I'm really not much for camping but when I got invited to Pursuit Series at Hunter Mountain New York, my penchant for a new outdoor experience drove me to say HELL YES! Plus, it isn't quite "camping" when you're staying in an UnderCanvas tipi tent. Mine had 2 beds, a night table, chair and a pretty cool rug that I would totally put in my own apartment.
Pursuit Series isn't your ordinary camping excursion. It's literally an outdoor adventure camp for grown-ups who like to be active, social, in nature and then have fun at night with drinks and music. I literally had an epic weekend in one of the most beautiful and scenic parts of New York. The only downside for me was bugs (like I said, I'm not a "camper") and the fact that it was a super hot weekend. But I loved every second of it!
This was Pursuit Series' 3rd event and I found it to be exceptionally well organized. I arrived a day and a half late only because I literally drove up to Hunter Mountain from JFK Airport after returning from my trip to Jamaica. Have you ever rented a car at midnight and driven for 3 hours blasting country music? Because that was how I arrived to the camping ground of this Pursuit Series. It was pitch dark and everyone was asleep. I felt bad because I definitely I made a lot of noise lugging 4 bags of clothes (which proved to be totally unnecessary) to my tipi.
While looking for my assigned tipi, all I could see were these glorious white tents set against a black sky filled with sparkling stars. It was spectacular! Entering my teepee was exciting, too, because I felt like a kid who gets to set up camp in the backyard. Except this backyard was graced with the immaculate presence of Hunter Mountain!
In the morning, upon waking up at 7am (because literally the sun was up, it was already hot AF and you could hear all the vendors setting up) I was anxious to see what this event was all about. Exiting my teepee, I could see all the tents housing the main workshop stations for Pursuit, the ski lift was literally right above me and not far off, I could see the summit. When I had arrived at night, none of this, of course, was visible. So, taking it all in was truly breathtaking.
When you sign up for Pursuit Series, you get to create a daily schedule of activities and workshops. There are endless options, many catering to camping lifestyle (for example, "how to pack a backpack" and "basecamp cooking") while others are more fitness oriented, like forest runs, mountain biking, rock climbing and SUP. As you can see, I got my stand up paddle board fix, and showed off with a little yoga.
I really liked how everything was super active, but yet still very chill. I joined a nature photography hike and learned how to make the best cup of coffee with Kicking Horse Coffee (whose beans I've been using every since returning from this trip). My only regret was not signing up for ziplining.
I traveled to Pursuit Series with my best friend, Joseph. And I will admit, we veered off course a little. Since it was so hot, we were dying to dip into waterfalls and streams. And it was totally cool, because you're on your own schedule when you go to Pursuit Series. So the 2 of us drove us to find trails where we could cool down a bit and explore. This was one of a few waterfalls we found where it was nice and shaded.
Living in New York City, I don't get to see vast green land like this! Riding the ski lift up to the summit of Hunter Mountain was a gift! It was so freaking peaceful and drop dead gorgeous that I kept thinking "I'm the luckiest girl on earth right now." I'm usually extremely scared of heights but with this view, I was able to suck it up and just enjoy every second of the ascent.
The ride up to the top took place around 5pm and was organized as a sundown happy hour. I was honestly drunk off all the good vibes I was feeling from being in such a beautiful place but also up so high. My friend JJ Yosh was waiting for us at the top and introduced us to several other travel & adventure influencers who had come from all over to be a part of this great event.
I literally had 1 drink and I swear I was wasted! The altitude definitely got to me because I would've never done a handstand so close to the edge of the mountain. Literally, it drops beyond that railing and you're dad. But I like, "Guys, take a picture of me!" Sober Bianca wouldn't have been so daring...especially in a skirt!
What can I say? I had so much fun and I would do it all over again, especially in the next location! Speaking of which, is happening in North California in Bear Valley from August 10th-12th of 2018. You have to go! It will be 3 days of outdoor adventures, expert guides, access to the best fear, delicious meals, happy hours, live music and good people.
If that sounds good to you, CLICK HERE!
And let me tell you about what nights at Pursuit are like... They're basically a bad-ass summer party. I got to see 2 different bands play while roasting marshmellows over a fire, drinking beer and wine. At night, it really cools down at Hunter Mountain so you're in comfy clothes like jeans and a zip-up. The lights, as you can see from my picture, were so colorful, lighting up the grounds like a rainbow. I have to admit, I didn't know many people there but I never felt like a stranger among this group. Everyone was so friendly, talkative and chill.
I was really drained from the hardcore sun earlier, so on my 2nd night, I wandered back to my tipi and fell asleep to the chatter and music of all the people still enjoying themselves. I should mention that most people actually slept in regular tents they either brought with them or purchased as part of the event. There was a designated rolling hill for these more rugged campers, and it looked like a gorgeous sea of tents!
My section was the glamping area, which comes at a higher cost because of the beautiful UnderCanvas tents that are set up and furnished for you. It's definitely a choice depending on your vibe. My vibe will always be glamping over camping. But even with glamping tents, bugs still find their way in...so just be prepared for that ;) I also really enjoyed having access to the Shower Trailer, something I didn't even know existed until trying it. It's a trailer full of showers, kind of like a locker room. It sounds bad but it was amazing and I was so thankful for it. Who invents these things?
Pursuit Series describes the experience they offer as "pure outdoor fun" and I have to say it's spot on :) There's a huge wellness component too, though. Yoga, meditation and serene night walks are a big part of the event. You don't have to be an extreme outdoors person to get the full experience. But if you are, you have the option to camp and get dirty with the best of 'em. Shower Trailer optional...y'know what I'm sayin'?
Leaving Hunter Mountain the following day was sad, but it couldn't have been more perfect. When you leave wanting more, you know that it was a f*cking awesome trip! Let me know in the comments if you have any questions about Pursuit Series. Also, please share any similar experiences you've had or similar events that you can recommend for other interested readers. Thanks guys!
XO, Bianca Jade