There is nothing like the Wilderness Canoe Expedition Semester available elsewhere. If you want to become proficient at living and traveling by canoe in the wilderness, the best path is to undergo a month on the river working as part of a team under the tutelage of experienced guides. There is simply no other way to get that experience except by doing it. We’ve run a lot of these 4-week expeditions over the years. Here are five things that make the them unique.
1. Paddling Solo In Big Canoes
We solo in 18 and 20 foot canoes. The modern world says this can’t be done, that you need a 12 foot canoe if you’re by yourself. But we’ve got 20 years of experience doing and teaching this. If you want to guide others, you need to be able to handle a big boat alone in case someone gets hurt. It takes more skill, but after several hundred miles traveling across northern Maine, it’s a skill you’ll own.
2. Cooking Every Meal Over A Fire With No Stove Backup
Four weeks in the forests of northern Maine with no camp stove. If you want to take your fire and cooking skills to the next level, rely solely on them for a month in remote locations with no backup plan if things get wet. You will complete the course with more real-world fire experience than many popular instructors, simply as a result of doing it day after day in a variety of weather conditions.
3. Axemanship As Daily Life
To cook for a group on a fire every day, you need wood. We get that wood in the forest with an axe. You’ll learn to find the dry wood in a forest consisting of mostly damp and wet wood. This goes way beyond the basics you can learn in a classroom.
4. Using Traditional Canoe Skills: Poling And Lining
Traditional canoe skills like poling and lining are seeing an uptick in interest. Learn them from guides with 20 years of professional experience, then use them not as part of an abstract exercise in an empty canoe on a pond, but as part of living and traveling in the forest.
5. Upstream Travel, Not Just Downstream
Before the outboard motor and the logging road, the only way into remote areas was to travel upstream. These skills are nearly lost in our modern world of convenience and downstream-only travel. Learn to to it the old way. It’s hard, but the experience opens up another world.
We still have a few spots left on our July-August 2018 Wilderness Canoe Expedition Semester. If you’re serious about leading groups by canoe in the back country, give it serious consideration.