Trip Info & Fees
Become a Member
Reserve for a Trip
Hiking Near NYC
Walking and Hiking
Wilderness Camping and Backpacking Trips
Cross Country Skiing
Why Join a Hiking Club?
Books by Charlie Cook
CONTACT US BY PHONE
Wild Earth Adventures
P.O. Box 88
Suffern, NY 10901
7/2-5 (Thurs-Sun) CAT MOUNTAIN POND / FIVE PONDS WILDERNESS TRIP - Adirondack Park (New York). EASY-MODERATE
7/11 (Sat) LAKE AWOSTING / RAINBOW FALLS - Minnewaska State Park (New York). MODERATE HIKE
7/12 (Sun) EAST KILL CREEK - Catskill Forest Preserve (New York). EASY HIKE
7/18 (Sat) ISLAND POND / HARRIMAN BUSHWHACK - Harriman State Park (New York). EASY-MODERATE HIKE
7/19 (Sun) SLIDE MOUNTAIN - Catskill Park (NY). MODERATE-STRENUOUS HIKE
7/25 (Sat) STONY BROOK - Harriman State Park (New York). EASY HIKE
7/26 (Sun) SHAWANGUNK CLIFFS - Minnewaska State Park (New York). MODERATE HIKE
7/29-8/5 (Wed-Wed) WEST CANADA LAKE WILDERNESS BACKPACKING TRIP - Adirondack Park (New York). EASY-MODERATE
Complete Trip Schedule
Our thanks to the members who have graciously allowed us to display their beautiful trip photographs on these pages:
Denise Karin Johnsson
Luiz A. Perez
Welcome to Wild Earth Adventures!
We offer guided hiking and walking trips year-round -- as well as
wilderness camping, backpacking, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing
trips -- visiting some of the wildest and most beautiful parks and
natural areas in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and other
northeastern states. Along with hiking near NYC and visiting many
easily-accessible locations, and hiking frequently on famous trails
like the Appalachian Trail, our huge repertory of locations and often
unique hiking trip itineraries include a number of little-known areas
that are well-off-the-beaten-path. On our hikes, walks, and other
excursions we explore many of the region’s most spectacular mountain
ranges, enjoying (and letting ourselves be inspired by) lovely scenery
that includes splendid mountain vistas, pristine lakes, rushing
streams, wild rivers, and roaring waterfalls.
On most Saturdays and Sundays throughout the year we offer one-day hiking trips -- in NY, NJ, CT, PA and MA. Day hikes make up the vast majority of the approximately 90 trips we offer each year, and they range in difficulty from easy to strenuous. Along with day trips, from May through October our schedule also features wilderness camping and backpacking trips, from 3 to 8 days, an average of once a month -- peaceful and memorable wilderness vacations (with a good measure of adventure available as well) that include extensive hiking options -- and which take us to some truly spectacular wilderness areas in New York (and some years, Virginia, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine). Plus we offer one-day cross country skiing and snowshoeing trips during the winter months when there’s enough snow for these activities.
Wild Earth Adventures is not only a business but also a long-standing (35-year-old) hiking club, currently with around 300 members, many of whom join us regularly (and enthusiastically) -- as often as weekly or biweekly -- on our day hikes and in other activities including backpacking, wilderness camping, and cross country skiing. We get a great (congenial, fun & interesting) group of people on the trips, both members and non-members. While you don’t have to be a member to participate, fees are lower and additional discounts are available to members. For more about memberships and fees, and how to join our hiking club and group, go to “Become a Member” and “Trip Information.”
Transportation from NYC is available on all of our outings for those who live in the New York City metropolitan area or who choose to meet us in NYC. Participants who live elsewhere -- and our trips attract substantial numbers of people from upstate New York, northern New Jersey, western & central Connecticut, eastern Pennsylvania, and other nearby states -- drive directly and meet us at our destinations. (We were headquartered in New York City until 1990, and since then have been been located in Rockland County and Putnam County. We're currently based in Suffern, New York, about 30 miles northwest of NYC). Beginners are welcome on the trips, as are experienced hikers and other outdoor/nature-enthusiasts, including wilderness campers, backpackers, cross country skiers, and snowshoers. Instruction and additional assistance are always available for those who need it.
