Nurtures love of outdoors
Many of us who live in Northern New Mexico aren’t here for the stellar job prospects, quality educational opportunities or possibilities of finding a mate. We live in Northern New Mexico for the quality of life, and that has everything to do with the great outdoors. Europe has its ancient cathedrals; New Mexico has its vast ancient wilderness, open skies and the highest air quality in the nation. We’re surrounded by mountains and ample opportunities to play in them, whether skiing, biking, rafting, hiking and, of course, camping.
In Santa Fe, access to nature is easy and rewarding. If you’ve never ventured beyond your own adobe walls, this is the year to take your children camping. The mandate for the season is clear: Get outside.
Before we pack up the car and head out the door, there are a few things to consider when planning to camp with children:
If your kiddo is new to camping, start simple. Go car camping and bring familiar things from home — but not too many toys. Camping is about appreciating nature, after all. If you’re a total camping newbie, too, REI in downtown Santa Fe offers lectures on a variety of outdoor subjects. Salespeople are knowledgeable and generous with advice. Plenty of guides are also available, including the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance’s new Wild Guide.
Be ready for rapid changes in temperature. While days may be sunny and hot, nights can get downright cold, and hail and snow can come on with shocking speed. Pack a good rain fly. Nothing spoils the fun more than being wet and cold, and hypothermia is a possibility.
Everyone should be drinking lots of water. Being outside in the summer is Abiquiú Lake rates as one of our favorite spots for its variety of activities, from swimming to climbing on rocks, following hiking trails, fishing and a new children’s playground in the middle of the campground. Bonus: There’s not a bad view to be had.
The lake is accessible with easy drop-offs and clear sight lines for parents to keep an eye on their little ones. This year, the park also is opening a swim beach, making the water even more accessible to children and early swimmers.
The campground has 15 recreational vehicle sites with water and electricity and drive-in sites without water to accommodate small RVs and tents. The two nice bathroom facilities are accessible to people with disabilities and have hot water and showers. Hike-in campsites are first come, first served. These sites are closed by 10 p.m. with patrols to ensure safety.
dehydrating, especially at high altitude. Some children might be afraid of bears or other predators. Remind your children that animals are generally more afraid of you than you are of them. That said, be a smart camper: If you’re car camping, stash...