This is a 60-day expedition begins in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. On skis and dogsleds you blaze trails across the snow covered frozen lakes. This course is designed for anyone 18 or older who wants to develop expeditionary skills, leadership, and a service ethic. Experience companionship with a working husky, have conversations around a roaring fire, see what you are made of when the temperature dips below zero, and do more than you thought possible. Then travel to the warm, turquoise waters of south Florida, where you will sail, navigate and live aboard an open boat. Challenge your teamwork and leadership skills as you adapt to the rhythms of wind and wave, and maneuver your boat in shallow waters among thousands of uninhabited mangrove islands.
Learn to drive a dog team, cross-country ski, travel across frozen lakes, split wood and build toasty fires. Surprise yourself as you discover that staying warm in winter is easier than you thought. You will spend the first afternoon getting outfitted and beginning the Training phase learning about staying comfortable outside.
The next morning you will set out on a 4-day training travel on skis. You and your crew then return to Homeplace, the Voyageur Outward Bound School base to prepare for the main expedition; packing food for yourselves and dogs, packing gear, planning the route, and building the dogsled that will carry your gear on expedition. Then set off. The minute you touch the sled, the dogs awaken, and their barking escalates until you set off. When not mushing, you will blaze a trail on skis for the team of hard working huskies who carry your food and equipment. Nightfall brings the work of setting up your home for the night, followed by conversation around the campfire under starry skies.
In the middle of your expedition, you will experience solo. Solo invites you to practice what you have been learning. Spend two nights at an assigned camp; set up your own shelter and cook your own dinner. This is a chance for work, relaxation, and reflection. Instructors check in regularly.
Next, you will embark on your Final Expedition as well as well as challenge yourself with one last ski in the Personal Challenge Event. You will continue to develop your skiing and mushing skills. Become interdependent with your team and as independent as possible.
You will finish up the Minnesota portion of the semester back at Homeplace, making sure the dogs are all set in their homes and getting yourself ready to travel to Florida and set out on your sailing expedition.
Next, on to Florida and sailing in the Keys. Your crew will refine and enhance your expedition skills as the 30-foot open sailboat becomes your home and classroom. The boats are rigged to take full advantage of the power of the steady Florida breezes, and when the winds do not cooperate, the boats can be rowed by two or four people pulling on oars. At night you’ll configure the boat as a sleeping platform and you and your watch mates will take turns doing anchor watch under brilliant night skies. Underway, you will learn to execute sailing maneuvers like tacking and gybing, which turn the boat through the wind. As you practice rowing, you will discover that by coordinating all of the rower’s movements so that the oars splash as one, you halve the effort it takes to travel on windless days. It takes an entire crew to sail or row the boat well; the whole crew must participate mentally and physically. You will have many opportunities to explore the infinite facets of wilderness leadership. Towards the end of the sailing phase, your group will earn the ultimate opportunity to put these and your new technical skills to the test: your instructors will remove themselves from all routine decision making and you and your crew will take on the responsibilities of the expedition for yourselves.
The BWCAW is a million-acre expanse of lakes and granite that has been specifically protected as a true American wilderness—no roads, signs, or power lines. It has changed little since the glaciers receded 10,000 years ago. In winter it offers amazing expanses of frozen lakes, snow covered trees, and crystalline mornings. Wolves are one of the few species up about in winter and it is not uncommon to hear their howl or see their tracks. Sparkling snowscapes, frosty pines and the hush of the snow will be etched in your mind as you look back on your adventures traveling through the boarder country.
The southern tip of Florida is an ecosystem of rivers, lakes, estuaries, and coral reefs. Within these waters exists an inextricable relationship between Florida’s environment and the quality of life for the more than seven million humans that call south Florida home. Originally, close to 8.9 million acres of Florida’s southern peninsula extending from the lakes and marshes of central Florida southward to the Florida Bay were interconnected wetlands -- four million of those acres were known as the Everglades. Beginning in 1882 and continuing throughout most of the 20th century, developers built an expanding array of canals, levees, and drainages in the Everglades in an attempt to turn pristine Everglades’ wetlands into farmland to provide suitable land to feed a growing population. You will experience contrasting environments along the expedition route as you sail from the abundant wildlife of the coral reefs off the Keys to the pristine mangrove forests and rivers of the southwest coast to the high rise condominiums and crowded metropolitan areas of Florida’s Gulf coast.
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. Full course tuition and in-course transportation fee are due within 60 days of course start date. Course tuitions listed do not include our application fee or transportation fee. You can also call one of our expert Admissions Advisors at 866-467-7651.