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
6/6 (Sat) HIDDEN VALLEY RESERVATION (Connecticut). EASY HIKE
6/7 (Sun) SOUTH MOUNTAIN / KAATERSKILL FALLS - Catskill Park (New York). MODERATE HIKE
6/13 (Sat) SUTHERLAND POND / BLACK ROCK FOREST (New York). MODERATE HIKE
6/14 (Sun) ICE CAVES / VERKEERDER KILL FALLS - Sam's Point Preserve & Minnewaska State Park (New York). EASY-MODERATE HIKE
6/20 (Sat) UPPER PETERSKILL CREEK - Minnewaska State Park (New York). EASY HIKE
6/21 (Sun) ASHOKAN HIGH POINT / KANAPE BROOK - Catskill Park (New York). MODERATE-STRENUOUS HIKE
6/27 (Sat) PASSAIC RIVER - Morristown National Historical Park (New Jersey). EASY-MODERATE HIKE
6/28 (Sun) NORTH MOUNTAIN / NORTH LAKE - Catskill Park (New York). MODERATE HIKE
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
June 24, 2015: Rain & Weather Forecast Basics
“Clouds of mist lie against the dark brow of timber. The nettling rain seems drawn against me. It drips from my face, wrinkles my hands, seeps down inside my boots, soaks my hair, runs down my neck, penetrates my heavy, sodden clothes. I lurk through the swaddling haze like a hunched gnome, leaning into an atmosphere so thick it seems less than half air. The only way to make the world any wetter is to submerge it completely. The muskeg is a slurry of soil and moss, steaming in the wet breath of dusk. Raindrops soak into the bark of drooping tree limbs, cling on the mesh of branchlets and twigs, and hang from the tips of needles. As soon as one falls, another immediately takes its place. A little deluge shakes down on me every time I brush a tree or shrub, but it no longer matters.
I could grumble about the rain and the discomfort, but after all, rain affirms what this country is. Today I stand face to face with the maker of it all, the source of its beauty and abundance, and I love the rain as desert people love the sun. I remember that the human body is ninety-eight percent water, and so, more than anything else, rain is the source of my own existence. I imagine myself transformed back to the rain from which I came. My hair is a wispy, wind-torn cloud. My eyes are rainwater ponds, glistening with tears. My mind is sometimes a clear pool, sometimes an impenetrable bank of fog. My heart is a thunderstorm, shot through with lightening and noise, pumping the flood of rainwater that surges inside my veins. My breath is the misty wind, whispering and soft one moment, laughing and raucous another. I am a man made of rain.”
-- Richard Nelson, The Island Within (Vintage Books, 1991)
* * * * *
In last week’s Journal/Blog I mentioned how common showers are at this time of year, and that it’s not unusual to have a “chance of rain” (or a supposed “certainty of rain”) -- often expressed in the most negative way -- in many weekend forecasts.
Below is the list of 17 “Rain & Weather Forecast Basics” (or “Charlie’s Rain Rules”) that I wrote out several years ago have been re-printing at least once a year, since not everyone is well-informed on the subject (especially those of you who haven't spent a lot of time in the natural world and in mountain areas).
Many weeks throughout the year I hear from people who tell me “I hear it’s going to rain” or “We’re going to have bad (or beautiful) weather this weekend” several days beforehand, and who make plans based on a long-range forecast, which they trust (almost always a mistake!)
Please read and consider the following carefully, particularly if you’re new or relatively new to hiking. Experienced hikers may want to peruse it as a review:
1. The accuracy of weather forecasts for the mountain areas where we hike tends to be quite low, especially in the higher mountains, which sometimes generate their own weather systems that are inherently unpredictable.
2. It’s not uncommon for the weather we encounter on a trip to be totally different or even the opposite of what was predicted. On some days when rain is in the forecast we find ourselves hiking in dry or even sunny weather, whereas sometimes on days with “zero chance of rain” we get caught in a shower or two.
3. The relevance of a “low-elevation forecast" (such as for New York City, southern Connecticut, etc.) to any of the mountain areas we visit is especially limited.
4. It’s wise to ALWAYS assume the possibility of rain in the mountains, regardless of the forecast.
5. It’s sensible to assume as well that sunshine or dry weather are ALWAYS possible in the mountains, regardless of the forecast.
6. In other words: be prepared for ALL possible weather on all hikes (and ALWAYS bring rainwear and warm clothing along, just in case).
7. It’s best to keep your weather expectations to a minimum and be prepared to enjoy the day whatever the weather (it’s a waste of time and energy to be fretting about a “negative forecast,” or to be overly celebratory about a “positive forecast”).
8. It’s a major error to assume that what’s happening outside your window early the morning of a hike, weather-wise, has anything at all to do with what it will be like in the area where we’ll be hiking (some hikers stay home when it’s raining early in the morning, and miss out on what often turns out to be a fair-weather hike).
9. On probably an average of three out of four days when rain is in the forecast we get no more than 15 minutes or so of rain during the hike or none at all.
10. On probably one out of four days when rain is in the forecast we DO get significant rain.
11. On an average of an estimated 2-3 hikes per year (out of a total of 80-90 that we offer annually) we actually find ourselves hiking in “major rain,” meaning heavy rain for more than a few minutes, or nearly continuous light rain. (If there’s a strong likelihood of continuous heavy rain and/or other severe weather, a trip may be cancelled).
12. Many people aren’t aware (and weather forecasters rarely tell us) that heavy rain in the mountains -- on the relatively infrequent occasions when it does come -- tends to fall early or late in the day. Often it’s over by the time we start a hike, or arrives after we’re done (and very often on “rainy days” it stops for several hours from mid-morning till mid-afternoon).
13. While short-term forecasts are frequently wrong, long-range forecasts tend to be so inaccurate that they’re almost meaningless, especially for the mountain areas. To make a decision several days or a week in advance about whether to hike, based solely on a 5-day or 7-day forecast, isn’t a rational thing to do.
14. The tone of certitude (and absence of humility or acknowledgement of the degree of uncertainty) that comes with many forecasts is inappropriate and misleading.
15. It’s no secret that exaggerations, distortions, and sensationalism have crept into weather forecasting over the years, just as they have come to infuse much mainstream commercial news in general. There’s a tendency to refer to a bit of rain or a chance of showers as “nasty,” “horrible,” “awful,” “dismal,” or simply “bad” weather. And even when there’s just a small chance of precipitation, or when it’s likely to come during evening or nighttime hours and thus have no effect on outdoor recreation, the weather headlines will still often be “rainy weekend ahead.”
16. Lack of appreciation of the importance of rain is rampant in our society and our media. Everyone should be aware that rain is a vital part of the life cycle and absolutely essential to our well-being and even survival (if the rain ceased, it would be catastrophic and fatal for most life forms, and would mean an eventual end to cities and much of civilization, since in time all fresh water would disappear and most human beings would be unable to met their water needs).
17. Being out in the rain won’t and can’t spoil your day unless you let it! In fact, as many hikers know and frequently comment on, during the warmer seasons (when flowers are blooming and vegetation is lush) the natural world can be lovely in the rain, and communing with nature at such times can be a memorable experience, believe it or not -- assuming you have appropriate raingear, sufficient clothing, and the right attitude. On a warm summer day, rain or showers can be delightfully refreshing. In cooler temperatures rain may initially seem more intimidating to those who haven’t been fully initiated into “the pleasures of wet weather,” but when you’re properly dressed, walking in the rain can be an invigorating, sense-stimulating, enlivening, and at the same time soothing and peacefully relaxing experience. Be open to the possibility of actually learning to enjoy it!
-- Charlie Cook
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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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