Archives for posts with tag: Outdoor Education

Dave Conley Master Maine Guide and owner of Canoe the Wild, has been paddling the rivers of Maine and Canada since 1985. During the school year, Dave teaches an outdoor education program at East Grand High School in Danforth, ME, host to the annual East Grand Adventure Race. In the fall, guided moose hunts are offered in northern Maine.

MEET DAVE

I grew up in the mid coast Maine town of Boothbay Harbor with my parents, Ervin and Jane Conley, and three siblings, Tari, Jan, and Mark.  I have fond memories in the fall at the age of 11 getting up hours before sunrise to travel to Pemaquid Stream with my father to go duck hunting. We would launch our wood canvas canoe well before first light, paddle up the Pemaquid Stream, setting out decoys and wait for first light. I think it was here that I fell in love with being outdoors on the water, and I am so thankful for a father that introduced me to hunting at a young age.

As a teenager, my passion for the water continued when my father loaned me $2,500 to buy a used 14’ wooden flat-bottom lobstering skiff, new 25 HP Evinrude outboard motor, and 25 lobster traps to get started. I was able to pay him back in just two seasons. This passion of being on the water continued through my high school years, spending summers on the Sheepscot River pulling traps by hand.

During my college years I worked summers in the family business but longed for a place less crowded than the mid coast region. I found what I was looking for in northern Maine. It was here I developed and oversaw a canoe tripping program in the East Grand Lake area for a summer camp. I enjoyed 21 summers paddling the rivers of Maine and Canada in my Old Town canoe, introducing others to the great outdoors while assisting with developing outdoor living and paddling skills.

Obtaining my Maine Guide license in the early 90’s was a prerequisite to starting my Canoe The Wild guiding business. The tripping season here runs from late May to mid-September, leaving time for other ventures such as guiding moose hunts in the fall from remote camps, overseeing an outdoor education program for students at the East Grand School since the mid-90’s, and selling Christmas trees and wreaths in Central Virginia for the past 27 years.

What I’ve discovered with the guiding business is that there are plenty of people looking for the exact same feeling I experienced at a young age on Pemaquid Stream, a desire to experience the outdoors with a break from daily routines. People of all ages and experience levels take part in our guided canoe trips. Many will take part in canoe camping for the first time this summer. Trip highlights include young people (freed of electronics) flourishing on the river and around the campsite, taking in a simpler way of life such as collecting fire wood, learning to use a saw and ax, building a campfire, catching a fish, hanging around the campfire, star gazing after dark, spotting and identifying wildlife such as moose, and experiencing the song of the loons.

I see a lot of recent growth within the guiding industry for a few simple reasons. Guided trips provide people with a quality, safe, and well-organized experience. Families, private groups and individuals choose guided trips to leave the pre-trip planning, logistics, gear and meals for the guide to take care of.

Each season, we offer about 12-15 trips with 3-5 day trips being the most popular for first timers, and the more adventuresome choosing a week or longer on a whitewater canoeing trip in Quebec.(see 2018 summer schedule).

For more information about Canoe The Wild, Dave’s guiding company, visit their website for at www.canoethewild.comBe sure to check back in May for Dave’s first educational article!

https://www.oldtowncanoe.com/blog/article/canoe-tips-dave-conley

100 participate in Adventure Race under Sunny Skies!

East-Grand-Adventure-Race-John-Bergman-biking

Saturday, May 13th marked the 13th annual East Grand Adventure Race, held the 2nd Saturday of May every spring in Danforth, ME. This year’s course featured all the events racers have come to expect and more: a mile-long compass run, followed by a 10-mile bike ride, and ending with an 8-mile canoe and kayak race. Many exciting challenges took place between the biking and paddling legs including the familiar mud pit crawl and log rolling in Baskahegan Stream. New challenges included a paintball challenge, scaling wall, partially submerged 29’ culvert to crawl through and an environmental challenge where racers had to identify evergreen tree samples. The new family division opened up the race to parents and adult mentors taking part with younger children which included all elements except the biking portion.

