Outdoor Adventure Program Special Events

a pond surrounded by trees and green reflects clouds in the sky

Special Event: Summer Wilderness Canoe Trip to St Regis Canoe Area in Adirondacks!

POSTPONED TO SUMMER 2023

Join us on an exciting wilderness canoe trip to the St Regis Wilderness Area in upstate New York! The St Regis Canoe Area is a 18,400 acre wilderness inside the Adirondack Park. It is the only designated canoe area in New York State! St Regis is a beautiful landscape of lakes and ponds in a wilderness setting. This wilderness area is truly wilderness - no roads, no ranger cabins, not even signs between lakes. To travel in this area we will be paddling lightweight canoes with our gear, and sometimes portaging (walking) between lakes on trails of varying lengths. Some will be challenging, some will be easier. We even have the opportunity to hike up St Regis Mountain, as well, which ascends more than 1,200 feet with lovely views over the lakes. We will be backcountry camping in tents with all of our own gear. Weather allowing, we will enjoy campfires (and s'mores of course!) in the evening, as well.

Canoes are the ideal mode of transportation to be out in this wilderness. They are easy to control and maintain a straight line on open flat-water lakes. Because they are open (they do not have closed decks with hatches like kayaks), it is easy to move gear in and out as we alternate between portaging and paddling. Most crucially, canoes have yoke pads added to the center thwart (the bar across the center), so they are easy and comfortable to carry by yourself for a distance. We will always use teamwork to pick up canoes and packs, so each member is supported by everyone else. With instruction and teamwork, everyone will be able to successfully join on this awesome trip!

There is an abundance of wildlife to be seen here - we are visiting their home, after all! It is likely we will see loons and great blue herons, and if we're lucky, we might see bald eagles, moose, beaver, and otter. We will see interesting flora as well, including classics such as birch, sugar maple, and white pine, along with wetland diversity including plants like lily pads or arrowheads. We may even find some carnivorous plants like pitcher plant or sundew! Participants can choose to bring a little fishing gear and buy a NY fishing license and we can try our hand at a little bit of fishing, as well!

Group size is limited to 6 participants with 2 staff members.

lake view with trees framing a golden sunset

Cost: $375 (due in two parts) covers everything: transportation, camping fees, food, gear and trip leaders included. We purposefully work to keep the trip very affordable for our UMass Lowell students! Each person should bring their own personal gear, but we also have sleeping bags and some clothing layers to borrow. The only extra costs would be any incidental purchases you choose to make on the drive there and back.

  • $200 deposit charged upon registration
  • Remaining $175 due two weeks before trip start

Skill Level: No previous canoeing or camping experience necessary. Only a willing attitude and interest in being in wilderness conditions is needed!

Physical Exertion: Moderate. Each person will need the ability to be active for much of the day, including short 30-60 minute stints of walking over sometimes rough terrain carrying a canoe or pack weighing around 50 lbs. Most days will be approximately 6-7 hours of canoeing and portaging (with breaks); the first and last days will be shorter due to drive time. Depending on group size, there will be a person or two able to rest during some paddling.

Pre-Trip preparation: One required pre-trip meeting will be scheduled for early summer, 2023, at the Outdoor Center and Bike Shop at 5 Lawrence Dr., Lowell, MA 01854. (This may be adjusted depending on the group availability.) If you can't attend due to academic classes or other responsibilities, please arrange an alternate time with us. 

Itinerary*

*Due to the nature of outdoor trips and uncontrollable variables such as weather, this itinerary may be subject to change.

  • Sunday, Date TBD 2023: Meet on Sunday morning at 8 a.m., finalize last-minute preparations, pack up the van. Drive approx. 5 hours to Saranac Lake, NY; pick up all gear and canoes, drive to put-in at Little Clear Pond, finish packing canoe packs, and head out. We will canoe to a campsite for the night on Little Clear Pond or Saint Regis Pond.
  • Monday - Wednesday, Dates TBD 2023: Paddle and portage in various lakes, likely including Fish Pond and Long Pond. One day, we may choose to hike up St Regis Mountain with 180 degree views over the wilderness area.
  • Thursday, Date TBD 2023: Pack up one last time in the morning, and paddle and portage out to Hoel Pond. We will pack up, return rental gear, and then drive back to Lowell, approx. 5 hours. Back at the shop, we will clean up our gear, and do a final wrap-up and reflection. Everyone heads home!
purple flowers spring up from a wetland in St Regis Canoe Area

Weather: The Adirondacks in June will still have somewhat cold water, but generally pleasantly warm temperatures ,or event hot! We will monitor the forecast leading up to departure to be prepared for both warm and cool weather. Most weather is perfectly great weather for canoe tripping, even (especially!) rain. The only weather that will cause us to pause while on the lake or trails is thunderstorms/lightning, or extreme wind. We will be prepared for these conditions by having patience, bringing rain layers and a few warm layers, and carefully packing our canoe packs according to the packing list.

