Maine Appalachian backpacking and canoeing expeditions explore the remote stretches of the northern Appalachian mountain range and the Rangeley Lakes. Over mountains, lakes and rivers, you will learn to camp and travel simply, relying on your group and what they can carry on their backs. In a phased teaching progression, instructors will introduce you to beginning, intermediate and advanced skills in mountain navigation, paddling technique, woods craftsmanship, weather observation and campsite selection. 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. 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.
Backpacking is an ideal combination of team and individual elements. The mountains of Maine are rugged and wooded and the trails are remote, narrow and often steep. At times you will travel on wilderness footpaths, sometimes you will navigate off trail. From mountain peaks on clear days the group is rewarded with spectacular views. Living and traveling with just what you can carry on your back is a simple existence, in which small choices can make deceptively great differences. To live well in the outdoors, 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 a turn fetching water and cooking satisfying meals.
Wilderness canoe expedition skills are the mark of a New England outdoors person. In the foothills of Maine’s mountains are networks of remote lakes and rivers. You will 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 un-runnable rapids). In learning to work, communicate well and coordinate efforts as paddling partners each day, you will discover the power of two people truly working together.
Among the mountains of western Maine are many granite cliffs, known locally as “Little Bear,” “Bald,” “Table Rock” and “Square Ledges.” You will learn to use climbing equipment, tie knots, climb and belay each other, while instructors provide overall supervision of the site. Climbing hones and develops balance, 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 your 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 on expedition, students are encouraged to practice service to the environment and their team by sharing responsibilities and following Leave No Trace ethics throughout the course.
The solo experience provides an important break from the rigors of the expedition and gives students the opportunity to reflect on their Outward Bound experience. With sufficient food and equipment, students will set up camp at sites of their own, using the wilderness skills learned during the first half or two-thirds of the course. The time students spend on solo depends on the length of the course. On one-week courses, solo is four to 12 hours long; on courses three weeks or longer, solo will be up to 72 hours.
Often located along beautiful shorelines or peaceful rivers, campsites 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 of the course to focus on their goals for the future. Instructors check on each participant at least daily.
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 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 watershed is fed by Aziscohos Lake, the Magalloway River and the Rangeley Lakes. Indigenous Abenaki peoples used the Androscoggin as both a means of transportation between winter habitats inland, summer living on the coast, and as a source of food. Later the Androscoggin River was 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.