"I recently completed a backpacking, rock climbing, and paddling course in the Blue Ridge Mountains. It was the most incredible and challenging experience of my life thus far. Everything was amazing: my crewmates, my instructors, the location, and the activities. I became incredibly close with my 11 crewmates and instructors. My instructors showed me exactly how comfortable and confident I am in the wilderness and on a rock face, which was incredibly empowering. I am so much more confident and strong (both physically and mentally) after my course." – Annabelle, Alumna
Your expedition will begin in the misty blue mountains of North Carolina where you and your crew will learn the basics of living and playing in the wilderness. Breaking up your days backpacking will be time spent climbing rock faces, or rappelling down them, and navigating rivers by canoe. In addition to gaining experience traveling in some of the oldest mountains in the world, you will build upon your confidence and leadership skills, meet people from all over the country, and work with your team to meet daily goals.
After discovering what Western North Carolina has to offer, your crew will travel to the Eastern most part of the state to explore the 200-mile stretch of barrier islands off the coast, known as the Outer Banks. From tales of the Lost Colony and the Wright Brothers, to Blackbeard the pirate, this area is steeped in legends and history, setting the stage for an amazing adventure. You and your crew will travel by kayak along the Cape Lookout National Seashore, learn to read tide charts, paddle past lighthouses and wild ponies, and camp on sandy beaches each evening.
During adult courses, Instructors often facilitate the sharing of life experiences amongst the group and craft activities to allow for participants to examine where they’ve been, where they are now and where they’d like to go in the future. These courses are perfect for those who find themselves at a transition point in their lives, need a fresh new outlook or want to remind themselves, ‘there is more in you than you know.’
**Considerations: Outward Bound sea kayaks typically accommodate participants who are up to 6 feet tall, 275 lbs and size 12 men’s shoe. If you exceed these measurements, our sea kayaks may not accommodate you.
|NTC7-061||6.8.20 - 7.7.20||30||18 and up||$5,620||APPLY NOW|
This course starts within the next week. Please call us at 866-467-7651 to assess the possibility of applying for this course!
Do you ever want to unplug, step away from the daily grind to take on new challenges? Are you ready to conquer harder skills and remind your senses (or discover for the first time) what it’s like to crest a mountain peak, hear the echoes at the edge of a vast canyon or feel the rush of white water spray on your face? Take a break from your routine, radically change your surroundings and test your tenacity. Put some “firsts” in front of you and find moments of unexpected discovery along the way. Experience Outward Bound as an adult and prepare for an injection of adventure, awareness and adaptability that sticks with you long after you unpack your backpack.
Return home with newly expanded wilderness abilities, an energized outlook, a rekindled allowance of empathy into situations and relationships and an eye toward the future.
During the first phase of this course, students will carry everything they need for extended travel in the Pisgah National Forest of Western North Carolina. Here they will learn to travel safely in the backcountry, navigate varied terrain with a map and compass, as well as learn to do these activities responsibly using Leave No Trace principles. Equally important will be time spent practicing conflict resolution skills, communication styles, leadership and team building. After the crew has practiced these skills the Instructors will step back and let the group work together to navigate through the wilderness.
With a focus on safety, climbing instruction will start by teaching the basics, such as working with ropes and learning to tie knots. As students progress, they will learn how to climb up, or rappel down, a rock face. They may even have the opportunity to work through a high ropes obstacle course together. These uniquely structured activities provide opportunities not only for self-reliance, but also for communication and collaboration as participants confront and work through their fears.
After a few days building crew comradery, students will learn to maneuver Class I-III level whitewater rapids. Paddling through sculpted rock channels in tandem (two person) canoes offers the perfect opportunity to foster further collaboration and communication skills between crewmates. Students will execute synchronized strokes, dynamic eddy turns, peel-outs and ferries on either the French Broad, Tuckaseegee, Chattooga, New or Nantahala Rivers. Some of the topics crews cover during this portion of the course include: identification and use of equipment, basic water safety and rescue techniques, how to work with paddling partners to successfully negotiate class l-III rapids and flatwater, and whitewater paddling strokes.
After spending the first portion of this course in Western North Carolina, students will travel east to navigate the historic and ever-changing coastline of the Outer Banks. Here the group will take a break from their backpacks and carry everything they need for their expedition in the hull of their sea kayak. Both single and tandem kayaks will be used, and students will have the opportunity to spend time in both vessels. Depending on the wind and weather, the level of difficulty will vary from day to day. Students will practice marine expedition risk assessment and management, route planning, navigation, paddle stroke techniques, kayak-based rescues and equipment use and its care. Once beached, the crew will practice cooking and Leave No Trace camping before tucking in for the night.
