Learn whitewater canoeing and backpacking skills as you and your crew explore the Western North Carolina region - home to hundreds of waterfalls, over a million acres of national forest, park and public land, roaring rivers and the highest peaks in the eastern United States. Spend most of the course backpacking over varied terrain, with plenty of breaks along the way to enjoy the views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the company of your crew. Spend a few days paddling through cool river rapids – a portion of the course that helps break up the on-foot expedition days. As you work together with your group to meet daily goals, you’ll be learning new skills in backcountry travel and whitewater canoeing and developing confidence, teamwork and leadership skills for the future.
This course is closed for the season. 2018 courses coming soon.
No two Outward Bound expeditions are ever quite the same. Every crew is unique; every route is distinct; and every adventure is dynamic. But one thing remains the same. On each course, students rise to meet exhilarating natural challenges in some of the country’s wildest places – and find strength and determination along the way.
During this course, students will be backpacking in the Pisgah National Forest where they will learn safety precautions for backcountry foot travel, how to find campsites and how to navigate varied terrain using a map and compass, as well as how to do these activities responsibly using Leave No Trace principles. Equally important will be time spent learning conflict resolution, communication styles, leadership and team building. After practicing these skills, the instructors will step back and let the crew work together to collectively navigate through the wilderness.
During this course students spend a few days maneuvering Class I-III whitewater through sculpted rock channels in tandem (two person) canoes, which are perfect for fostering collaboration and communication skills between crewmates. Students will execute synchronized strokes, dynamic eddy turns, peel-outs and ferries on either the French Broad or Tuckaseegee Rivers and occasionally on either The Chattooga, New or Nantahala Rivers. Some of the topics crews may cover during this portion of the course include basic water safety and rescue techniques, identification and use of equipment, how to work with paddling partners to successfully negotiate class l-III rapids and flat water and whitewater paddling strokes.
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 will be given all the necessary gear, food, water and skills to enjoy this time alone. They will also know the location of their instructors’ solo site should they need to contact them for any reason, and Instructors will be monitoring students closely during this experience. This experience is a great opportunity for students to relax, recharge and reflect on their course after having long days of strenuous group activities.
Acquire a taste for adventure. Courses less than 14 days in length provide a perfect introduction to the Outward Bound experience, reminding students of their connection nature and leaving them feeling inspired to take on real challenge. Through these condensed experiences, students become comfortable living and working together the wilderness while practicing the four pillars of, craftsmanship, self-reliance, physical fitness and compassion. They also create a solid foundation of skill sets that they can further build upon once off course.
Blue Ridge Mountains, NC
The Southern Appalachians, including the Blue Ridge Mountains, are some of the oldest mountains 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. It 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 feet), the highest point east of the Mississippi River. 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.
This course area is situated within a million acres of national forests, federally-protected wilderness areas, and other public lands. Its diverse landscapes have been featured in many motion pictures, including The Hunger Games and The Last of the Mohicans.
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.
“I just got off the phone with Casey and the voice I heard brought tears to my eyes. She talked for nearly an hour about her past nine days with such clarity and conviction ... she did not sound like the same woman I left last week. From my life experiences, there are not many things in this world that work as consistently, effectively and with unparalleled integrity over such a long period of time as Outward Bound. Her experience seems as profound to her as it was to me when I was at Table Rock nearly 40 years ago.” - Outward Bound alumnus
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.