Snowshoeing in the Adirondacks – an Aussies POV

Early start

Early start

Since I began my semester abroad, my new friends would always speak of travelling to the Adirondacks on weekends and hiking, fishing and camping. The word Adirondacks itself sounded like some foreign language and I could barely even pronounce it initially. I had heard of snowshoeing but only on TV and in movies and I was under the impression snowshoeing was when someone straps a tennis racquet-like head to their shoe and walks through snow. Technically I was correct, but those were the “old school” style of snowshoes – they are more sophisticated these days.

I joined the SUNY Oswego Outdoor club with some friends and signed up for this snowshoeing adventure to Lake Placid, Adirondacks. I honestly had no idea what to expect or what it would entail but I was very eager to see part of the Adirondacks.

Beautiful snow capped trees

Beautiful snow capped trees

Lake Placid is located roughly 5 hours from SUNY Oswego so we left at 3am on Saturday to begin our journey. We stopped at Dunkin’ Donuts and various convenience stores on the way to use the bathrooms and stock-up on snacks. I found it remarkable that convenience stores in the U.S are reasonably priced and items are priced almost identical to their prices in Walmart. In Australia the prices are approximately 2-3 times higher in convenience stores.

Fortunately enough I was able to get several hours of sleep through the night during our travels so by the time we arrived I was refreshed, excited and ready to snowshoe. Once we arrived at the Adirondacks we layered up, fastened out snowshoes and set out on the trail. We were chasing Tabletop Mountain which is one of the 46 high peaks in the Adirondacks. It was approximately a 7 mile hike with snow literally everywhere.

Incredible

Incredible

The hike up was difficult to say the least. It started off okay as it was mostly flat with small inclines but as we progressed the trees became thicker, the trailer thinned out and the inclines were steeper. About a mile before the peak was when the real inclines began and it was a struggle. In several places we resorted to getting down on all fours and climbing (scrambling) up the mountain as it was too steep to walk. The whole climb we were regularly stopping to take off layers as we were sweating, however once we reached the peak the wind had a strong chill and all these layers needed to be put back on to essentially prevent hyperthermia.

The view from the peak was breathtaking in my opinion. It was grey, cloudy and snowing heavily so it was hard to capture the outlook on camera, however I thought the view suited the atmosphere of the day and exceeded my expectations.

Peak

Peak

Once we had admired the scene for long enough we proceeded to slide down the mountain and go back to base. We had begun the hike at around 9:30am and were all back at the lodge by 5pm; it was a long day. Because it had snowed so much during the day it was a longer trip home, but I mostly slept so was not phased. When we arrived back to campus, myself and two friends went to late-night and ate our hearts out – it was fantastic.

I feel so lucky, blessed and privileged that I was able to go on this trip as it is so different to anything I had ever experienced or imagined I would do in my life.

Peace Out

K xx

Ski Trip to Bristol Mountain Ski Resort

Yesterday I went twilight skiing. It was awesome.

Beautiful views

Beautiful views

As a student from Australia, the idea of going skiing as a college related activity, is unheard-of. There are always posters around SUNY advertising upcoming events and I saw this ski trip to Mt. Bristol listed. I was in. I signed up for the trip, paid the small fee and was all ready to go with eight of my closest friends.

The mountain is only 1 hour 30 minutes from campus and besides not having cell reception for most of the way, the bus trip proved to be enjoyable. When we arrived I was so ready. I had been ready since I saw the trip listed and finally I was here.

I had only ever been skiing at Coronet Peak & Perisher prior to this trip so when I arrived and looked at my surroundings I was amazed. The flora and fauna was completely different to anything I had seen or skied in before, it was beautiful.

feeling very 80s with my beanie

feeling very 80s with my beanie

We skied between 4pm – 10pm which forced me to make productive use of the time (i.e. spend as much time on the slopes as possible). Some of my friends elected to take lessons before skiing, so whilst they were doing this I was exploring the slopes with two of my friends who, like me, did not need a lesson. We warmed up by skiing around 6 or 7 green runs until I decided I was comfortable enough to take on a blue. I was wrong. The sign indicated that there was a blue trail ahead, however it lied (or maybe I read it incorrectly) and there were only two track options – both black diamond runs. Fortunately it was still early in the afternoon (so I was not tired and my technique was fine) and the snow was powdery. I only fell over twice, ejected from my skis once, and most importantly did not get injured. I am glad that I challenged myself and went down this first diamond run as it gave me confidence, and desire to explore the mountain.

My friends and I all met up for dinner in the Rocket Lodge and it was perfect. It was this big wooden hut with long tables, a canteen service, and great vibes. We ate hamburgers, pizza and waffle fries – can I seriously be doing anything more American? I love it.

I think by the end of the night the only runs I had not attempted were the double diamonds, and skiing through the deeper woods. By the time 10pm came we were all fatigued and ready to go back to campus. We stopped at a McDonald’s on the way back and all went to sleep content.

wow pretty
Thankyou SUNY, you are awesome.

