This nine-day backpacking journey is an opportunity for young teens to face new challenges in a unique wilderness environment and an intense team setting.
Maine Appalachian backpacking expeditions explore the remote stretches of the northern Appalachian Mountain range. Over mountains and trails you will learn to camp and travel simply, relying only on your group and what you can carry on your back. In a phased teaching progression, Instructors will introduce you to beginning, intermediate and advanced skills in mountain navigation, weather observation and campsite selection. 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 involved in 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 expedition will serve you for life and prepare you for whatever challenge comes next.
NOTE: Outward Bound strongly recommends that all students be vaccinated against COVID-19 and up to date as defined by the CDC prior to arriving to their course start. For all open enrollment courses beginning on or after April 15, 2023, Outward Bound will no longer require students to be vaccinated against COVID-19. For questions regarding this policy please see this page or call us at 866-467-7651.
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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, welcomes, equipment issue and check, introduction to camping
Team building: rock climbing or ropes course
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 core skills: Learn and practice wilderness, teamwork and leadership skills. Form a crew that supports and encourages one another, and in the thick of challenges, discover there is more in you than you know.
Practice Outward Bound values: Learn to incorporate Outward Bound values into everyday life by pushing your own limits and seeking challenge as an opportunity for personal growth.
Demonstrate mastery: As the course nears the end, take on more leadership and decision-making responsibilities. Work together to apply new skills and achieve team goals during this final phase of the expedition.
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.
Backpacking is an ideal combination of team and individual elements. The mountains of Maine are rugged and wooded and the trails are remote, narrow and often steep. Students travel on wilderness footpaths, navigating on and off trail throughout the journey. From atop the mountain peaks, if the weather cooperates, the group’s hard work is rewarded with spectacular views. Living and traveling with just what one can carry on their back is a simple existence, in which small choices can make deceptively great differences. To live well in the outdoors, 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 a turn fetching water and cooking satisfying meals.
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 in the vertical world. 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 on expedition, students are encouraged to practice service to the environment and their team by sharing responsibilities and following Recreate Responsibly ethics throughout the course.
The Solo experience provides an important break from the rigors of the expedition to give students quiet time to reflect on their 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. Campsites 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.
Nine-day courses for 13- to 14-year-olds are designed to introduce young teens to Outward Bound. Supportive Instructors teach the skills of wilderness travel and guide the formation of the group into an expedition team. As the students’ abilities grow, the Instructors intentionally and progressively challenge them to take on more responsibilities, try out more leadership roles and develop a heightened sense of self and purpose. Under the close supervision of caring Instructors, students are permitted to share ideas, experiment, triumph … and sometimes fail. While safety is conscientiously maintained, students may feel moments of frustration, disappointment, cold, wet and tired. At such times, the Instructors coach young teens to review their choices, weigh the results, decide what changes to make and try again. We find this teaches decision making, responsibility and resiliency—ensuring the group knows that all successes are truly theirs! Students return readier to fully participate and positively engage at home, at school, on teams and in their communities.
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. 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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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.
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.