Chewonki, an outdoor camp and school headquartered in Wiscasset, is offering teens the opportunity to explore the historic Thoreau-Wabanaki Trail by canoe this summer as a part of the Chewonki’s year-long centennial celebration.

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Courtesy of Bridget Besaw

“This is a trip of a lifetime for anyone interested in understanding the importance of Maine’s environmental and cultural legacies while enjoying adventure in the Maine outdoors,” said Greg Shute, outdoor programs director at Chewonki, in a prepared statement. The three-week program, for ages 15-17, traces the Wabanaki canoe routes that conservationist Henry David Thoreau travelled during his trips to Maine in the mid-1800s. The Thoreau-Wabanaki Trail is a 200-mile water trail that follows the path of Thoreau’s nineteenth century travels with Penobscot guides. The trail visits Moosehead, Chesuncook and Chamberlain lakes, as well as the East Branch and West Branch of the Penobscot River. The trail also explores historic routes used by the Wabanaki for long-distance travel by canoe. The Wabanaki include the Abenaki, Maliseet, Micmac, Passamaquoddy and Penobscot tribes, which have lived in Maine for thousands of years. “The protected lands and waters of the Thoreau-Wabanaki Canoe Trail will forever provide remote canoe experiences for wilderness travelers while highlighting the important contributions of the Wabanaki who first traveled these waterways,” said Shute. Two co-ed Thoreau-Wabanaki Trail trips offered this summer: June 23-July 14 and July 19-August 10. Cost for the program is $4,800.

Courtesy of Greg Shute
Courtesy of Greg Shute

The trip will begin north of Moosehead Lake at scenic Lobster Lake. After three days of canoeing down the West Branch of the Penobscot River and portaging into the Allagash Wilderness Waterway, the group (a maximum of 10 students and two instructors) will travel east, exiting the Allagash at Telos Dam. The group will then paddle Webster Brook, which Thoreau referred to as somewhat like “navigating a thunder spout.” Then the voyage continues down the East Branch of the Penobscot River to Whetstone Falls, through the Katahdin Woods and Waters Recreation Area, the proposed national park area. As with all Chewonki trips, the students will be taught “Leave No Trace” ethics and practices for living and traveling responsibly in the outdoors. This year, Chewonki is celebrating 100 years of providing outdoor education to young people. A non-profit organization since 1962, the camp and school reaches more than 20,000 people each year through summer, semester and school programs. Chewonki programs are designed to encourage transformative growth and appreciation and stewardship of the natural world. For information about the program, visit chewonki.org/trips/trip_thoreau_wilderness.asp.

Aislinn Sarnacki

Aislinn Sarnacki is a Maine outdoors writer and the author of three Maine hiking guidebooks including “Family Friendly Hikes in Maine.” Find her on Twitter and Facebook @1minhikegirl. You can also...