Navigate the rugged and unique Mojave Desert with fellow female veterans on a 6 day long desert backpacking expedition.
This is an opportunity for women-identified veterans to find challenge, purpose and camaraderie while developing skills and confidence that you’ll bring home to your communities, careers and families.As a team, you’ll work together to navigate the course area, cook backcountry meals and set-up camp under the bright starry night sky of Joshua Tree.
This course is not currently accepting enrollments. Please check back.
Outward Bound Veterans expeditions focus on team camaraderie and the opportune challenges available in nature as tools to build connections and successes beyond military life. These expeditions encourage participants to explore their strengths and bond with fellow veterans in a safe, positive, goal-oriented environment that allows each veteran to apply their service skills in new ways. From carrying heavy packs, moving fatigued muscles and sleeping outside to exerting leadership, communication and decision-making skills, these courses help shape and support the self-confidence and sense of purpose many veterans need to continue serving as leaders in their families, communities and the nation.
Build skills, form connections: Veterans receive hands-on training in wilderness, adaptability and personal leadership skills. As part of an inclusive, supportive crew, they gain added strength in their communication abilities, establish trust and validate experiences with other veterans.
Value strengths and strengthen values: Beyond the structure and discipline of military service, Outward Bound focuses on resiliency, compassion, integrity, inclusion and diversity to help veterans reflect, share insights and experience each moment and triumph with new perspective.
Demonstrate mastery: Mastery is not just about conquering wilderness navigation skills. Reflection and self-awareness are equally vital to a veteran’s Outward Bound experience, equipping every Veteran student with new understanding and possibilities for coping they can use in their day-to-day lives.
What you’ll learn: Veterans return home energized, ready to tap into rediscovered strengths and eager to find new ways to contribute to family, work, community and the world.
Each veteran student returns home from their Outward Bound expedition having discovered more about themselves and what they want to achieve, how to overcome setbacks and, most importantly, how to move forward to reach important new milestones.
This course is designed for those either new to backpacking, or who have some experience and are interested in exploring the desert environment. The wildly beautiful Joshua Tree National Park receives more than a million visitors each year, but only a handful of those venture beyond the parking lot. With this up-close view, participants will see the rich ecosystem of birds and animals beside the parks’ namesake, the Joshua Tree, cactus and palms.
Participants will learn basic backcountry skills such as navigation and how to assess and adapt to varying weather conditions. As Outward Bound courses are not guided trips, participants share the weight of food and gear carried in backpacks, and divide camp chores like cooking, cleaning, and tarp setup.
Service to others and to the environment are core values of Outward Bound and they are integrated into each course. Participants follow Leave No Trace ethics as part of their service to the environment. Veterans students enhance their already ingrained appreciation of service with multiple small acts of service with and for their crewmates while leading and supporting each other throughout the journey.
Joshua Tree is in a high desert, where rugged mountains and desert plateaus were sculpted by wind and rain. Three distinct ecosystems come together to form this land of extremes: the dark, cold, starry nights and warm, sandy and boulder-filled days. Participants will travel through granite monoliths and through narrow canyons that have attracted travelers from around the world long before the national park was established in 1936.
The Mojave Desert’s sunny fall weather is generally dry and rainfall is sparse, though unpredictable thunderstorms do occur. Temperatures can vary, averaging 50-80 degrees during the day to a cool 30 at night.
Travel in the desert takes careful planning to ensure an ample water supply. Logistics staff place water and food caches around the park to enable extended backcountry travel in this unique wilderness.
Arrival, issue gear, hike in and camp in the back-country
Backpacking, learn backcountry skills
Hike to trailhead, clean/de-issue gear, graduation/banquet