Getting excited about
Wilderness Adventure already?!!!

A brochure on Wilderness Adventure '04 will be enclosed in a mailing from  the Dean of First Year Students to be sent in late May. Complete & return the enclosed application ASAP when you receive it.  Sorry, but that is the earliest we can accept applications. 
                                  Have questions? 
       Please call 315 - 228 - 7972 for more information.


Wilderness Adventure 2005

Session I trips: August 7 - 14
Session II trips: August 18 - 25
Registration with Deposit Due:
postmarked by Friday June 10
Completed Forms &
Balance of Fees Due:
postmarked by Wednesday July 6

Outdoor Education invites you to be a

 part of Wilderness Adventure 2004! 

All first-year students are welcome to participate in Wilderness Adventure.  No previous outdoor experience is needed. 

Wilderness Adventure is an ideal way to begin your Colgate experience.  The hundreds of incoming students who have gone on WA trips since its inception 15 years ago can attest that being a part of WA not only eases the transition into college life, but also endures as a unique and memorable part of the Colgate experience.  

Wilderness Adventure takes place during the month of August prior to on-campus orientation.  Two sessions of WA trips are offered:

Session I:   Sunday, August 8 – Sunday, August 15
Session II:   Thursday, August 19 – Thursday, August 26

What Is Wilderness Adventure?
Wilderness Adventure is an opportunity to join other incoming students on a weeklong camping trip in the Adirondacks.  Groups of 6-8 first-year
students and two Outdoor Education staff carry their own food and gear while hiking or canoeing through the Adirondack wilderness in upstate NY. 

Groups work together to accomplish daily tasks of backcountry living, becoming a self-sufficient community over the course of the week.  Days may be challenging but rewarding as connections to the natural world and friendships are made.  All trips are substance free.

Benefits of Wilderness Adventure:
*  Develop safety awareness and self-responsibility in the woods
*  Gain a sense of personal accomplishment
*  Build friendships in a supportive and substance-free community
*  Learn basic skills of backcountry travel and living
*  Practice Leave No Trace skills to reduce impact on the land
*  Learn about the natural and cultural history of the Adirondacks
*  Develop a Sense of Place – a connection to the land

How Do I Register?
Registration is on a first-come, first-serve basis according to the postmark date on the completed registration form.  Space on trips for each session is limited.

To register, read the following information and complete the enclosed registration form.  Return the registration form with a $100 nonrefundable deposit as soon as possible, postmarked no later than Friday June 11. 

Due to travel logistics, students living further than a day’s drive from campus will be given priority for Session II.  Trip assignments will be made based on availability of spots for each session and will be sent by June 21.

Where Do WA Trips Go?
Wilderness Adventure begins on the Colgate campus at the Outdoor Education Base Camp.  On arrival day (Session I: August 8; Session II: August 19), you should check-in between 2-2:15pm and organized activities will begin at 2:30pm.  Please note: students may not move into or store belongings in dorm rooms before August 26.  You will meet your group and trip leaders, organize the gear, and have dinner before heading to the Beattie Reserve, located 3 miles from campus, where you will camp for the night.  The next morning your group will eat breakfast, load the van and set out for the Adirondacks for the next five nights’ trip. 

Upon returning from the Adirondacks, all groups will meet at the Beattie Reserve for dinner, a closing campfire, and a final night of camping.  The next morning groups will return to the Outdoor Education Base Camp to clean and check-in gear.  Participants will be ready for pick-up on departure day (Session I: August 15; Session II: August 26) by 9am. 

 What Is A Typical Day On A WA Trip?
Traveling on marked trails, your group will move between 4-12 miles each day (depending on the level of the trip), stopping for trail breaks along the way.  You will set-up camp at designated campsites that typically have outhouses but no other modern facilities.  Wilderness Adventure trips are not “guided” excursions in which the leaders do everything for you – everyone is expected to contribute in a group effort.  Your leaders will teach you the skills needed to travel safely in the backcountry, such as how to pack your backpack, read the map, and take care of blisters.  By the second night, your group will be cooking meals on the camp stove on its own.  Typical backcountry cuisine includes pasta, veggie stir-fry, bagels, oatmeal, and the ever-coveted “gorp” trail mix.  Depending on the weather, you may sleep in a tent, Adirondack-style lean-to (three-sided log structure with a roof), or under the stars. 

