Are meals and transport from New York City to the mountains included?
Yes! transport by van to and from a choice of Brooklyn or Manhattan to our adventure, including fuel and tolls. Good road tunes are complimentary! Meal include the best backcountry gourmet meals and snacks, starting with fruit, coffee and donuts at pick-up. We take great pride in serving food few people expect to see in the wilderness—cheese and sausage spread with hummus, and of course, our famous Mountain Mocha. Vegetarians and vegans won’t be disappointed either, but if you have any further dietary requirements just let us know.
What’s not included?
Post adventure feast: if time permits on our way home, we usually stop for a post-adventure feast at a local restaurant. We go to great mid-range places where you can eat your fill for around $12-20 per person. Tip: if you’ve enjoyed yourself and we’ve exceeded your expectations, a gratuity to your guide is customary.
How fit do I need to be? How easy is easy?
Each of our adventures has a difficulty rating, described below. As wilderness specialists, we explore more rugged and remote terrain at DBA than other NYC based adventure guides. In other words, “easy” in the Catskills would likely be “moderate” on hikes closer to NYC. Our exceptionally well trained and experienced guides and assistant guides take pride in supporting each of our hikers, teaching energy saving techniques the pros use and pacing a group so that all may hike at their own pace.
Gentle requires basic fitness—a gentle pace over landscape that isn’t too steep. Great for newbies or veterans who want to ease into the season. Distance is usually a maximum of 4 miles with elevation gain and loss of less than 500′.
Moderate days are longer than our Gentle adventures, though typically don't involve extended climbs. Expect your heart rate to elevate a bit on some inclines, but the majority of your day will at a reasonable pace on well-maintained trail or carriageway. Usually a maximum of 6 miles with no more than 1000′ elevation gained and lost.
Challenging adventures will get your heart pumping at different points throughout the day. Here we're likely hiking on wilderness trail, which means navigating rocks and roots as well as steep sections of trail. Most Catskill peaks are Challenging and Strenuous. Expect a bit more mileage than Moderate, but significantly more elevation gain, up to 2,000' gained and lost. We’d advise a good night’s sleep prior.
Please contact us for details if you’d like to understand fitness requirements in more depth and remember that conditions can shift any particular adventure up a challenge rating.
Where are your departure locations in Brooklyn and Manhattan? Departure Times?
We have more than one pick-up point for your convenience and both locations are located near transit hubs:
Brooklyn: Pacific St at 4th Ave; Atlantic Ave stop on 2, 3, 4, 5, B, D, Q, N, and R trains or LIRR
Manhattan: E. 43rd St at Lexington Ave; Grand Central stop on 4, 5, 6 trains or Metro North
The week of departure you will recieve an email with precise departure times, a weather forecast and other useful info.
What Do I Need to Bring?
A spirit of adventure and a smile! We’ll provide you with a detailed packing list, tailored to your adventure and expected conditions, before the trip, and we’re available to answer questions and offer advice to ensure you have everything you need. Here are some general guidelines:
Sample Packing List/Suggested Attire, Day Hike--
- In your day pack: 2 x 1 lt water bottle, rain gear, headlamp, sunglasses, extra layer of clothes, hat
- Wear: Comfortable, breathable clothes. Workout clothes are great for hiking!
- Footwear: Sturdy sneakers, trail runners, or hiking boots. We’ll let you know well in advance if conditions call for special footwear.
Sample Packing List; Overnight
- In your backpack (45L minimum, with hip belt): Sleeping Bag, Sleeping Pad, Mess Kit (fork, spoon, bowl and cup,) 2 x 1 lt water bottle, headlamp, sunglasses,
- Clothes *Extra layers, top and bottom *3 pairs of socks
Who Else Will Be On the Adventure?
You’ll be sharing your adventure with others who are fun-loving and eager to try new things and meet new people. We keep our group size small—usually less than 10 and never more than 12—diverse in background and experience level, but united by a common love of wild places and new experiences. Whether you come in a group, pair, or solo, you’ll leave with new friends!
What if the weather forecast is bad?
From a double rainbow after a thunderstorm to the quiet beauty of a rain-stilled camp, we’ve had some of our greatest experiences in conditions others would call “bad!” Our experience and preparation means we have a better chance staying comfortable in more challenging conditions. Should a forecast call for conditions that are potentially dangerous or likely to compromise the quality of your adventure, we’ll notify you of cancellation at least 24hrs in advance and offer you full credit to use on a future adventure.
Where do we camp in the mountains?
The most scenic and comfortable spots! Often, a backcountry shelter known as a lean-to (think a cabin with 3 sides) We’ll also use tents, and if conditions permit, we’ll sleep right out under the stars!
It’s My First Time...
Great! We love being there to share in the excitement of your first adventure! Our guides are experienced working with all skill levels and are particularly excited to create a positive experience for your first time—after all, we're doing what we love and want you to love it too!
Are your wilderness trips suitable for children?
Yes! We love for kids to join our adventures, accompanied by an adult. Typically any trip rated Easy or Moderate is appropriate for children 12 and over. We’ve taken out adventurers as young as eight, though we ask that you contact us in advance to ensure an experience that will nurture a love of wild places. We also run Family Friendly Adventures every season, designed with younger adventurers in mind.
What are the toilet arrangements in wilderness camping?
When possible, we’ll take advantage of the backcountry composting latrines maintained by the DEC. Our camps are chosen so that there will be designated areas where we may answer nature’s call privately and responsibly.
What wildlife might we see in the wilderness?
We’re always excited to see some of New York’s wide diversity of animal life—but not in our camps. Fortunately, your guides are well practiced in Leave No Trace techniques of food storage and travel that minimize the chance of an unwanted encounter.