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Molly Herber

Molly Herber
Molly is a NOLS instructor and writer. She loves the smell of her backpack and does her best writing before 7:00 am. When she's not scouting the next post for the NOLS Blog, she's running and climbing on rocks in Wyoming.
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Recent Posts

NOLS Instructor Expeditions of 2017

By Molly Herber on 6/6/18 9:36 AM


Photo by Eric Page.

How do you become a better educator? There’s no one best answer, but continuing to be a learner yourself is certainly up there.

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Topics: canoeing, Himalaya, kayaking, mountaineering, Alaska, Instructor Development Fund (IDF), leadership, packrafting, Instructor expedition

How to Pack Your Backpack

By Molly Herber on 5/23/18 7:01 AM
Photo by Nadine Lehner
 

The first time I tried to pack a backpack, it took me over an hour to get everything inside. The result was a chunky, clunky pile that rose at least six inches over my head. It wasn’t pretty, but everything was inside.

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Topics: Expedition Prep, Backpacking, backpacking, hiking, adventure

New Courses for Fall 2018

By Molly Herber on 5/16/18 10:09 AM

Planning a trip always represents new possibilities: Where will we go that’s new? And where will we return to in a way that’s radically different?

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Topics: Behind the Scenes, expedition, new courses

Why It’s Important for Teens to Learn Leadership

By Molly Herber on 3/22/18 9:12 AM


Photo by Ella Bruijn.

As our students hiked off, each in their own small group and following the routes they’d planned themselves, a knot twisted and untwisted in my stomach.

My instructor team and I had spent the previous three weeks backpacking with our students, all 16- and 17-year olds, handing off more decision-making responsibilities to them each day.

I’d seen them make responsible choices, and also learn from making their own mistakes (like taking the “shortcut” through the boulder field rather than the slightly longer but much easier walk around the lake). They were ready for the responsibility, but it was nerve-wracking to watch them go, even knowing we’d meet up again in just a few days.

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Topics: teens, experiential education, leadership

4 Strategies Leaders Use to Make Better Decisions

By Molly Herber on 3/7/18 10:06 AM


Photo by Betsy Winston.

Imagine this: You’re trying to figure out the best way to cross a river with your group of four friends. Even though you’ve crossed rivers on your own before, you’ve never led a group while doing it.

You’re wracking your brain trying to remember any acronyms that might help you, scrambling around the riverbank trying to guess the river’s speed, and weighing the equally strong temptations of “just going for it” and staying put, making camp, and coming back to the decision in the morning.

When you’re on the verge of total frustration, your friend shouts, “Hey, I found a log! Let’s use it to cross the river!”

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Topics: decision making, Live the Dream, leadership

New Courses for Summer 2018

By Molly Herber on 1/29/18 8:16 AM

Putting a new course together is good practice for tolerance for uncertainty. We try to answer questions like, will folks be excited about canoeing the Adirondacks this year? Or would they rather go on an all-girls backpacking expedition in the Olympic National Forest? In the end, we have to do the same thing we do in the backcountry—use the information available to make a decision, and then see what happens.

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Topics: Behind the Scenes, new courses

Easing Back Into Your Frontcountry Life

By Molly Herber on 12/26/17 9:46 AM

The first few days home after my month-long NOLS mountaineering course, I luxuriated in ordinary things—running water and reconnecting with friends, resting in my own bed after nights of camping in windy, cold mountains. But trading a crowded tent for my own bed also felt lonely. The foods I couldn’t wait to feast on went from exciting back to normal. Rest turned into restlessness. I learned that coming back to the frontcountry is as important a change as learning to live in the wilderness.

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Topics: Expedition Prep, expedition

Your Favorite Stories from 2017

By Molly Herber on 12/20/17 2:31 PM

The stories we tell reveal a piece of ourselves. This year, the stories you loved told of people changed by the mountains and steps to achieve goals; that busted myths and shared ways to care for each other in the wilderness, both in mind and body.

Looking at the stories you loved reading, you can see where this community’s values are: in people and the environment. We hope you enjoy taking a look back at the seven most-read stories from 2017.

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Topics: leadership, tolerance for adversity and uncertainty, first aid, Live the Dream

Camping Recipe: Biscuits [Video]

By Molly Herber on 11/10/17 8:43 AM

You know you've found the perfect adventure partner when you wake up to the smell of baking in the morning. Fortunately, it isn't that hard for you to become that perfect adventure partner—all you need are one or two recipes.

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Topics: Expedition Prep, recipe, cooking, backcountry recipe

Learning a Helping Mindset While Camping

By Molly Herber on 10/12/17 10:27 AM

The start of a course, or any trip with new people, is usually a little bit messy. Setting up the tent just took 45 minutes and, when you finally finish, you realize that no one has started cooking dinner yet. On top of that, you don’t even have water to cook with yet.

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Topics: leadership, Behind the Scenes, expedition behavior

Find Your Next Adventure in the City

By Molly Herber on 10/5/17 10:25 AM

Adventure isn’t only about going to the most remote wilderness area you can find—it’s about doing something that challenges or surprises you, and doing it with people you enjoy. Even at NOLS we don’t spend all of our time in big wilderness areas, as much as we love them.

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Topics: Live the Dream, microadventure

Camping Recipe: No-Bake Energy Nuggets

By Molly Herber on 9/22/17 8:28 AM

When you're rushing out the door on your way to a last-minute rock climbing session or long hike, these little energy bites are the perfect snacks to have on hand to munch in the car or on the trail.

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Topics: Expedition Prep, recipe

Learn Your Habits to Make Better Decisions

By Molly Herber on 9/20/17 8:56 AM

Humans’ ability to use patterns helps us make decisions faster, but can also lead us into what NOLS teaches in our leadership curriculum as decision-making traps.

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Topics: decision making, Live the Dream, leadership

Make Your Gear Have Multiple Purposes

By Molly Herber on 9/14/17 8:21 AM

Being intentional about the gear you pack for trips is one of the sneaky ways going to the outdoors teaches us about leadership. You don’t have a lot of room for “just in case” or “what if” when you’re carrying everything on your back or in the small hull of a boat.

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Topics: gear, Expedition Prep

How to Fix Your Outdoor Gear

By Molly Herber on 9/5/17 8:29 AM

Fortunately, fixing gear isn’t complicated, as long as you have a few of the right tools. We do it on NOLS courses all the time (since no one wants to sleep in a holey tent or walk around with ripped pants for a month).

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Topics: Expedition Prep, Gear repair, Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability