Nur­tures love of out­doors

Kids Summer - - Front Page -

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...

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