Wilderness Experience



Wilderness Experience
Wilderness Experience
Wilderness Experience
“There is a magic in the feel of a paddle
and the movement of a canoe,
a magic compounded of distance,
adventure, solitude and peace.
The way of a canoe
is the way of the wilderness
and a freedom almost forgotten.”
Sigurd Olson
Our Philosophy
ack in 1971, while leading a school group
through the backwaters of northern Ontario, I heard
about an old man in Temagami who had put his
island up for sale. I decided to pay him a visit. As
soon as I landed on the small dock, I knew that
somehow the place was going to have something to
do with my life’s work. We agreed on a price and
shook hands on it.
I thought for quite awhile before naming the
basecamp. My father was a Danish mariner and
when I was a young boy he would tell me tall tales
of our Viking ancestors. What impressed me most
was their willingness to travel into unknown areas
and simply accept whatever hardships they
encountered without complaint - at least that was
my father’s version of what they did. I named the
camp ‘Langskib’, a word used by the Vikings to
mean long ship, the means by which they explored
the vast wilderness of their time.
What began with six canoes, eight young men, and
a dream, has grown to include sixty young men, a
second island for co-ed programs, plus a variety of
experiences for groups and individuals of all ages.
Each summer people from all over the world come
to participate in these unique adventures.
We believe in teaching young men how to be with
the land, the water and the sky, how to be with one
another, and ultimately how to be with themselves.
We believe that our canoe trips are an excellent
metaphor for life’s journey and represent an
important rite of passage into adulthood. We have
found that when young men learn to handle life on
the trail, they become better equipped to handle life
in general. We teach and role model confidence, selfawareness, compassion, cooperation, commitment
and common sense. We have found in the past, that
young men choose Langskib because it represents
the challenge, freedom from regimentation, and
“down to earth living” which are often lacking in
contemporary life. We make certain however, that
along with these methods, we do not embrace an
attitude of conquest of a particular river, mountain
or place. We believe that the emphasis should be
upon our need to learn from the land in a spirit of
harmony, balance and trust.
David Knudsen
Temagami Canoe Country
he Temagami (Ta ma˘ ga ˘me)
´ ˘ wilderness
offers the finest canoeing in all of North America.
Within the boundaries of this provincial forest
reserve are four and one half million acres of crystal
clear lakes and unspoiled rivers, and over two
thousand miles of maintained canoe routes. It is a
canoeist’s paradise containing the tallest mountains
in Ontario, one of the biggest stands of old growth
pine left in eastern Canada, and the largest interconnected canoe route system in North America.
The rich cultural and historical heritage of the area
has attracted canoeists for decades. The Ojibway
were the first to paddle the waters of Temagami
and the local band has traced its ancestry back over
five thousand years of continuous living on the lake.
Later came the French Voyageurs of the Hudson
Bay Company who established a fur trading-post
on nearby Bear Island.
Carved by glaciers at the dawn of time, these waters
remain unchanged to this day. The rivers and lakes
teem with fish, and wildlife such as moose, otter,
lynx and eagles abound. Leaf bearing trees meet
towering pines in this land where the evening skies
are often lit by the majestic Northern Lights.
“The young men finally
chosen to become trip leaders
at Langskib are the product
of the longest, most intense
personal training that exists
in the world of outdoor
experiential programming.
This commitment to
developing outstanding
leaders has raised Langskib
to the level of the finest
wilderness canoeing program
in North America today.”
Rod Napier, PhD
Rod Napier, PhD is an applied
psychologist translating leadership and
systems theories to personal and
professional lives. A professor for twenty
years, he consults with numerous fortune
500 companies, and has authored a dozen
books such as Groups, Theory and
Experience, Making Groups Work and The
Courage to Act. He continues to consult for
the Langskib/ Northwaters organization.
The Langskib Program
ach summer a group of excited young men from all over the world
gather at Langskib and they are divided into sections according to
age and experience. Since 1971 our organization has trained groups and individuals
of all experience levels (most of our beginning participants have had no previous experience)
in the skills of adventure-based outdoor living.
