From: September 10 to September 17, 2017

Destination: Adirondacks State Park, NY

  • Adventures in the Adirondacks - FULL

    Adirondack State Park in northern New York is unique. At over 6 million acres of both private and public land, half of it wilderness, larger than Yellowstone and Yosemite combined. Diverse ecosystems exist here: alpine and sub-alpine zones, boreal forest, and lowland lake systems, providing suitable habitat for black bears, deer, bobcats, beaver, fishers, and numerous bird species - even moose are returning to the region. The human history is no less fascinating. Over the years it has been the home of farmers who struggled to scratch a living from thin soil and harsh winters, miners and loggers who participated in the exploitation of its natural resources, Adirondack guides renowned for their skills in the woods, and wealthy industrialists, builders of the famous Adirondack Great Camps. In autumn, after the summer crowds have departed, the invigorating weather and brilliant foliage make the Park an ideal location for a vacation that is both active and relaxing. Maximum group size: 12
    THIS TRIP IS FULL. To get on a waitlist, register for the trip (no deposit required).
  • Below is our planned itinerary. As is always true on any adventure trip, we may follow it exactly or we may alter it based on weather, new opportunities, or unforeseen circumstances. We may also modify it after running it in 2015.

    Sunday, September 10:
    Our trip begins today at the Albany, NY airport where we'll pick you up at 3:00. After loading our gear into the vans we'll drive 2.5 hours to the west central part of the Adirondack State Park. This State Park is unique: bigger than Yellowstone and Yosemite combined, it is a mix of publicly and privately owned land, and over half of it is wilderness. We'll only see a small section on our way to the Four Seasons Cottages, located on Fourth Lake just outside the town of Old Forge, NY.  Fourth Lake is part of the Fulton Chain, a string of eight lakes between Old Forge and Raquette Lake. It is one of the more popular canoe routes in the Park and we are likely to see paddlers with their canoes full of camping gear paddle past. After getting checked in we will go out to dinner and watch our first sunset over the lake. Overnight Four Seasons Cottages D

    Monday, September 11: Wake up to the haunting call of the loon and the mist slowly rising off the lake, and then take your morning drink down by the dock and relax in a traditional Adirondack chair. We will enjoy a hearty and delicious breakfast prepared by the guides, just what we need to get ready for a day of kayaking on the Moose River. The Moose is a slow moving flatwater river that winds through beautiful, classic Adirondack landscape: towering pine trees, low shrubs, and kingfishers darting back and forth across the river. There is one short carry with an easy trail around a rock garden, just enough to give you a taste of the experience. 

    We'll start our paddle with some instruction on the basics of kayaking to help make your trip more enjoyable. We find that even experienced kayakers often benefit from reviewing the correct way to paddle so that you use more of your core muscles and less of your arms. And the great thing about the Moose River is that it is an excellent kayaking river whether you're a first time paddler or have years of experience. We'll be on the beautiful North Branch of the Moose River, exploring the Adirondack wilderness, and enjoying the splendid scenery as we paddle along with the gently moving current. Our paddle will be about three hours total and along the way we'll stop to enjoy a picnic lunch. Depending on our time and energy, on the way back to our cabins we can hike up to the fire tower on top of Bald Mountain, a 2 mile round trip hike with stunning views of the Fulton Chain. Fire towers were originally built for the purpose of spotting new fires, a task that is now largely accomplished by aerial surveillance. Many are still open to hikers, however, and their location always assures great views. As the guides cook another delicious dinner, you can relax at our lake side cabin.  Overnight Four Seasons Cottages B, L, D

    Tuesday, September 12: After another morning breakfast by the lake, we pack up our things and drive north to Blue Mountain Lake for some more hiking. Blue Mountain also has a fire tower on the summit, this one with a 360 degree view of the lakes, forests, hills and mountains - including some of the High Peaks, the area where we'll be in a couple of days. This is a 4 mile round trip hike with an elevation gain of 1550 feet, with some steep areas and a beautiful path that traverses bare rock, large roots, and wet soil. We will hike through spruce, balsam fir, paper birch, mountain ash, and maple, before coming to the clearing and the tower, where a picnic lunch will reward our efforts.

