This three-week multi element course features a backpacking section along the North Shore of Lake Superior and a canoe expedition in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. It is a great way to experience two beautiful environments in the remote and amazing North Woods in Minnesota's border country. This course is ideal for motivated teens seeking challenge through a variety of course elements, group living, and personal discovery.
Our instructors are committed to bringing teenagers into the wilderness and exposing them to the beauty, freedom and the adventure of Outward Bound. From portaging canoes (carrying your canoe on your shoulders between lakes) to taking care of your teammates, building a fire to building character, the Boundary Waters is a perfect place to get out on your own and practice the independence and leadership that everyone craves no matter what age. The course structure is focused on student success, self-confidence and teamwork. Students are expected to try their best, exercise compassion, craftsmanship, tenacity and to have an incredible experience in Northern Minnesota!
The Superior Hiking Trail winds its way among birch, cedars and maples, crossing over some of the dozens of coursing waterfalls that dump into Lake Superior. Well-marked trails, campsites and challenging terrain make this a perfect way to start your trip while building teamwork, increasing endurance and preparing for the second phase of course, the canoe expedition. Prior to canoeing, you will rock climb at Shovel Point which features 80-120 foot cliffs towering out of the lake. It is dramatic and windswept which ensures memorable climbing for the novice and experienced rock climber alike.
The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) is a labyrinth of lakes and rock that has been specifically protected as a true American wilderness. No roads, power lines, or motorized craft (with the exception of a handful of lakes) may enter its borders. The BWCAW has seen little change since the glaciers receded 10,000 years ago. Over one million acres in size, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness extends nearly 150 miles along the Canadian border adjacent to Quetico Provincial Park.
Waterfalls, sheer rock cliffs and deep, crystal-clear lakes are only a few natural wonders that can be seen in the BWCAW. Moose, deer, beaver, and otter are some of the wildlife you may encounter or see evidence of while on route. This wilderness area contains several thousand portage-linked lakes and streams interspersed with islands, forests and crags. It has no piped water, prepared shelters or signs to point the way. You must rely on your instructors and group members to reach your camp each day.
Travel the Boundary Waters by canoe and hike the Sawtooth Range along Lake Superior's north shore. After a 5-7 day backpacking expedition you will spend a day climbing the forty to eighty foot sheer rock walls. Your limits will be tested and you will surprise yourself as you see what you are truly capable of. Switch your gear to Duluth packs and paddle away with your map and compass in hand into the lakes and rivers of the BWCAW for the second phase of your expedition.
Pitch your tent in a new spot every day and little by little take over the leadership duties as you and your group gain the skills needed to lead an expedition such as this. By course end (if your group is ready), your instructors will hand over their leadership responsibilities only to become silent group members, ready to intervene if necessary but allowing the members of the team to lead the rest of the expedition. Build your own fire, cook hearty meals and enjoy the freedom and responsibility of traveling as your own group in the wild.
A service project, overnight solo, ropes course and final expedition create an amazing adventure rich with a variety of opportunities for challenge. This course builds skills as an individual while backpacking, as a team as you master canoeing with your partner, and as a crew while the entire group carries canoes and gear from one lake to the other, supporting each other along the way.
Throughout the course there are evening discussions to which explore the personal and group challenges encountered. Topics include leadership, independent decision-making, goal setting, responsibility and teamwork. You will also have opportunities to learn geology, discuss environmental ethics and delve into the natural history of the BWCAW and Minnesota’s North Shore. This expedition is an exciting way to learn about yourself, gain technical outdoor skills and become a valued team member in a challenging and inspiring setting.
NOTE: Virtually all airlines, except United and Southwest, require that travelers age 14 or younger flying without a companion over the age of 18 pay for their Unaccompanied Minor service. This fee ranges anywhere from $40 to $75 each way. In most cases, the Unaccompanied Minor service is OPTIONAL for travelers between the ages of 15-17.
To apply for this course click the apply button next to the course dates that work for you. The non-refundable application fee of $125 is due at the time of application. For full fee schedule and process, click here. Course tuitions listed do not include our application fee or transportation fee.