Canoeing Skills
Instruction includes portaging techniques, various
canoeing strokes (Ojibway, wilderness, draw,
cross draw etc.) and use of tumplines, wanigans,
Duluth packs and other traditional canoeing
equipment. Canoe safety is stressed and
canoe rescue techniques are practiced.
Each of these skills is taught at the
beginning of camp session. Naturally,
while on the trail, each participant has
the opportunity to practice his
individual skills.
Outdoor Skills
Success in wilderness travel depends
upon knowledge, cooperation, and resourcefulness.
An experiential program in camping techniques,
first aid, map and compass reading, cooking, and
workmanship is taught. Special attention is given
to ecological concepts and respect for the earth.
Group Skills
Life on the trail provides numerous opportunities
for group interaction and sharing. Our trip leaders
are trained to help build trust, encourage
communication and develop a strong sense of
community. Once this base is established,
the groups begin to set goals, solve
problems, and make relevant decisions. This
can obviously have important back-home
Leadership Skills
This is an advanced training offered to
participants who have completed our Bay
Trip experience. The program teaches the
facilitation of group process, conflict management,
design, community building, group and individual
motivation as well as personal leadership style.
You do not need previous outdoor
experience to attend.
Directors and Staff
angskib is managed by a team of
directors. While each has specific areas of
responsibility, we all share a commitment to
running the finest wilderness program anywhere.
Each of us is a parent. We know how difficult it is
to entrust us with your children and how
important it is to keep them safe, both physically
and emotionally.
Jodi Browning and C.G. Stephens
C.G.’s boyhood quest for adventure brought him to
Langskib in 1975 he worked his way up to a Bay
Trip soon after and became a Trip Leader in 1980.
In 1994 he began working year round taking over
the directorship of the organization. He is an
accomplished wilderness leader and experiential
education instructor. His skills in counseling,
curriculum design, group dynamics and leadership
development are outstanding. He is a consummate
paddler, sailor, telemark skier and student of nature.
Jodi has worked in various capacities throughout
the field of adventure-based education since 1986,
including directing an outdoor center in eastern
Ontario, leading extensive canoeing expeditions
and directing courses for the Ontario Recreational
Canoeing Association. She has paddled thousands
of kilometers with young people through lakes and
rivers in Ontario, Manitoba, Quebec and
Minnesota. A trained ballet dancer, musician and
vocalist, Jodi has spent most of her life pursuing
both the arts and the outdoors.
CG and Jodi are married with 3 children; Grace,
Hudson and McKenzie James. During the off
season they make their home in the Adirondack
Park, a short walk from the Northwaters &
Langskib winter headquarters in the Bouquet
River valley.
Michael Jarvis
Michael has a BS from the US Air Force Academy
and a MS in Counseling from Pacifica University.
He has flown helicopters, taught aircrew survival
for the Air Force, U.S Army and the Coast Guard.
Since 1991 Michael has worked in the field of outdoor education for a wide range of organizations
including the Grand Travese Band of Ottawa and
Chippewa Indians and the Lelanau School in Glen
Arbor where Michael is a teacher and counselor.
His skills in community building, and counseling
and his connection to the land and native cultures
combine to make Michael an exceptional resource
and respected Director. Michael lives along the
shores of lake Michigan with his wife Lynne their
two children, Forest and Morgan.
Trip Leaders
These are the folks that make our programs
extraordinary. The overwhelming majority start
out as participants. After working their way up
through the ranks, earning a spot on the Bay Trip,
completing our Leadership Program, obtaining
Wilderness First Responder and water safety
certification, they begin a multi-year apprenticeship
to become a leader. All in all it takes from 5 to 8
years for a young person to become a leader.