    We will then drive back to Raquette Lake where we will be staying at the Great Camp Sagamore. Sagamore was the private wilderness estate of the Vanderbilt family from 1901 to 1954. Like all of the Adirondack Great Camps, it was designed by William West Durant, a fascinating character in his own right. Although his success as a businessman was up and down, he was known for his ability to design wilderness estates for wealthy families that integrated luxury (for the time) with a rustic feel, a magic that is still apparent today. Tonight we'll have dinner at Sagamore. Overnight Great Camp Sagamore B, L, D

    Wednesday September 13: We'll spend today kayaking on Raquette Lake, the second largest lake in the Adirondacks. Our paddle will offer some shore line cruising, history of the lake, and the camps that grace it. Raquette Lake is known for having 99 miles of shoreline and after you see some of its many bays, inlets, and islands, you'll know it's true. Along the way we'll stop for a picnic lunch and to stretch our legs.  Returning to the Sagamore in the afternoon, we'll have time for a tour - with 27 buildings on the National Historic Register, it is a fascinating place. We'll make sure to have some free time to enjoy the wonderful surroundings. After dinner, we'll have a campfire and relax in a traditional Adirondack Lean-to, the perfect setting for telling stories. Overnight Great Camp Sagamore B, L, D

    Thursday September 14: After breakfast we leave Sagamore and head north towards Saranac Lake. We'll stop along the way to visit the world renowned Blue Mountain Museum, which showcases how humans have interacted with the mountains over the years, from the Native Americans , loggers and trappers who first inhabited the land to the wealthy elite who made it their summer playground. After spending a few hours there we'll go for an afternoon hike on Coney Mountain. Unlike typical Adirondack mountains, this 2.2 mile hike has a gradual incline and smooth trail, leading to a 360 degree view that includes Tupper Lake and views of the High Peaks. Tonight we'll have dinner at a restaurant before continuing on to Keene Valley and our new home for the next three nights. Overnight at the Trails End Inn. B, L, D

    Friday, September 15: We've now arrived at the part of the Adirondacks with the highest peaks. You may have heard of the High Peaks Wilderness area - this is where most of the higher peaks, including New York's highest, Mt Marcy, are located. Today we'll climb Cascade Mountain, one of the Adirondack 46 high peaks. This is a 4.8 mile RT hike that will take about 4.5-5 hours, gaining 1940 feet in elevation before reaching the summit at 4098. If it’s a clear day the view is 360 degrees and goes on forever. We'll relax with a picnic lunch on top. After completing our hike we’ll head to Lake Placid for some free time. You can check out some of the shops on Main Street, visit the Olympic Museum and see the famous rink where the "Miracle on Ice" hockey game took place, or simply enjoy a walk around Mirror Lake. We'll have dinner in Lake Placid tonight, before returning to our lodging. Overnight at Trails End B, L, D

    Saturday, September 16: This is our final full day in the Adirondacks and we are going out with a bang! By now you are used to the challenges and rewards of Adirondacks hiking so this is a fitting finale. To be considered a "high peak", the summit has to be over 4,000 feet - so Rooster Comb Mountain doesn't quite make it. However, this 5 mile round trip hike gains 1750 feet of elevation on its way to the summit at 2788 feet so we will feel quite accomplished. Like most of the mountains in the Adirondacks, the hike includes some steep sections, traverses, roots and rocks and a (very) few flat sections with rewarding views at the summit. Returning to the Inn, tonight we'll have a final farewell dinner, celebrating our accomplishments and camaraderie of the past week. B, L, D

    Sunday, September 17: We hope by the end of the week you have fallen in love with the Adirondacks as much as we have, and you won't be ready to leave. But unfortunately it's time, and after breakfast we'll pack up for the two hour drive back to Albany. We'll have you back by 10:45AM and you can plan to fly out anytime after 12 noon. B
  • $2250 (see this page for travel discounts). There is 1 single available for the first four nights for an additional $175, and 1 single for all 7 nights for $385. Please note that single rooms may not have ensuite bathrooms. You can check our cancellation policies here. 

    Trip Includes

    • Experienced guides
    • Seven nights lodging in double occupancy rooms, most of which do not have en suite bathrooms
    • All activities on the itinerary, including kayak rental and shuttles and a visit to the Blue Mountain
    • All meals from dinner Sunday to breakfast the following Sunday 
    • Transportation once you arrive in the Albany, NY airport (ALB)
    Not included: travel to Albany, alcoholic beverages, guide gratuities, items of a personal nature 
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  • Common Questions

    If you’ve never traveled with us before, you may have some questions about how we do things and what you can expect. We’ve answered the most common ones below and are always available by phone or email to answer any others.

    How do I pay for my trip?

