Deliberately focused on character development, personal leadership, self-awareness and accountability, this expedition is designed to cultivate confident and compassionate young adults. While you’ll certainly acquire an extensive range of practical outdoor and life skills, even more important is the confidence, independence and pride that comes from mastering those skills. Learn to take risks, take ownership for your actions and identify your own strengths – all amidst stunning Minnesota wilderness. Prior to completion of the course, participate in a facilitated family conversation where the entire family can gain insight into your experience and discuss how your newfound knowledge will transfer back to your daily lives.
This course is closed for the season. 2019 courses coming soon.
Our Pathfinder expeditions are designed for young adults who are recent high school graduates, college students, or young adults seeking personal, educational, or professional direction. Throughout these 30-day expeditions, students focus on increasing self-knowledge, clarifying values, strengthening decision-making skills and processes, and setting goals – all life skills to help chart a path toward independence with confidence and passion.
Students complete an extended canoe expedition. This expedition includes learning the art of paddling a canoe in a variety of conditions, as well as map and compass reading, route finding and Leave No Trace wilderness living principles. Groups navigate a variety of waterways such as lakes, rivers and swamps, working as a team to carry packs and canoes over portage trails when transitioning from one lake to another or to get safely around challenging rapids. Traveling by canoe allows groups to go far past where motorboats operate. Once there it is possible to quietly observe bald eagles, moose and peaceful sunsets on mirror-calm lakes.
Students spend four to six days backpacking on the Superior Hiking Trail in the densely wooded Sawtooth Mountains. This picturesque and undulating trail follows the north shore of Lake Superior, the largest freshwater lake in the world. The 250-mile trail offers forested hiking, expansive ridge-top vistas, exquisite canyon trails and extensive river systems.
This course offers students the opportunity to increase their skill and knowledge of whitewater paddling, progressing from maneuvering in small currents to more challenging rapids (up to Class III). Emphasis is placed on boat control, safety and enjoying the thrill of whitewater paddling.
Two days of whitewater canoeing and a half-day of whitewater kayaking add to the excitement and breadth of the experience. Students learn how to “read” water and trust themselves to make split-second decisions in order to determine the best routes through the rushing waves.
Students have the opportunity to climb at two stunning outdoor rock climbing sites. Each climbing site provides a number of different route options including cracks, sheer faces and chimneys. Regardless of a student’s climbing background, they are sure to find something that will both engage them and encourage the expansion of their comfort zone. Students learn about general rock climbing equipment, safety and etiquette before learning how to belay. The climbing day provides ample opportunities for students to climb, belay and rappel. All Outward Bound rock climbing experiences are carefully supervised and utilize safety systems that are compliant with national standards.
Looking out over the top of the boreal forest, the high ropes course is an incredible obstacle course set 30-feet in the air. Students swing from Tarzan ropes, walk on tightrope wires and climb a cargo net before jumping on the zip line for an exhilarating ride back to solid ground.
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. Many students use this reflection time to make significant decisions about their future, journal or write letters to friends and family. The duration of solo depends on the course length and type, as well as the competency and preparedness of the student group. Students on a Pathfinder Course typically experience a 24-48 hour solo. Regardless of solo length, all students receive sufficient food, water and shelter to keep them safe and healthy. Students find that solo provokes profound and powerful learning in a short period of time and often becomes one of the most memorable parts of their Outward Bound experience.
A 30-day Pathfinder course provides the opportunity to chart a path, the motivation to begin the journey, and the skills required to achieve personal and professional goals. While adventuring in the backcountry and tackling physical, mental and emotional challenges, students will:
Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and the Superior Hiking Trail of Minnesota
Established in 1964, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is a labyrinth of lakes and rock that has been specifically protected as a true American wilderness. No roads, power lines or motorized craft may enter its borders. Therefore, the Boundary Waters wilderness has changed little since its unveiling when the glaciers melted 10,000 years ago.
Over 1 million acres in size, the BWCAW extends 150 miles along the Canadian border. With over 1,200 miles of canoe routes, nearly 2,200 designated campsites and more than 1,000 lakes and streams, the BWCAW is a truly amazing place to experience the wilderness.
The BWCAW contains portage-linked lakes and streams, interspersed with islands, forests and crags. It has no piped water, prepared shelters, or signs to point the way. Within these borders you can canoe, portage, and camp in the spirit of the French-Canadian Voyageurs of 200 years ago. The Boundary Waters' paddling routes offer outstanding opportunities for solitude, remoteness, teamwork, adventure and challenge.
The Superior Hiking Trail (SHT) is a 296-mile footpath that largely follows the rocky ridge line above Lake Superior on Minnesota's North Shore from Duluth to the Canadian border. Well-marked trails, campsites, and challenging terrain make this a perfect way to start the trip while building teamwork, increasing endurance and gaining general outdoor skills to prepare for the canoe expedition.
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.