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|Remaining Balance Due*:||$2,995.00|
St. Croix River National Wild and Scenic Riverway, Minnesota and Wisconsin
The St. Croix River system was one of the initial 8 rivers to be designated as a National Wild and Scenic River in 1968. With 200-miles of canoe routes lined by an ever changing landscape of dense forest, towering rock walls and oak savannah, the St. Croix River provides a wonderful introduction to paddling.
Multiple different rivers, including the St. Croix River’s largest tributary, the Namekagon River in Wisconsin, converge to eventually become the border between Wisconsin and Minnesota. This section of protected river concludes near Minnesota’s Interstate State Park. Interstate State Park contains some of the most outstanding and unique geological features to be found anywhere in the world, including 10 different lava flows that allow for excellent rock climbing.
Blue Mounds State Park, Minnesota
Rising over 100-feet from the plains, the rare Sioux Quartzite cliffs of Blue Mounds can be seen for miles from the surrounding farmland and prairies. Hiking over the plateau towards the cliffs, walkers travel over some of the only untilled prairie left in southwest Minnesota. A vast sea of prairie flowers sway in the breeze, bluestem grasses grow to be over 7-feet tall, and wild bison graze on the horizon. Prickly pear cactus can even be seen blooming in the cracks of the nearby rock walls. Due to the protection of 100-foot cliffs on three sides, this original Minnesota prairie escaped the plow and became a State Park in 1961. Now it boasts a fragile and rare prairie ecosystem as well as the best rock climbing in the upper Midwest.
Canoeing St Croix – Each section of the St. Croix River is a beautiful introductory experience to canoeing. Students travel in two-person canoes and learn to maneuver through Class I or II rapids. Students learn to steer their canoes with confidence by using the “J,” “Pry,” and “Sweep” strokes while communicating with their paddling partners. After learning daily travel routines and canoe strokes, students continue to develop their skills by learning how to recognize river current, anticipate obstacles, scout rapids, and work as an effective team to negotiate more challenging sections of the river.
In addition to paddling, students gain a basic understanding of river and forest ecology, river hydrology, swimming in moving water, fire building, camp craft, and expeditionary travel. Each night, the group will make camp, pitch tents, and cook over an open fire while debriefing their day.
Course End – All courses end with a shower, graduation ceremony and celebration dinner. Shower facilities are available at the basecamp or final campground location.
Rock Climbing – Students will climb at either Wisconsin Interstate Park or Minnesota Interstate Park, which offer a variety of beginner and intermediate climbs that provide an ideal introduction to rock climbing. Regardless of a student’s rock climbing background, everyone is sure to find something that will both challenge and encourage them. All Outward Bound rock climbing experiences are heavily supervised and employ safety systems that are compliant with national standards.
During climbing days, students learn about general rock-climbing equipment, safety and etiquette, belaying techniques, and climbing rescue techniques. Encouraged and supported by their group, students push their perceived limits and expand their comfort zones in a non-competitive environment.
Solo – Weather and time permitting, an Outward Bound Solo experience provides an important break from the rigors of the expedition and gives students the opportunity to reflect on their Outward Bound experience. The duration of Solo depends on the course length and type as well as the competency and preparedness of the student group. Students on a 1-2 week course typically spend 2 hours to half-a-day on Solo. All students receive sufficient food, water, and shelter to keep them safe and healthy during Solo. Instructors choose Solo sites to offer as much solitude as possible while retaining some proximity to the whole group. While students spend the majority of their Solo time alone, Instructors do check on each student as often as needed, usually 1-2 times, to ensure that each student feels safe and comfortable. Instructors work with each student individually to structure a successful, unique Solo experience that meets their specific needs. Solo is purposefully scheduled near the end of the expedition so students have plenty of time to acclimate to their new environments beforehand.
Students often have mixed feelings leading up to Solo. Inevitably, students feel some nervousness and hesitation but are also excited to rest, reflect and test their new skills after spending many days in the wilderness. Students often find that Solo provokes profound and powerful learning in a short period of time and Solo often becomes one of the most memorable parts of their Outward Bound experience.
