Spend 15 days in mountains, lakes and rivers, camping and traveling through the unforgettable wilderness of Maine.
Maine Appalachian backpacking and canoeing expeditions explore the remote stretches of the northern Appalachian Mountain range, the Rangeley Lakes, and/or the Moosehead region of Maine’s Northwoods. This classic New England journey is an opportunity for those seeking a fresh challenge in a unique wilderness environment and an intense team setting. Instructors will introduce you to beginning, intermediate, and advanced skills in mountain navigation, paddling technique, woods craftsmanship, weather observation, and campsite selection as you live with and rely on your group and what you can carry on your backs. Regular group discussions allow for reflection on each day’s progress and ensure that leadership and responsibilities are shared so that every crew member is integral to planning the next day. Through living and working closely together, your group will practice more than wilderness travel skills. The habits learned and strengthened through this backpacking and canoeing expedition will serve you for life, and for whatever challenge is next.
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This course starts within the next week. Please call us at 866-467-7651 to assess the possibility of applying for this course!
APPLY NOW This means a course has several open spots and is actively processing applications.
APPLY NOW – Almost Full This means there are three or fewer currently available spots left on a course. To secure your spot click Apply Now to begin an application!
JOIN WAITLIST Once a course has reached capacity, three waitlist positions become available. To join a course’s waitlist, click “Join Waitlist” to begin the application process. A $500 deposit is required. This $500 deposit includes a $150 non-refundable application fee and a $350 tuition payment. The $350 tuition payment is refundable only if you cancel your waitlist application or if an open position does not become available. If a position does become available, the applicant will be applied to the open position and the Application and Cancellation Policies of the Regional Outward Bound School will be followed, including forfeiture of the $500 deposit if you cancel 90 days or less prior to the course start date.
Waitlist applicants are encouraged to complete all required admissions documents while awaiting an open position. Positions may become available up to two weeks prior to the course start date. Applicants may only apply to one course. We recommend applying to a course with open positions instead of a course that is accepting waitlist applications. If you have questions, please call 866-467-7651 to speak with one of our Admissions Advisors.
CALL TO APPLY This means a course is very close to its start date. Although it is unlikely to secure a spot this late, you can call the National Admissions office at 866-467-7651 to discuss your options.
COURSE IS FULL When a course has reached maximum capacity, meaning all spots and the three waitlist spots are occupied, a course will read “Course Is Full.” This means applications are no longer being accepted.
CLOSED As a course nears its start date, the availability status may read “Closed.” In this event, a course roster has been finalized and applications are no longer being accepted or processed.
Travel to course, welcome, equipment issue and check, introduction to camping
Begin backpacking expedition
Final expedition, return to basecamp
Personal challenge event, equipment clean-up and de-issue
It’s time to make your own adventure. Outward Bound’s Classic expeditions for middle and high school students are built with you in mind. Make new friends, sleep under the stars, and learn skills like backcountry navigation and how to cook a delicious meal no matter where you are. You’ve got this! Whether you’re in a raft or on a mountainside, you’ll learn what you’re made of – and you’ll see first-hand how far teamwork can take you. Join us for an unforgettable challenge and discover a whole new way to get outside.
Build skills, form connections: Learn and practice wilderness, teamwork and leadership skills. Find connections with your crewmates based on support and respect (and fun too!), and in the thick of challenges, discover there is more in you than you know.
Value strengths and strengthen values: Uncover your unique character strengths, develop your leadership abilities and learn how to let compassion in to everyday life by pushing your own limits and working alongside your peers.
Demonstrate mastery: As you gain confidence in new skills, take on more decision-making responsibilities. Work together to achieve team goals, solve problems and succeed both as individuals and as a group.
What you’ll learn: Your connections matter – working together to navigate challenges will quickly turn your crewmates into friends. Together, you’ll find opportunities to carry more weight (literally and figuratively) and make impactful decisions with accompanying consequences. It’s all about confidence, communication, and independence.
