Photo by Alyssa Walker.
On our last family car camping sojourn, a three-day affair two years ago, we learned that two- and four-year-olds are too young for anyone to enjoy any aspect of car camping. There were diapers. There were legions of biting insects. There was not one, but two kid backpacks. There was a frog potty. There were tantrums. Everything was sticky. It rained. We were too close to our neighbors. Fun, but not. At all.
We took a break for a year, thinking two potty-trained kids, at a minimum, would help. This time, we resolved, would be better, more fun, the stuff of memories and traditions. Our children, at four and six, were ready. So were we.Read More
Photo by Jordan Cranch.
On her Rocky Mountain Outdoor Educator semester, Erin Phillips skied backcountry mountains, canoed whitewater rapids, and hiked more than 100 miles across the Utah desert. Each new landscape brought fresh experiences, including the day she and her coursemates hiked for hours to reach a water source in the desert’s slot canyons and danced in celebration.
The desert awakened another kind of thirst as well, a burning curiosity about the beautiful and harsh environment that surrounded her: “Escalante taught me a very special lesson: to stop. To stop doing and start listening.”Read More
Last summer, the Antler River was a knee-deep stream flowing through a broad meadow deep in the mountains of Alaska. Now, it was a moving lake, flooding the entire meadow.Read More
Practicing a patient assessment during a course. Photo by Luis Camargo.
As a medical provider in the wilderness, it’s important to not make judgments or assumptions. For example, rather than assuming a patient is low risk for a spine injury, you can use a focused spine assessment to gather information relevant to your decision.Read More
You are a Search and Rescue (SAR) volunteer working with a team to sweep a trail in the central Rocky Mountains in response to a vague cell phone report of an ill person somewhere on the trail. Eight miles from the trailhead at 8,800 ft. (2,680 m) you find the patient sitting on a log. After introducing yourselves, and with the patient's permission, you and the SAR team members begin an assessment.Read More
Backpacking in New York. Photo by Kirk Rasmussen.
It’s a familiar scene: piles of food and gear, a trusted backpack unzipped, ready to be (carefully) stuffed full. You’re getting ready for your next backpacking adventure in the mountains.
As you run through your mental checklist, your friend casually asks, “So, you’re going to see those glaciers while they’re still there?” You pause, thinking for a moment. They’re only half kidding.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 from NOLS Alaska
My rope team heading back to base camp. Photo by Liz Townsend.
You might think that seven years of working in the business world would have taught me about leadership. Yet the best lessons I’ve learned have come while climbing rocks and mountains and hiking miles into the wilderness, where traveling with companions over steep snowy passes and through thick forested valleys has forced me to face leadership challenges in ways that I rarely encounter inside.Read More
Photo by Carolyn Highland
November 21, 2012 was one of my favorite days on this planet. Up until this point, the idea of identifying a favorite day had seemed impossible, like choosing your favorite drop of water in a rushing river. But this was a day that made you realize if you couldn’t identify days that made the shortlist, you hadn’t yet experienced the type of day worthy of it.Read More
Photo by Ashley Wise
You’re leading a canoe trip for a group on the Rio Grande River in Big Bend National Park in Texas. It’s been a hot trip, with temperatures well over 90°F (32°C) day after day. Today, the group started off with a long morning hike up a side canyon, and now you’ve been paddling for several hours, floating lazily along, watching birds swoop around the limestone cliffs.
Suddenly, your observations are interrupted by yells for help downstream. You paddle quickly to a beached canoe and several people on shore. One of your participants is shouting something about a seizure.
Another participant is lying on their back in the sand. Their legs are quivering, but their arms seem to be moving normally. The other participant insists this is a seizure—you’re not so sure.Read More