A unique wilderness environment provides fresh perspective, and an intense team setting pushes you to do more than you ever thought possible. Learn to camp and travel simply through mountains, lakes and rivers, relying on each other and what you can carry on your backs. In a phased teaching progression, acquire beginning, intermediate and advanced skills in mountain navigation, paddling technique, woods craftsmanship, weather observation and campsite set up. Engage in frequent group discussions, which allow for reflection on each day’s progress, and ensure that leadership and responsibilities are shared - and every crew member is part of planning the next day. As you live and work closely together, you’ll learn far more than wilderness travel skills. The habits learned on this expedition will serve for whatever challenge is next.
This course is closed for the season. 2018 courses coming soon.
No two Outward Bound expeditions are ever quite the same. Every crew is unique; every route is distinct; and every adventure is dynamic. But one thing remains the same. On each course, students rise to meet exhilarating natural challenges in some of the country’s wildest places – and find strength and determination along the way.
Wilderness canoe expedition skills are the mark of a New England outdoorsperson. In the foothills of Maine’s mountains are networks of remote lakes and rivers. Students learn to maneuver canoes using paddle strokes such as the sweep, draw, pry and J-stroke. To get from one waterway into another, students portage (carry the canoes on their shoulders), and line (guide the loaded canoe down the sides of un-runnable rapids). As they learn to work, communicate well and coordinate efforts as paddling partners each day, students discover the power of two people truly working together.
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.
Service projects are often incorporated into Outward Bound courses through coordination with local land managers, conservation groups, government agencies or social service agencies. While on expedition, students are encouraged to practice service to the environment and their team by sharing responsibilities and following Leave No Trace ethics throughout the course.
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.
Nine-day courses for 13- to 14-year-olds are designed to introduce young teens to Outward Bound. Supportive instructors teach the skills of wilderness travel, and guide the formation of the group into an expedition team. As the students’ abilities grow, the instructors intentionally and progressively challenge them to take on more responsibilities, try out more leadership roles and develop a heightened sense of self and purpose. Under the close supervision of caring instructors, students are permitted to share ideas, experiment, triumph and sometimes fail. While safety is conscientiously maintained, students may feel moments of frustration, disappointment, cold, wet and tired. At such times, the instructors coach young teens to review their choices, weigh the results, decide what changes to make and try again. We find this teaches decision making, responsibility and resiliency and ensures that the group knows that all successes are truly theirs. Students return more ready to fully participate and positively engage at home, at school, on teams and in their communities.
The upper reaches of the Androscoggin watershed is fed by Aziscohos Lake, the Magalloway River and the Rangeley Lakes. Indigenous Abenaki peoples used the Androscoggin both as a means of transportation between winter habitats inland and summer living on the coast, and as a source of food. Later the Androscoggin River was used to move logs to mills downstate during the logging boom of the nineteenth century. These days the lakes and rivers are used primarily by canoeists, fishermen and other recreationalists. Some of the portage trails here, such as those along the Rapid River, have been in use for centuries.
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