POWA group

How will I know what to bring? All kayaking, mountain biking and backpacking gear will be provided by Franklin Pierce. We also take care of food for the week. Personal gear such as clothing, toiletries, shoes, and a few basic essentials are yours to provide. Please see the link ‘Gear List’ for a specific listing of equipment necessary. 

Do I have enough outdoor experience to participate in this program?

This program does not require any previous outdoor experience. Our trip leaders/guides will teach everyone how to pack, how to cook along a wide variety of other skills necessary for the backcountry. For any level of experience, this is a great opportunity to learn how to travel through the outdoors well. We do ask that everyone come with a positive attitude, a willingness to learn and the ability to overcome the physical challenges poses by multi-day backcountry excursions.

Should I pick Week One or Week Two?

Pick the session that works best for your schedule. There is a remote chance that sessions will be combined if not enough participants choose the first session.  

What kind of training do the leaders have?

Our student-leaders are chosen for their love of the outdoors, judgment, leadership skills and lovely personalities! They go through two weeks of summer outdoor leadership training, including a 2-day Wilderness First Aid certification in emergency medicine.

What about food?

We will carry and prepare all of our meals for the duration of the trip. There might be opportunity to stop back into civilization for a snack but that depends on the routes we choose. There will be terrific vegetarian meals, but if you have food allergies, a strict vegan diet or a different food need, it’s important to inform us.

What are the physical demands of this trip and how should I prepare?

Prepare by staying active this summer. Kayaking works out the shoulders and core muscles, carrying a backpack certainly can put stress on knees and ankles.   Mountain biking challenges quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.   Plan accordingly and anticipate the occasional callus or blister.  Each day in the field is full of activity, so be ready! Our first priority is safety and fun, but you’ll have more fun if you’re physically prepared to hike, paddle or bike.

Will there be shuttle transportation for students flying in?

We can make arrangements to pick up participants at Manchester/Boston Regional Airport (MHT). Contact Program Director Doug Carty for more information.

Where do we go?

The routes change a little each year, but we always like to stay within a couple of hours of campus. Our traditional routes are as follows:  

Backpackers: hiking from campus, backpackers head to Mount Monadnock and then either turn north on the Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway or south on the Metacomet-Monadnock Trail. Typical distance is 25-30 miles of backpacking.
Kayakers: water level determines the river system we use. In high water we venture down the Ashuelot River starting in Surry, NH.  In medium water we head down the Baker River into the Pemigewasset.  In dry summers we stick to the Pemigewasset the entire time. The kayakers also venture about 30 miles.
Mountain Bikers:  we hit the trail right off campus and ride continuous rail-trail for a couple days before crossing into Vermont.  In VT we run down scenic Route 5 before crossing back into New Hampshire and completing the loop. Since 45 miles is relatively easy to accomplish in one day, bikers can expect the travel up to 200 miles on their trip..