Our founder and director is Charles Cook -- a New York
State Licensed Guide, the author of five popular
outdoor books, and a well-known New York hiking and
wilderness expert who has led more than 2100 trips
over the years and hiked an estimated 60,000+ miles
(back in the 1970s he was one of the first 100 people
to hike the 2,200-mile Appalachian Trail end-to-end
from Georgia to Maine in a single trip). Our trips have been praised in New York magazine, the
NY Daily News, and USA Today, and one of our trips
was the subject of an article in the New York
Times Magazine (2/4/07). 2015 is our 35th year!
If you’re interested in hiking near
NYC or elsewhere in New York and nearby states (whether you live in
New York City, New York’s Hudson Valley, New Jersey, Connecticut,
Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, or elsewhere), and want to explore some
of the region’s most scenic natural areas, under the
expert guidance of “hiking guru” Charlie Cook -- and
share a memorable time with a diverse, interesting,
and often delightful group of people (who comprise the
membership of our hiking club, and from whom we
receive a steady stream of gratifyingly positive
feedback) -- consider joining and reserving for some
trips today. Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you
have any questions about our hiking trips and other
outings, or about memberships and how to join, or to
get on our e-mail list to receive regular trip
Updates. Many thanks, and we hope to see you soon!
Please email us with your questions or telephone us at (845)357-3380.
Hiking & Nature News: A Weekly Journal/Blog
July 29, 2015: The Japanese Concept of “Forest Bathing”
“It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of the air, that emanation from the old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.”
-- Robert Louis Stevenson, Forest Notes, 1905
* * * * *
“The term ‘forest bathing’ has nothing to do with water, and is more than just a poetic way of describing a ‘walk in the woods,’ something humans have, of course, been doing for five million years (if never less so than today). The Japanese government coined the term in 1982, a translation of ‘shinrin-yoku,’ which literally means ‘taking in the forest atmosphere.’
This Japanese concept revolves around a deceptively simple practice: quietly walking and exploring, with a mind deliberately intent on – and all senses keenly open to – every sound, scent, color and “feel” of the forest, in all its buzzing bio-diversity. With forest bathing (and the increasingly expert-led “forest therapy,” or shinrin-ryoho), mindfulness meets nature, and the goal is to “bathe” every physical cell and your entire psyche in the forest’s essence. No power hiking needed here; you just wander slowly, breathe deeply and mindfully, and stop and experience whatever catches your soul – whether drinking in the fragrance of that little wildflower, or really feeling the texture of that birch bark.
Poetic? Pleasurable? Yes. But it’s the science behind the practice that’s now taking forest bathing global, as a growing mountain of evidence indicates there’s strong medicine for human bodies and brains that a forest uniquely dispenses.
Forest therapy studies have been led by Japan, whose government funded $4 million in research from 2004-2013. Today, the research database PubMed returns 100+ studies on the health impact of forest bathing, including studies indicating that it significantly lowers blood pressure (-1.4 percent), heart rate (-5.8 percent), cortisol levels (-12.4 percent) and sympathetic nerve activity (-7 percent) compared with city walks, while also alleviating stress and depression.1 The most provocative of these studies conclude that exposure to phytoncides, the airborne, aromatic chemicals/oils emitted by many trees, have a long-lasting impact on people’s immune system markers, boosting natural killer (NK) cells and anticancer proteins by 40 percent.
It’s research like this that has made forest bathing a pillar of preventative medicine in Japan, and increasingly common in places like Korea (where it’s called “salim yok”), Taiwan and Finland. It may be hard to grasp what a serious, widespread practice this is in Japan, where a quarter of the population partakes in forest bathing and millions visit the 55+ official Forest Therapy Trails annually, prompting a plan to designate an additional 50 such sites within 10 years. Visitors to Japanese Forest Therapy Trails report that they’re asked to have their blood pressure and other biometrics taken pre- and post-“bathing,” in the quest for ever-more data.
Major media worldwide have been ramping up coverage of the fascinating medical evidence. And in an era of unprecedented urbanization and digitization (with the average person now “bathing” his face seven hours a day in the glow of a screen), we humans are in the throes of a forest-deprivation crisis. The convergence of these two trends – growing awareness of the medical benefits of time spend in forests, and alienation from this essential, yet increasingly exotic, human experience – will drive demand for forest bathing experiences in the year (and years) ahead.
