Frequently Asked Questions Skip Navigation

Frequently Asked Wilderness Adventure Questions

Get answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about the Wilderness Adventure pre-orientation.
What if I've never been camping/climbing/kayaking/etc. before?
No problem! Lots of people go on WA with little or no previous outdoor experience. You will have experienced leaders along with your group who will be happy to show you how to live and play comfortably in the woods. Most of the trips are designed with beginners in mind. All we ask is that you come with a good attitude and a willingness to learn. We know not everyone comes from a place where camping in the woods is considered fun or normal. Even though this might be a new experience for you and you may be a little uneasy about sleeping in the woods, we strongly encourage you to try this program. Don't think of it as living in a tent, think of it as a chance to make great friends and get a head start on college. Even if you feel a little nervous now, we know you won't regret it. New challenges are what college is all about, right?
Who will be leading my trip and what will I learn?
Two or three upper-class students who are Outdoor Education staff members lead each Wilderness Adventure trip. All staff complete an extensive nine‐month training program focused on risk management, leadership, teaching, and outdoor skills. Staff members are certified in CPR and Wilderness First Responder, a 72‐hour backcountry medicine course. Wilderness Adventure trips are a unique introduction to both the Colgate community and backcountry travel. Along the way, you’ll learn about navigation, camping, Leave-No-Trace, and more, with the goal of teaching you everything you need to know to be a self--sufficient group. Perhaps more importantly, you’ll also learn about life at Colgate, from classes to campus, from professors to Phys. Ed. credits, or from winters in Hamilton to weekend activities, your leaders are experts at camping and Colgate who are ready to help you figure this whole thing out.
Should I bring my phone/watch/camera/etc.?
Good questions!

Phones are a no go. Before your trip, your leaders will collect your phones (and any other valuables you aren't brining on the trip) and we will store them under lock and key while you are out on your trip. Mobile service is sketchy at best in the Adirondacks, and having your phone will make you more likely to call or chat your friends and family back home, rather than focusing on the people and experiences right in front of you. Your leaders will carry communication technology to be used in case of an emergency, so don't worry about that.

Some WA leaders choose to spend WA "time free," rising with the sun, eating when you are hungry, and sleeping when you are tired. Others prefer keeping to a more precise schedule. This choice is left up to each trip and leader pair. If you need your watch for a specific reason, be sure to let your leaders know when you arrive.

Since you won't have your phone, bringing a small digital or disposable camera is a great way to remember your trip. If you bring a digital camera, we strongly recommend something rugged (water, dust, drop proof and resistant point-and-shoot cameras are relatively common these days). Or, just grab a disposable and store it in a zip lock bag when not in use. If you do bring a camera, we hope you will share some of your photos with us for use in our Family Weekend slideshow!

We couldn't possibly list all the other electronic devices you might bring. The easiest answer is that if it runs on electricity, then you probably shouldn't bring it. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule (like flashlights!), so if you aren't sure, give us a call and ask.
Should I bring my own food or first aid kit?
The short answer is no, you should not. The longer answer is, it depends:

If you have prescription medications, you should ABSOLUTELY bring those. If you regularly take any over-the-counter medications, bring a supply of those as well. Otherwise, your leaders will carry a comprehensive first aid kit sufficient for the entire trip.

Your group will have LOTS of food - you won't go hungry. If you have specific dietary needs, restrictions, or allergies, you should note them on your registration/med form so we can try and accommodate you. If we have any questions about your dietary needs, we will likely contact you, and might ask you to bring some of your own food if it is something we cannot easily procure. If you are at all worried about the food you'll be eating on trip, please give us a call, we are happy to chat. You can see a sample menu on our Food and Diet page.
Is there any paperwork I need to complete before the trip?
Please register and pay your deposit by the deadline listed on the Wilderness Adventure homepage, and pay the balance for the trip by the deadline.

There are also two forms to submit via mail. You can find links and more info on our Required Forms page.
How do I get from the airport/train station to Colgate for the start of WA?
There are a variety of travel options depending on where you are coming from. Colgate has an overview of your options here.
Is there any storage available for Session 1 participants to bring belongings to campus early?
For session 1, there is no on-campus storage for personal belongings between WA Session 1 and the start of Orientation. You can ship up to two large boxes to your Colgate mailing address, which will be available to you at the start of Orientation.

Check out the New Student FAQs for more info on mailing boxes to campus.

NOTE: Do not mail yourself anything you will need for your WA trip. Mail can be lost or delayed, which could negatively impact your trip.
Can I arrive early for my WA trip?
If your travel plan have you arriving in Hamilton before the first day of WA (for either session 1 or 2), you can request early arrival with Residential Life for the night before your WA session starts.

For session 1 participants, this will be a temporary room, not your fall room assignment, so you should not bring any of your belongings to put into this room.

For session 2 participants, if you arrive a day early, you will be able to move directly into your fall room assignment.
Can I go on a WA trip and another pre-orientation? What if I am a Benton Scholar, International Student, or part of another program that conflicts with WA?
Yes! If you sign up for WA Session 1, you can also go on any other pre-orientation program. This option also works for most of the other programs that take place before regular Orientation, like Benton Scholars, Alumni Memorial Scholars, or International Student Orientation. Please double check the dates for your other program before signing up for WA.
Can I move into my residence hall before WA?
For Session 1 trips, residence halls are not ready for move in and in fact, many are still in use by summer programs.

For Session 2 trips, you can move in on WA arrival day, only if you have requested to do so with Residential Life.

Check out our schedule page for more information about how the move in process works on WA arrival day.
Can I stay on campus between the end of Session 1 and the start of Orientation?
Unfortunately, there is no on-campus housing available during that time period.
When is Orientation? What is the Orientation schedule?
Your WA Session 2 trip will end the same day that Orientation begins. You'll be completely done with WA no later than 10:00 a.m. that morning. Even if you already have your room key, you still need to register for Orientation that day at the Hall of Presidents. See the Orientation site for more information and a schedule.
What else should I know about orientation and the start of the semester?
You can find lots more information about orientation on the New Students page and the New Students FAQ page.
Help! You didn't answer my question.
No problem, just give us a call or an email, we are always happy to talk about your trip.

E-mail us