“I never realized how important it would be for me to accomplish all the things I have on this trip. From the start, you knew how scared and nervous I was, yet you kept pushing me to go out of my comfort zone.
I’ve come to realize that to learn new things and grow in meaningful and important ways, everyone must go out of their comfort zone, like I did. I hiked the 3rd tallest mountain in Maine with a 55-pound backpack… I never believed that I could do something like that. I sold myself short. Now I know how strong I am, how simple life can be, and how to enjoy it. I can’t wait to see what the years ahead will bring.” Charlotte-age 17
Maine Appalachian backpacking and canoeing expeditions explore the remote stretches of the northern Appalachian mountain range, the Rangeley Lakes, and/or the Moosehead region of Maine’s Northwoods. This classic New England journey is an opportunity for those seeking a fresh challenge in a unique wilderness environment and an intense team setting. Instructors will introduce you to beginning, intermediate and advanced skills in mountain navigation, paddling technique, woods craftsmanship, weather observation and campsite selection as you live with and rely on your group and what you can carry on your backs. Regular group discussions allow for reflection on each day’s progress, and ensure that leadership and responsibilities are shared so that every crew member is integral to planning the next day. Through living and working closely together, your group will practice more than wilderness travel skills. The habits learned and strengthened through this backpacking and canoeing expedition will serve you for life, and for whatever challenge is next.
This course is closed for the season. 2019 courses coming soon.
Are you ready to take a journey that will change your life? You won’t look at day-to-day drama the same way after you’ve conquered a high mountain ridge, made a boat obey your command in windswept waves or slept under the stars watching bats swoop overhead. Joining an Outward Bound expedition changes you. Your crew, your Instructor, your route and your adventures will have a profound and lasting impact on you as you rise to meet exhilarating natural challenges in some of the country’s wildest places.
After you come home, many of the character, leadership and service traits you uncovered on your expedition stay with you, helping you navigate your daily life with more resilience and success.
Backpacking is an ideal combination of team and individual elements. The mountains of Maine are jagged and densely wooded, and the trails are remote, narrow and often steep. Students travel on wilderness footpaths; navigating on and off trail throughout the journey. From atop the mountain peaks, if the weather cooperates, the group’s hard work is rewarded with spectacular views. Living and traveling with just a backpack is a simple existence, in which small choices can make deceptively great differences. To live well in the wilderness, all crew members must share the chores that turn a camp into a home, including setting up tents and tarps, creating a kitchen area, taking turns fetching water and cooking satisfying meals.
Wilderness canoe expedition skills are the mark of a New England outdoorsperson. In the foothills of Maine’s mountains are networks of remote lakes and rivers. Students learn to maneuver canoes using paddle strokes such as the sweep, draw, pry and J-stroke. To get from one waterway into another, students portage (carry the canoes on their shoulders) and line (guide the loaded canoe down the sides of unrunnable rapids). In learning to work, communicate and coordinate efforts as paddling partners each day, students discover the power of truly working together.
Among the mountains of Maine are rocky crags that offer beginning, intermediate and challenging rock climbing. After learning to use climbing equipment, tie knots and belay each other, students test their balance, control and mental strength on the vertical rock faces nearby. In addition to stretching the limits of what they think they’re capable of, climbing hones their coordination, flexibility and grace on the rock. Depending upon the expedition route, technical rope activities may include a “via ferrate” or “Tyrolean traverse.” Climbing presents many individual challenges for students, while the team must work together to set systems up, communicate clearly and support each other throughout the climb.
Service projects are often incorporated into Outward Bound courses through coordination with local land managers, conservation groups, government agencies or social service agencies. While in the wilderness, students are encouraged to practice service to the environment and their team by sharing responsibilities and following Leave No Trace ethics throughout the expedition.
The Solo experience provides an important break from the rigors of the expedition to give students quiet time to reflect on the Outward Bound experience. With the basics of food and equipment, and with safety a top priority, students will take some time away from the group to be alone at sites of their own, using the wilderness skills learned during the first parts of the course. Often located along beautiful lake shorelines or peaceful rivers, Solo sites are chosen to offer as much solitude as possible (yet be within emergency whistle-signaling distance of other group members). Most students spend their Solo time journaling, drawing or just thinking and resting as they process lessons learned and focus on their goals for the future. Instructors check on each participant at regular intervals. The time students spend on Solo depends on the length of the course. On courses longer than three weeks, Solo is up to 72 hours long.
Students in high school are undergoing so many changes. At the beginning of the High School experience, it’s an exciting time for seeking freedoms and how to shoulder new responsibilities as they get closer to becoming an adult. As teenagers enter the final years of high school it’s more about transition, developing learning and life skills while preparing for what’s next, be it college, a career or a gap year adventure. To get ready for increased independence, older teens must be impelled to step up and make choices that have real consequences for themselves and others, with the support and supervision of knowledgeable and compassionate adults. Outward Bound Instructors on High School courses specialize in coaching students to meet challenges and make good decisions, independently and as a group. Students need only to be physically fit and motivated to learn and work together. No previous wilderness experience is necessary—all travel and leadership skills are taught from the beginning, and each phase of the expedition builds on the previous one. The impact of a three-week course is more than 50% greater than a two-week course because of the deeper degree of transferable learning, so students are encouraged to take the longest course that will fit into their life as the initiative, teamwork and problem solving skills that they take away from their course will help them reach any horizons they strive for.
The mountains of western Maine and northern New Hampshire comprise the northern end of the Appalachian mountain range. Within this region, the White Mountain National Forest, the Appalachian Trail, the Carter-Mahoosuc Range, the Hundred-Mile Wilderness, the Grafton Loop Trail and the Caribou-Speckled Mountain Wilderness all offer classic backpacking terrain. These spruce-fir and hardwood forests are home to hundreds of species of birds as well as moose, deer and black bear. Rushing waterfalls, clear twisting streams and spectacular views from rocky summits reward backpackers ready for adventure.
The upper reaches of the Androscoggin, Penobscot, Kennebec and Allagash watersheds are fed by Moosehead Lake and the Rangeley Lakes. Indigenous Abenaki peoples used these waterways as both a means of transportation between winter habitats inland, summer living on the coast and as a source of food. The great rivers of Maine were used to move logs to mills downstate during the logging boom of the nineteenth century. These days the lakes and rivers are used primarily by canoeists, fisherman and other recreationalists. Some of the portage trails here, such as along the Rapid River, have been in use for centuries.
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.