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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

Educator Expedition: Family Time Rafting on the Middle Fork

By Will Stubblefield on 4/17/17 8:51 AM

We arrived at Velvet Falls, one of the first notable rapids of this family trip down the Middle Fork of the Salmon River.

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Topics: Behind the Scenes, instructor, NOLS Teton Valley, whitewater rafting

Get Off the Grid for a Gap Year

By Molly Herber on 4/12/17 8:29 AM

Editor’s note: I asked staff around NOLS why they think it’s a good idea to get off the grid for a gap year. We do love our technology, but there’s also a whole lot of value in disconnecting for a while. Here’s why.

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Topics: Live the Dream, Gap Year

New Courses for Fall 2017

By Molly Herber on 4/10/17 8:49 AM

Editor’s Note: We’re introducing six new courses to our fall lineup that are all 10 days or shorter. Enjoy!

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Topics: Behind the Scenes, NOLS Rocky Mountain, NOLS Southwest, NOLS Northeast

It Takes a Village: WFRs Come Together in the Linville Gorge Wilderness

By Jenny Jenkins on 4/4/17 8:29 AM

It started out like any other fall weekend climbing trip. Driving to North Carolina, my friends and I were excited to explore the Linville Gorge Wilderness and escape our weekday realities for a while. We were cruising down the Blue Ridge Parkway singing to our new favorite song, “Genghis Khan,” and talking about all the cheese fries we would consume after our day of climbing.

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Topics: Wilderness Medicine

Expedition to Pluto: The New NOLS Course

By Molly Herber on 4/1/17 7:30 AM

We’re announcing the newest NOLS course: Pluto Space Travel and Spacewalking.

According to executive director John Gans, “Pluto’s an unconventional choice, but was only logical for our newest course area.”

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Topics: Behind the Scenes

How to Make Your Routine Leave No Trace

By Molly Herber on 3/29/17 8:16 AM

You’re the type of person who will eat a noodle that fell in the dirt, shudder when you think about “surface pooping,” and march right through mud puddles on the trail rather than around them. You’re a master of Leave No Trace.

It can be hard to know how to bring your dedication to LNT to your daily routine. So, I asked around my colleagues at NOLS Headquarters to find out what they do to keep LNT alive in their daily routine. Maybe it’ll spark ideas you can fit into your lifestyle.

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Topics: Behind the Scenes, leave no trace, Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability

Make Leadership the Focus of Your Gap Year

By Katherine Boehrer on 3/23/17 9:42 AM

I took my first NOLS course, Alaska Backpacking, the summer before my senior year of high school. Many things I learned in the backcountry made me better prepared for my final year of high school and starting college. If you're thinking about taking a gap year, that's a perfect time to hone your leadership skills. The value of travel, work experience, or service during a gap year isn't just in activities—it's also in the intangible skills like teamwork and self-reliance.

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Topics: Behind the Scenes, Gap Year

Camping Recipe: 30-Minute Cornbread

By Molly Herber on 3/20/17 8:42 AM

If I’m totally honest, when I go camping I sometimes worry less about what the weather will be like and more about what I’m going to make when it’s my turn to cook.

To help with my cooking stress, I’ve focused on making just a few simple recipes and doing them well. That’s why I love this cornbread recipe.

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Topics: Expedition Prep, recipe, cornbread

4 Ways You Can Always Be Learning

By Molly Herber on 3/16/17 8:45 AM

At the start of a 10-day rock climbing seminar for NOLS instructors, I didn't know what to expect. It was my first seminar, and I worried that I wouldn't know as much as everyone else and would always be working to catch up. But once I got to NOLS Southwest and started meeting my coursemates, I quickly realized that wasn’t the case.

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Topics: Behind the Scenes, instructors, rock climbing

3 Ideas to Feed Your Inner Wild

By Will Harrison on 3/13/17 1:27 PM

As NOLS alumni and outdoor enthusiasts know, it’s a strange process returning to the frontcountry. From trying to suppress thoughts that not everywhere is a restroom, to resisting the urge to lock your phone away forever, there’s a little bit of wilderness that gets tangled with our inner selves and is constantly looking for a way out.

If you’re like me and living in a bigger city, going to school, or just looking to find a trail to feel back in the woods again, here are some tips you can use to survive in the city.

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Topics: Live the Dream

Camping Recipe: 4-Ingredient Peanut Butter Truffles

By Molly Herber on 3/9/17 8:28 AM

You can become a master of dessert on a camp stove with this recipe. The best part? It only takes four ingredients.

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Topics: Expedition Prep, recipe

10 Useful Wilderness Medicine Posts To Read Before Your Next Adventure

By Molly Herber on 3/2/17 10:38 AM

Before getting ready for any trip, it’s important to review your wilderness first aid skills.

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Topics: Expedition Prep, NOLS Wilderness Medicine, Wilderness Medicine

Tolerance for Uncertainty & Adversity

By Carolyn Highland on 2/22/17 10:31 AM

It was four in the morning, it was sideways sleeting, and the tent pole cup was broken. I stood huddled in my rain gear, aiming my headlamp down at my tentmate and my instructor, who were lying sideways on the icy snow, trying to speedy-stitch the stirrup back to the tent body before they lost all dexterity in their hands.

It was four in the morning and I was supposed to be snuggled up in my sleeping bag inside the tent, but instead I was outside getting pelted with rain on the side of a snowy mountain, the blackness around me increasing the sense of being in the absolute middle of nowhere.

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Topics: Semester, NOLS New Zealand, Live the Dream, Gap Year

New Courses for Summer 2017

By Molly Herber on 2/21/17 9:50 AM

When we decide to create a new course, it comes from a combination of our faculty’s passion for the area and constant desire for growth, and from what students say they want to see more of.

So, here’s a peek at the new courses you can take starting the summer of 2017. You can focus on service learning, explore the far north of Norway, or walk through the heart of Alaska’s Talkeetna Range.

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Topics: service, Behind the Scenes, NOLS Rocky Mountain, Sea Kayaking, NOLS Alaska, Backpacking, NOLS Scandinavia