This six-day rafting expedition is a chance for veterans to explore the volcanic landscape of the Pacific Northwest; to bond and support one another; and to develop skills and confidence that they can bring home to families, careers and communities.
Join other Veterans on the rafting expedition in Oregon for the opportunity to connect outside of the military on the wild and scenic Deschutes River. You and your team of other veterans will challenge yourselves physically and mentally while exploring amazing wilderness areas. You’ll take on Class II to Class IV rapids on the Deschutes River, which flows from the snowcapped Central Cascades to the Columbia River. You’ll learn paddle captaining skills, river hydrology, river safety, teamwork, campsite set-up, backcountry cooking and Leave No Trace – all in a beautiful desert river corridor carved through volcanic basalt and schist.
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Outward Bound Veterans expeditions build on camaraderie and the challenge of the natural world as a pathway to healing. These expeditions encourage participants to connect with existing strengths and bond with fellow veterans in a safe, positive, mission-driven environment. As they harness the power of wartime experiences like carrying heavy packs, moving fatigued muscles and sleeping outside, these courses help build the self-confidence and sense of purpose veterans need to continue serving as leaders in their families, communities and the nation.
Build core skills: Veterans receive hands-on training on expedition and personal skills. As part of an inclusive, supportive crew, they gain communication skills, establish trust and validate experiences among other veterans.
Practice Outward Bound values: Instructors focus on Outward Bound core values like compassion, integrity, excellence, inclusion and diversity to help veterans reflect, share insights and live in the present moment.
Process and Reflect: Journaling, one-on-one and group discussions help veterans understand how Outward Bound experiences might translate to coping skills back home.
What participants learn: Veterans return home inspired, ready to tap into rediscovered strengths and eager to find new ways to contribute to society.
of James Ryan
of James Ryan
of Colby Blue
Students will travel on the river in four to six person paddle rafts, and learn to “captain” (maneuver) their paddle raft team through Class II and III rapids. After lessons in basic river travel and safety, students will progress into learning to read currents, anticipate obstacles, scout rapids, and negotiate technical portions of the river. Students will also learn river hydrology, swimming in currents, paddle techniques, and expeditionary travel. While on the rafting expedition, there may also be an opportunity for short day hikes.
Deschutes River, Oregon
The Deschutes River is part of the national Wild & Scenic Rivers System. The river flows north from the Oregon Cascades to the Columbia River and then on to the Pacific Ocean. The Lower Deschutes is a popular river for both whitewater rafting and fly fishing. The river is spring-fed, which results in an unusually constant water flow and cold water. Excellent geologic evidence is present all around this area. Courses generally travel anywhere from fifty to one hundred miles along the Lower Deschutes. The rapids on the Deschutes are rated to Class IV, mostly Class II-III, and are excellent for learning paddle skills and teamwork. The group camps each night along the banks of the river. The Deschutes region has a colorful human history, and a railroad borders much of the length of the Lower Deschutes.
Service to others and the environment is a core value of Outward Bound and is integrated into each course. Groups follow Leave No Trace ethics as part of their service to the environment and engage in acts of service while leading and supporting fellow participants. Seeing the impact of their actions firsthand, students develop an ingrained appreciation of service and transfer this desire to serve their communities back home.
In order for profound learning to take place, there must be time to reflect on the experience. Within course, the solo is that opportunity. It is a chance to experience solitude in the wilderness without distraction while also taking a break from the physical rigors of course. Students experience time away from their group for short periods of time throughout the course. These “mini-solos” are at Solo sites chosen by Instructors to provide as much solitude as possible (within emergency whistle-signaling distance of other group members). Participants have all necessary equipment, food and water. On this course, Solos may range from 30 minutes to 24 hours.
This course will encourage students in the areas of leadership, character development, and service that are integral to Outward Bound. Students will develop these skills in an expedition setting so that they can continue to grow once they return home. Instructors will work to challenge students to try new things and step outside their comfort zones. As a team, each group will work together to complete difficult tasks necessary for backcountry travel. Courses for veterans are specifically focused on helping students engage their strengths and bond with fellow veterans, building the self-confidence and sense of purpose needed to continue serving as leaders in their families, communities and the nation.
The Deschutes River is part of the national Wild & Scenic Rivers System. The river flows north from the Oregon Cascades, feeds into the Columbia River, and ultimately to the Pacific Ocean. The Lower Deschutes is a popular river for whitewater rafting since the river is spring-fed, which results in an unusually constant water flow and cold water. Excellent geologic evidence is present all around this area. Courses generally travel anywhere from fifty to one hundred miles along the Lower Deschutes. The rapids on the Deschutes are rated to Class III, and are excellent for learning paddle skills and teamwork. The group camps each night along the banks of the river. The Deschutes region has a colorful human history, and a railroad borders much of the length of the Lower Deschutes.
Course Start, welcome and introductions, gear-check, course overview
Fitting and use of Personal Flotation Device, safety topics, captaining a raft, reading water, swim assessment, capsize drill, navigation, and camp-craft skills
Practice captaining a raft, scouting, throw bag drill, swimming activities
Opportunity for a day hike, rock jump, rock climbing, and/or rappelling. These activities are dependent on student and instructor outcomes for the course
Day run through the town of Maupin. Largest concentration of rapids