As students travel through the mountains, they learn how to camp and travel simply, relying on each other and what they can carry on their backs. In a phased teaching progression, instructors will introduce beginning, intermediate and advanced skills in mountain navigation, climbing site safety, woods craftsmanship, weather observation, risk management and campsite set up. Regular group discussions allow for reflection on each day’s progress and ensure that leadership and responsibilities are shared so that every crewmember is integral to planning the next day. Through living and working closely together, students learn far more than wilderness travel skills. The habits learned and strengthened through this backpacking expedition will serve students for life and for whatever challenge is next.
This course is closed for the season. 2018 courses coming soon.
Grieving Teens expeditions are designed to help students build confidence and resiliency, acquire coping skills and create a network of ongoing of support. The grief work that is woven into the curriculum helps young people share in a relevant healing experience with real-world outcomes. And in a time and space set aside just for them, grieving teens realize they are not alone.
Backpacking is an ideal combination of team and individual elements. The mountains of Maine are rugged and wooded, and the trails are remote, narrow and often steep. At times students travel on wilderness footpaths; at others, students navigate off trail. On clear days the group is rewarded with spectacular views from mountain peaks. Living and traveling with just what one can carry on one’s back is a simple existence, in which small choices can make great differences. To live well in the outdoors, all crew members must share the chores that turn a camp into a home, including setting up tents and tarps, creating a kitchen area, taking a turn fetching water and cooking satisfying meals.
Among the mountains of Western Maine are many granite cliffs, known locally as “Little Bear,” “Bald,” “Table Rock” and “Square Ledges.” Students learn to use climbing equipment, tie knots, climb and belay each other, while instructors provide overall supervision of the site. Climbing hones and develops balance, coordination, flexibility and grace on the rock. Depending upon the expedition route, technical rope activities may include a “via ferrate” or “Tyrolean traverse.” Climbing presents many individual challenges for students, while the team must work together to set systems up, communicate clearly and support each other throughout the climb.
The Solo experience provides an important break from the rigors of the expedition and gives students the opportunity to reflect on their Outward Bound experience. With sufficient food and equipment, students will set up camp at sites of their own, using the wilderness skills learned during the first half or two-thirds of the course. The time students spend on solo depends on the length of the course. On one-week courses, solo is four to12 hours long; on courses three weeks or longer, solo will be up to 72 hours.
Often located along beautiful shorelines or peaceful rivers, campsites are chosen to offer as much solitude as possible (yet be within emergency whistle-signaling distance of other group members). Most students spend their Solo time journaling, drawing, or just thinking and resting as they process lessons of the course to focus on their goals for the future. Instructors check on each participant at least daily.
The mountains of western Maine and northern New Hampshire comprise the northern end of the Appalachian mountain range. Within this region, the White Mountain National Forest, the Appalachian Trail, the Carter-Mahoosuc Range, the Grafton Loop Trail, and the Caribou-Speckled Mountain Wilderness all offer classic backpacking terrain, and numerous vertical crags, making the region a rock climber’s destination. These spruce-fir and hardwood forests are home to hundreds of species of birds as well as moose, deer and black bear. Rushing waterfalls, clear twisting streams and spectacular views from rocky summits reward backpackers ready for adventure.
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To secure your spot on a course you must submit an enrollment form and $300 deposit that is applied toward the total cost of the course and includes a $150 non-refundable enrollment processing fee.