Leaders are chosen because they have earned our
trust and demonstrated a strong ability to relate to
young people. Strength of character, integrity,
enthusiasm and competence in the wilds are
crucial qualities. A sense of humour, great work
ethic and the ability to sleep on lumpy rocks help
as well. Once they sign on, leaders tend to stay,
many for 10 or more years. Low turnover insures
consistent program quality and the capacity to
train new leaders. For profiles of current staff you
can visit our website at www.langskib.com
Langskib Basecamp
Langskib is located on the cliff side
of a rugged island approximately
twenty miles by floatplane from the
village of Temagami. The buildings
are rustic and each boy shares a
cabin with friends, enjoys home
cooked meals and experiences a
warm, family atmosphere.
Northwaters Basecamp
Northwaters, home to our coed
program is located on a picturesque
island about 20 miles south of Langskib.
The facility has two gently sloping
sand beaches and colorful meadows
that bloom with Indian Paintbrush
during most of the summer. It’s a
great place for Langskib’s sections to
rest and reoutfit.
Life on the Trail
t the time canoe trips are scheduled to
depart, the base camp is filled with an air of
excitement and anticipation. Last minute details are
checked by staff as each canoe is loaded. Finally,
when all is ready, farewells are exchanged, you
climb into the waiting canoe and the adventure
begins. Each canoe carries two people, their personal
packs, life jackets, a food wanigan, first aid and cook
kits, plus a tent with floor and mosquito netting. A
day’s paddle will vary in length, depending upon the
experience and size of the group, the number of
portages, the weather and other immediate
conditions. Portages - the distance which canoes and
equipment must be carried between some lakes may vary in length from just a few feet to a mile.
As the canoes push steadily deeper into the
wilderness, everyone “breaks in” new found muscles
and becomes more in tune with the rhythm of the
paddle. The passing shoreline offers an ever-changing
view of the Canadian wilderness: marsh grasses alive
with a variety of birds... an old trapper’s cabin at the
edge of a beaver pond... forests of white birch, cedar,
and towering red pine. Off in the distance a cow
moose and calf drink from a quiet pool, and a family
of otter out on an excursion play in the sunlight.
These are all the things that might be a part of your
trip, but the most important things that will happen
to you have to be experienced to be understood: the
feeling you get at the end of a portage, the return to
basecamp as you paddle that final mile, or time spent
around a fire or by yourself listening to the great
silence. Throughout the journey you will learn about
trust, shared responsibility and resourcefulness. These
become the cement that bond the group during times
of possible hardship such as rain, headwinds, or a
long day at the paddle.
Finally, late afternoon and the canoes glide ashore.
Tents and dining tarps are set-up, fires built, meals
cooked and bread and bannock baked for the
following day. High overhead an osprey circles.If
there is time before dark, you find a quiet spot to
fish or take a swim in some of the cleanest water on
the continent. Bass, trout, pike and walleye are
found throughout the region and not too many
meals can compare to a shoreline dinner of fresh
walleye cooked over an open fire.
As the sun sends its last colorful rays across a still
lake, a pair of loons echo their call for the evening.
Quietly your section rests beneath a million stars
and the distant Northern Lights, listening to the
sounds of the night. There is conversation about the
day that has passed and the adventures that wait
just around the bend tomorrow.
Each of us has an Up North. It’s a time
and place far from the here and now. It’s
a map on the wall, a dream in the making,
a tugging at one’s soul. For those who feel
the tug, who make the dream happen,
who put the map in the packsack and go,
the world is never quite the same.
Sam Cook
Ages: 10-12
This is a 2 week program
designed to be a boy’s first
big adventure away from
home. It includes a nine
day canoe trip traveling
the lakes and streams
surrounding our island
base camp. We allow ample
time for storytelling,
fishing, exploring,
swimming, outdoor
games, treasure hunts
and play. Each section
includes eight young men
and three staff.
legend has it, only the one who
would become the King could lift the sword,
Excalibur, from the stone. No one expected a young
boy named Arthur to be able handle this difficult
task, especially when so many others before him had
failed. As he gripped the handle of the sword it virtually sprung from the stone and thus Arthur became
the new King of England. His life was forever
changed by that single act. We believe that there is
an Arthur in all young men and their individual
journey from boyhood, to manhood, to finally
becoming their own King lies in their willingness to
pick up their own sword at an early age and begin
their own life’s quest.
