Join Outward Bound and other veterans on this wilderness expedition designed to provide OEF and OIF veterans an opportunity to be together outside the military. This is a week-long dogsledding expedition in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Northern Minnesota. You will travel by ski and dogsled across snow-covered lakes. Temperatures can be quite cold so students who enroll should be ready to take on winter, be comfortable around dogs and ready for eating hearty meals around an open fire.
The Boundary Waters is a million-acre wilderness that offers amazing expanses of frozen lakes and crystalline mornings in the wintertime. Wolves are one of the few species up and about in winter; it is not uncommon to hear their howl or see their tracks. Sparkling snowscapes, frosty pines and the sound of snow beneath your skis will be etched in you mind as you look back on traveling in one of the America's last true wildernesses.
Learn cross country skiing, how to fell a tree, split wood and build fires. Get acquainted with dogsledding commands and sled driving techniques and surprise yourself as you learn that staying warm in a winter environment is more attainable than you thought. Spend the first night at our basecamp acclimatizing and skill building.
Then set off on a 4-5 day expedition. The minute you touch the sled with the first load of gear, the dogs awaken and with each new load, the volume of their barking increases. They show off their agility by twisting and leaping straight up from their nests in the snow. Their joyous energy is infectious and the rush of that initial launch from camp will be unforgettable. Yesterday you might have skied out in front blazing a trail for the team of hard working dogs who carry your food and equipment. Today you're back with the team working almost as hard as they are making your way across a lake socked in with 18 inches of ice.
After creating your own "homestead" on the snow blanketed ice, you'll eat a hearty meal under a sky often streaked with spectacular northern lights. Not long before returning to base you will experience solo. Solo is the mandatory evening where students spend the night at an assigned camp with your own saw, matches, cook pot and meal. Instructors check in regularly and most students find solo to be the unexpected highlight of their course.
With our training and equipment, you'll find you can live comfortably in cold temperatures. You will learn how to work with your own body heat to stay warm, how to eat foods that keep you warm and how to regulate your body temperature using the layering principle and exercise. As you travel, you may find that your ideas about comfortable temperatures may shift. Warm days often mean slushy snow and slow skiing. Sledding on colder days may mean smooth skiing on crisp, fast snow.
Setting up a snug winter camp takes time, energy and teamwork. In the late afternoon, you'll look for a sheltered spot with good firewood. As you set up camp, your group will divide duties caring for the dogs, setting up sleeping shelters, constructing a kitchen area, cooking, and gathering, sawing and splitting wood for the evening fire. Then it is time to enjoy the rewards of your labor as skiers and mushers eat a hot meal by the fire and share stories of the day.
To apply for this course click the enroll button next to the course dates that work for you. Or better yet call one of our expert Admission Advisers at 866-467-7651.