them better understand the seven Leave-No-Trace Principles (ways in which we can respect and take care of our wild lands and parks with low impact practices). We also explored ways of staying S.A.F.E.R. (a mnemonic for how to stay safe while spending time in the outdoors), with one of the key elements being to STOP AND STAY PUT if you get lost.

During our week of acquiring new wilderness skills, the Mountain Kids roamed through areas such as the Rio en Medio, Aspen Vista, and the Ski Basin, all of which are  beautifully wooded locations and provided us with a wonderful setting for each camper to use their imagination while becoming animals such as deer, mountain lions, bats, and moths.

Our week ended with the Eagles (older campers) and Hummingbirds gathering together for a day filled with fun and games at the meadow of the lower Big Tesuque trail. What a fun and adventure-filled week!

June 17-21: Backpacking Wheeler Peak

We had an impressive group of campers for our three-day backpacking trip. After a successful prep day on Monday, we headed up to the Wheeler Peak Wilderness. Our spectacular winter meant that there was still a substantial amount of snow on the ground, and our campers did a stellar job traversing the trail and, most importantly, being helpful and encouraging to each other even when the going got tough.

During our first evening, our campers proved that they were ready to learn the basic skills of backcountry travel: how to set up tents, how to cook safely, how to navigate, how to sleep warm, etc.

Each camper took on a different job every day (such as being in charge of cooking a meal, or being a Leader of the Day – in charge of pacing and group dynamics) and they rose to those jobs with aplomb. We all went to bed tired, happy, and excited for the following day.

On our second day, and after an early rise, we started the trek up Wheeler Peak, the highest point in New Mexico, at 13,167 feet. It took us 7 hours, round trip, to get to the highest point in New Mexico, a stellar view that feels more like Colorado or the Alps!

Due to the snow levels, it was an even more exciting hike than usual: lots off off-trail rerouting, careful snow-stepping, and glissading down low-angle sections. Again, we were very impressed with the campers spirit and ability to help each other. They were wonderfully cheerful and resilient in the face of this challenging climb.

Overall, it was a great trip. In true backpacking style, we returned dirty, tired, and happy, having had an experience that we will never forget.

Mountain Mamas!

Wednesdays, 9 am – 12 pm.

May 1-29, 2019. Various Trailheads

Month of May (5 sessions) $99 | Four Session Punch Pass (never expires) $79 | Drop-In $25 | + tax

Mountain Mamas meets each week to hike, connect, and share. Through exercise, reflection, mindfulness, and nature-connection, you will find time for self-care and for creating community, while getting a good dose of nature and exercise endorphins.

Our Practices:

  1. Fitness and Nature-Connection –Regular exercise alone is a tonic for health and wellness, by combining exercise with nature we experience benefits for the body, mind and the soul.
  2. Sit Spots – A form of mindfulness in nature where one can slow-down to see, hear and experience nature, while practicing mindfulness or journaling.
  3. Reflection and Gratitude – Weekly discussion and journaling topics provide an opportunity to reflect on various aspects of motherhood and life.
  4. Connection with other Mamas – Share the joys and challenges of motherhood and life with other women.

Our Fitness Goal: Summit Santa Fe Baldy!

Need childcare? Please inquire: katie@sfmountainkids.com

Register

Mountain Biking Skills and Thrills! June 4-8

What a great way to kick off summer for the Eagles – our 9-12 year old campers! On Day one we rode at La Tierra where we tackled the Flow Trail, climbs to and from the trail, and then the pump track at Alto Park.  We talked about specific skills for climbing, descending, braking and turning.

On our second day we rode Dale Ball, which was short and sweet!  Day three took us up to the Rift Valley Trail south of Taos. It was a long drive, but we had fun playing games along the way, and the views and riding were worth it!  We also had time for a dip in the Rio Grande, which was a treat!

On Day four we checked out the Oak Flats campground in the Tijeras District on the east side of the Sandias.  It was perfect riding. At 7000ish feet, we rode through a ponderosa forest, which was a bit cooler than previous rides, and the trails were a combination of beautiful smoothness with a few technical spots to challenge our skills.

We are so proud of these campers for all the hard work they put into riding, and the fun they had!  Apparently, hard work and fun go hand-in-hand and provide great learning and growth for kids exploring their limits.