No previous rafting experience is required on this six-day expedition, which provides veterans with the opportunity to develop leadership, community and personal strength alongside fellow service members.
As they venture into some of the best whitewater in the West, participants learn both the basics and the fine points of managing a paddle raft. Skilled instructors teach and guide participants so that they can fully embrace the awe-inspiring river landscapes and tackle exhilarating mental and physical challenges. This expedition is all about learning to paddle a raft, taking in exquisite natural beauty, and stopping often to explore unforgettable viewpoints. Not to mention camping beneath the pristine night skies of Southern Utah.
This course is not currently accepting enrollments. Please check back.
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 Mark Moody
Each day on the river is spent learning to recognize and navigate various obstacles and hazards in the river, and how to anticipate the forces of the current from far enough upstream. Participants will work to become a team, coordinating spacing and paddle strokes. They will have an opportunity to be the captain of their raft and practice new skills as they maneuver through adrenaline-filled rapids and flat-water sections.
In places, the canyon rims rise thousands of feet above, enclosing participants in a remote world of rushing water, delicate ecosystems and unbelievable beauty. Most courses get the opportunity to take day hikes away from the river and up to the canyon rim. These hikes provide amazing views, a change of pace and often the chance to see Native American ruins, petroglyphs, pictographs and strange but beautiful geological formations.
Depending on permits and river conditions, the course takes place in one of the following regions:
Cataract Canyon- Colorado River, Utah
One of the most rugged and beautiful canyons in the West, Cataract Canyon takes participants through the heart of Canyonlands National Park. Participants learn how to guide a whitewater raft as they float past natural wonders and ancient ruins to the confluence of the Colorado and Green Rivers.
Gates of Lodore – Green River, Colorado and Utah
Whitewater on the Green River begins at the course start, where the river enters the imposing Gates of Lodore Canyon. Red sandstone escarpments rise up 2,000 feet above the river as it carves a 45-mile course of placid flat-water and raging rapids through three dramatic canyons—Lodore, Whirlpool and Split Mountain. This section of river is enclosed within Dinosaur National Monument, and participants are privileged to witness the towering cliffs as well as rock art from the Fremont Indians, who called these canyons home over 1000 years ago.
Yampa River – Colorado and Utah
There are few instances in the United States or the world where a river runs free and wild without dams, highways, railroads, or other manmade creations for its entire length. The Yampa is a symbol of wild rivers around the world, and it is the only major tributary of the Colorado River system without a dam controlling its flow. Participants paddle through deep sandstone gorges and class II-IV rapids with their crewmates. The Yampa is one of the most sought after rivers on any river-runner’s life-list due to the exhilarating whitewater, rich Native American history from over one thousand years ago, storied recent political history, and riverside wildlife.