Overnight Shelter: Participants can expect that they will be sharing tents with others. Outdoor Adventure Program tents hold up to 4 people. If you choose to bring your own sleeping bag, tent or shelter, we will verify that it is appropriate and in good order before leaving. Tentmates may be determined by trip leaders and by participant comfort and preference. Mixed sex/gender tents are permitted. (However, any sexual activity is never appropriate in a group camping/lodging context and will not be permitted.) Every campsite in the St Regis Canoe Area is a private campsite, meaning our group will not share the camping space with others. 

Packing List

Most of the items on the Backpacking webpage are relevant to canoe camping. The main difference is footwear and packs. For shoes, you will have two pairs of shoes: one for use during the day that will get wet getting in and out of canoes (always floating while loading!) and one pair that will stay dry for the campsites.  Additionally, instead of using backpacks, we will pack our gear into canoe packs, a large open pack that fits easily into and out of canoes. We will share a final packing list with registered participants. We have many items available for free rent, in particular sleeping bags and sleeping pads. The only additional items we recommend are a duffle bag to carry your items before we repack into canoe packs, and a separate small backpack with clean clothes & shoes to keep in van for our return travel. Each person will need to fill out the Online Medical Questionnaire and Waiver.

Cancellation Policy

Due to needs of trip planning and reservations, cancellations must be made no later than three weeks before the trip start date to receive a full refund of your deposit. Cancellations that occur later will receive no refund, unless another participant on the waiting list can be found to take the open spot.* 100% of your payment will be refunded if the trip is cancelled by OAP staff (due to weather or other circumstances). Participants are expected to be responsible for arriving on time and prepared for trips.

*Please refer to UMass Lowell's ongoing COVID policy in the days before the trip. If you have questions or concerns regarding your situation or any symptoms you are feeling, please contact us by email at: kate_ford@uml.edu immediately to talk over your situation so OAP can responsibly consider the best next steps.

Mill and Canal View

Special Event: Senior Celebration - Get Outdoors Day!

May 10, 2022

This day is a special day for graduating seniors, family and friends to enjoy their last few days in Lowell by getting outside. We plan to do a variety of activities, including paddling on the Merrimack, a fun run in Lowell and even belaying off the parking garage!

  1. Fun Run - 9 a.m.: We will meet at the Campus Recreation Center (CRC) for an easy, fun run from the CRC down to the Merrimack River on a relaxed 3-mile loop. Running, walking, or a combo of both is welcome! We will return back to the CRC. The only special item needed is your own running shoes. FREE!

  2. Rappelling - 10 a.m.: Individual students will have a chance to rappel down from the Campus Rec Center track. Rappelling uses a safety harness and climbing rope attached at a fixed point to lower oneself down. All gear provided. Safety protocols will be followed under the supervision of our professional staff. People are welcome to stand in awe from below and watch their friends give it a try! Only $5!

  3. Paddling - 2:30 p.m. and a sunset paddle at 5:30 p.m.: A group of up to 21 people for each session will join at the Bellegarde Boathouse for a fun paddle up the Merrimack River and back to the Boathouse. All gear and instruction are included, including kayaks (solo or tandem) or canoes, PFDs and paddles. Come enjoy the river one last time before your graduation! Only $5!

Seniors, we hope we can help you get outside and enjoy Lowell with us before your graduation!

Group of students at top of mountain

Special Event: Spring Break Backpacking Trip!

March 5-12, 2022

Join us on this fun backpacking trip to the mountains of North Carolina! The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina are a beautiful place to explore - rhododendron-covered forest, bald summits, wildlife and a beautiful well-tracked trail in the woods.

The group will hike on the Appalachian Trail, arguably America's most iconic trail; it is roughly 2,190 miles, of which we will do approximately 25 miles. You will get a good taste of backpacking with tons of support and know-how. We will be camping overnight in the woods during the backpacking trip, and car-camping on the way to and from North Carolina. Each day we will be backpacking at a pace and distance appropriate for relatively fit beginners, approximately 4.5-8.5 miles daily. All backpacking gear, like sleeping bags and pads, trekking poles, stoves, food and tents is supplied. As always, we work with participant's individual dietary restrictions or specific needs. OAP always brings safety equipment, like a First Aid Kit and emergency communication device.

As an added bonus, we will finish in Hot Springs, N.C., where after hiking for four+ days, we will enjoy soaking in the naturally warm waters! A real treat!!

