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Wilderness Tripping at Darrow  Wilderness Tripping at Darrow  Wilderness Tripping at Darrow  Wilderness Tripping at Darrow 
Frequently Asked QuestionsFrequently Asked QuestionsFrequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked QuestionsFrequently Asked Questions
 

Q: Do I need to have prior experience?
Q: What is the ratio of campers to counselors?
Q: What is the background and training of your staff?
Q: What is your approach to safety? Will my child be safe?
Q: How much supervision will my child have?
Q: What are the sleeping arrangements?
Q: Why do you focus on canoe trips?
Q: How can I tell if I'm up to the physical challenge?
Q: What is a typical day like at Darrow?
Q: Is there financial assistance available?

Do I need to have prior experience?

For most of our trips, no prior experience is required. It's good if you enjoy being outdoors and enjoy physical activity, but you do not have to know anything in particular about canoeing or camping. You'll learn skills very quickly!

What is the ratio of campers to counselors?

Darrow maintains a ratio of no more than 6 campers to 1 counselor. There are always at least two counselors on each trip. A third counselor may accompany Junior sections to ensure appropriate supervision and safety.

What is the background and training of your staff?

Darrow staff are people who are highly skilled in wilderness travel and who enjoy working with young people. Many of our Trip Leaders have come up through the ranks as campers and junior staff. In each section, one of the Trip Leaders is 21 or older and the other is at least 18. They hold current certification in Wilderness First Aid, Lifeguarding, and CPR. In addition, all staff are required to participate in ten days of pre-camp training, at the end of which they must pass written and practical exams. Darrow's Staff training has been accredited by the State of Maine as an official Trip Leader Certification Course.

What is your approach to safety? Will my child be safe?

While risk is inherent in any outdoor adventure activity, Darrow takes a pro-active and preventative approach to safety. The staff at Darrow understand their responsibilities for risk management and actively teach campers how to enjoy the wilderness safely and how to avoid potential risks. Campers spend several days in structured training at Base Camp and are required to pass water safety and skill checks before they go out on their trips, and safety training is an ongoing process on all our trips. The Camp has an excellent safety record.

How much supervision will my child have?

Campers travel as part of a small group of up to 12 campers with two or more leaders. The leaders are always with the campers, and rotate short periods of individual "time off" each day. Campers find that there are very few times in their lives when they have so much attention from adults.

What are the sleeping arrangements?

At Base Camp, campers sleep in lean-tos similar to those on the Appalachian Trail. On trips they sleep in tents. Girls and boys have separate lean-tos and tents. The tents are placed relatively close to each other, including the counselor tents.

Why do you focus on canoe trips?

Our focus on canoe travel reflects our environment. One third of the fresh water in the world flows through the wilderness of northern North America, and the canoe was developed specifically for travel in this distinctive environment. Traveling by canoe allows us to travel further, to see more, to carry better food and more comfortable equipment, and to be less dependent on outside help than other forms of recreational travel.

How can I tell if I'm up to the physical challenge?

Wilderness travel does not have to be about enduring hardships. As Nessmuk, a famous author once wrote, "We don't go to the woods to rough it, we go to the woods to smooth it." Of course there are times when it rains or the bugs are bad or the portages are rough, but there is never any reason to be cold, wet, or uncomfortable for any longer than it takes to do something about it. With proper techniques, the physical challenge of wilderness canoeing is no greater than that of other active sports such as soccer, tennis, or weightlifting. Attitude and willingness to learn are far more important to success at Darrow than brute strength or mindless endurance.

What is a typical day like at Darrow?

Every day is a new adventure as we "rise and roll" early in the morning, cook our breakfast, and set off in our hand made canoes to explore new lakes, streams, rivers, and portage trails while reveling in the grandeur of the wilderness. The majestic beauty of the great north woods unfolds in front of our canoes in an ever-changing panorama as the miles slip away with the healthy exercise of paddling. In the course of travel we may stop to watch a beaver or moose, pause to examine an ancient rock painting, or explore an interesting island, cove, or campsite just to see what's there. Some days the wind may rise, requiring us to lean our strengthening arms and backs more firmly into the paddle. A portage may punctuate the rhythm of the day, providing a challenging change of pace and an opportunity for viewing the woods up close. Experienced sections are thrilled by the precision, skill, and timing of shooting whitewater rapids and by technical challenges such as wilderness route finding and upstream and downstream lining and poling.

We usually stop for a mid-day "shore lunch" and a refreshing swim, or for a hot meal and tea in cool or rainy weather. By mid afternoon we pick a campsite for the night and when camp has been pitched we enjoy several hours of swimming, fishing, reading, or just relaxing in the sun before cooking and enjoying a hearty supper. Evenings slip by quickly as we gather around the glowing campfire to tell stories, enjoy desert with cocoa and tea, and bake our bread for the coming day under a star-studded sky. Sleep comes quickly in the cool, clean, pine scented air of the north woods nights as we listen to the loons call across the lake and dream of tomorrow's adventures.

Is there financial assistance available?

Yes, we offer scholarships and other discounts based on availability and need. If you have the desire to experience a Darrow trip, please contact us.