Not sure that Adirondack Adventure (AA) is for you? Not from the Northeast? Not been camping much? Can't decide which trip to do? If any of these apply to you, the first thing is not to worry. Thousands of kids who have never camped before have done AA and enjoyed themselves. Kids who have never been to the U.S. find themselves on AA the second day off the plane. If you want our best advice about which trip to take, go on a canoe trip. They're very social trips, you get to paddle with different people every day, and canoeing is fun! If you want a hardcore trip, try the triple combo trips, but don't be intimidated, we're not out to do special forces training on anyone.
While all trips are different, here's an idea of a typical day on a mild or medium trip.
The trips fall into the following categories:
There are eight trips that are purely hiking. Most trips follow roughly the same format. On the first day, you hike into a campsite or lean-to and set up a basecamp. The remainder of the trip is spent hiking nearby mountains carrying only what you need for the day. Others are point-to-point trips, which have shorter total mileage but will mean carrying a full pack most of the time.
All seven boat trips take place on flat or moving water (no whitewater involved). Many students who choose to canoe have never been in a boat before, or if they have, it was on a sixth-grade trip where they had grapes for lunch and some kid was sick on the bus home. There is plenty of time to learn, and the daily mileage is not unreasonable for beginners. Most of these trips also include a day hike up a nearby mountain, just so you don't spend the whole time sitting down.
The ever-popular combination trips have been refined over the years to give one of the best Adirondack experiences possible. All choices have two trips which start at either end of the route and work towards each other. When they meet in the middle, backpacks are switched for canoes and vice versa, and each trip continues on (except the triple combo - go to the page for more details on this burly trip).
This trip begins at Chapel Pond, on the outskirts of Keene Valley and will camp close by at a state-run campsite. We'll go over everything you need to know, so don't worry if you're a first-time climber. In fact, if you're a strong (5.8 or higher) or experienced climber, this is not the trip for you. There will be plenty of other chances to meet climbers and crank the hard stuff when the climbing wall opens.
There are two sea kayaking trips, and both travel approximately the same distance, about 25 miles.
Making its glorious return to pre-orientation is the Bike Trip. Roll right down College Hill Road on your bike and make the scenic trip directly into the heart of the Adirondacks. Make sure you look up from your handlebars as the landscape changes and the mountains surround you. Camping near Piseco Lake and Blue Mountain Lake, the trip travels 125 miles over 4 days from campus to Raquette Lake.
Options will include swimming in some of the lakes we pass to relieve tired legs!
You must have your own bike, helmet, shorts and gloves. This is a spicy but doable trip for those who like to bike 30-40 miles a day. Mountain bikes will work if you change your knobbly tires for slicks. Please call the office if you need advice.
Check out one of our sister programs, Outreach Adventure (OA), for other great trips that go out at the same time as AA. USE has just changed its name to Outreach Adventure so don't be confused if our literature uses these two names to mean the same thing; we're working on editing all of our pages. These trips are focused in and around the City of Utica, with groups staying indoors and working with direct service organizations such as Habitat for Humanity and the food kitchen at Hope House.
Check out one of our sister programs, Exploration Adventure (XA), for other great trips that go out at the same time as AA. Exploration Adventure (XA) is the latest addition to Hamilton’s orientation trips (OA and AA). XA trips are theme- or subject-based while sharing the same goal of OA and AA to create a small-group bonding experience for incoming students. Each trip is led by two student leaders, and many will be facilitated in part by a Hamilton faculty member or administrator.