Service – Service is a cornerstone of every Outward Bound experience. From the seemingly small daily acts of service to the environment to the regular tasks of being part of an expeditionary team, students have ample opportunities to experience the value of giving back to the larger community. On the expedition, students are encouraged to practice environmental stewardship in the form of Leave No Trace ethics - leaving campsites, trails and waterways in better condition than they found them. Students also practice regular acts of service for their team including preparing and serving meals, helping others put on or take off packs or setting up shelters for the entire team.
Final Expedition – Outward Bound believes that an appropriate amount of independence is a powerful educational tool. In order to deliver that benefit, Outward Bound purposefully and gradually transfers certain leadership responsibilities to the students culminating with our “Final Expedition.” Near the end of course, if you and your group have demonstrated the necessary leadership, team problem-solving and wilderness living skills, you may be given the opportunity to travel without your instructors immediately present. Students on courses designed for ages 16 and older may travel without instructors immediately present (although they will be near the group for safety reasons) for one to five days depending on course length, student age, staff assessment of students’ abilities, and terrain. Many of our students feel this phase of the course is the most rewarding as the group learns to work together, problem solve, and accomplish a goal independently while utilizing all the skills they have acquired.
The following is an example of what your course itinerary may look like. Your actual itinerary will vary according to weather, student skills and abilities, and instructor preferences.
Day 1: Meet the group and transport to your first put-in along the river; possibly at Gordon Dam which is the headwaters of the St. Croix River. Meet your Outward Bound Instructors, organize your equipment, eat dinner and sleep outside on the very first night of the course.
Day 2: Wake, have breakfast, pack, and participate in a paddling clinic on the water. Travel until it’s time to set-up camp, possibly at Schoen Park. Learn to set-up camp and cook over a fire. Eat and participate in an evening activity before heading to your tent for the night.
Day 3: Continue paddling from campsite to campsite, possibly camping at Riverside Landing, as you refine your wilderness skills and get you know your group.
Day 4: Participate in a morning service activity somewhere along the river. Service activities might involve trail maintenance, tree planting or invasive species removal. Experience Solo in the afternoon. Take time to rest and reflect at a quiet spot along the river.
Day 5: Begin the Final Expedition which involves less oversight from your Instructors and more group responsibility. Paddle to Little Yellow Banks before camping for the night.
Days 6-7: Continue the Final Expedition to Norway Point. Transport 3 hours to Wisconsin Interstate Park or Minnesota Interstate Park for the Rock Climbing component of the course.
Day 8: Learn about climbing safety, gear, techniques, and rappelling. Participate in a sequence of climbing lessons beginning with bouldering and progressively moving on to more difficult climbs.
Day 9: Spend most of the day climbing. Clean equipment, shower, enjoy a celebratory banquet and participate in a graduation ceremony.
Day 10: Eat an early breakfast and depart for the airport to travel home.
In addition to the expedition itself and all of the skills and learning associated with it, Outward Bound’s time-tested curriculum includes education on the many aspects of personal growth and learning that can be found in each activity you undertake. You will learn four important Outward Bound Core Values:
You may find that the most important lessons you take home are learning about yourself and your community while acquiring backcountry skills and having an adventure.You’ll learn to protect and appreciate the unique, unspoiled environments through which you travel.
Successful completion of your course demands mastery of skills, trust, fitness, confidence, tenacity, leadership, initiative and compassion. The promotion of these qualities and the discovery of what’s in you is the purpose of Outward Bound.
Weather is always a factor when traveling in the wilderness and it adds an exciting element of challenge to each course. Learning to handle varying weather conditions is essential to a successful wilderness course.
Minnesota’s weather can be unpredictable with a wide range of temperatures. In the summer the temperature tends to stay between 60 and 85 degrees. Summer brings occasional thunderstorms and rain showers. Expect cooler evenings, misty mornings, occasional rainstorms, and hot days perfect for swimming.
This tab houses ALL of the COVID-19 information for your course. Please refer to the following resources and information for any questions you may have about COVID-19 and your course.
VOBS COVID-19 Practices Page This includes all our COVID-19 policies and expectations.
VOBS COVID-19 FAQ's Page If you have a question about anything related to COVID-19 review the FAQ's.
Please utilize the resource below to physically and mentally prepare for your course. The more preparation you do, the better your experience will be!