The Adirondack climate is extremely variable – you may be hiking in shorts and a t-shirt one day and long underwear and a wool hat the next!  Depending on the group’s route, you may be traveling up and over Adirondack peaks or hiking along rivers and camping alongside lakes and ponds.  Whatever the route, you surely will be struck by the beauty of the Adirondacks and the support of your group. 

What Gear Do I Need?
In your backpack you will carry personal clothing and gear, as well as a portion of the group food and group gear (e.g. tent, stove, pot, etc.).   All group gear is provided.  Participants are responsible for personal clothing and equipment such as long underwear, rain gear, wool hat, hiking boots, etc.  Some items, including backpacks, sleeping bags and pads, flashlights, and water bottles may be rented from Outdoor Education.  A more detailed gear list and rental form will be sent with the trip assignment packet.

Who Are the Trip Leaders?
Two upper-class students who are members of the Outdoor Education staff lead each Wilderness Adventure trip group.  All staff have completed an extensive six-month training program that focuses on risk management, leadership, teaching, and technical outdoor skills.  Staff are also certified in CPR and WFR, a 72-hour Wilderness First Responder course.   

What Will I Learn On A WA Trip?
For over a century people have gone to the Adirondack Park to explore and enjoy its forests and waterways.  Wilderness Adventure provides you with an opportunity to join in this tradition and to experience firsthand this unique landscape.  You will learn about land history – natural and cultural history – of the Adirondacks, and participate in discussions about human interactions with the land.  In addition, your trip leaders will teach the backcountry basics – skills needed for backcountry travel including Leave No Trace practices.  You will also have the opportunity to talk about life at Colgate.

How Do I Get Ready for Wilderness Adventure?
During the summer, you will receive two mailings containing information about Wilderness Adventure: the first mailing contains a gear list, information on Leave No Trace camping, and forms to be returned; the second mailing contains required readings.  In preparation, you will be reading a pamphlet on the history of the Adirondacks and a packet of writings.  While in the field, groups will discuss how the writings relate to gaining a “sense of place” in the Adirondacks as well as other wild areas.  In addition to preparing mentally for the trip, you will need to prepare physically.  Days on the trail can be long and challenging.  We recommend that you do some type of physical activity (e.g. hiking, jogging, swimming, biking) on a regular basis – 3-4 times per week – during the month before your trip.

How Much Does It Cost?
The fee for Wilderness Adventure is $400, which covers the cost of all meals, transportation, group gear and leader wages for the trip.  Additional costs may include travel to and from campus, additional meals/lodging and any personal clothing and/or gear (i.e. long underwear, hiking boots, sleeping bag) that must be purchased or rented.  A $100 non-refundable deposit is due with your completed application.  Should you decide to cancel after receiving a trip assignment, your $100 deposit will not be refunded.  If there are no spaces available, your deposit will be returned.  Partial to full scholarships based on financial need are available.  Recipients are determined through consultation with the Office of Financial Aid.

How Do I Choose A WA Trip?
On the application form, you are asked to rank the trip options in order of preference.  Backpacking/Canoeing combination trips spend two consecutive days backpacking followed by three consecutive days canoeing, or vice versa.  Canoeing trips involve paddling on flatwater lakes and rivers and portaging – carrying the canoes and gear over land between waterways. 

Level 1: no previous outdoor experience is needed
You will be traveling 3-6 miles per day over flat and hilly terrain, arriving at camp by early afternoon with time to relax before dinner.  Camp is moved every other day with rest days in between.  Layover days are spent either exploring surrounding areas on a dayhike which may involve summitting a peak, or relaxing in camp with time to swim.

Level 2: moderate level of fitness OR previous outdoor experience required
You will be traveling 5-10 miles per day over terrain that is hilly and sometimes steep, arriving at camp by late afternoon.  Days can be long and challenging but there are plenty of trail breaks along the way.  Camp is moved every day with one layover day that is spent either exploring surrounding areas on a dayhike, which may involve summitting a peak, or relaxing in camp with time to swim.

Level 2+: high level of fitness required and previous outdoor experience recommended but not required

You will travel 8-12+ miles over steep to very steep terrain, hiking over two of the Adirondack High Peaks with a full peak.  Days are long and challenging and the group may not arrive at camp until dinnertime or later, but there are plenty of trail breaks along the way.  Camp is moved every day with one layover day that is spent either exploring surrounding areas on a dayhike, which may involve summitting a peak, or relaxing in camp with time to swim.

If you have any questions, please contact Molly or Josh Baker by phone at (315) 228-7323 or by email:




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