The Penobscot

Happy October Everybody!

It is with great excitement that I write to you about our amazing Penobscot trip. This post is for every camper who has yet to reach the Penobscot and every member of our amazing Cragged community who wants to learn more about where the camp is heading in its programming. It is meant to get everyone excited for what lies ahead and to explain why every camper should take part in our wilderness programming. These wilderness trips are meant to act as a culminating adolescent experience for campers at Cragged before coming back to work on staff and pass on what they learned to future campers.

Before we delve into why we run this trip though, take a look at the experience of one of our past participants to see what it’s all about from a camper’s perspective.

     “The Penobscot trip gave me my most cherished memories, as well as some of the greatest physical and mental challenges I have faced. Sunny days brought goofy times with incredible friends; headwinds on lake crossings built both muscles on my arms and confidence in my own physical ability. Each section of white water gave me the technical skills necessary to survive on the river. Portaging forced me to trust myself and my peers; carrying a 70-pound canoe on my shoulders, blinded by the boat, I relied on directions from my partner as we navigated narrow trails through the woods.
     Around every bend, the river presented new challenges: raging rapids; high tensions among the group on the long, grueling days. I learned to push myself, and I learned that I can survive even when I push past my preconceived limits. With each challenge, the river also presented its beauties: extraordinary sunsets; countless bald eagles and families of moose; the rush of adrenaline and satisfaction of completing a set of gnarly rapids. The isolation from civilization that comes with the river life provided a unique opportunity to escape technology. It offered the perfect setting to introspect and spend time getting to know myself without the distraction of daily life in civilization.
     I am so grateful for my Penobscot experience, and cannot express how strongly I recommend this trip to any person looking to grow as a paddler, a group member, and a lover of nature and adventure.”

(Camp Counselor)

Entrenching the Penobscot into Cragged tradition has been a goal of ours over the past seven summers. As with the Allagash, we believe that it creates both an environment to be yourself as well as an environment to grow as individuals. The teens are required to be a contributing member of the community; in the case of our long wilderness trips, these communities are quite small, which allows for optimal learning with respect to both camping and canoeing skills and personal, emotional growth. While our primary goal is to give our Penobscot groups an amazing wilderness experience, particularly in the scope of giving them more opportunities responsibility wise than their time on the Allagash, our hope is that they will bring the skills they acquire with them back to CMF when they work as staff. It is also our hope that everyone entering our camp counselor program will have gone on a Penobscot trip.

We are already thinking about Summer 2018’s Penobscot trip. We encourage those who are sending their kids on the Penobscot in 2018 who have not yet registered to start thinking about doing so. We have an Early Registration Deadline approaching on October 15th. We would also like to encourage those who are signing up for the Cragged Summer Camp or the Allagash to note these deadlines as well as they apply to you too! We want to show as many kids as possible how life changing the Cragged Experience can be. Tell your family and friends about us! Show them our summer blog! Or if there’s someone who you think would be a great fit check out our referral form!

All my best,

Max Utter

“The Penobscot is a difficult trip that builds on the Allagash experience in terms of rapids, portages, and the amount of responsibility the campers are expected to show up with everyday. The campers who go on this trip come back to work at CMF in following years with much more competence and confidence who add more value to the camp and campers’ experience. One of the simplest ways I think about the value of the Penobscot and why we started this trip is that the summer between freshman and sophomore year of high school is rarely spent doing anything close to as challenging, rewarding, and fun as a river trip across northern Maine with your friends.”

~Nick Utter
(Ran the first Penobscot trip in 2011, operates the Farm on Cragged Mountain)

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