Typical Day on an NCOAE Expedition
WHAT TO EXPECT
Since each of our courses and expeditions has an itinerary of its own, there’s really no such thing as a “typical day.” The wilderness experience presents challenges that can range from a sudden rainstorm to wildlife that won’t get off the trail. Having said that, no matter where in the world you travel with us, you’re likely to experience a schedule that is somewhat similar to the following:
- You’ll start your day with a morning wake-up around 6:30 to 7:00 a.m. If the previous day was extra-long or challenging, your group may choose to sleep a little later.
- Everyone in your group will have daily roles, so while some students help pack tents and group gear, the cooks for the day get started on breakfast. And we count on our student leaders-for-the-day to make sure everyone remains organized and on task.
- After a hearty breakfast, students will pack up their backpacks, taking not only their own personal gear, but also a portion of group gear and food. This could include a bag of food, or a bear can, along with a stove or a pot.
- Once the group’s camp is all packed up and a sweep is conducted to find any misplaced or hidden items, your group will head out onto the trail or river for the day. Groups typically travel from three to five miles a day, depending on the course area and route.
- Throughout the trip, you will engage in a range of experiential wilderness-learning activities, including map and compass navigation, expedition planning, paddling, backpacking, camp craft, backcountry cooking, and learning about wilderness risk management. Of course, we set aside specific times for relaxing and enjoying nature, journaling, engaging in rich cultural exchange, and reflecting in solitude.
- Throughout the day, your group will stop for breaks, which can be used for a short rest or a quick water break. Longer breaks provide time to grab a snack, play a game or complete a lesson.
- For lunch, your group will find a scenic place to eat and take a breather. Then it’s more traveling toward your daily destination, completing activities along the way.
- Once your group reaches your campsite for the evening, the cooks will begin preparing dinner, while other students help set up tents, organize group gear, and collect water for the evening. Nights in the backcountry are spent relaxing, stargazing, enjoying s’mores around the campfire and engaging in games and activities. These can range from cards, camouflage, and more intentional curriculum activities focused on leadership and environmental sciences.
- After dinner, we’ll end each night with Summit — our evening process group — and an evening meeting to review the day and prepare for the next day. After a good night’s sleep, we’re off to do it all over again.
MEALS & CAMPING
At NCOAE, we provide all of the group gear and trail food necessary, but as you’ll see on your course or expedition pack list, you’ll be required or will want to bring certain items for yourself.