NOLS Blog

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Debunking 5 Myths about Gear

By Molly Herber on 1/19/17 8:53 AM

Before you head to the store, check out these five myths about gear to make sure you get what you need!

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Topics: Expedition Prep

Instructor Expedition: A Grand Canyon Trip with Friends

By NOLS Blog on 1/16/17 12:49 PM

NOLS instructors write about paddling the Grand Canyon with family and friends.

Ribeye steaks on day eleven? This was not a NOLS course. This was a descent of the Grand Canyon, made possible by the NOLS instructor development fund—the classic journey, with all the iced sodas you can drink and rapids that might keep an oarswoman awake at night.

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Topics: Educators Notebook

This Cold Bug Is Bugging Me: How to Handle Flu-Like Illness in the Backcountry

By Sarah Buer on 1/12/17 9:46 AM

Viral, flu-like illnesses like stomach bugs or viral upper respiratory infections (“the flu” or “a cold”) can be common on wilderness expeditions. While having a cold is never fun, being in the backcountry when the bug decides to bug you can make it that much worse.

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Topics: wilderness medicine, WMI, education, backcountry, NOLS Wilderness Medicine Institute, Wilderness Medicine

Building and Rebuilding: What I Learned on an Alumni Service Trip

By Haley Cushing on 1/10/17 4:09 PM

On the first day of the 2016 Alumni Service Trip in the Adirondacks, I remember thinking that our motley crew of highly motivated yet enormously unskilled laborers had quite an impossible mission before us. It was our goal to revamp a bridge and, looking at the bridge spanning across Moose Creek, it looked like a daunting task.

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Topics: Alumni, Behind the Scenes

Getting Ready: Mental and Physical Prep for My Gap Year

By Brooke Buchanan on 1/9/17 11:54 AM

While sitting in yet another mundane lecture in physics class, my phone vibrates.

Sneakily, I pull it out and glance at my new notification: an email.

I open up my Yahoo app expecting to see a pointless message from some telemarketer, but I’m caught by surprise. I click on the message and see that it’s from NOLS. It says my spot on the Patagonia Coastal Expedition has been reserved. Forgetting I’m in class, I squirm with excitement and the teacher takes my phone away.

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Topics: Expedition Prep

7 Ways to Make Coffee Outside

By Molly Herber on 1/6/17 9:03 AM

The morning ritual of making a hot beverage is precious to many an outdoorsperson (and a pain for the ones who like to get out of camp quickly). Interrupting that ritual could mean a full day of silence until you make up for it by giving up your last Snickers bar or promising to do dishes for the rest of the trip.

You might think that options are limited for making coffee while you’re camping, but you really have all kinds of choices.

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Topics: Expedition Prep, cooking, coffee

Enjoying the Tiny Life

By Molly Herber on 1/3/17 10:48 AM

Twelve years ago, Dee Williams decided to radically downsize. With excessive work hours, a hefty home loan, and a period of poor health, she realized she couldnt pursue her real joys. “I wanted to have time and energy and resources to offer to other folks and other issues that were important to me,” she said.

Inspired by an article she read about a tiny house, Dee decided to build her own, an 84-square-foot home on wheels.

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Topics: Live the Dream

On the Creation of Bears Ears National Monument

By Kevin Fleming on 12/30/16 9:54 AM

The canyonlands of southeastern Utah are a haunting, hallowed place. So still you can hear the wind under the wings of a raven passing overhead. So alive that slickrock waterfalls spring to life at the hint of rain. So deep that to walk the length of a canyon is to travel backward in time, a thousand years with each step.

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How To Keep Your Feet Warm

By Molly Herber on 12/29/16 9:20 AM

Taking care of your feet while camping is one of the best gifts you can give yourself.

Here you’ll find advice from the pros—NOLS instructors, employees, even our wilderness medicine curriculum director Tod Schimelpfenig—on how to take care of your feet when they get cold.

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Topics: Expedition Prep, winter

Potential Energy

By Rachel Dranoff on 12/27/16 7:52 AM

Potential energy: (noun) Energy that is stored within an object, not in motion but capable of becoming active.

I had been dreaming of doing a NOLS course since age 21, although I didn’t fully realize it at the time. My college boyfriend did a semester in the Pacific Northwest, and I remember exchanging letters and the excitement of being able to talk on the phone when he was back at the base.

Six years later, recovering from the end of our relationship, I found myself in the Pacific Northwest about to embark on a NOLS adventure of my own.

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Topics: Live the Dream

An Astronaut Candidate’s Take on Goals and Leadership

By Molly Herber on 12/21/16 10:43 AM

When I asked Canadian astronaut candidate Shawna Pandya about which of her many roles she identified with first, she said,

“It really depends on the day.”

Given the number of roles she has, this answer isn’t a surprise. Pandya’s a resident physician finishing her residency in family practice, training as a citizen science astronaut and aquanaut, and is a competitive martial artist—just to name a few.

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Topics: Live the Dream

How Can I Support You? The Power of Expedition Behavior

By Carolyn Highland on 12/19/16 8:52 AM

The sky was gray and the sea restless and we had just pulled up to a desolate beach somewhere in the Marlborough Sound. I sat on a piece of driftwood with my head between my knees, taking belabored breaths in and out of my mouth, relishing the stillness of my current position.

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Topics: Live the Dream

Preparing for a Miracle: WFR Training in Family Emergencies

By Sarah Buer on 12/16/16 9:31 AM

Two parents tell the story of their family's worst day—and the happy ending that came as a result of being prepared.

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Topics: Wilderness Medicine

Looking Back, Looking Ahead: The NOLS Logo

By Molly Herber on 12/13/16 9:04 AM

On the very first NOLS course, students walked into the mountains wearing the same outfit. A single patch decorated every shirt: the stars and shield logo that represented the National Outdoor Leadership School.

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Topics: Behind the Scenes

Climbing Higher: The New NOLS Look

By John Gans on 12/12/16 12:15 PM

NOLS looks a little different today.

For the past year, we've been developing a new look and logo for NOLS, and today I'm delighted to share the behind-the-scenes action that created this look and what's ahead.

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Topics: Behind the Scenes