Orono High school students along with numerous adults were well represented at the event with the high school boys team of Kellen Doyle & Ben Allan-Rahill not only winning their division, but the race overall with a course time of 2:28:02 before time deductions. Kellen also won the door prize, a new Vapor kayak, paddle and life jacket donated by Old Town Canoe.

Perhaps the biggest personal accomplishments of the day came from race participant Jill Plummer, a teacher at East Grand School, losing 100 LBs and getting into shape in preparation for the race. After helping out with last year’s race, Jill set a personal goal of getting in shape, losing the weight and taking part as a race participant this year. Jill achieved that goal while taking part on the relay team of Tammi Matula, Danlen Espenscheid and Erika Napoli and was all smiles the whole time!

Ben Randall of Sabattus set a record in the 34 mile Baskahegan Stream separate canoe & kayak race with a time of 4:33:47. In second place was the four person team of Terry Wescott, Chip Loring, Ander Thebaud and Bob Hesser narrowly winning by only 13 seconds over the four person team of Marc Ranco, Justi Wardwell, Bill Deighan and Eve Dana. River Robertson came in 4th place with a time of 4:58:53

Up Next, Now that Dave Conley of Canoe the Wild  has finished overseeing the adventure race for another season, the focus has shifted to upcoming canoes trips this spring and summer in Maine on the St. Croix and Allagash Rivers. Contact Dave to discuss joining up on a trip or bringing your group.

 

Maine fall canoe trip on the St. Croix River with East Grand High Schools Outdoor Education Program. Fall is a great time for canoe trips with no bugs and you probably will have the river to yourself. Paddle trips and river tours in Maine are fully guided and outfitted by Maine guide Dave Conley of Canoe the Wild. Dave teaches an outdoor education program at East Grand High School in Danforth Maine  and guides canoe trips on numerous Maine rivers including the Allagash, Machias and Penobscot Rivers.

EAST GRAND ADVENTURE RACE was held May 10 in Danforth, Maine as part of East Grand High School’s Outdoor Education program. Over 80 took part in the triathalon or Baskahegan canoe race that day. Twenty mile race included a 1.6 mile off trail compass run, 10 miles of mountain biking, 8 miles of paddling. Extra challenges in the field included a mud crawl, two person cross cut saw competition, tomahawk throwing and log rolling. Challenges earned minutes off your overall course time! Divisions: race in pairs in the high school boys, girls, mixed; Adult men, women, mix; Jr./Sr. The open division can by solo, teams of any size, relay, kayak or canoe. In short, anything that doesn’t fit into the other divisions competed in the open division. Entering a relay team is a great way to participate without having to complete the entire course. Next race is May 9, 2015. Entry fee is $20.00 per person which includes trophies, t-shirt, lunch and over $1,000.00 in prizes for youth divisions. Proceeds benefit East Grand School’s outdoor education program. Sponsored in part by First Wind, Woodie Wheaton Land Trust and Ski Rack Sports. For more info contact Dave Conley of Canoe the Wild at email dave@canoethewild.com or call 207-551-8729, School’s website is www.eastgrandschool.org/adventure-race

 

 

Fall Overnight Trip with East Grand School Outdoor Program on the Baskahegan Stream. Students mountain biked to the stream, paddled, poled and utilized a new campsite which some of them help build over the summer. Students cooked over an open fire, tented out, and some tried their hand at moose calling.  Students learned to leave the campsite better then they found it. Guided canoe trips are offered on Maine’s best rivers including the Allagash and St. Croix Rivers for families, school and youth groups by Dave Conley and Canoe the Wild

Several East Grand Students with the Outdoor Education program and the 8th grade ALEKs program (on line math intervention program), took part in a five day trip to Sugarloaf to ski and snowboard. One of many outings offered through the school’s Outdoor Education program.