More than Mountains: Not all paths leads to the summit

The first time I hiked with real hiking boots, I saw the Milky Way. I slept in a lean-to built with my own two hands. I saw newts and frogs and woke up to bird song. That trip marked the start of my love affair with the woods. And I didn’t climb a single mountain.

Don't get me wrong. I love climbing mountains. I've hiked the Devil's Path. I've climbed Mount Wittenberg more times than I can count. I've snow-shoed all over Hunter, peaked Sherrill and North Dome... the list goes on. But there are more ways to be in nature that on a path to a summit. And the trips that stand out most distinctly in my memory, the ones that changed my relationship with the woods, did not involve a race to the summit.

A few of my favorites are below, but the possibilities are endless.



There’s a moment on most hikes when you stop and think: this is too beautiful to be real. Now imagine an entire weekend filled with moments like that: Swimming in a secret mountain lake. Napping under a hemlock tree. Catching fish and frogs in a pond. That is the beauty of spending an entire weekend off the beaten path.

Related adventures:

Trout Pond July 16-18

Holistic Weekend Retreat July 23-24

Secret Land of Trout and Berries August 6-7

Survival School Overnight August 27-28


If you practice yoga, you know the peace of mind and sense of calm that comes with a good practice. Now imagine, instead of a soundtrack of waves in the background, you can hear bird song and the gentle rustle of leaves in the wind. The sun leaves a gentle warmth  lingering on your skin during sun salutations. 

Related adventures: Holistic Adventures 


Paddling will change your perspective on the woods, literally and figuratively. The amount of new wildlife, fauna, and flora experienced from a canoe is astounding. Not to mention the peace and quiet of gentling floating along a river. 

Related adventures: Paddling Adventures

Wild Berries:

One of my joys as a child was picking tomatoes from our family garden in the suburbs of Chicago and eating them while still warm from the sun. I love berry picking, surrounded by beautiful trees and wildflowers, with a selection of wild blueberries, blackberries, and huckleberries straight from the bush. 

Related adventures:

Day Trip Berry Excursions

Overnight Berry Adventures 


One of my favorite hikes so far this year was a lovely, day-long exploration of the waterfalls near Platte Clove. I don't think anyone would deny the special beauty of waterfalls, and we offer a range of trips from gentle to strenuous to discover them. 

Related adventures: Waterfall Adventures