15 Awesome Things To Do Through Binghamton Outdoor Pursuits
Growing up in New York City, I never really had much of an appreciation for nature beyond Central Park. Somehow, I ended up choosing a college that is pretty much smack dab in the middle of nature, which was very daunting for me. After four years here at Binghamton, I think I am only just starting to appreciate all the natural beauty that the Southern Tier has to offer. When a friend introduced me to the office of Outdoor Pursuits this semester, I was so disappointed that I hadn’t heard about it sooner. So don’t wait four years like I did. Here are 15 ways to get outdoors with Outdoor Pursuits and appreciate all that Binghamton has to offer!
1. Do team building exercises at the ropes course
The Challenge Program offers guided team building exercises and reflection for groups of nine or more. Each experience lasts anywhere from 3-8 hours and is tailored to your group’s needs. Activities range from games, to problem-solving exercises, to group challenges on low and high elements. Expect to be active, involved and challenged. On-campus groups and external groups alike are encouraged to sign up!
2. Learn to white water kayak or canoe
Start off slow in the East Gym pool, and work your way up to day trips at nearby flat and moving water locations. For kayaking, learn equipment selection and use, river reading, route finding, river etiquette, and river rescue. For canoeing, expect to learn basic strokes, leans and rescues, and then progress to moving water for the performance of river maneuvers. Both courses are one credit.
3. Go on a night hike
Outdoor Pursuits offers a guided nighttime social hike in the Nature Preserve. Winter boots and headlights will be provided to students, and you might even get to use snowshoes from the Outdoor Pursuits rental center. Don’t forget to dress in warm layers!
4. Give back to nature on a trail maintenance hike
The hiking trails around Binghamton and in upstate N.Y. are naturally beautiful, but sometimes they need a little bit of a facelift. That’s where you come in! Join Outdoor Pursuits on a gentle, 6-mile hike to clean up a portion of the Finger Lakes Trail. You’ll mostly be stopping to remove any fallen limbs from heavy winter snows and check that the trail still has its proper markings. Notes will be made for future projects. Enjoy the beautiful outdoors while giving back to it!
5. Go ziplining
There are only a few special occasions each semester where the ropes course zipline is open to students. The zipline begins with a 35-foot tree climb to the take-off platform. From there, it’s a terrific (read: scary, if you’re afraid of heights like me) ride along a 225-foot zipline. Keep an eye out for these events each semester!
6. Go fly fishing
You know those guys you see standing in the Delaware River fishing on your drive back down to Long Island? Ever wanted to learn how to do that? Well, lucky for you, Binghamton offers a 1-credit Outdoor Pursuits (OUT) course in the art of fly fishing. Learn proper casting technique, field and stream safety, and basic fly tying and entomology as it relates to fishing, all from a local expert. The class also includes three weekend day trips to put your skills to use.
7. Learn how to survive the great outdoors
Do you say no to camping trips with friends because you legitimately have no idea how to outdoors? Then you’re in luck! Outdoor Pursuits offers two OUT courses to make you an outdoors expert. In OUT 255- Backcountry Medicine, students learn safe and successful emergency care and rescue when definitive medical care is more than an hour away. In OUT 180- Outdoor Living Skills, students learn decision-making and basic survival techniques, development of the survival mindset and such introductory skills as fire building, stove operation, tarp/shelter set-ups, nutrition, knots, map and compass use, as well as environmental awareness.
8. Go stand up paddleboarding in Dorchester Park
Southern Tier SUP (Stand Up Paddleboarding) partners with Outdoor Pursuits to bring you a relaxing afternoon of paddling along a local pond on stand up paddleboards. Get an intro to “supping” from the Southern Tier experts! Bring a bathing suit, because you’ll probably fall off the board a few times. But that’s part of the fun, right?!
9. Go horseback riding
For OUT 130- English Horsemanship, head to Unity Stables right here in Binghamton and learn anything and everything you can possibly imagine about horses and horsemanship. This includes elementary control of the horse at the walk and trot, proper grooming and tacking-up techniques, parts of the horse, and basic feeding needs. These skills lay the groundwork for horsemanship for intellectual, physical, social and emotional wellness awareness.
10. Partake in the best thing about fall (a.k.a. the apple cider and donuts)
What exercise event isn’t made better by food? Enjoy the changing leaves and other colorful autumn scenery on this Finger Lakes Trail hike. After the hike, expect to stop at a local cider press for apple cider, donuts, and all the other treats your heart desires!
11. Enjoy a beautiful sunset
Go on a sunset hike with Outdoor Pursuits and get a breathtaking view of the sunset you never knew that Binghamton had (because it’s always too cloudy).
12. Go for an ice cream bike ride along the Chenango River
If you’re craving ice cream, but want to feel less guilty about eating it, then this is just the event for you. BYOB (Bring your own bike) or borrow one from Outdoor Pursuits and learn about commuter routes from downtown Binghamton to campus that avoid the parkway. Expect to stop on the way back for some frozen treats!
13. Go tubing and tobogganing
All the fun of skiing or snowboarding with much less effort! Take a seat in a snow tube or toboggan (fancy sled) and enjoy the ride down a snowy hill near campus. This event is basically a lazy river ride, except the winter version. BOP will provide the tubes, toboggans and hot chocolate!
14. Explore frozen waterfalls
Imagine waterfalls suspended in time, like an image out of a winter fairytale. That’s what frozen waterfalls are! About an hour north, in the Labrador Hollow Unique Area of Morgan Hill State Forest, is a steep-sided glacial valley, a waterfall with a 100’ wide overhang, and scenic trails from which to enjoy it all! Expect to hike 5-6 miles, and to make new friends!
15. Take advantage of all the snow in upstate NY...
Photo by Cheap Snow Gear Ltd.
By earning credits to ski or snowboard! OUT 122 takes students to nearby Greek Peak mountain for a weekly class session that includes a specific two-hour lesson and time in the activity-based training area. The class is open to all levels, from beginner to advanced.
Check out a month-by-month list of Binghamton Outdoor Pursuits’ offerings here.
Want to make your own Binghamton adventure? The Outdoor Pursuits office in the East Gym features an extensive rental room, with items ranging from snowshoes to sleeping bags. Check out their selection here.
Are you an alumnus or resident of the local area? Check out the Outdoor Pursuits resources page for more ways to get outside in Binghamton!
Have an idea for another trip? Email Binghamton Outdoor Pursuits at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jackie is a senior English major who will be starting her career as an assistant teacher in the fall of next year. Her hobbies include eating an unadvisable amount of mozzarella sticks with her housemates and trying not to cry about her inevitable graduation.
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