This is a 30-day expedition in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. On skis and dog sleds you blaze trails across the snow covered frozen lakes. This course is designed for anyone 18 and 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.
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 base to prepare for the main expedition; packing food for yourselves and dogs, packing gear, and planning the route. 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.
The last phase of course 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. This is the time to reap your rewards for choosing the Pathfinder course.
Throughout course you will opportunities to provide service to the people and place around you. You may have the opportunity to help homesteaders get ready for the season, help the BWCAW and the Forest Service, work with the International Wolf Center, or help future mushers by working with the Voyageur Outward Bound sled dogs.
You will finish up your course back at Homeplace, the Voyageur Outward Bound School basecamp making sure the dogs are all set in their homes and getting yourself ready to return your home. To prepare yourself for home you will have the opportunity for a conversation with your family and an instructor to process the learnings from your expedition and make goals for the future. Of course you will also enjoy a shower and a final celebratory meal together with your expedition crew.
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.
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.