Anatomy of Untamed New England: A 2014 Course Retrospective

This review of the 2014 race course serves as an example for those curious about how a race like this works. Competitors in the 2018 edition can consider this a representative sample of one of our expedition race courses.

First a few fundamentals:
  • All checkpoints must be visited in numeric sequence (Checkpoint 1 must be visited before Checkpoint 2 and so on)
  • All checkpoints are mandatory -- there are no "optional" checkpoints or strategy around what to skip etc
  • This course happens to be organized into 5 logical "legs" to suit the media narrative and other management aspects of the race; every race is different including number of legs, order of disciplines, race location, etc. Don't obsess with the details of this course thinking it's directly applicable to any future race.

Overview Elevation Profile for 2014 Course

Details on each race leg

Total canoe paddle distance (approx): 24 miles (blue line on the map below)
Total trek distance (approx): 10 miles (red line on the map below)

Partial Leg 1 map (the first 2/3 of the map):

Starting from the beach at The Birches Resort on Moosehead Lake, teams have a quick "prologue" of orienteering on The Birches property. This will introduce teams to the Maine woods and let them work off that nervous starting line energy. This is only a quick 30 minute opening section.

After the prologue, teams have a 5 mile canoe paddle northeast across Moosehead Lake. On the Eastern Shore is a remote campsite that is their destination, and where they will leave their canoes to travel over land to the first mountain summit on the 2014 race course: Little Kineo Mountain. This summit has a sheer cliff on it's east side, falling 300 feet into the dense forest below; race teams will rappel down the cliff and into the woods, then visit another checkpoint in the forest on their return to their canoes.

Teams then have a short paddle to Kineo Island, famous for the imposing cliffs that form the perimeter. Teams will land their canoes on Kineo Island and complete a trail running circuit up and around the cliffs, approximately 4 miles in total distance. The views from high atop Kineo Island can be spectacular!

Teams return to their canoes again for the third and final paddle section of Leg 1. This time, it's a 16 mile crossing of Moosehead Lake. Conditions can be challenging on this stretch of paddling, and teams will have several navigation obstacles to negotiate with the large number of islands, peninsulas, and bays. Leg 1 concludes at a private campsite near Lily Bay State Park; this is the "Good To-Go Transition Area" where racers will be welcomed with a gourmet meal prepared by Good To-Go (creators of innovative camp meals). The hot meal should help prepare athletes for the rigors of Leg 2.