Come explore the volcanic landscape of the Pacific Northwest on our six-day rafting course for Veterans. The Wild and Scenic Deschutes River flows from the snowcapped Central Cascades to the Columbia River. A spring fed river, the Deschutes has a very consistent flow throughout the year and offers rapids ranging from Class II to Class IV. This expedition will take students 97 miles through a beautiful desert river corridor carved through volcanic basalt and schist. Traveling down river for the first six days of the course, students will learn paddle captaining skills, river hydrology, river safety, teamwork, campsite set-up, backcountry cooking, and Leave No Trace®. Outward Bound Veterans courses offer a unique opportunity to reconnect with other Veterans outside of the military in an inspiring desert environment.
Veterans expeditions provide a structured time and place to build camaraderie, outdoors skills, and personal growth. As they improve communication skills, establish trust, and validate experiences among other veterans, participants experience increases in sense of self-worth, sense of purpose and sense of achievement, all in a non-military setting. Designed to facilitate a unique and exciting environment for veterans to reflect, share insights, and live in the present moment, the focus of these programs is around shared experiences and reconnecting with the sense of camaraderie and teamwork veterans and active duty service men and women experienced overseas. Although each expedition is unique, certain key components are a part of every Veterans expedition. The expedition begins with hands-on, progressive training in a variety of expedition and personal skills. The idea that participants are “crew, not passengers” is central to the Outward Bound learning approach.
As they learn to cook, sleep, stay warm, navigate and select routes together, participants create a positive, inclusive, supportive group dynamic. Throughout the expedition, participants build, practice, and reflect on skills, and tackle new challenges together - rock climbing, a peak ascent or a big whitewater day - that pushes them to rediscover the strength and peace of mind to navigate the often difficult transition to civilian life.
Students will travel on the river in four to six person paddle rafts, and learn to “captain” (maneuver) their paddle raft team through Class II , III, and IV rapids. After lessons in basic river travel and safety, students will progress into learning to read currents, anticipate obstacles, scout rapids, and negotiate technical portions of the river. Students will also learn river hydrology, swimming in currents, paddle techniques, and expeditionary travel. While on the rafting expedition, there may also be an opportunity for short day hikes.
Deschutes River, Oregon –The Deschutes River is part of the national Wild & Scenic Rivers System. The river flows north from the Oregon Cascades to the Columbia River and then on to the Pacific Ocean. The Lower Deschutes is a popular river for both whitewater rafting and fly fishing. The river is spring-fed, which results in an unusually constant water flow and cold water. Excellent geologic evidence is present all around this area. Courses generally travel anywhere from 50 to 100 miles along the Lower Deschutes. The rapids on the Deschutes are rated up to Class IV, mostly Class II-III, and are excellent for learning paddle skills and teamwork. The group camps each night along the banks of the river. The Deschutes region has a colorful human history, and a railroad borders much of the length of the Lower Deschutes.