Macward Bound Pre-Orientation Outdoor Adventure Program
August 20 thru August 27, 2015

Frequently Asked Questions

Applying and Logistics

Arrival to Macalester

I've Been Selected, Now What?

What to Expect During the Trip

Returning to Macalester

When does Macward Bound happen?

Macward Bound happens the week prior to New Student Orientation.

Who can apply?
The program is open to all incoming students of the Class of 2019 including incoming international students. No experience necessary!

How are students selected?
Participants are selected through a lottery. There is no preference given to earlier applications, all applications will be entered in to the lottery process. Submitting an application does not guarantee participation and you will be notified in early July about your status.

Do I need to have hiking or canoeing experience?
No! Many of our students have not camped before and we'll teach you everything you need to know to have a successful trip. This is a perfect way to challenge yourself to try something new!

What do I need to do to prepare?

  • Join our Facebook page. We will provide updates here including advice, packing info and things to think about before your arrival.
  • Be sure to pack well by using the packing info provided.
  • Stay healthy and get some exercise! Outward Bound suggestions for Fitness and Exercise.
  • If you purchase new boots for this trip, be sure to do some walking/hiking in them before you arrive - break them in!
  • Also, come prepared with an adventurous attitude and a desire to try new things!  These trips are about much more than hiking or canoeing, they’re about making connections and self exploration.  Challenge yourself to start your four years at Mac by putting yourself out there to discover your passions and zest for life!


How many trips do you offer?
We offer 10 trips in total. There are four canoeing groups and six backpacking groups.

Four canoe groups are led by professional Outward Bound staff. Each group will also have an upperclass Macalester student leader.
A typical day might look like this:
Rising with the sun, making breakfast, packing up camp, and hitting the water. You will paddle or portage all day - taking breaks for food, to swim, or to enjoy a view, of course - but generally covering lots of territory. Once you reach camp, group members will divide and conquer to get food cooked and camp set up. After dinner, you will hang out by a campfire before crawling into your sleeping bag for well-deserved rest.
Full Course description.

Six of our backpacking groups will be led by upperclass Macalester student leaders on the Superior Hiking Trail. The leaders selected for these trips have Wilderness First Aid certification and solid experience leading groups in outdoor expeditions.
A typical day might look like this:
Rising with the sun, making breakfast, packing up camp, and hitting the trail. On average, you can expect to travel 4 to 6 hours a day (between 4-8 miles). The pace of the trip will largely depend on the route your group takes. Your group will take breaks to eat, swim, and to take in the scenery. When you arrive to camp, group members will be responsible for cooking and setting up camp. After dinner you may sit around a camp fire and enjoy the company before crawling into your cozy sleeping bag for a well-deserved slumber.

What is the food like?
The food is plentiful, nutritious and primarily vegetarian (meat is heavy and spoils quickly). It will consist of grains, nuts, pasta, beans, cereals and other light dehydrated food. It will taste good and give you energy for a full day out! We can accommodate some special food needs (lactose intolerant or vegan), but we need to know in advance. If you have other requirements, please let us know.

What will the weather be like?
Temperatures in late August will vary, but the daily average could be mid-60s during the day and can fall into the low 40s at night.

Will there be showers or bathrooms on the trip?
You will not have access to showers or modern bathrooms during the trip, however the Superior
Hiking Trail has outhouses along parts of the trail that hikers can use. Some areas however do not have outhouses, so you will have the opportunity to dig a hole and practice Leave No Trace skills! For Boundary Waters trips, there will be plenty of lake water to bathe in, it just won’t be as clean as your shower, but you'll feel invigorated nonetheless. Some areas will have latrines, but like the Superior Hiking Trail, you will most likely have to practice digging a hole in the back country! What a fun new experience this will be!

Where will I stay when I am at Macalester?
You will have access to your residence hall room upon your arrive to Macalester. This is where you will stay when you are not away for the trip. You will leave your additional belongings here when you are away on the trip.

Where should I go when I arrive on campus the first day?
When you first arrive to campus, make your way to the Ruth Stricker Dayton Campus Center to check in and get keys to your dorm room for the year - see campus map. Your leaders will be waiting at the Campus Center to help you in any they can!

How do I get to Mac from the airport?
Taxis are available and cost about $20. For a cheaper option, you can take the
Hiawatha Light Rail Line (Route #55) from the airport to the 46th Street Station.
From there, take the 84 bus to Snelling Avenue (the bus should say that it is
traveling to Rosedale Mall on the front). For schedule info you can look online at This method is suggested only if you are carrying minimal luggage.
As your arrival date draws near, connect with other participants on Facebook to inquire about sharing a cab or buddy up with Metro Transit.

Do I need money during the trip?
During travel to/from destination, you will stop for a light lunch. We suggest having about $25.00 for food/snacks during travel.
All other meals are provided during the trip and while you are at Macalester.

Should my parent accompany me when I come for Macward Bound or come later for Orientation?
There are multiple ways to navigate this process and one is not better than the others, per se. Some students travel to campus on their own for Macward Bound and their families meet up with them for Orientation on August 28th. For others, families come with to drop off the Macward Bound participant on August 20th and help move them into their residence hall prior to their trip. Another option is for families to join the student on the 20th and meet up with them again on the 28th for Orientation. To learn more about parent events and activities during Orientation, visit the Parents & Families Orientation webpage. 


Can I see my parents/family when I get back from the trip?
There will be one day between the end of Macward Bound and the beginning of New Student Orientation. You are required to attend the wrap up lunch on Wednesday afternoon from 11am-2pm. Following this, your leaders will plan fun outings throughout the cities Wednesday evening and Thursday. These are optional and it's your choice to spend that time with family/friends.

Post trip activities will be led by Macward Bound leaders and could include walks around the Mac neighborhood, exploring St. Paul/Minneapolis, learning public transport, exploring parks, and in general seeing cool things that the twin cities has to offer. Most of these will require little to no money. However, we suggest that you plan to have a little spending money for these ventures.