Maine Appalachian backpacking expeditions explore the remote stretches of the northern Appalachian mountain range. Over mountains and trails you will learn to camp and travel simply, relying only 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, 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 involved in 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 expedition will serve you for life, and prepare you for whatever challenge comes next.
This course is closed for the season. 2020 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 students travel on wilderness footpaths and at other times they navigate off trail. From mountain peaks on clear days the group is rewarded with spectacular views. Living and traveling with just what one can carry on their 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.
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 in the vertical world. 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 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 to give students quiet time to reflect on their 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. 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 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.
Nine-day courses for 13- to 14-year-olds are designed to introduce young teens to Outward Bound. Supportive instructors teach the skills of wilderness travel and guide the formation of the group into an expedition team. As the students’ abilities grow, the instructors intentionally and progressively challenge them to take on more responsibilities, try out more leadership roles and develop a heightened sense of self and purpose. Under the close supervision of caring instructors, students are permitted to share ideas, experiment, triumph … and sometimes fail. While safety is conscientiously maintained, students may feel moments of frustration, disappointment, cold, wet and tired. At such times, the instructors coach young teens to review their choices, weigh the results, decide what changes to make and try again. We find this teaches decision making, responsibility, and resiliency and ensures that the group knows that all successes are truly theirs! Students return readier to fully participate and positively engage at home, at school, on teams and in their communities.
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.
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.