What would the ultimate Maine canoe, bushcraft, fishing and outdoor living program look like? We’ve thought about this for ten years and the 2010 4-week canoe expedition program comes pretty close.
It begins with our Riverman course, a week of solid instruction in canoeing, guide training and practical camping and outdoor living. Daily lessons with day trips to nearby lakes and rivers that steadily increase in difficulty, culminating in a run down the Big Machias River.
We’ll be working with large freight canoes, learning to pole, paddle and line them both tandem and solo.
After a short break, we’ll leave on an 8-day, 105 mile trip on the grandaddy of Maine canoe trips: the remote St. John River. We’ll be camping along the river as we paddle the rapids, explore the history, and live the timeless bush life.
When we get back to the field school, the Aroostook River will be starting to warm up and the native brook trout will be getting active. We’ll spend 3 days on instruction and field experience with all types of fishing. There’s a strong emphasis on fly fishing, but there is also instruction covering spinning and primitive methods. We also spend time fishing the surrounding streams, rivers and lakes, adding valuable field experience and providing delicious fish dinners.
Then we’ll head for the Allagash for a final week of camping, fishing, exploring and fine tuning the many lessons of the experience. The trip takes place during some of the peak fishing of the year, and we’ll take advantage of it. We’ll fish in spots that aren’t well-known and that get little fishing pressure. We’ll pole most of the way down the river, and discuss the history, both natural and human, of this beautiful region.
The whole experience takes place before the black flies and mosquitos come out for the year, during the high waters of May.
It includes a season pass to the North Maine Woods, so you could spend the rest of the summer and fall exploring, camping, and seeing the country.
There’s also an option to join us in June for a whitewater trip on Quebec’s Bonaventure River, which has 85 miles of white water as it rushes to the sea, at a reduced cost.
When the course is over, you’ll have learned the way of the river, how to plan and provision an extended trip, how to manage a group of people safely on a remote river, and how to deftly control a fully-loaded freight canoe. You’ll know how to cook delicious meals over an open fire, how to run an efficient and clean camp, and how to tell fishing stories that rival the seasoned raconteur. You’ll have four weeks of immersion into the lifestyle, mentoring in the skills, and experience in the bush. You’ll have an experience that will stay with you for the rest of your life.
Also, if you’re interested in the guiding profession, this experience will go a long way toward teaching you the craft and skills needed to excel. There’s no other program like it, anywhere, at any cost.
Space is limited to 10 spots. The 2010 dates are May 2-29, and the tuition is $3000. There’s a discount if you bring your own boat, and also if you register and pay before January 15th.
For more information about the program, go to the Bushcaft Canoe Expedition Program information page.