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.
Backpacking is an ideal combination of team and individual elements. The mountains of Maine are jagged and densely wooded, and the trails are remote, narrow and often steep. Students travel on wilderness footpaths, navigating on and off trail throughout the journey. On clear days, the group is rewarded with spectacular views from atop mountain peaks. Living and traveling with just a backpack is a simple existence, in which small choices can make deceptively great differences. To live well in the wilderness, all crew members must share the chores that turn a camp into a home, including setting up tents and tarps, creating a kitchen area, taking turns fetching water and cooking satisfying meals.
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, students portage (carry the canoes on their shoulders) and line (guide the loaded canoe down the sides of rapids that the crew isn't able to run). In learning to work, communicate and coordinate efforts as paddling partners each day, students discover the power of truly working together.
Among the mountains of Maine are rocky crags that offer beginning, intermediate and challenging rock climbing. After learning to use climbing equipment, tie knots and belay each other, students test their balance, control and mental strength on the vertical rock faces nearby. In addition to stretching the limits of what they think they’re capable of, climbing hones their coordination, flexibility and grace on the rock. Depending upon the expedition route, technical rope activities may include a “via ferrate” or “Tyrolean traverse.” Climbing presents many individual challenges for students, while the team must work together to set systems up, communicate clearly and support each other throughout the climb.
Service projects are often incorporated into Outward Bound courses through coordination with local land managers, conservation groups, government 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 Recreate Responsibly 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 courses longer than three weeks, Solo is up to 72 hours long.
Students in high school are undergoing many changes. At the beginning of the high school experience, it’s an exciting time for seeking freedoms and how to shoulder new responsibilities as they get closer to becoming an adult. As teenagers enter the final years of high school, it’s more about transition, developing learning, and life skills while preparing for what’s next, be it college, a career or a gap year adventure. To get ready for increased independence, older teens must be impelled to step up and make choices that have real consequences for themselves and others, with the support and supervision of knowledgeable and compassionate adults. Outward Bound Instructors on high school courses specialize in coaching students to meet challenges and make good decisions, independently and as a group. Students need only to be physically fit and motivated to learn and work together. No previous wilderness experience is necessary—all travel and leadership skills are taught from the beginning, and each phase of the expedition builds on the previous one. The impact of a three-week course is more than 50% greater than a two-week course because of the deeper degree of transferable learning, so students are encouraged to take the longest course that will fit into their life as the initiative, teamwork and problem-solving skills that they take away from their course will help them reach any horizons they strive for.
The mountains of western Maine and northern New Hampshire comprise the northern end of the Appalachian Mountain range. Within this region, the White Mountain National Forest, the Appalachian Trail, the Carter-Mahoosuc Range, the Hundred-Mile Wilderness, the Grafton Loop Trail and the Caribou-Speckled Mountain Wilderness all offer classic backpacking terrain. These spruce-fir and hardwood forests are home to hundreds of species of birds as well as moose, deer and black bear. Rushing waterfalls, clear twisting streams, and spectacular views from rocky summits reward backpackers ready for adventure.
The upper reaches of the Androscoggin, Penobscot, Kennebec, and Allagash watersheds are fed by Moosehead Lake and the Rangeley Lakes. Indigenous Abenaki peoples used these waterways as both a means of transportation between winter habitats inland, summer living on the coast and as a source of food. The great rivers of Maine were 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, fishermen and other recreationalists. Some of the portage trails here, such as along the Rapid River, have been in use for centuries. These regions are the ancestral lands of the Wabanaki Confederacy, which includes Abenaki/Abénaquis, W∂last∂kwiyik (Maliseet), Penobscot, and Passamaquoddy nations.
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To secure your spot on a course you must submit an enrollment form and $500 deposit that is applied toward the total cost of the course and includes a $150 non-refundable enrollment processing fee.