…You could argue that, among wellness approaches, there has perhaps been no greater disconnect between the positive medical research and how much time-in-nature has actually been “prescribed.” A study from the Universities of Kansas and Utah (U.S.) found that three days of wilderness hiking improved scores on creativity tests by 50 percent. Meanwhile, a large recent study from the University of Michigan and Edge Hill University (U.K.) found that nature walks significantly combat stress and depression…
…An insightful Slate article explores how more doctors are now prescribing time in parks/forests, just as they did in the 19th century when unwell people were packed off to health resorts in the woodsy Swiss Alps or Adirondacks, before the rise of the pharmaceutical era. The U.S. pioneer in the “prescribing nature” movement is Dr. Robert Zarr, whose Park RX program, started in 2013 by multiple government agencies, has written hundreds of prescriptions for young people with conditions like asthma and obesity to get out and move in nature. ..
In Japan, forest bathing is becoming a staple of mainstream medicine. Companies are starting to include forest therapy in healthcare benefits…
Forest bathing -- it may be a poetic concept, but there’s powerful evidence that it’s also medicine for our bodies and mind, offering stress-reducing, immune-boosting benefits that you simply can’t get anywhere else…
-- from Spafinder Wellness 365 Newsletter -- 2015 Trends Report (spafinder.com)
* * * * *
During the past few years there have been a growing number of references to Japanese “forest bathing” in The New York Times and a few other media.
Some of you probably haven’t heard about it till now, but it seems to be a significant new way of viewing and understanding the benefits of communing with nature.
Those of us who hike and spend ample time in nature have obviously been engaging in and enjoying forest bathing for a long time, whether we knew it or not.
What many of us DO know is how wonderful we feel during and after spending a day or longer in the natural world. Research regarding forest bathing explains why!
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There's no denying that summer is here... Never are the days longer, the skies brighter, or the temperatures milder than they'll be for the next few months. The natural world is once again a lush, fragrant, radiant green realm, populated with an extraordinarily rich community of wildlife and birdlife. Rarely are the wilder places of the Northeast lovelier, more colorful, more alive and vibrant with natural activity, or more inspiring than they are right now. Are you ready for a hike? Ready to take a break from indoor pursuits and everyday stresses? To reconnect with nature and its healing energies? To have your senses filled to overflowing? To refresh and renew yourself? Join us for some regular doses of fresh air, healthy full-spectrum sunlight (and shade), invigorating exercise, and the excitement and exhilaration of wilderness exploration in a wide range of scenic and often spectacular mountain settings. Consider making plans right now to join us on some summer hiking (and/or wilderness camping or backpacking) trips.
Wild Earth Adventures was founded by Charlie Cook on
July 10, 1980, and we’ve been offering hiking and
walking trips, wilderness camping trips, backpacking
trips, cross country ski trips, and other guided trips
and tours almost continuously ever since. A sizable
number of our members as well as non-members join us
regularly on outings, but we also hear from many
others who say they wish they could find more time for
outdoor activities and enjoying nature in general --
which isn’t the easiest thing to accomplish when
you’re leading a busy life. How are your priorities
lining up these days? Can you imagine how devoting
more of your weekends to exploring
the splendid mountain scenery of the Northeast might
enrich your life? You'll find much more about our
hikes and other trips here.
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Why join a hiking club?
Hiking and wilderness activities clubs provide a great way to connect with others who enjoy hiking and communing with nature (or who are interested in getting involved in hiking for the first time). Most hiking clubs offer a schedule of guided hikes in a variety of natural locations on trails that you might not always find on your own. Granted there’s a breed of experienced hiker who is independent-minded and adventurous, who enjoys discovering and exploring natural areas alone or with a friend. But hiking clubs meet the needs of many of us who have limited free time and may not be inclined to venture out by ourselves (because of safety considerations, and/or a preference for sharing with others the pleasures and fun of a nature-based activity like hiking).
