“A year and a half out of college I went into Voyageur Outward Bound's Pathfinder program feeling lost and anxious. I was excited for a break from the stressors of home and while I was optimistic about enjoying the experience, I vastly underestimated the life change I was about to experience. The Pathfinder curriculum is powerful because it offers practical life tools and then allows you to practice those skills in a wilderness setting where your survival depends on your ability to use those skills effectively alongside your fellow travelers. It is both the safest and the riskiest place to work on becoming your best self, because the consequences and the support are both very real.
Besides the excellent content of the course, Big Bend itself is a spectacular course area with an incredible amount of variation. I never expected to love the desert, but now I can't get it out of my head. I will never forget what I saw and the way it felt.
Pathfinder led me to further involvement with VOBS and put me on the path to becoming an instructor, but whether outdoor education is your interest or not Pathfinder courses offer powerful tools to re-imagine your life and redefine what you're capable of. I wanted to believe that everyone was capable of leadership, but I did not fully believe this about myself until this course.” – Yoshie - Pathfinder Texas Student
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 the stunning Minnesota wilderness. Prior to completion of the course, participate in a facilitated conversation where your whole family can gain insight into your experience and discuss how your newfound knowledge will transfer back to your daily life.
|VMPF-961||6.17.19 - 7.16.19||30||18 - 25||$6,125||ENROLL|
|VMPF-962||7.20.19 - 8.18.19||30||18 - 25||$6,125||ENROLL|
This course may be full or preparing to leave in the next week. Please call us at 866-467-7651 to discuss your options.
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.
Learn the art of paddling a canoe on an extended expedition 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, as well as 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 beyond where motorboats operate. Once there, it is possible to quietly observe bald eagles, moose and peaceful sunsets on mirror-calm lakes.
On the southern edge of the massive Canadian Shield, a granite rock formation that runs from Minnesota to Hudson Bay and the Northwest Territories, sits the largest freshwater lake in the world: Lake Superior. The Superior Hiking Trail follows the northern shore of Lake Superior from Duluth, Minnesota to Canada, covering almost 300 miles along the low-lying Sawtooth Mountain range. Students spend four to six days hiking on the trail. Well-marked trails, designated campsites and challenging terrain make the Superior Hiking Trail a great introductory backpacking experience.
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.
A day of whitewater canoeing or kayaking, depending on river conditions, adds 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.
During climbing days, students learn about general rock climbing equipment, safety and etiquette. Students have many opportunities to climb, belay and rappel while learning and employing safety systems that are compliant with national standards. The rock climbing sites provide a number of different route options including cracks, sheer faces and chimneys. Regardless of a student’s rock climbing background, they are sure to find a route that will encourage the expansion of their comfort zone.
Looking out over the top of the boreal forest and located 30 feet in the air, the high ropes course is incredible. 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.
Service is a cornerstone of every Outward Bound experience. From the seemingly small daily acts of service for the environment to the regular tasks of being part of an expeditionary team, students have ample opportunities to experience the value of giving back to the larger community. On the expedition, students are encouraged to practice environmental stewardship in the form of Leave No Trace ethics—leaving campsites and trails in better condition than they found them. Students also practice regular acts of service for their team by preparing and serving meals, securing drinking water, setting up camp, and giving your crew plenty of support.
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 decisions about their future, journal and enjoy the beauty of their surroundings unencumbered by the constant external stimulation of modern life. The duration of Solo depends on the course length and type, as well as the competency and preparedness of the student group. With all the food, skills and supplies they need, students are given a secluded spot to reflect alone, and are monitored by staff throughout the experience to maintain safety. 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:
Depart with written goals for the future along with increased resiliency to handle what challenges may come as they pursue their newly defined direction
Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Minnesota
Established in 1964, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) 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 one million acres in size, the BWCAW extends 150 miles along the Minnesota/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. It 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.
Superior Hiking Trail, Minnesota
The Superior Hiking Trail is a 296-mile footpath that largely follows the rocky ridgeline 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 thru-hike destination.
National Geographic says the Superior Hiking Trail “is the best long hike in the country between the Continental Divide and the Appalachian Trail.” At its lowest elevation, along the lakeshore, the trail is 602 feet above sea level. At its highest point the trail is 1,750 feet above sea level and more than 1,000 feet above Lake Superior. The Superior Hiking Trail is characterized by ascents to rock outcroppings and cliffs, and descents into numerous river and creek valleys that feature abundant wildlife viewing opportunities.
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.