Spring Break Backpacking Registration

Cost: $500 (due in two parts) covers everything: transportation, camping fees, food, gear and trip leaders included, along with a delightful soak in the hot springs. We purposefully work to keep the trip very affordable for our UMass Lowell students! The only extra costs would be food during the driving days and any incidental purchases you choose to make on the drive there and back.

  • $250 deposit charged upon registration
  • Remaining $250 charged on Feb. 14

Skill Level: No previous backpacking experience necessary. Each person should have a fitness level suitable for carrying a backpack with personal gear and some group gear. Short days may be just one mile or so of backpacking, while full days will average between 5 and 8 miles per day, comprising approximately 5-7 hours of backpacking (with breaks).

Physical Exertion: Moderate/Strenuous. Each person will need the ability walk over terrain, sometimes rough, for approx. 4-6 hours per day carrying a backpack weighing between 35-50 lbs. likely. Trails will be uphill and downhill, including some steep mountain topography.

Pre-Trip preparation Two required pre-trip meetings are scheduled. If you can't attend due to academic classes, please arrange an alternate time with us.

  • Monday, Feb. 28, 5:30 p.m. to meet each other, talk over the details of what to expect, and cover nutrition and food. We will also distribute backpacks and other gear for you to take back to your residence and come packed on Friday night.
  • Friday, March 4, 5:30 p.m. to go thoroughly through personal gear and shared gear. Leave backpacks ready to go in the Outdoor Center on Friday night.

Itinerary*

*Due to the nature of outdoor trips and uncontrollable variables such as weather, this itinerary may be subject to change.

  • Saturday, March 5: Meet on Saturday morning at 8 a.m., finalize last-minute preparations, pack up the van. Drive approx. 8 hours to halfway point, camp overnight at campground.
  • Sunday, March 6: Drive approx. 8 hours from halfway point to Hot Springs, N.C., camp overnight at campground.
  • Monday - Thursday, March 7-10: Re-pack supplies into backpacks, get shuttled to our starting point and start hiking! Each day will always involve a hearty breakfast followed by hiking the trail for that day. Snacks and lunch happen on the trail. Dinner is prepared at our campsite, and we'll snuggle into our tents and sleeping bags each night! If conditions allow, we may have a campfire to enjoy the evening.
  • Thursday, March 10, afternoon: Finish hiking directly in Hot Springs, N.C., where we will set up camp at the campground and soak in the hot springs tubs!
  • Friday, March 11: Pack the van up, drive approx. 8 hours from N.C. to halfway point, camp overnight at campground.
  • Saturday, March 12: Drive approx. 8 hours from halfway point back to Lowell, clean up gear, and final wrap-up and reflection. Everyone heads home!

Weather: The mountains in North Carolina in March will still be cool overnight and possibly surprisingly cool during the days as well. We will be prepared for both warm and cool weather. Most weather is perfectly great weather for backpacking, even rain. The only weather that will cause us to pause while on the trail is thunderstorms/lightning. Ridgelines or summits of mountains are likely to be quite chilly. If it is very windy and/or cool, we may limit the time we spend on various high points. Be prepared for these conditions while backpacking by bringing warm layers and rain layers, and carefully packing your backpack according to the packing list.

Overnight Shelter: Participants can expect that they will be sharing tents or lean-tos with others. Outdoor Adventure Program tents hold up to 4 people. If you choose to bring your own sleeping bag, tent or shelter, we will verify that it is appropriate and in good order before leaving. Tentmates may be determined by trip leaders and by participant comfort and preference. Mixed sex/gender tents are permitted. (However, any sexual activity is never appropriate in a group camping/lodging context and will not be permitted.)

Packing List

Please see our full packing list on the bottom half of our Backpacking webpage. We have many items available for free rent. The only additional items we recommend are a small backpack or duffle bag with clothes to wear during the van travel to and from N.C. Each person will need to fill out the Online Medical Questionnaire and Waiver.

Cancellation Policy

Due to needs of trip planning and reservations, cancellations must be made no later than Feb. 13, 2022 to receive a full refund of your deposit. Cancellations that occur Feb. 14 or later will receive no refund, unless another participant on the waiting list can be found to take the open spot.* 100% of your payment will be refunded if the trip is cancelled by OAP staff (due to weather or other circumstances). Participants are expected to be responsible for arriving on time and prepared for trips.

*Please refer to UMass Lowell's ongoing COVID policy in the days before the trip. If you have questions or concerns regarding your situation or any symptoms you are feeling, please contact us at kate_ford@uml.edu immediately to talk over your situation so OAP can responsibly consider the best next steps.

Check out our other upcoming trips on our Trips and Events Calendar webpage!