Hold on to your core, I recall as I clamber over the moss-covered boulders and fallen logs at Gage Brook. Needing an escape from the hustle and bustle of Toronto, I embarked on a mini-adventure in upstate New York’s Adirondack region to fulfill my craving for fresh mountain air, expansive views, and majestic waterfalls.
The hardcore may go deep into the wild, but being in bear country I’m content with a half-day hike with mountain guide Jackson Donnelly of Hike with Jackson. We stop at Bradley’s Lookout, where I look out over Lake George, the largest glacially-dammed lake in North America and said to have some of the clearest waters in the United States
I’m here in the Adirondacks to spend three days mostly off the grid in this vast wonderland of ancient forests, woodland animals and pristine spring-fed lakes. Partly because that’s the goal, but also because I have no choice: my cell phone has no signal, except in my tent of all places.
Since the edge of Adirondack Park is just a few minutes’ drive south of the Quebec border, the region is both relatively easy to get to and intimidating to explore. It would be easy to get lost in the vastness of these 6 million acres that make the Adirondacks the largest National Historic Landmark in the US
One of America’s first designated “Forever Wild” forest reserves, it has more than 2,000 miles of marked hiking trails, some 3,000 lakes and ponds, and hundreds of peaks, including the mighty Adirondack High Peaks (the “lowest” of those 46 mountains). is still 3,820 feet high).
Those looking to escape in the Adirondacks have thousands of campgrounds to choose from, including many secluded, secluded locations where you can pitch your own tent. But while I’m no novice to the outdoors — I’ve earned every possible camping badge in my Girl Guide years — I wanted to take a much more relaxed route for this trip. I decided to stick to an accessible strip between Lake Placid and Lake George and stay on the hassle-free glamping site of Huttopia Adirondacks.
Opened last year, it is one of the newest locations from Huttopia, the operator of ‘prêt-à-camper’ resorts based in Lyon, France, now in Europe, North America and China. (In Quebec, the company operates Huttopia Sutton, which sits on 400 acres of forest in the Eastern Townships.) The concept combines ecotourism with the ease of fully-equipped canvas tents and cabins — more than 70 per site — in addition to guest amenities like kid-friendly playgrounds .
My tent has all the camping comforts I could wish for: a king-size bed, a shower and flushing toilet, an outdoor deck with a grill. There’s even a kitchenette with a mini-fridge and a wood-burning stove for cooking groceries from the nearby shop. But I take the easy way out and head to the on-site cafe/bistro to order buckwheat crepes and pizzas to order.
Located near hiking trails that meander past historical sites and waterfalls, the resort also features a swimming pool, a welcoming central lodge with board games, and daily activities ranging from karaoke nights to foosball games. But despite all that and all the charming towns and villages nearby, I just choose to connect with Mother Nature.
Out near Lake Placid, I sign up to practice mindfulness in an unusual setting: while wading the Ausable River. I meet up with Helene Gibbens, a certified forest therapy leader, yoga teacher, and owner of Adirondack Riverwalking, and leave my phone ashore before we spend three hours navigating rocks, sand, and currents that form between the shores and the flowing water have shuffle and splash the Adirondack mountains. My full attention is with nature, although we don’t spot the beaver family known to frequent the area.
My semi-escape to the distant future continues on an unused 5.5-kilometer stretch of railway through the Adirondack Forest that had never seen passengers until Revolution Rail Co. introduced their railbikes in 2017.
As I settle into the rhythm of cycling on the track, with no traffic to disturb the tranquillity, I slip into a gentle, almost trance-like state. Gazing into the distance, I take in my lush, undisturbed surroundings as I cross a trestle bridge over the rolling rapids of the majestic Hudson River to the banks of the Boreas River.
Back in Huttopia, I lean back on the sofa on my patio. My phone lights up from the day’s news that I missed. Under the glittering hanging lamps and a starry sky against a dense background of spruce and fir trees, I switch off and enjoy the peace just one more night.
The writer Renée S. Suen was a guest Huttopia Adirondackswho have not reviewed or approved this article.
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