Leave busy daily life behind traveling the remote waterways of the northeast wilderness on this 15-day whitewater canoeing and rock climbing expedition.
This is your opportunity to seek fresh challenges in a unique wilderness environment and an intense team setting. As you move through mountains, lakes and rivers, learn to camp and travel simply, relying on each other and what you can carry with you. Acquire beginning, intermediate and advanced skills in lake navigation, paddling technique, river hydrology, woods craftsmanship, weather observation, climbing site safety, risk management and campsite set up. Engage in regular group discussions, reflect on each day’s progress and ensure that leadership and responsibilities are shared so that every crew member is part of planning each day. As you live and work closely together, you’ll learn far more than wilderness travel skills. The habits learned and strengthened on this expedition will serve students for life.
NOTE: Outward Bound strongly recommends that all students be vaccinated against COVID-19 and up to date as defined by the CDC prior to arriving to their course start. For all open enrollment courses beginning on or after April 15, 2023, Outward Bound will no longer require students to be vaccinated against COVID-19. For questions regarding this policy please see this page or call us at 866-467-7651.
River Navigation, Service, Whitewater Canoeing, Rock Climbing
Basic First Aid
Basic Paddle Strokes
Belaying a Climber
Food Preparation and Cooking
Map and Compass
Water Safety and Rescue
Positive Risk Taking
This course is closed for the season.
APPLY NOW This means a course has several open spots and is actively processing applications.
APPLY NOW – Almost Full This means there are three or fewer currently available spots left on a course. To secure your spot click Apply Now to begin an application!
JOIN WAITLIST Once a course has reached capacity, three waitlist positions become available. To join a course’s waitlist, click “Join Waitlist” to begin the application process. A $500 deposit is required. This $500 deposit includes a $150 non-refundable application fee and a $350 tuition payment. The $350 tuition payment is refundable only if you cancel your waitlist application or if an open position does not become available. If a position does become available, the applicant will be applied to the open position and the Application and Cancellation Policies of the Regional Outward Bound School will be followed, including forfeiture of the $500 deposit if you cancel 90 days or less prior to the course start date.
Waitlist applicants are encouraged to complete all required admissions documents while awaiting an open position. Positions may become available up to two weeks prior to the course start date. Applicants may only apply to one course. We recommend applying to a course with open positions instead of a course that is accepting waitlist applications. If you have questions, please call 866-467-7651 to speak with one of our Admissions Advisors.
CALL TO APPLY This means a course is very close to its start date. Although it is unlikely to secure a spot this late, you can call the National Admissions office at 866-467-7651 to discuss your options.
COURSE IS FULL When a course has reached maximum capacity, meaning all spots and the three waitlist spots are occupied, a course will read “Course Is Full.” This means applications are no longer being accepted.
CLOSED As a course nears its start date, the availability status may read “Closed.” In this event, a course roster has been finalized and applications are no longer being accepted or processed.
Travel to course, welcome, equipment issue and check, introduction to camping
Final expedition, return to basecamp
Personal challenge event, equipment clean up and de-issue
It’s time to make your own adventure. Outward Bound’s Classic expeditions for middle and high school students are built with you in mind. Make new friends, sleep under the stars, and learn skills like backcountry navigation and how to cook a delicious meal no matter where you are. You’ve got this! Whether you’re in a raft or on a mountainside, you’ll learn what you’re made of – and you’ll see first-hand how far teamwork can take you. Join us for an unforgettable challenge and discover a whole new way to get outside.
Build skills, form connections: Learn and practice wilderness, teamwork and leadership skills. Find connections with your crewmates based on support and respect (and fun too!), and in the thick of challenges, discover there is more in you than you know.
Value strengths and strengthen values: Uncover your unique character strengths, develop your leadership abilities and learn how to let compassion in to everyday life by pushing your own limits and working alongside your peers.
Demonstrate mastery: As you gain confidence in new skills, take on more decision-making responsibilities. Work together to achieve team goals, solve problems and succeed both as individuals and as a group.
What you’ll learn: Your connections matter – working together to navigate challenges will quickly turn your crewmates into friends. Together, you’ll find opportunities to carry more weight (literally and figuratively) and make impactful decisions with accompanying consequences. It’s all about confidence, communication, and independence.
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.
Wilderness canoe expedition skills are the mark of a New England outdoorsperson. In the heart of Maine’s Northwoods are networks of remote lakes and rivers that flow through a five million acre forest. Students learn to maneuver canoes using paddle strokes such as the sweep, draw, pry and J-stroke. To get from one waterway into another, the group will portage (carry the canoes on their shoulders) and line (guide the loaded canoe down the sides of unrunnable rapids). On whitewater, students practice swimming in rapids (so they will know what to do in the event of a capsize) and learn whitewater strokes, river reading skills, route finding and rescue techniques. Whitewater sections like “Seboomook,” “The Sluice,” “Surprise,” and “The Maze” test students’ draw, cross-draw and bracing techniques. Upstream travel is achieved by “poling,” another traditional means of travel that involves propelling a canoe upstream using a 12 foot long setting pole. In learning to work, communicate well and coordinate efforts with their paddling partners each day, students discover the power of people truly working together
Among the waterways of the Maine Northwoods are many granite cliffs, known locally as “Half Dome” and “Big Moose.” The group 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. Climbing presents many individual challenges for the group, while the team must work together to set systems up.
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 of 15-22 days, Solo will include at least one overnight.
Students in high school are undergoing 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.
of Wilderness Education & Adventure in Maine | Outward Bound
The upper reaches of the Penobscot, Kennebec and Allagash watersheds in Maine’s Northwoods is the land that Thoreau immortalized in The Maine Woods. The known history of this five million acre forest begins with the indigenous Abenaki people, who lived along the banks of these rivers during the winter, planted crops in the spring and then traveled downstream by canoe to coastal summer sites. After the discovery of massive white pines in the 17th century, these waterways were used by Europeans to transport logs from the forests to the mills downstream. These days, the forests, lakes and rivers are used primarily by canoeists, fisherman and other recreationalists.
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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.
To secure your spot on a course you must submit an enrollment form and $500 deposit that is applied toward the total cost of the course and includes a $150 non-refundable enrollment processing fee.