After a month long break, it was great to be back on the land up Left Hand Canyon where we are lucky enough to run our Village Day! The day was beautiful, cold and sunny! Colorado Bluebird Sky for days! The whole Village seemed excited to be back and the Bobcat Clan was no exception!
We did our morning routine, played some games, explored found items at the nature museum, sang songs, lit a fire and gave thanks! We stretched and imitated animals before hearing a wonderful story from our Elder, Jane.
The village lost a few people and gained a few more in that short month and Bobcat Clan found themselves with two new members, Jax and Logan! It was great to have them along and within a few minutes, it felt like they had been with us all fall! Also, Wendy was out this week, which allowed former mentor Sandy to join us!
We had two separate challenges for the clan. One was to effectively carry a coal from our morning fire to the Bobcat Clan shelter (which is over the river, through the woods and on the OTHER side of Grandma’s house!) and use it to start a fire over there. Some different ideas were brought to the table as to how this could be accomplished: stick a stick halfway in till it catches fire then carry it like a torch; do the same thing with mullein; carry between two rocks; carry between two wet pieces of bark. Rosie, our new Spring Intern, had the winning strategy and was able to carry a pretty big coal between two pieces of wettish barn and carry them to our shelter zone with out setting herself on fire! The bonus was it even stayed lit in the ensuing 20 minutes it took the clan to build a fire structure! Super awesome.
The second challenge was to find as many different tracks in the snow as possible and find out what animals are sharing the space with us. There were fox and coyote, crow and squirrel, as well as other mysteries. Looking at tracks and sign of animals is an amazing way to connect with elusive creatures in a safe and meaningful way! The stories of Nature are written all over the landscape if you care to look!
After all of that hard work, Sandy was super stoked to lead a favorite game of hers (and everyone else!), Fire in the Forest, before coming back together for an early lunch. We sat in a circle around the fire during lunch and shared stories of our adventures during the break! It was great to hear everyone’s voices!
After that, it was choice time! I was ready to lead anyone who wanted to on a high energy trailing and tracking expedition that would lead us to the high meadow and beyond. Sandy was ready to have a group stay by the fire and work on some Coal Burning projects around the fire.
We had 7 energetic adventurers ready to rip so Rosie and I took them up to the high meadow. There were many interesting tracks to get our attention and we were able to follow some canine and deer tracks for sometime. Eventually it was decided by the group that we would finally get to the highest ridge that overlooks the entire land where we do programs! It was a straight up trek through some serious Bobcat terrain! Lots of places to hide and sunny rock outlooks to take a nap or hunt from. Many deer tracks led up the hill with some mysterious hare tracks bounding through the bushes!
The higher we got the happier and more excited the kids (and I) got! I hadn’t mentioned it, but it was a pretty windy day to begin with but as we climbed it got exponentially windier! When we finally reached the fence line at the top winds whipped at 50+ MPH and we felt like astronauts training in a wind tunnel! It was certainly a moment where we all felt FULLY ALIVE and in the groove of the natural world.
We took this opportunity to spread out and have a brief sit spot. Sitting up there, the views were breathtaking! We could see everything! We could see Left Hand Creek as it cuts its post-flood path across the landscape! We could see peaks upon peaks. We could see Coyote clan working on their shelter and playing on the ice. We could see the rest of Bobcat Clan working on Burned Bowls by the fire. We could see a solitary crow struggling to fly in the gale and eventually giving up and letting the wind blow them where it may.
After we drank in our fill, we started on our way back down. On the way back, we found the Willow tree and hidden gully where we had lunch that first clan wander so many months ago. There we were able to find an actual Bobcat Track! Pretty exciting to know they are in our midst. The walls of this gully had perfect snow to slide like otters and goof off for a few minutes before meeting back up with the rest of the clan!
The Bobcats had been challenged to lead a song for the group at closing circle. Sandy taught a new one to us in the morning. We sang it a few more times until the kids felt comfortable leading it! They did a wonderful job bringing it to the group…
I am glad to be back and I wonder what adventures we will be getting into this week!