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.
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! 🙂
Wow! What an awesome week of riding! We had a mixture of experienced riders and some who had never been riding on trails before. It was amazing to see them all improve over the course of the week.
We spent two days at La Tierra riding the flow trail, the perimeter trail (a 14+ mile day!) the whoop-de-doos, and everything in between. We managed to dodge the threatening storms, which made for perfect riding weather – not too hot!
We also spent two days at Galisteo Basin which has a great combination of sweet, smooth trails for cruising and a rocky downhill (Derek’s Delight!) for practicing those downhill skills.
One of the girls was really challenging herself to tackle some challenging descents and climbs, telling me: “I am pushing myself this week.” She was so proud, it was inspiring and heartwarming to witness. Another boy commented in our closing circle: “It was so easy to make new friends at mountain biking camp.” Several others reported that the week was “just awesome” and they “loved everything!”
We even found some time to get off the bikes and play a few games: eagle eye, ninja, and capture the flag. On the last day we rewarded ourselves with a morning ride, lunch and then a swim at Bicentennial Pool. A perfect way to end a week of 33.7 miles of riding! Congratulations to an amazing crew of riders on a fantastic week!
We may have a Mountain Kids! Mountain Biking Team brewing: “Team Guacamole, anyone!?” (You’ll have to ask your kids about that one!:)
Click on any image below to see a larger image of these rad kids riding!
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.
“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!):
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.
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!
Berries! Raspberries, strawberries, and lemony squawbush berries. We started the week up at the Norski trails where the Eagles hiked the Windsor trail to a pretty meadow on upper Rio en Medio. We played in the water and made toy rafts from sticks tied with strips of skunk cabbage.
Tuesday we again visited Rio en Medio but from the bottom up. The raspberries about half way to the waterfall were sooo good – especially after the pucker power of the squawbush berries. Wednesday found us foraging for strawberries above Carl’s meadow in the clearing near the top of the Quad ski lift. We also worked on orienting maps using compasses and plotted our route up from Aspen Vista trail head. Thursday we took a break from berries and built an awesome shelter from downed aspen logs. We learned that while campers have been elsewhere, chipmunks have moved into some of the shelters from July’s camp-out.