Hiking clubs, hiking groups, and other outdoor organizations are
widespread in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and other northeastern
states (and the rest of the country). Since opportunities for hiking
near NYC are so extensive, the New York City metropolitan area alone
is home to dozens of hiking clubs. Some are small and don’t have
websites or advertise, and quite a few cater to or are associated with
particular groups (some clubs in NYC, upstate NY, NJ & CT are
affiliated with colleges, religious institutions, or ethnic
organizations). But the majority of hiking clubs welcome anyone who
wants to join and participate.
Most hiking clubs are run by volunteers, and their hikes are guided by volunteers. Some clubs and hiking groups are extremely casual and loosely-run, while others are well-organized and offer an extensive hike schedule. Wild Earth Adventures is different in a number of ways from other hiking clubs, outdoor organizations, and outdoor businesses (you can read much more about us on this website) -- including the fact that all of our huge repertory of hikes and wilderness trips are led by a single person, well-known hiking and wilderness author/expert/guide Charlie Cook.
However you found your way to our website, chances are you’re someone
who loves hiking or who would like to become a hiker, and you’re
probably looking for others to share it with. In our busy world it
isn’t always easy to find friends or companions to hike with. If you
become a member of Wild Earth Adventures you’ll be joining what people
frequently tell us is one of the best and most interesting hiking
clubs in this part of the country, with an endless array of hikes to
choose from on weekends year-round, and hundreds of fellow-members to
meet and share memorable times with -- hiking near NYC and throughout
the most scenic natural areas of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut,
and other northeastern states.
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Hiking trips can last as little as a few hours, or as
long as you want or can imagine -- days, weeks, or
(for the most adventurous among us) even months.
Limits are likely to be imposed by your level of
fitness, ambition, resources, and how much free time
you have available.
For some people, a hiking trip or hiking tour is an
outing with a maximum timespan of a day -- to be
followed by a relaxing evening at home. Millions of
hikers limit themselves to day hikes: one-day hiking
trips or hiking tours. And there’s no reason why "a
day in the wild" can’t define the extent of your
It’s also very possible, while sticking to day hikes,
to go hiking regularly and often. Some avid hikers hit
the trails as frequently as once or twice (or more)
For others, longer hiking trips or extended hiking
tours beckon. More than a few enthusiasts find that at
some point, a single day no longer suffices. The idea
of multiple days of hiking, camping, and wilderness
exploration becomes irresistible.
Overnight hiking trips that involve carrying
everything in a full-size backpack so you’re
completely self-sufficient -- and camping out at
night, and typically hiking to other campsites along a
trail -- are usually called backpacking trips.
Overnight hiking trips that involve setting up a base
camp in a wilderness area -- from which you can take
day hikes -- are often called wilderness camping
And multi-day trips where hiking is your primary
activity during the day, but you’re not camping out --
but rather staying in cabins, at lodges, country inns,
bed and breakfasts, or other accommodations -- are commonly referred to as hiking vacations.
In a sense, though, ALL hiking trips are hiking
vacations -- since even a day hike is, in effect, a
mini-vacation from the fray of everyday life. And like
any vacation, a successful hiking trip is likely to
leave you feeling refreshed, restored, and renewed.
In the early years of Wild Earth Adventures (the
1980s) we regularly offered hiking vacations utilizing
indoor accommodations, but since that time we’ve
chosen to specialize in wilderness camping and
backpacking trips for our overnight offerings.
You’ll find our complete schedule of wilderness
camping and backpacking trips and day hikes here.
We’ll soon be adding a wilderness camping and
backpacking page with extensive details about what
such trips involve, including necessary gear.
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Would You Like To Be On Our E-mail List?
We send out weekly e-mail Updates that feature hiking news and commentary, photos from recent trips, announcements about any schedule changes, and short selections of nature writing and poetry. Many of our members and others tell us they like or love receiving them. To get on our list, e-mail us at WildEarthAdventures@gmail.com (and be assured that we will never sell, rent, or give your e-mail address to anyone).
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Visit Our Facebook Page
If you're on Facebook,
visit our Wild Earth Adventures Facebook page here, where you'll find photos
from recent hikes, comments, and recommendations from members and others. If you
like what we do, please consider clicking "Like" at the top. For several years
we had a Facebook group page with around 1400 members, but Facebook discontinued
many of the best features of group pages and started discouraging their use for
large groups, so we recently took down that page and replaced it with a new
"regular" Facebook page.
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