Wilderness Adventure - First-Year Outdoor Education Pre-Orientation Skip Navigation

Wilderness Adventure
Pre-Orientation Program

Meet new friends, discover Colgate, and explore the Adirondacks all while having a great time in the outdoors. Wilderness Adventure is a great way to kick-start your Colgate experience!

About Wilderness Adventure

Each summer, roughly 150 first-year students participate in Wilderness Adventure to make friends, learn about Colgate, and have an absolute blast! Living and traveling with a small group of new students and two or three highly trained leaders, you will hike, paddle, climb, or bike through stunning New York wilderness.
Goals
  • Start college with a group of great new friends and upperclassmen mentors.
  • Practice outdoor skills under the guidance of experienced student leaders.
  • Try something new, and maybe a little bit challenging — just like college.
  • Learn about classes, dorms, food, clubs, activities, and more from your leaders.
  • Jumpstart your entrance into community living and active citizenship.
  • Discover the Adirondack Park and Central New York – your new home.

Register for 2017

Registration for WA 2017 will be available beginning in mid-February.


2017 Registration Deadlines
Registration group Date Notes
Early decision admitted students April 13, 2017
  • ED admits may continue to register after April 13th as part of the regular registration process.
  • ED applicants will be notified of their session by early May, and may be assigned to a specific trip if that information is available at that time.
  • Deposit due at registration; balance and gear request due May 13
  • Medical history and waiver due July 1
Regular decision admitted students June 1, 2017
  • All trip assignments will be sent in mid-June.
  • Deposit due at registration; balance and gear request due July 1
  • Medical history and waiver due July 1
2017 Session Information
Session 2017 Dates About
Session I August 8 – August 13 Six-day program including arrival and move-in day, a four-day trip, and a final day to wrap up and say “see you later” to your new friends.
Note: Housing on campus is not available in the period between the end of session I and the start of Orientation.
Session II August 20 – August 25 Six-day program including arrival and move-in day, a four-day trip, and a final day to wrap up.
Note: Students will be back on campus early on the 25th, in plenty of time to attend the start of Orientation that afternoon.
Trip Fees & Financial Aid
For WA 2017, the fee for all trips is $475.

Financial aid is available for those receiving aid from Colgate. We typically match 80-90% of the aid given by Colgate. For example, if you receive 80% aid from Colgate, you would receive 64-72% aid on your WA fee.

If interested in receiving aid, please indicate so when you register. You will be informed of your aid amount when you receive your trip assignment. If you have any questions about financial aid for WA, please feel free to give us a call.
Session selection and priority
Space on trips for each session is limited. Priority is given in the order that the registrations are received with the following exceptions:
  • Due to travel logistics, students living farther than a day's drive from campus are given priority for Session II.
  • Benton Scholars and international students should not register for Session II due to other commitments, and will therefore receive priority for Session I.
Please indicate your first choice session and second choice session. If you cannot do one of the sessions at all, select N/A for second choice.
Moving in to your residence
Session II participants will be permitted to move into their rooms on August 20 prior to the start of Wilderness Adventure.

Participants in Session I are not able to move into their residence hall, however, very limited storage for items can be provided for Session I participants upon request.
Physical education credit
Wilderness Adventure earns students one physical education credit. Note that two credits are required for graduation.
Equipment rental
The Outdoor Education Program has much of the equipment required for the trip available for rental, free of charge. Student rental request forms are due July 1.
Early arrival
Arrangements can be made for early arrivals on August 7th and 19th; please contact Outdoor Education. For session II, students will be able to move into their residence halls on the morning of August 20th, but should complete an early arrival application on the Colgate Housing Portal.
Orientation
Session II participants will be finished with the trip and cleaned up well before the start of First-Year Orientation.

Additional information about Orientation, including the schedule, can be found on the new students website.

No previous wilderness experience is needed for any of our trips, just a willingness to have fun, learn, and meet new people. Nevertheless, some trips are more strenuous than others. Trips are sorted into levels based on how strenuous they are. Please contact us if you have any questions about finding the right trip for you.

Session 1 (August 8-August 13)

Level 1 Trips (Low physical fitness needed)

Local Adventure Sampler
Experience four varied and exciting adventure activities along with 12 of your classmates. You’ll swing from the trees on our high ropes course, hike along the scenic trails of central New York and the Southern Adirondacks, explore local waterways by canoe, and try your hand at rock climbing at a local crag. Each evening, you will return to Hamilton and spend the night at Colgate’s Beattie Reserve sleeping in our yurt*.

