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

November 25, 2015: Thanksgiving Thoughts

Here is poet Gary Snyderís version of a traditional Mohawk prayer of Thanksgiving:

ďGratitude to Mother Earth, sailing through night and day --
and to her soil: rich, rare and sweet
in our minds so be it

Gratitude to Plants, the sun-facing light-changing leaf
and fine root-hairs; standing still through wind
and rain; their dance is in the flowing spiral grain
in our minds so be it

Gratitude to Air, bearing the soaring Swift and the silent
Owl at dawn. Breath of our song
clear spirit breeze
in our minds so be it

Gratitude to Wild Beings, our brothers, teaching secrets,
freedoms, and ways; who share with us their milk;
self-complete, brave and aware
in our minds so be it

Gratitude to Water: clouds, lakes, rivers, glaciers;
holding or releasing; streaming through all
our bodies salty seas
in our minds so be it

Gratitude to the Sun: blinding pulsing light through
trunks of trees, through mists, warming caves where
bears and snakes sleep -- he who wakes us --
in our minds so be it

Gratitude to the Great Sky
who holds billions of stars -- and yet goes beyond that --
beyond all powers, and thoughts
and yet is within us --
Grandfather Space.
The Mind is his Wife.

so be itĒ

-- Gary Snyder, from The Earth Speaks (Institute for Earth Education, 1983).

        *        *        *        *        *

Weíre all capable of taking things for granted, of course. Sometimes we only realize how important something is to us when itís gone, or no longer possible.

While itíll never be popular among cynics, expressing gratitude is a good practice for many reasons. The Thanksgiving holiday provides a timely opportunity.

Most of us can think of people and experiences that have enhanced our lives. If we hike and/or love nature, itís not unlikely that we treasure the natural world.

Unspoiled nature is scarce in some parts of this country, where agriculture, industry, or other development may predominate. Parks are small in some states.

In contrast, in the Northeast, where our hikes and camping trips take place, we have an amazing amount of wild land to enjoy. Some of itís rarely visited.

Smaller states like New Jersey and Connecticut arenít thought of as harboring natural wonders, and yet they do, as many of you who hike with us are aware.

And then thereís New York, with over 150 state parks, including the largest park in the U.S. outside of Alaska -- the 6,000,000-acre, Vermont-size Adirondack Park.

Even NYís ďmuch smallerĒ 700,000-acre Catskill Park is almost 800 times the size of Central Park. And so on. These parks have huge designated wilderness areas.

The parks didnít materialize on their own -- they were established and continue to be protected from development by the dedicated efforts of countless people.

Thatís one of many things lovers-of-the-outdoors in our part of the country can appreciate and feel grateful for -- along with everything else that enriches our lives.

We all face challenges and losses at times in our lives (and if weíve lost people who were important to us, the holiday season can be difficult). If anything, such losses make it even more important to acknowledge what we have thatís good.

Since I spend so much time in the wild, my own focus is especially on nature's gifts. Chances are you have more than a few other things to feel grateful for.

See you back on those beautiful trails soon. And have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

-- Charlie Cook

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Fall Calendar

(You'll Find Our Trip Schedule Here)

Photo by Charles McMellon

The days are slowly but perceptibly shortening once again, spells of hot and humid weather are now increasingly unlikely as we wend our way into autumn, and summer's superabundant sunshine will become a somewhat scarcer commodity during the coming months. But along with later sunrises, earlier sunsets, and cooler temperatures, those of us who love nature-based activities like hiking have other treats awaiting us -- not the least of which is fall foliage, which usually arrives to brilliantly transform the mountain forests of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and other northeastern states in late September at higher elevations, continues throughout the month of October, and often extends into November in the lowlands.

Many of us have seasonal preferences. Some (but far from all of us, to be sure) revel in summer heat, and others (a minority around here) favor the snow-season. Complaints about temperatures and weather are part of the daily discourse for many people in this part of the country. But who has a problem with autumn? At no time of year are the forests more brightly colorful, rarely is the air crisper, cleaner, or more delicious, and never are conditions for hiking more invigorating, exhilarating, and euphoric. For some of us, fall is also a time to begin new projects, start new classes, explore new directions, and fill up our calendars with social and cultural events. But don't let this season slip by without savoring autumn's glories in the wild!

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

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 hiking ambition.

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) each week.

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 trips.

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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