From 104 degrees, to 3.2 degrees in a day.

G’day!

I am Krissy, the new SUNY Oswego student blogger all the way from Brisbane, Australia. I am spending a semester on exchange here and have been at Oswego for nearly a fortnight now, and loving it! I’ll give you a quick background on my journey and what it entailed for this first blog post.

Background

My favourite spot at QUT

My favourite spot at QUT

In Australia, I study a bachelors of Information Technology at QUT (seriously an awesome university and friendliest place on earth) and am currently in my third and final year of my degree. I decided at the very beginning of my second year (early 2014), that I wanted to participate in the exchange program with one of QUT’s partners. So the research began. I could waffle on more about this, but essentially I chose SUNY because it has a highly regarded Computer Science Program, and Business School, which is exactly what I am into and subjects I would be taking. And of course because I have been in love with the idea of living in America and in the snow since I was a child. Prior to attending SUNY I had only seen snow on ski fields or on mountains in the far distance.

 

 

Trip from Australia to Oswego

soaring from the west to the east

soaring from the west to the east

It still feels surreal that I am actually in Oswego, on exchange and 9482.75 miles away from home. During the lead up to going on exchange it always just felt so far away, when I received my acceptance from SUNY in October it was still a good 3-4 months away and I just could not picture myself actually there. As time creeped on, I actually moved to Sydney over summer for an internship and was working full-time at Atlassian. This kept me occupied and as a result I didn’t really have much time to reflect and think about the long, exciting journey ahead of me. I left Sydney on a Friday, spent the Saturday and Sunday in Brisbane with my family and friends, then flew out on Monday morning. When I was on the plane Monday morning, it was the first time I was actually like “Wow this is actually happening”. I think this was a good thing because I was super excited and felt the flights didn’t take too long. In total I travelled about 26.5 hours to finallllllllllly arrive at SUNY Oswego. Before I left Australia we were in the midst of a steaming hot summer. I’m talking like 104 degree days and nights – it was painful, then when I stepped off the plane in Syracuse it was like 19 degrees, then Oswego was 3.2 degree – farrrrr out.

Arriving in Oswego

Hanging out in the cold

Hanging out in the cold

Driving from Syracuse to Oswego was incredible! I had never seen that volume of snow on roads, footpaths, grass, trees etc! And seeing so many dead trees was crazy – they are beautiful! I remember I was also very shocked by how warm is actually was inside vehicles and shops – in Australia, in winter, I am constantly freezing my butt off because we don’t have central heating :( so I thought this was fantastic. When I arrived at Oswego I moved into my dorm which is in Hart Hall – this building is very central which is fantastic. I found making friends very easy because SUNY organised heaps of orientation events which gave me a chance to meet new international students like me, as well as new in-state freshman. I am having so much fun and seriously never want this semester to end!

Take it easy

Krissy x

How to Survive Oswego’s Weather

Is anybody else confused as to how Oswego can go from 56 degrees and sunny one week to negative temperatures, massive amounts of snow, hail, sleet, and forty mile an hour winds the next? After last weeks beautiful weather I was just about ready to pack away the snow gear and bring out the shorts and tee shirts. Unfortunately, that isn’t looking like a possibility anytime soon. It seems that the weather here changes every other week, and mother nature doesn’t want to give us a break! This weather proves to be a major problem when it comes to having classes all the way across campus. It may seem near impossible to enjoy this weather, but there are definitely some great ways to stay warm, make it to class, and have a great time while the winds rage and the snow piles up.

 

The number one rule for surviving these frigid temperatures: LAYER, LAYER, LAYER! Unless you want to freeze, bundle up as much as possible. A heavy jacket, gloves, hat, and boots are all pretty much essential. Face masks are also great to block out the wind and keep your face warm.

 

Another great strategy to survive the winter is to utilize the Centro bus system, also known as the Blue Route. I was extremely surprised when a couple friends of mine told me that they have never ridden the bus before. If you look around campus, you’ll notice blue signs by the road (they usually have a picture of a bus on them) or the enclosed bus stops such as the ones behind Penfield Library and next to Oneida Hall. Just about every 20 minutes the bus will leave the Campus Center. The bus is free to ride, and is great if you need to get to a class that’s particularly far away. Here is the link to the times the bus departs from the Campus Center as well as a map of the Blue Route: http://www.oswego.edu/Documents/auxiliary_services/ShuttleMap090111.pdf

 

If you’re snowed in on the weekends and feel that the only thing the weather will permit you to do is sleep, I’m pleased to inform you that there are great things you can do in your Residence Hall without even having to go out into the cold! Normally, I’ll just read and relax, but if you have different preferences, you could always rent a movie from the front desk free of charge! There really is a huge selection of movies and TV shows that the front desk can rent out to you. Board games are also available for anybody. All you need is your Oswego I.D.!

 

This weather may seem to be a drag, but there are many things that the school provides to it’s students to make it as tolerable and comfortable as possible. All you need to do is utilize these services. hopefully these tips will help you out!