This trip is designed to be a little less rustic and demanding than our typical options but still provides plenty of fun and adventure and the chance to try out several activities with a new group of friends.

*What's a yurt? It is a 30' diameter circular tent made of wood and canvas. It has a permanent foundation, wood and propane stoves, couches, and bunk beds.
Backpacking
We will hike 3-6 miles per day over both flat and hilly terrain, arriving at camp by early afternoon with time to relax before dinner. We will have at least one layover day relaxing in camp or exploring the surrounding area -- this may include hiking to the summit of a peak.
Canoeing
We will paddle on flat water lakes and rivers with minimal portaging (carrying the canoes and gear over land between waterways). We'll arrive at camp by early afternoon, with time to relax before dinner. On rest days we will cook in camp, swim, and go on day hikes.
Backpacking/Canoeing
We will spend two days backpacking and two days canoeing, with 4-8 miles of travel daily. With minimal or no portaging, this trip is a great way to see the Adirondacks by land and water. A great introduction to backcountry travel, this trip also provides time to socialize and enjoy the natural splendor of the Adirondacks.

Level 2 Trips (Moderate level of physical fitness needed)

Backpacking
We will hike 4-8 miles daily over terrain that is hilly and sometimes steep, arriving at camp by late afternoon. Days can be long and challenging, but there are trail breaks along the way. We move camp every day, with the exception of one layover day spent relaxing and exploring the surrounding area — perhaps hiking to the summit of a nearby peak.
Sea Kayaking
We will kayak 3-8 miles daily from campsite to campsite with a rest day in the middle. We will help you perfect your kayak strokes and learn to pack your boat while enjoying the beauty of Cranberry Lake in the Adirondacks. Free time is spent honing kayaking skills, learning to roll a kayak, swimming, and cooking in camp. There also are numerous day hiking opportunities.
Climbing/Bouldering/Day Hiking
Experience a variety of climbing across Central New York and the Adirondacks. You’ll get to try your hand at roped climbing, bouldering, and maybe even hike a peak! This trip is a great introduction to rock climbing, and no previous experience is needed. You will not only challenge yourself while scaling the cliffs, but also enjoy beautiful scenery and have a great time with your group in this beautiful setting.

Level 2+ Trips (High level of physical fitness needed)

Mountain Biking
We'll explore Central New York state parks and forests in high gear while jumping logs, riding bridges, and seeing parts of the forest in fast forward. We will spend nights in local cabins and/or yurts while playing games and cooking group meals. During the day we will teach you basic to intermediate riding, bike maintenance, local human and natural history, and about building or maintaining features on the Colgate bike trails.

Participants must know how to ride a bike, but do not need any previous mountain biking experience. Colgate can provide mountain bikes free of charge.
Lightweight Backpacking
With backpacks 50% lighter than typical packs, we’ll carry a minimum of equipment and compensate with specialized lightweight camping techniques. Lightweight backpacking combines the splendor of wilderness travel with the glory of a light load on your back. Some previous backpacking experience may be helpful but it is not required, we can teach you everything you need to know.

We will hike 6-12+ miles daily over steep terrain, and we will hike over one or two peaks. Days are challenging but the light packs make the long days manageable.

We change camp daily, with one layover day spent relaxing in camp and day hiking, possibly to the summit of a peak.
Canoeing/Backpacking
We will spend three days backpacking and three days canoeing, with 5-10 miles of travel daily. The trips will involve some portaging of canoes – carrying the canoes and gear over land between waterways. It is a great introduction to backcountry travel, with time to socialize and enjoy the natural splendor of the Adirondack high peaks and the Raquette River.


Session 2 (August 20-25)

Level 1 Trips (Low physical fitness needed)

Farming Adventure
Come work in the Colgate Community Garden and learn about the rich agricultural traditions of the Chenango Valley. This trip will include time spent working in the Colgate Community Garden, visiting local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Farms, and exploring the Hamilton Farmers' Market. Along with 12 of your classmates, you will also participate in local adventure activities, such as swinging from the trees on our high ropes course, hiking along the scenic trails of central New York and the Southern Adirondacks, and exploring local waterways by canoe. Each evening, you will return to Hamilton and spend the night at Colgate’s Beattie Reserve sleeping in our yurt*.