Boyhood is a time to risk, a time to seek adventure
and a time to test one’s mettle. Heroes, mentors and
role models are extremely important during this
time of development. Guided by a mature and
experienced staff, the emphasis of the program is on
providing a safe, fun and empowering experience for
a young man at an introductory level.
For many young men, Excalibur has started them on
a path of adventure and appreciation for the natural
world which has carried them through the challenges
of adolescence.
Ages: 10-12
This is a 3 1/2 week program
for young men who seek a
longer, more challenging
program than Excalibur.
Emphasis on wilderness
living, canoeing skills,
fun, cooperation and
responsibility. At the end
of the session, Vikings join
older sections in base camp
to share stories of their
adventures and celebrate
their accomplishments.
Each section includes eight
to ten young men with
three staff.
hen the young men arrive at our island
base camp they meet to learn one another’s names,
tour their new home and begin learning the art of
wilderness living. Anxious to get out on the water,
their first paddle is usually a short excursion to a
favorite swimming spot. Over the coming days they
will build on this experience, increasing skills and
stamina, working up to an extended canoe trip
through the Temagami backcountry. The pace is
geared to age level and and experience; this offers
plenty of time to swim, fish, explore and learn the
skills necessary to keep safe and comfortable in a
wilderness environment. The program serves as an
introduction to outdoor living and each summer
young men come from all over the world to
participate in this outstanding experience.
Whether it is learning to paddle a canoe with
confidence, catching their first northern pike or
listening to stories of the Hudson Bay Company
around the evening campfire, the young men of this
section soon become “old hands” at outdoor living.
The smiles, comradery and spirit of adventure
witnessed in this section each summer ensure your
son an unforgettable and life enhancing experience.
Ages: 13-15
Over the course of 3 1/2 weeks,
these young men build a
supportive expedition
community while paddling
remote lakes and rivers of
the historic Temagami area.
Wilderness canoeing skills,
trail experiences and the
camaraderie that come
with meeting challenges,
help each participant form
a solid foundation of
confidence, character and
integrity. Each section
includes eight to twelve
young men and two staff.
you step from the float plane onto
our dock you enter into a world steeped in history
and adventure. You will spend the first few days in
training sessions as there is much to learn before
taking to the trail. We believe it is important to
balance technical outdoor training with the skills of
being able to work together as a group. There is an
exciting ropes course to experience with a partner
and various challenging, but non-competitive
initiatives that promote cooperation, resourcefulness
and trust.
Norse sections explore the more remote lakes, rivers
and streams of the Temagami region. Trips are
planned according to the maturity, skill and
experience level of individuals. Your adventures
would typically include the incredible Old Growth
Forests of Lake Obabika, the thundering falls and
wily trout of the Lady Evelyn River, and the majestic
beauty of Maple Mountain or Ishpatina Ridge,
Ontario’s highest peaks. You will cook bannock over
an open fire, learn the history of the Native people,
and you might even catch fish so big there is no
need to exaggerate!
Upon your return to Langskib, you realize that you
have learned much about life - and much about
Ages: 15-17
The farthest ranging and
most challenging of our
regular 3 1/2 week sessions,
Voyageurs gain a solid set of
skills in class I-II whitewater.
They eagerly accept the
additional challenges and
responsibilities for group
decision making and
expedition logistics that come
with age and experience.
Sections regularly run the
Spanish, Dumoine,
Coulonge and Sturgeon
Rivers. Each section is
comprised of eight to twelve
young men and two staff.
oyageur sections depart directly after
training and are off on a wilderness experience for
the remainder of the session until returning for the
barbeque. The trips take them through the most
spectacular scenery in the province. Ontario’s highest
mountains surround the lakes and rivers where they
travel and the fishing and opportunity to observe
and photograph wildlife are outstanding.
