“It started with about 10 of us and just sort of exploded from there,” said Bryan Maes, organizer of the group. “We wanted to start a group that was free for people to get involved with outdoor activities where anyone could join no matter their experience level.”
Noting that his apartment is full of outdoor gear, including a kayak in the living room, Maes said the group treks through rain, snow, sleet and sunshine to participate in hiking, snowshoeing and backpacking daytrips up to the Adirondacks and all the way to the Grand Canyon. “The sky’s the limit and we’re open to suggestions from any of our members and anything people want to do, we’ll do it.”
The next scheduled outing is Friday, Jan. 29, to Monday, Feb. 1, to “Fran’s Camp,” privately owned by a member who opens it up to the group from time to time. As with some of their outings, space is limited with this one capped at 14 members. To join the group and get in on any of their outings, go to their Web site at www.meetup.com/adventurers-103 to register.
“There’s all different kinds of people in a wide range of ages,” continued Maes. “You have to be 18 years old to join, though, and enter into our liability agreement, because we don’t have dues and don’t have lawyers and some outdoor activities are dangerous.”
Maes, who doubles as a photographer for Vantine Imaging, based in Hamilton, when he’s not leading expeditions in the Outdoor Adventure Group, can’t recall one particular favorite outing, but noted that the excitement and anticipation that anything can happen on any of them makes each one just as good as the last. “Any of the backpacking trips are a great time,” he said. “And there are a large group of people who are working on hiking all of the 46 Adirondack High Peaks—they’re called 46ers—and just generally try to get as many activities scheduled as we can. I can’t give enough credit to my 13 assistant organizers, who arrange car pools and give people rides—sometimes driving six hours in one day just to mountain climb.”
The organizers of the group also offer basic outdoor skills and backpacking classes, as well as plan trips to all the big trade shows like Adirondack Paddlefest, held every May in Old Forge, as they try to cater to the less experienced members and get them more involved.
For most events, it’s come one come all, but there are certain areas of the Adirondacks where you can’t have a hiking party larger than 15 or a camping party larger than eight, so they’re forced to limit those. Still, Maes stressed, they try to schedule events to include as many people as possible. “It’s a year-round group and we try for multiple events every week,” he said. “It’s for anybody who wants to do stuff. . . that’s our main goal.”