This trip is designed to be a little less rustic and demanding than our typical options but still provides plenty of fun and adventure and the chance to try out several activities with a new group of friends.

*What's a yurt? It is a 30' diameter circular tent made of wood and canvas. It has a permanent foundation, wood and propane stoves, couches, and bunk beds.
Backpacking
We will hike 3-6 miles per day over both flat and hilly terrain, arriving at camp by early afternoon with time to relax before dinner. We will have at least one layover day relaxing in camp or exploring the surrounding area -- this may include hiking to the summit of a peak.
Canoeing
We will paddle on flat water lakes and rivers with minimal portaging (carrying the canoes and gear over land between waterways). We'll arrive at camp by early afternoon, with time to relax before dinner. On rest days we will cook in camp, swim, and go on day hikes.
Backpacking/Canoeing
We will spend two days backpacking and two days canoeing, with 4-8 miles of travel daily. With minimal or no portaging, this trip is a great way to see the Adirondacks by land and water. A great introduction to backcountry travel, this trip also provides time to socialize and enjoy the natural splendor of the Adirondacks.

Level 2 Trips (Moderate level of physical fitness needed)

Backpacking
We will hike 4-8 miles daily over terrain that is hilly and sometimes steep, arriving at camp by late afternoon. Days can be long and challenging, but there are trail breaks along the way. We move camp every day, with the exception of one layover day spent relaxing and exploring the surrounding area — perhaps hiking to the summit of a nearby peak.
Sea Kayaking
We will kayak 3-8 miles daily from campsite to campsite with a rest day in the middle. We will help you perfect your kayak strokes and learn to pack your boat while enjoying the beauty of Cranberry Lake in the Adirondacks. Free time is spent honing kayaking skills, learning to roll a kayak, swimming, and cooking in camp. There also are numerous day hiking opportunities.
Climbing/Bouldering/Day Hiking
This trip will take place in the Adirondacks and will include base camping, two days of roped climbing, a day of bouldering and two days of hiking. In addition to the challenges of scaling the cliffs, you’ll also enjoy beautiful scenery and have a great time with your group in this beautiful setting.

Level 2+ Trips (High level of physical fitness needed)

Backpacking
We will travel 6-9 miles over steep terrain, hiking over an Adirondack pass with a full pack. We will move camp every day with the exception of a layover day when you'll have the option of climbing an Adirondack High Peak. There will be many trail breaks and time for relaxing in camp each night.
Canoeing/Backpacking
We will spend three days backpacking and three days canoeing, with 5-10 miles of travel daily. The trips will involve some portaging of canoes – carrying the canoes and gear over land between waterways. It is a great introduction to backcountry travel, with time to socialize and enjoy the natural splendor of the Adirondack high peaks and the Raquette River.
Lightweight Backpacking
With backpacks 50% lighter than typical packs, we’ll carry a minimum of equipment and compensate with specialized lightweight camping techniques. Lightweight backpacking combines the splendor of wilderness travel with the glory of a light load on your back. Some previous backpacking experience may be helpful but it is not required, we can teach you everything you need to know.

We will hike 6-12+ miles daily over steep terrain, and we will hike over two Adirondack High Peaks. Days are challenging but the light packs make the long days manageable.

We change camp daily, with one layover day spent relaxing in camp and day hiking, possibly to the summit of a peak.

Level 3 Trips

(High level of physical fitness needed and previous backpacking experience suggested.)
Level 3 Backpacking
We will travel 6-12+ miles daily over steep to very steep terrain. We will hike over two Adirondack High Peaks with full packs. Days are long and challenging, and we may not arrive at camp until dinnertime or later, with trail breaks along the way. We move camp daily with the exception of one layover day spent relaxing in camp and day hiking, possibly to the summit of a peak.


Important Trip Forms to Download

Mail the Medical History and Assumption of Risk Forms by July 1, 2017 to:

Wilderness Adventure
c/o Base Camp
13 Oak Drive
Hamilton NY, 13346

E-mail: wildernessadv@colgate.edu
Phone: 315-228-6499

Students on an Adirondack peak holding a Colgate banner