    You can make the deposit by submitting a secure form with your credit card information after filling out the registration form or calling us with your card information. We will send you an invoice for the balance due with your Predeparture Information 4 months before an International trip and 3 months before a domestic trip. You can get a 3% discount for paying the balance by check.

    What if I’m coming alone?

    The majority of women who travel with us come by themselves. If you want to pay a single supplement to guarantee your own room, or if you want to share a room with someone with whom you are traveling, you can indicate that on the registration form. Otherwise we randomly assign roommates and rotate every time we change lodging – it’s a great way to get to know different women on the trip.

    Can you accommodate special diets?

    It depends on both the trip and on your specific needs. With advance notice, we can accommodate most dietary restrictions or allergies on our domestic trips, including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten intolerant. This is not always true on international trips, so please contact us in advance if you have specific dietary needs. We've found that if you are willing to bring some of your own snacks and a couple of items to supplement what is on the menu (peanut butter is always good!) and possibly have less variety than you are used to at home, then dietary needs usually are no obstacle. If in doubt about your specific dietary needs, especially if you have Celiac disease, please give us a call (877/439-4042) or send us an email.

    What if I have to cancel my trip?

    The amount of your refund depends on how close to the trip you cancel and whether it is a domestic or an international trip. You can read our cancellation policies here. We highly recommend travel insurance because cancellations are always unexpected; we will send you additional information about insurance when you register.

    Will my family be able to get in touch with me in case of an emergency?

    Yes, we always send out emergency contact information. On a few trips, because of limitations in communication, the best approach is to give them the office number and let us make the contact.

    What other information will you send me?

    When you register, we’ll send you a Trip Summary that includes the itinerary, travel information, and a packing list. Three to four months before your trip we’ll send you Pre-Departure information that includes detailed information on how to get to the trip starting point, pre- or post-trip lodging suggestions, suggested books and websites etc. Four to six weeks before the trip, we’ll send you a list of everyone who is registered along with their travel plans; and a Pre-Trip letter with the name of your guide(s) and how to contact them if your arrival is delayed as well as any other important updates.

    Do you help with pre-trip and/or post-trip hotel reservations?

    For international trips, if you want to stay at the hotel where we’re staying the first night before the trip, or at the hotel we’re staying the last night after the trip, we’re happy to make a reservation for you. Otherwise our PreDeparture Information will have hotel suggestions. Our travel agent is also happy to help you with this.

    How does the waitlist process work and how often do people cancel?

    If you are interested in a trip that is full, you should sign up here. If there is a cancellation, we send out an email to everyone who has expressed interest and ask them to respond within 24 hours. If more than one person is interested, we give the space to the person who has traveled with us before or in the order of being put on the waitlist. Frequently, even when we have a long wait list, it is the last person to sign up who is still available to go. Whether or not there will be a cancellation is completely unpredictable, although not uncommon.

    What is the role of the guide(s)?

    On every trip, the primary roles of the guide(s) are to ensure your safety and to make sure that, to the extent possible, you are having the trip you want. The guide(s) will also make sure that you know what is happening each day and what you need to bring to be prepared. On domestic trips the guide(s) will also likely be driving, preparing picnic lunches and sometimes other meals, providing skills instruction, and giving you information about the natural history of the area. On any trip where we partner with another company (which is most international trips and some trips that require special equipment), the AGC guide will work with the local guide to make sure that the trip is conducted in accordance with the AGC philosophy.

    What if I have more questions?

    Give us a call (877/439-4042) or send us an email. A Program Manager is assigned to each trip. Once you have registered, she will send you a registration confirmation letter that includes her name and email, and she will be your primary contact. Her job is to make sure that you get all your questions answered and that you feel completely prepared for your adventure.

    What if I'm the oldest/youngest/heaviest/least in shape/only single woman/only mom on the trip?

    You might be. Someone has to be the oldest/youngest/heaviest/least in shape person on the trip. And while the great majority of our trips have both single and non-single women, and moms and non-moms, sometimes they don't. But it doesn't matter if you're "different" in any of those ways - what you will share with everyone else is a desire to experience adventure in your life, and an appreciation of the joy and camaraderie of being in an all women's group.

Trip highlights

  • Kayaking on the Moose River and Raquette Lake
  • Climbing several Adirondacks Peaks, including Blue Mt and Cascade Mt, one of the Adirondack High Peaks
  • Learning about the unique private/public partnership that keeps this area "Forever Wild"
  • Enjoying crisp fall air and changing foliage
  • Listening to the haunting call of the loon

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