Long days at the paddle and portages that testone’s
determination and stamina expand individual
limitations. As each day passes, members learn to
appreciate what they have and learn to live life to
its fullest.
A large part of the trip is spent canoeing whitewater
and participants are trained on the trip as they
encounter the various sets of rapids. Teamwork,
courage, concentration and responsibility are all
necessary for such a journey. Our training is the
finest available and our safety record is unblemished.
These sections return brimming with enthusiasm,
confidence, and pride.
James Bay
Ages: 16-19
This is a once in a lifetime
trip for experienced
canoeists who have
demonstrated the skills and
maturity necessary for a
challenging, remote
expedition. Advanced
whitewater paddling and
rescue techniques, group
process and wilderness
leadership skills are woven
into this 3 1/2 week
program. By invitation
only, this trip is limited to
twelve participants and
two staff.
ach year, Langskib’s most qualified young
men are invited by the director to take part in the
canoe trip of a lifetime. The trip leaves Temagami by
van and travels north to the town of Amos, Quebec.
Here they enter the mighty Harricanaw River and
canoe to the shores of the James Bay. The section
travels fantastic stretches of rapids, visits the winter
hunting camps of the Cree and is warmed by fires in
country where few have ventured.
The expedition then travels the shores of “The Bay”
to the mouth of the Moose River. Twelve miles up
the Moose with the in-going tide, they reach the
settlement of Moose Factory. After visiting the
historic sites, the canoes are loaded on box cars of
the Polar Bear Express and the group travels two
hundred miles south by night rail to the nearest
civilization where welcoming staff wait to hear their
inspiring tales.
We sincerely believe that with this trip under their
keel, our young men are able to face any headwind
that life puts before them with responsibility,
resourcefulness, and confidence. From here, many
Bay Trippers go on to become leaders for Langskib
or other organizations.
staff accompany participants through
check in at the airport. Parents are
invited to attend our end of session
barbeque and celebration before
picking up participants.
General Information
Once you decide to join us, the rest is
simple. Send us an application along
with your deposit. You may download
an application or enroll on line at
www.langskib.com We will then send
you a confirmation package, health
information form, travel information
and packing list.
Transportation to Langskib
Most Canadian, U.S. and
international participants meet us at
the Toronto Airport on the first day of
session, we also meet participants
from Eastern Ontario, Quebec and
the Northeastern U.S. in Ottawa. We
provide charter bus transportation to
the village of Temagami and complete
the last leg of the journey to our
Island base camp by float plane.
Parents may alternatively drive
participants to Temagami. The process
is reversed at the end of session and
Our philosophies have always
revolved around the maintenance of a
quality camp for young people. In
order to maintain these standards, a
maximum of fifty boys ages 10 to 17
will be accepted for each regular 3 ½
week session; twenty four boys ages
10-12 for Excalibur.
Letters and Emergency Messages
Correspondence can be conducted
regularly through the local post
office on Bear Island. Letters to your
son should be addressed:
c/o Langskib,
Bear Island Post Office,
Temagami, ON P0H 1C0.
For emergencies we have Satellite
phones and Radio communication
with our Northwaters base camp.
Call 866-458-9974
or email [email protected]
Health Information
Participants should have a physical
examination in the 12 months
preceding camp (it need not be
specifically for camp). Parents should
complete and return the health
information form included with the
confirmation package.
Doctor and Emergency
Medical Care
Parents are naturally concerned about
health and safety in the isolated
location of Langskib. Leaders are
certified in Wilderness First Aid and
Lifesaving, but more importantly, they
have extensive training and years of
experience in running safe programs.
The services of a medical doctor are
available at a nearby island, reached
by motorboat in 10 minutes. In all the
years that we have conducted
wilderness programs, we have not had
a single serious injury.
We travel simply. We believe that
there is great value in learning to
travel through the wilderness
comfortably without carrying
unnecessary 'gear' - which can often
distract from what nature has to
teach. Basically, we supply all
equipment except for clothing and
sleeping bag. A packing list will be
sent upon receipt of your application.
