Maine Rangeley Lakes Canoeing expeditions uncover opportunities for challenge and triumph in a unique wilderness environment while learning teamwork and leadership skills. Heading out on the lakes and rivers of western Maine, you will learn to camp and travel simply, relying on your group, the supplies you have on hand, and the skills you learn as you go. You’ll have the opportunity to become a master in lake navigation, paddling techniques, woods craftsmanship, weather observation and campsite setup, among other things. You’ll have time to sit on the rocks and reflect on your progress, and think about the journey that still lies ahead. Leadership responsibilities are shared so that every crew member is integral to planning the journey, and discovering how best to live and work closely together is equally as important as many of the wilderness skills you’ll acquire. The habits learned and strengthened through this backpacking and canoeing expedition will serve you long after you return home.
This course is closed for the season. 2020 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.
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, the group will portage (carry the canoes on their shoulders), and line (guide the loaded canoe down the sides of unrunnable rapids). Team work skills are honed as every member of the crew learns to communicate well as they coordinate efforts with paddling partners each day. Discovering the power of people truly working together is a keystone of the experience.
Among the mountains of western Maine are many granite cliffs, known locally as “Little Bear,” “Bald,” “Table Rock,” and “Square Ledges.” For one day of your course, the group will have the opportunity to learn to use climbing equipment, tie knots, and climb and belay each other as a team, either at a granite rock face en-route or on a ropes course at our base camp (weather permitting). Climbing develops balance, coordination, flexibility and grace. Climbing also presents many individual as well as group challenges that the whole group must accomplish by working together, and your Instructors will help you transfer learning from your canoe expedition experience to the rock face or ropes course.
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 one-week courses, solo is four to 12 hours long.
Nine-day courses for 13- to 14-year-olds are designed to introduce teenagers 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, 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. Students share ideas, experiment, triumph…and often fail, all under the close supervision of caring Instructors. While safety is conscientiously maintained, students may feel moments of frustration, disappointment and fatigue. These are the times when learning is most impactful. Instructors guide crew members to review their choices, weigh the results, decide what changes to make and try again. Through the process of failure and bouncing back, decision making skills are reinforced, as well as responsibility and resiliency, ensuring that the group knows that all successes are truly earned. Students return home motivated to engage more at home, at school, on teams and in their communities.
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.