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Leveling Up: From the Operating Room to the Backcountry

By Katy Trahan on 6/21/17 12:46 PM

Editor’s Note: Surgeon Katy Trahan levels up her medical training on a Wilderness Upgrade for Medical Professionals course with NOLS.

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Topics: NOLS Wilderness Medicine, Wilderness Medicine

How to Choose a Camera for Camping (That’s not your phone)

By Molly Herber on 6/20/17 7:29 AM

There are so many times when you try to explain the best moment of your last trip. You describe the rain, the way your muscles burned, and how big your smile was, but it doesn’t really sink in until you pull out the photo from that trip and show that moment of triumph in the rain.

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Topics: Expedition Prep, photography

Growing Confidence through Solo Canoeing

By Rumi Kodama on 6/14/17 8:47 AM

Editor’s note: Instructor Rumi Kodama takes us inside the connection between person and paddle as she develops her whitewater canoeing skills.

Knowing and understanding a canoe stroke goes much deeper than the movement of the paddle. It’s all about the interplay between the paddle, the canoe, and the movement of the water.

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Topics: Educators Notebook, whitewater canoeing

When You Should Wear Cotton in the Outdoors

By Molly Herber on 6/13/17 8:47 AM

Some experienced campers’ favorite advice is “You should never wear cotton,” sometimes using the dramatic catchphrase “Cotton kills.”

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Topics: Expedition Prep

Rhode Island: The Final Frontier

By Ben Tettlebaum on 6/7/17 4:27 PM

“Though she be but little, she is fierce!”
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
-William Shakespeare

For the first time in our 50-plus years, NOLS set foot in that tiniest and most elusive of states—Rhode Island.

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Topics: NOLS Wilderness Medicine

Prepare for the Unexpected with a Solid Trip Plan

By Molly Herber on 6/6/17 8:42 AM

I’m all out of layers, I thought as I turned my pack inside-out looking for something else we could use. Our patient had a broken femur and my team was scurrying to assemble materials for a splint. I only had what I normally brought on a day hike—a jacket, snacks, and a half-full water bottle—not even a first aid kit. My heart raced as I scrambled to think of what else we could do for this patient. I could hear the rising stress in my teammates’ voices.

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Topics: Expedition Prep

Reaffirming Our Commitment to a Sustainable Future

By NOLS on 6/2/17 12:57 PM

“We want [our students] to use the education to be leaders in their community with an understanding of ecology and conservation for the wild outdoors far beyond their legislators back home. We expect these people to be a grain of sand on the beach of future leadership.” —Paul Petzoldt

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Topics: Behind the Scenes, Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability

Tolerance for Adversity and Uncertainty in the Southern Andes

By Brett Carroll on 5/31/17 8:20 AM

I grimaced slightly as I rolled onto my side, stretching the sunburnt skin on my back and shoulders. After the mild pain subsided I couldn’t help but laugh at this new source of discomfort, and its stark contrast to the bite of the frigid wind in Frey and the raw chill of the fog in Los Arenales.

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Topics: Behind the Scenes, NOLS Patagonia, rock climbing

How to Hunker in Your Tent Without Getting Bored

By Molly Herber on 5/30/17 9:06 AM

Picture this: You’re snuggled in your sleeping bag on the third morning of your weeklong summer backpacking trip. You’ve been dreaming about this mountain getaway for weeks, and all you can think about is the next campsite, the one by the perfect fly-fishing spot.

Then—you hear it.

A patter of raindrops falling on your tent. You squeeze your eyes shut and hope this is just a passing cloud, but the patter intensifies to hammering, the wind picks up, and then you’re in the middle of a full-on gale that shows no signs of letting up any time soon.

Your friend looks at you and says, “Well, it’s time to hunker down.”

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A First Responder Changes the Conversation about Mental Health

By Jared Apperson on 5/25/17 1:17 PM

Editor’s note: Jared Apperson is a longtime NOLS Wilderness Medicine instructor and former flight paramedic. Here, he talks about the psychological challenges of working in emergency medicine and his mission to raise awareness of post traumatic stress for first responders.

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Topics: first aid, NOLS Wilderness Medicine, Wilderness Medicine, psychological first aid

The 5 Components of Psychological First Aid

By Laura McGladrey on 5/22/17 8:17 AM

Editor’s note: Adapted from the Spring 2017 issue of The Leader under the title “Psychological First Aid Toolkit—What’s in Yours?”

The common image of a first responder is someone with a snappy set of gloves smoothly bandaging a spurting wound or administering an EpiPen to a patient having an anaphylactic reaction. Injuries, we imagine, are easy to see and easy to fix.

While treating physical wounds seems like the most important way a first responder can help a patient, there’s a lot that we can do to care for a patient’s mental health, especially during and right after a traumatic event.

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Topics: first aid, NOLS Wilderness Medicine, Wilderness Medicine, psychological first aid

Improve Your Appetite for Uncertainty

By Molly Herber on 5/15/17 8:36 AM

“Happy campers aren’t the ones with the fewest problems…They just have more positive attitudes and better coping strategies.”

NOLS Leadership Educator Notebook, 5th ed.

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Topics: leadership education, Live the Dream

Rescue at Goblin Valley State Park

By Shelli Johnson on 5/10/17 6:21 AM

Editor’s note: Shelli Johnson and her family were on vacation in Utah’s Goblin Valley State Park when they found themselves first responders on the scene after a girl took a serious fall from a cliff (story here).

Here, Shelli writes about what it was like for her, her husband, and their three sons to be the first responders (Shelli took NOLS Brooks Range Backpacking - Prime and Wilderness First Responder courses).

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Topics: NOLS Wilderness Medicine, Wilderness Medicine

Camping Recipe: No-Bake Powerhouse Cookies

By Molly Herber on 5/2/17 8:20 AM

Here's a recipe for when you need a treat that also fuels you up after a long day.

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Topics: Expedition Prep, recipe, cooking

Prevent Minor Trail Injuries with Advice from NOLS Staff

By Molly Herber on 4/25/17 9:30 AM

Before my first NOLS course, I got a lot of advice. For example, my brother told me to “Remember that you always have a way to get warm and dry,” and gave plenty of advice on how to be a good teammate (mainly, don’t complain).

But a lot of the little things I had to learn on my own—like, for example, the fact that your scalp can get sunburned. Ouch.

To help you prepare for the little things (which, in the end, usually aren’t so little, especially when it comes to blisters or the flu), a group of experienced NOLSies shared some of their favorite advice to help you be as prepared as possible before hitting the trail.

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Topics: Wilderness First Aid, NOLS Wilderness Medicine