Electronic Devices are not part of
the Langskib experience. Any device
more sophisticated than a flashlight
should be left home or turned in
with valuables at base camp. Digital
cameras are the exception; they should
be carried in a waterproof case.
Spending Money
For miscellaneous expenses such as
fishing lures, t-shirts and snacks on
the way to and from camp,
participants bring approximately
$50. Most deposit this, along with
identification, airline tickets and
other valuables in an account system
with the camp director.
The weather during the months of
July and August is usually beautiful
with warm sunny days and cool, clear
nights. Daytime temperatures average
25 c (80 f) with a drop of 10 c (20 f)
by nightfall.
There are no poisonous snakes,
poison ivy, ticks, or ragweed in the
Temagami area. For additional
information, please feel free to call
866-458-9974 or visit our website at
Northern Lights
Girls ages 11 - 14, 2 weeks
A fun and challenging 2 week program that allows
a girl to connect to her authentic self - apart from
the expectations of today’s media and culture. It
includes a 10 day introductory level canoe trip
through the lakes and streams surrounding our
island basecamp and creative, inspiring in-camp
programming. Northern Lights operates on the
same calendar as Excalibur. At the end of the
session, Excalibur and Northern Lights
participants, staff and parents come together for
our final barbeque and celebration.
Leadership Program
Youth ages 17 - 23
Other Offerings
Northwaters Wilderness Experience
Co-ed youth ages 14 - 18 and girls ages 13 - 16, 31/2 - 7 weeks
Located 20 kilometers from Langskib on Lake
Temagami, Northwaters offers a similar canoe
tripping experience to Langskib with program
elements and trips designed to meet the needs of
either all girls or co-ed sections. Northwaters
operates on the same calendar as Langskib and
shares program and administrative staff. At the
end of the session, Langskib and Northwaters
participants, staff and parents come together for
our final barbeque and celebration.
Over the course of a 5 week expedition on a
challenging Northern river, participants learn and
practice the principles and techniques of leading
groups in the wilderness. This program is available
only to those who have completed our Bay trip or
have equivalent whitewater/backcountry
experience. Course topics include: advanced map
and compass, environmental ethics, advanced
whitewater paddling, whitewater rescue, teaching
techniques, group development and conflict
resolution. Past courses have run the Moisie, North
Knife, Seal, Great Whale, Rupert, Winisk, and
Hayes Rivers.
Special Programs and School Groups:
Every summer and fall Northwaters provides
programs for groups from schools, universities,
youth and community organizations. The most
common programs are one week adventures for
grade 7, 8 or 9 students from Waldorf or
independent schools. Although each of these
programs is different, designed to meet the needs
and goals of each group, they share the common
thread of wilderness canoe trips with an emphasis
on group process and self-discovery. Options range
from a five day trip on Lake Temagami to a 5 week
adventure in the sub-arctic. We can provide
complete packages including transportation to and
from your door, great food, equipment and guides.
I have found this organization incredibly warm,
welcoming, encouraging and visionary. The depth of
the experience we’ve had in a week reflects the depth
of training and integrity of you all. We are better
both individually and as a group for having come
here. Thank You,
Linda Williams, Detroit Waldorf School. (8th grade teacher)
The boys and teachers have been de-briefing on our
respective experiences and learnings all week...We
have all been deeply impacted by the Temagami
landscape, and the expert, confident, moving
guidance and leadership we were embraced by from
all in the Northwaters organization.
James Hay, Sterling Hall School, Toronto
Northwaters & Langskib Wilderness Programs LTD
P.O. Box 358, Temagami ON P0H2H0
Wilderness Experience
A wise man once said:
“There are only two lasting bequests
we can hope to give our children.
One of these is roots…the other wings.”
Front Cover Art: “Canoe Manned by Voyageurs” by Frances Hopkins
National Archives Canada, Ottawa (C-2771)
© 2004 Langskib

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