The Wild Country Trek is an expedition designed for teens who are excited to get out and explore the great outdoors! This is an exploratory, yet challenging trek designed for both newcomers, and outdoor enthusiasts. The itinerary includes hiking, music, art, science, culinary skills, archaeology, adventure, and personal development as well as time to learn basics of expedition planning, packing, and preparation. It’s a great fit for young teens with a sense of adventure and there is no need for substantial wilderness experience.
The two sessions of Wild Country Trek have different itineraries and the itineraries vary from year to year (see below for a sample itinerary). Both sessions will spend the majority of their time exploring the wild places of New Mexico and will have about a week to get to know Basecamp. While out exploring New Mexico, WCT trekkers will be introduced to backpacking through a short overnight trip followed by a 3-4 day trip later in their itinerary. Some years they head to the Gila National Forest and experience abundant water in the desert as well as the first Wilderness in the United States. Other years they head to the Pecos Wilderness and are stunned by mountain vistas and alpine lakes. Along the way, WCT trekkers will have the opportunity to meet with local artists, park rangers, or scientists to dive deeper into the history, culture, and ecology of the Southwest. Their knowledgeable staff will support them through challenges whether that’s the first time summiting a mountain, figuring out how to resolve conflict in small group settings, or learning to be a supportive group member. By the end, trekkers come away with new friends, outdoor skills, great memories, and self-confidence after three weeks of independence and exploration.
While at Basecamp, trekkers will have the opportunity to learn new skills from our specialists like metal smithing, animal tracking, plant identification, mountain biking, farming, cooking, music, and rock climbing. The exact specialties of our staff vary from year to year, but we always have an incredibly talented and knowledgeable team that is excited to introduce trekkers to new skills as well as offer deeper exploration for those already familiar with a topic.
While on trek with us, participants will complete a project in a field they are interested in. These are meant to be opportunities to take advantage of the vast knowledge sets of our staff, dive deeper into a topic of interest, and to walk away from the summer having a tangible example of all that was accomplished. Examples of past projects include: building a latrine at basecamp, creating maps, conducting a stream study, creating a field guide, compiling an art portfolio, writing an original song, planning and leading activities for other trekkers, and many more. To help us prepare to facilitate these projects, we will send a survey for your trekker to complete. If they aren’t sure, that’s okay! Our staff are ready and excited to talk with them about their interests and figure out what makes sense.
Age Range: 13 - 15
Gender: All welcome, Male, Female, Non-binary
Min Group Size: 8
Max Group Size: 15
Elevation: 5,000 to 12,000 feet
21 Days on Trek
number of days on the trek
6/24 - 7/14
7/20 - 8/9
Trek DetailsThis trek will encourage trekkers to explore, create, learn, listen and play. Here are the details!
Explore North Western New Mexico!
- Two 7 day road loops
- 7 days at basecamp
- Introduction to backpacking
- Micro-adventures in the wild
- Establishing connection to place
- Tree Climbing the Ponderosa Pines at Basecamp
- Rock Climbing in multiple locations like Mentmore sandstone crag which multiple single pitch options.
Create | Art / Music
Find new ways to make art!
- Music as a community builder
Opportunity to learn to play basic chords/write simple campfire songs
Learning to journal, written or in another artistic form
Opportunities for silversmithing, leather stamping, jewelry making
Learn | Science / Technical Skills
Expand your knowledge of the places we occupy and skills needed in the outdoors!
- Basic backpacking skills
- How to use a whisperlite stove
- Cooking in the backcountry
- Backcountry safety
- Basic Leave No Trace Principles
Listen | Culture / Community
Listen to the voices of the communities who call this place home!
- Bird Talk with Jack Oviatt, Ornithologist
- Meeting several community members to hear about the culture of the Southwest, members of the Navajo Nation and Zuni Pueblo who will engage the participants in a variety of activities. This can range from volunteering at a farm to observing traditional feast days or dances.
Play | Have Fun
Life is fun! Let’s go outside and play!
- Rock climbing in the 100 million year old sandstone
- Campfires every night with music!
- GAGA ball and many other camp games!
6/24 - 7/14
7/20 - 8/9
“I woke up today under a soggy tarp, listening to Gus complain about sliding out onto the cold forest floor below us. We quickly packed up our gear and had bagels while listening to Nate give a very motivational and inspiring Ted Talk. To sum it up, his main point was “when you struggle, don’t say why me, say try me.” We then stretched and prepared to set out on our 3rd day of backpacking in the Carson National Forest. Hiking was not difficult, and we stopped to camp after about an hour and a half. Everyone was pretty hungry so we ate the vast majority of our remaining trail mix, chips, meat, cheese, and crackers while having heated discussions about politics. We then did 3-hour solos during a thunderstorm. Following solos, we ate a healthy dinner with Ramen, Mac-n-Cheese, and mashed potatoes. We played Froggy Murderer at campfire and sang Country Roads with excessive volume shortly before going to bed. The end.”
“Today was an eventful day. We packed up our bags and went on a two day backpacking trip to a water tower. It was a little annoying because we lost the trail and took a two-mile detour, but we found a campsite. It’s not at the water tower but it’s alright.”
Resources for Parents
Within Your Itinerary You Might
The trek itineraries vary year to year, depending on permits and staff expertise
- Meet with a musician
- Visit an Amphitheater
- Take some Day hikes
- Meet with an instrument manufacturer
- Visit music festival
- Visit Hispanic Cultural Center and Indian Pueblo Cultural Center
- A Sunset hike
- Basecamp Loop (Cottonwoods)
- Visit Zuni Pueblo to meet musicians and artists
- Meet with an artist
- Visit Georgia O’Keefe Museum and other local art based museums
- Visit Taos Earthships
- Explore Lavender Farm
- Day hike Canyon de Chelly
- Day hike El Morro National Monument
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