Chewonki Foundation: West Branch Explorers

Wiscasset, ME
Contact: 207-882-7323 x135


Spend three weeks hiking and canoeing in the heart of Maines North Woods, exploring the majestic landscape of this renowned region.

Trip Overview

The Explorers will backpack for several days on the Appalachian Trail in the Barren Chairback Range, finishing near gulf Hagas.  The group will then be transported north of Moosehead Lake to Roll Dam on the West Branch of the Penobscot River.  Here they will begin 11 days of canoeing along a historic route that includes both lake and river paddling.


Explorers can expect to hike from 4 to 9 miles per day and paddle from 6 to 18 miles a day.  They will receive solid instruction on the following backcountry skills:  backpacking, flat-water and whitewater paddling, reading the river, and lake crossing considerations.  Wilderness trip skills such as cooking, tenting, packing, woodcutting, fire-building, navigation, wilderness ethics, and reading the weather will also be integrated into the program.

Leadership is an important element of the Chewonki wilderness experience.  Participants find themselves in leadership positions, well equipped to deal with the challenges that face them.  Participants are often invited to teach skills and share personal experiences in a formal setting that helps to develop communication skills and self-confidence.

“Leave No Trace” ethics underlie Chewonki’s approach to the environment through which we travel.  As a result, trippers will learn to live and travel responsibly in the outdoors.  Participants with little or no wilderness experience are able to gain the skills required to travel safely and responsibly in the outdoors.

Other activities that are often enjoyed by the Explorers are swimming, reading, writing, fishing, and relaxing on pebbled beaches to the sounds of loons.  It is a Chewonki tradition that each trip be involved in a service project at some time during the trip.  Campsite creation and or clean-up, trail clearing, and lean-to maintenance are all examples of the many projects completed by Chewonki groups.

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