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Elena Cabot Rodriguez

Elena Cabot Rodriguez
Elena Cabot Rodriguez is a student and writer currently based in Boston, Massachusetts. She’s an avid traveller, and she's passionate about sharing her experiences through her written stories and photographs. Elena is a graduate of the 2016 30-day Alaska Backpacking course, and a graduate of the 2017 Rocky Mountain Semester program. You can check out her photos at

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The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful: Why I Went Back to NOLS

By Elena Cabot Rodriguez on 4/3/18 9:11 AM

Photo courtesy of NOLS archives.

All my life my dad had preached the power of NOLS. The first summer he moved to the United States from Venezuela, he completed the four-week backpacking course in the Wind River Range.

Speaking little English, he cruised with his team through snowy mountain tops, only to be caught in a snowstorm at 8,000 feet with an instructor who had a leg injury. He still loves to talk about carrying the instructor up to a clearing and snuggling with him at night to prevent hypothermia.

“I’ve never done anything like it,” my dad told me.

“Cool, Papa,” I said for the thousandth time, tired of hearing about Wind River epics that seemed so foreign to me.

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Topics: Semester in the Rockies, Live the Dream, leadership, Alaska backpacking