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Fall Semester Wilderness Trips

In the fall, students choose from canoeing, hiking, and sea kayaking. Sea kayakers head out right from our waterfront and camp on secluded islands off the Maine coast. Floating just above the waterline, they often see seals and harbor porpoises in the waters around them as well as a wide variety of sea birds flying overhead. Backpackers hike the most challenging and beautiful section of the Appalachian Trail. Others head out to canoe on the rivers of northern Maine at the height of the fall colors.

Spring Semester Wilderness Trips

At the end of February, students and faculty fan out across the state to explore the Maine wilderness on snowshoes or cross-country skis while learning how to stay warm, dry, and well-fed in winter conditions. Some groups spend the week in canvas-walled tents with portable wood stoves, while others stay in simple cabins or yurts. Outdoor adventures in February cultivate a special sense of community.

Sailing trippers leave right from our waterfront and head out through Lower Hell’s Gate into the open ocean. Students learn to sail two wooden boats, Petrel and Guillemot, both built at Chewonki in the early ‘80s, and explore the islands, waters, and shoreline that make the Maine Coast famous.

Canoe trippers head to the North Woods to learn the fine points of paddle strokes, maneuvering their canoes through legendary rivers, lakes, and streams. They cook over a fire at remote campsites and come to appreciate the traditional way of traveling through Maine’s inland waters.

Whitewater kayakers base-camp at Chewonki’s Big Eddy property on the West Branch of the Penobscot River and paddle each day in the shadow of Mount Katahdin. They learn to read the river, safely maneuver rapids, and try learning to roll their kayak. In the evenings, they might bake pizza in a clay oven while watching fly fishermen casting in the river.

The hikers often head west to the unspoiled Mahoosuc Range, where they tackle the famous boulder fields of Mahoosuc Notch. They learn the arts of lightweight packing, route finding, and campsite selection. Conquering steep inclines, hikers earn the reward of spectacular mountaintop views.