Hiking, Canoeing, Camping for Girls Ages 11-13
This multi-element experience is a wonderful opportunity for girls to develop their outdoors skills and learn new ones as they hike and canoe through a legendary part of Maine. Participants gather on day one at our main base in Wiscasset, where we spend our first night together. Then we depart for destinations in the North Woods that may include Chewonki’s Debsconeag Lake Wilderness Camps (the heart of the 100-mile wilderness), Big Eddy Campground, Baxter State Park and the West Branch of the Penobscot River, located mid way between Greenville and Millinocket.
We practice traditional tripping methods. We use leather tump straps for carrying both canoes and wanagans. We cook on fires and bake bannock in reflector ovens. Participants receive thorough instruction in the safe use of ax and saw for the purpose of cutting and splitting wood for the fires. Throughout the trip, leaders work to strengthen the girls’ competence and confidence through age-appropriate challenges, with a focus on positive group dynamics, decision-making, and learning to overcome preconceived limits. As with all Chewonki trips, “Leave No Trace” ethics underlie our approach to the places we visit. As a result, participants learn to live and travel responsibly in the outdoors.
Lakes, Mountains and Baxter State Park
At Fourth Debsconeag Lake (where our wilderness camps are located), we enjoy the beauty and serenity of surrounding woods and waters while we refresh paddling and camping skills. The group then travels to Chewonki’s Big Eddy Campground, named for a wonderful pool on the Lower West Branch of the Penobscot River. We use this site as a base from which to explore the trails of the southern portion of Baxter State Park and the eastern part of the Debsconeag Lakes Wilderness Area, a preserve of more than 46,000 acres. Departing from Big Eddy, the group moves to South Branch Pond Campground in the northern section of Baxter State Park. At South Branch we spend the week hiking the numerous mountains surrounding Upper and Lower South Branch ponds.
Next we drive to the Upper West Branch of the Penobscot (famous for moose), where we spend the remaining days on an extended canoe trip. The West Branch flows through the heart of Maine’s North Woods and for countless generations has been an important travel route for the Wabanaki people. Our route provides a perfect blend of wilderness travel, wildlife sightings, and moving water on which to hone canoe skills.