Gain considerable paddling experience and learn to live comfortably in one of the most beautiful and rugged river corridors in North America on this 15-day canoeing and rock climbing expedition. Together with your instructors and crew, learn how to bond with your crew as you rely on each other, working together while navigating the winding canyons of the Rio Grande. See the impacts of your leadership in action as you work to identify your own strengths, to take ownership, to advance technical skills and to develop authentic relationships with your crew and the world around you. Get off the beaten track and accomplish more than you ever thought possible!
This course is closed for the season. 2021 courses coming soon.
Do you ever want to unplug, step away from the daily grind to take on new challenges? Are you ready to conquer harder skills and remind your senses (or discover for the first time) what it’s like to crest a mountain peak, hear the echoes at the edge of a vast canyon or feel the rush of white water spray on your face? Take a break from your routine, radically change your surroundings and test your tenacity. Put some “firsts” in front of you and find moments of unexpected discovery along the way. Experience Outward Bound as an adult and prepare for an injection of adventure, awareness and adaptability that sticks with you long after you unpack your backpack.
Return home with newly expanded wilderness acumen, an energized outlook, a rekindled allowance of empathy into situations and relationships and an eye toward the future.
After first learning basic whitewater paddling techniques, participants begin the expedition. Paddling as a group, participants head down-river through sections of calm current and swift-moving whitewater rapids. The waters of the Rio Grande offer beginning paddlers a progressive challenge and a perfect place to learn and hone skills.
Instructors assist participants in mastering the skills of paddling, scouting and running rapids. Participants learn all the skills they need to move safely and efficiently downriver including an introduction to whitewater rescue techniques. As there are only two participants in a whitewater canoe, everyone has the opportunity to "captain their watercraft." Participants learn to adapt to the river and desert environments and reset their internal clock to rise with the sun and sleep with the moon.
On the scenic cliffs of the Rio Grande overlooking the mountains of Mexico is Black Rocks – a beautiful climbing site in Big Bend Ranch State Park. This seldom-visited spot gives participants a unique opportunity in back-country rock climbing. These 30 to 80 foot cliffs offer a variety of beginner and intermediate climbs that provide an ideal introduction to rock climbing. Regardless of a participant’s rock climbing and rappelling background, everyone is sure to find challenge and success as they spend a half day at Black Rocks.
During climbing days, participants learn about rock climbing equipment, safety and etiquette, belaying techniques and climbing rescue techniques. Encouraged and supported by their group, participants push their perceived limits and expand their comfort zones in a safe, fun and non-competitive environment.
Preparing people to be of service to others is one of the core values of Outward Bound. Students are encouraged to practice service to the environment in the form of leaving campsites cleaner than they found them and practicing Leave No Trace ethics throughout the expedition. Additionally, students have a structured opportunity to put giving back into action through two days of community service that is an integral part of their course. The specific type of service project depends upon the structure of the course and local needs and opportunities.
The solo experience provides an important break from the rigors of the expedition and gives students the opportunity to reflect on their Outward Bound experience. Many students use this reflection time to make decisions about their future, journal and enjoy the beauty of their surroundings unencumbered by the constant external stimulation of modern life. The duration of solo depends on the course length and type, as well as the competency and preparedness of the student group. With all the food, skills and supplies they need, participants are given a secluded spot to reflect alone, and are monitored by staff throughout the experience. Students find that solo provokes profound and powerful learning in a short period of time and often becomes one of the most memorable parts of their Outward Bound experience.
Outward Bound courses vary in length from four to 85 days. On shorter courses, participants will receive an introduction to leadership skills, strength of character and a desire to serve while activities fill most of the time and the pace is quick. With longer courses, the same outcomes and benefits are achieved with the opportunity to reach a more profound level of mastery as there are more chances to develop technical skills, receive and implement feedback and further personal development. However many days the expedition lasts, the strength and impact of the experience lasts a lifetime.
Canoeing, rock climbing and wilderness navigation techniques are great practice for the essential skills and habits that help prepare for new challenges at work, home and in the community. Outward Bound expeditions encourage students to:
Outward Bound courses are designed to expand and stretch your limits so that every expedition is a true accomplishment and a memorable journey.
Big Bend State and National Park, Texas
Along the US-Mexico border in southwestern Texas, a powerful river and a mountainous desert unite in Texas’ Big Bend National Park. The Texas course area is one of the most remote and geologically interesting in the Outward Bound system. The Rio Grande River carves a huge, sweeping bend where Big Bend National Park earns its name. This 750,000-square mile wilderness is the eighth largest national park in the lower 48 states and a desert backpacking and rock climbing paradise. In this region, delicate desert flowers exist alongside fossilized trees millions of years old. Mountain passes give way to steep-walled canyons and cliffs. The land itself is awe-inspiring, with canyons towering 300 to 1,200 feet over the right. It is one of the last true desert regions in North America. Much of this rugged land has remained unchanged for centuries. Hundreds of species of birds and a healthy diversity of other animal and plant communities thrive within the splendid isolation of ancient limestone canyons, juniper and mesquite-covered mesas and coal-black night skies.
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.