Photo by Charlotte Klein.
Waking up to the buttery smell of hot cinnamon rolls is one of the best ways to start your morning.Read More
Enjoying rainbows in Patagonia. Photo by Ignacio Martínez.
“Learn, just learn about this unique and remote place in the world, connect with the people, nature, history, and its wild places—the glaciers, ice fields, rivers, lakes, islands, and sea.”Read More
Crossing a river. Photo by Eric Page.
While taking my instructor course to teach for NOLS, we spent a lot of time talking about decision making. For example, would we cross this river using the snow bridge or a wading technique—the bridge looking like the more comfortable option compared to the guarantee of wet boots, but which might collapse and dump us into the chilly water anyway.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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!”Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More