A little more than halfway through course, students will participate in a reflection period called Solo. During this time, Instructors assign students to their own individual campsites within a designated area. These sites are both secluded and within hearing distance of other group members and Instructors for safety. Students are given all the necessary gear, food, water and skills to enjoy this time alone. They also know the location of their Instructors’ campsite should they need to contact them for any reason. Instructors will be monitoring students closely during this time. The Solo for this course may last up to 24 hours. This experience is a great opportunity for students to relax, recharge and reflect on their course after having long days of strenuous group activities.
Although 22 or more days seems like a long time, this course offers the optimal duration for getting the ‘classic’ Outward Bound experience. In addition to profound personal growth, as each student practices leadership and decision-making skills, these longer courses also allow for team development. Crews often go through four common phases of working in a team called, forming, storming, norming, and performing. Upon first forming, team members are positive and often anxious as they try to understand what their role will be within the team. Through challenging circumstances, the crew often reaches a storming stage where they begin pushing against their teammates and circumstances. This is the turning point of the course as the team moves on to the next stage where they resolve their differences, ask each other for help, and commit to a goal. Finally, teams excel in the performing phase, conquering previously unimaginable challenges together.
Blue Ridge Mountains, NC
The Blue Ridge Mountains, or Southern Appalachians, is one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world. While the mountains themselves formed over 250 million years ago, some of the rocks that underlie the region are over a billion years old.
The long geologic and evolutionary history of the Southern Appalachians has created one of the most biologically diverse regions in the temperate world; some even say it is “rainforest-like.” This region is home to beautiful rushing rivers, hundreds of waterfalls, and some of the highest peaks in the Eastern United States—including Mt. Mitchell (elevation 6,684’), the highest point east of the Mississippi River. Its diverse landscapes have been featured in many motion pictures, including The Hunger Games and The Last of the Mohicans.
Outward Bound students can expect to share the wilderness with over 700 different kinds of trees, more than 50 types of mammals, 150 different types of birds, and over 50 species of amphibians. The huge numbers of tree and plant life is actually what gives these mountains their namesake. Trees put the ‘blue’ in the Blue Ridge Mountains from the organic chemicals they release into the atmosphere, thereby contributing to the distinctive color of these mountains.
Temperatures in this area range from 50-85 degrees in the summer, 30-65 degrees in the spring and fall, and 10-50 degrees in the winter.
Outer Banks, NC
Dotted with lighthouses, the Outer Banks are a 200-mile-long string of narrow barrier islands beginning in the southeastern corner of Virginia Beach and going down the North Carolina coastline. The Core and Pamlico Sounds, which are along the Cape Lookout National Seashore, are where most of North Carolina Outward Bound School’s sea kayaking courses take place. This wilderness area remains minimally developed and offers the largest expanse of primal barrier island ecology available on the east coast. There are no residents on this 56-mile long section, which runs from Ocracoke Inlet in the northeast to Beaufort Inlet on the southeast.
The three undeveloped barrier islands that make up the seashore — North Core Banks, South Core Banks and Shackleford Banks — offer many natural and historical features. These low profile, sandy, thinly vegetated islands are an International Biosphere Reserve for research and conservation purposes. The unique ecosystem of the Outer Banks is made up of ocean waters, sandy beaches, vital wetlands, maritime forests, and a series of sounds, estuaries and salt marshes.
The diverse environment gives life to all kinds of creatures, from deer and wild horses, to sea turtles, ghost crabs and dolphins. Located on one of the great migratory flyways of America, birders come to the Outer Banks from all over the world to spot rare birds. The coastal winds of the Outer Banks still carry tales of The Lost Colony, Wilbur and Orville Wright and Blackbeard the Pirate. During the 19th century, the tricky shoals of the Outer Banks swallowed more than 650 ships, quickly earning the nickname "The Graveyard of the Atlantic." The result? An outcropping of lighthouses and shipwrecks, which continue to serve as famous landmarks for the Outer Banks today.
If you are ready to enroll on a course click the enroll button next to the course you wish to select or you can enroll over the phone by speaking with one of our Admissions Advisors (toll-free) at 866-467-7651.