Wilderness Adventure Programs
Our programs are divided into four main areas, making it easy for trip leaders to align activities to their goals and objectives for the group. Trips can be planned to focus on one or multiple areas.
Whether skiing around campus, canoeing on Long Pond, hiking the four Pok-O-Patch mountains, or heading into the wilderness for rock climbing, participants will practice new techniques while exploring the Adirondack region.
For many students, this short but steep trek is the first step towards earning their Pok-O Patch. From the bare spot, there is a beautiful view of Long Pond with the Adirondack Mountains in the distance. While there, students learn about the history of the area. On moonlit nights, flashlights are not necessary. We often see at least one shooting star during our traditional five minutes of silence. This trip is typically followed by a campfire with marshmallows and a story or song.
Sugarloaf Mountain Hike (Pok-O Patch)
Sugarloaf, which lies just west of Long Pond, is the second highest Pok-O-Patch peak. The moderately steep trail traverses several different habitats. Students will pass through a red pine plantation, wetlands, young and old deciduous forests, a hemlock forest, and an open mixed deciduous forest before you reach the summit. The view from the top encompasses the farming community of Reber, Lake Champlain, and some of the Adirondack High Peaks.
Students approach the summit on a picturesque old logging road closed to motor vehicles. Along the way, instructors discuss the history of the surrounding land and the impact logging has had on the delicate ecosystem. The last quarter of the hike follows a steep, rocky trail to the top. The view from Rattlesnake is one of the best in the area, encompassing Lake Champlain, the Adirondack High Peaks, Burlington Vermont, and the Green Mountains of Vermont. This panorama will provide the backdrop for a geological lesson on the formation of Lake Champlain as well as Long Pond. (Sunrise optional also available)
At 2,293 feet, Poke-O-Moonshine, is both the tallest and most difficult of the four Pok-O-Patch mountains, and is usually the last climbed. The trail rises over 1,000 vertical feet in 1.2 mi., past a lean-to and the ruins of a ranger’s cabin, to the historic fire tower on the summit. After students have climbed Bare, Rattlesnake, Sugarloaf, and Poke-O, they are awarded the prestigious Pok-O-Patch by reciting an oath, typically in front of their peers during their final meal at the Center.
A powerful experience for many, a day spent in the Adirondack Wilderness is the best way to introduce students to the natural beauty of the Eastern forests. Many of the 46 Adirondack High Peaks (over 4,000’) can be climbed in a single day. Cascade and Phelps are good choices for younger, less experienced groups, while peaks such as Big Slide, Algonquin, or Giant offer stunning views and solid challenges for stronger students. Hurricane, Rooster Comb, and Noonmark Mountains, while slightly under the 4,000’ mark, also make for rewarding day trips. Hiking is a four-season activity for those who would like to learn how to snowshoe. Due to New York Department of Environmental Conservation regulations, groups are limited to 13 students, one chaperone, and one PMOEC instructor.
The best way to explore the Adirondacks, and an excellent way to improve teamwork and building self-confidence. Some of the more remote and difficult High Peaks can only be accessed by overnight groups. Students are advised to bring their own sleeping bags, thermal mats, and frame packs, although the Center does have a moderate supply of equipment.
Toast marshmallows, sing songs, and listen to stories all by the glow of a campfire. An interactive and fun evening with presentations from PMOEC Staff and students. Teachers should feel free to join in too!
A favorite of students and instructors alike. Class begins with a discussion of creative techniques one can use to thrive far from civilization. Students may have the opportunity to build a shelter from objects found in the forest or learn the art of the one-match fire.
Built in 2009, THE CRUX: our state-of-the-art Climbing Center offers challenges for all ages. With nearly 40 foot walls, a bouldering cave and year round use, this is sure to become a favorite of students during all seasons. Whether you’re an expert or a novice climber, the center’s thirteen permanent anchors and its top rope system will ensure you have a safe and challenging climbing experience.
Our Climbing Center is great for confidence building and introducing the fundamentals, but it’s completely different from being out on real rock. Trained PMOEC instructors will set up top ropes at one of our myriad backcountry crags—King Philip’s Slab near Keene Valley is a favorite for beginners with plenty of routes in the 5.4-5.6 range. Classes can also include belaying and rappelling.
A staff favorite, and a true mountaineering skill, ice climbing cannot be learned indoors. Your students will travel to a frozen waterfall site to learn the fundamentals of climbing ice in a controlled top-roped ascent. After becoming familiar with their axes and crampons, which the Center provides, students will climb on several different routes of varying degrees of difficulty. Students must be prepared to stay outside all day in Adirondack winter conditions.
From how to pick a paddle to the “J” stroke, your students will learn the basics of canoeing before setting out to explore Long Pond. Possible destinations for their tour include Bird’s Rock, Marsh Landing, Tribal Rock, Tamarack Bay, and the North End Swamp. During breaks in the action, the instructor will give an introduction to the natural history of the area, including the formation of Long Pond at the end of the most recent Ice Age.
We can give your students the opportunity to practice the skills they learned during our Long Pond Canoe class by organizing a day trip on the Bouquet or AuSable rivers or a multi-day excursion canoe-camping on the Saranac Lakes.
Your students will be able to explore the Cove area of Long Pond at their leisure in either a row boat or a canoe, while under the supervision of several PMOEC instructors. This is a great way to give suburban and metropolitan visitors an informal introduction to the outdoors. Open boating is our most popular Early Bird activity.
Your students will travel to a frozen waterfall site to learn the fundamentals of climbing ice in a controlled top-roped ascent. After becoming familiar with their axes and crampons, which the Center provides, students will climb on several different routes of varying degrees of difficulty. Students must be prepared to stay outside all day in Adirondack winter conditions.
A venerable North Country tradition and something to write home about. Many students will never get a chance to go ice fishing outside of Pok-O. Bait, holes, and rods are all provided – students simply need to “jig” the line.
After an equipment orientation and a quick lesson, students will have the opportunity to ski across Long Pond and explore our trail network on the other side of the pond in order to practice their new skills. This class is a prerequisite for certain winter expeditions, such as a ski-and-snowshoe ascent of a High Peak mountain.
Guaranteed to be a hit! Blue Boar’s Ski Bowl is fully equipped with a rope-tow and lights for night tubing. Your students will appreciate an evening of sliding downhill on giant inner-tubes after a long day of outdoor education.
After your students become acquainted with our modern, crampon-equipped, snow shoes, they will venture out onto Long Pond or up Sheep’s Hill or Bare Mountain. Snow shoeing is great exercise and a great introduction to the north woods in winter. The group may get to see animal tracks that are not visible during the warmer months.
Take all of the components of our fall/spring survival class and add the harsh elements of winter. What you get is a class in which students learn how to build shelters out of packed snow, how to start and maintain a fire in the elements of the season and, most importantly, how to stave off hypothermia.