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There and Back Again, a Patagonia Tale: The Patagonia Cultural Expedition

By Jen Antocci on 5/29/19 9:42 AM

Photo courtesy of Alex Chang - Cornell Leadership Expedition.
 

I was sitting in my doctor’s office, awkwardly fussing with my johnny gown and glancing down at the NOLS health form in my hands. My doctor comes in and after some formal chitchat I ask her to complete the health clearance for this month long hiking and cultural expedition in Patagonia.

“A month of hiking? Sleeping in tents? In South America? Are you being punished?” she half joked. “No, I’m paying to do this” I joked back. “Well good for you, I don’t even like going out in my backyard.” She signed the form and I left the office, mentally checking off the final item on my expedition to-do list.

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Topics: Patagonia, culture, Live the Dream, story, cultural expedition

Research at NOLS: How NOLS Courses Help Prepare for Extended Expeditions in Space

By Shannon Rochelle on 5/23/19 8:46 AM

 

How can NOLS courses help us plan for long duration space flight? You may know that NOLS works with astronauts and other NASA staff, taking them into the backcountry for experiential lessons in expedition behavior, teamwork, and leadership.

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Topics: leadership education, NOLS Leader, NASA, Research, education, science

USNA Midshipman Turned NOLS Instructor

By Mike Titzer on 5/16/19 8:26 AM
 Photo by Nick Valentine

It was the second week of our course, and our hiking group of US Naval Academy Midshipmen sat on the side of an Alaskan mountain overlooking a giant herd of caribou.  

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Topics: leadership, nols instructor, Alaska, military, service academy, US Naval Academy

Case Study: Bucked off a Horse

By Tod Schimelpfenig on 5/15/19 12:15 PM
 
 
Photo Credit: Kelsey Wicks

The Setting

You and a companion, both proud and confident Wilderness First Responders (WFR), are hiking a wilderness trail when you are passed by a horse pack string led by a young cowboy. You exchange pleasantries and fishing tips.

Suddenly, one horse nips at another, a horse kicks, and then horses seem to be going everywhere. The rider’s horse rears and bucks; he falls off and lands on his head and shoulder.

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Topics: decision making, Wilderness First Responder, first aid, wilderness medicine, case study

5 Things I Learned from Going on a Paddling Expedition with My Spouse

By Ashley Drake on 5/13/19 4:05 PM

Going on an expedition is one thing—going with your spouse can be something else entirely. NOLS Instructor & Custom Education Operations Supervisor Ashley Drake shares how, with intentional planning and plenty of good humor, adventuring with your spouse can be some of your best time spent outdoors.

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Topics: River, inspiring women, whitewater rafting, NOLS Expeditions

Finding What Makes Others Tick on a Baja Semester

By Alison Peterson on 5/8/19 10:45 AM
Photo by Alison Peterson.
 

Two months into our fall semester in Baja and dinner had just ended, wrapping up a weary day of classes and cleaning the kayaks. I strolled over to my coursemate, who was writing on the beach, asking if I could join in. In waves, a few more came to join us.

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Topics: NOLS Mexico, Baja, inspiring women, story

12 Days That Changed My Life: A Homestay in East Africa

By Steve Stoddard on 5/6/19 12:27 PM

Photo courtesy of Steve Stoddard.
 

Rather than my watch alarm bringing me out of sleep, it was roosters and cows. Instead of bundling up to get out of my tent and start boiling water for my cook group, I was waking up in someone else’s home.

This was all pretty different than what I had gotten accustomed to during the previous six weeks of backpacking on my NOLS semester.

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Topics: Behind the Scenes, study abroad, culture, NOLS East Africa, story, homestay

Inside Whitewater Expeditions in the Rockies

By Kate Dernocoeur on 4/30/19 8:54 AM

Photo by David Morgan.
 

On June 8, 1869, John Wesley Powell and his expedition floated down the Green River through the Gates of Lodore—a narrow, towering cleft worn in the deep red rock of what is now western Colorado.

They were not the first to enter the canyon—Native Americans had lived in the area for thousands of years, and the early 1800s saw numerous explorations by trappers. But for Powell, it felt completely unknown.

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Topics: whitewater, education, whitewater rafting, Salmon River, whitewater canoeing, NOLS River Base, Vernal

Case Study: An Abandoned Patient High in the Alpine

By Tod Schimelpfenig on 4/18/19 9:05 AM

Photo by Ashley Wise
 

The Setting

You are on a Search and Rescue (SAR) team whose members are Wilderness First Responders (WFRs). You and your team members hike on a rugged trail into Wyoming’s Wind River Range, responding to a vague report that came in at midnight of a “very sick person” camped “near the trail near tree line.” Your team’s role is to sweep the trail in the dark in the hopes of finding out exactly what is going on. A second SAR group is gathering to hike up the trail later in support.

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Topics: Wilderness First Responder, first aid, wilderness medicine, case study

Dream with Your Eyes Open: Women's Baja Sea Kayaking Expedition

By Jessey Jansen on 4/15/19 1:57 PM

Jessey shares rhythm and memories from the spring 2019 Women’s Baja Sea Kayaking - Prime course.

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Topics: NOLS Mexico, Baja Sea Kayaking, story, women in leadership

Turnback Canyon: A NOLS instructor shares lessons from whitewater paddling the Alsek River

By Natalie Sands on 4/9/19 9:21 AM

I sit on a rocky shelf, studying the colours and rock formations of a mountain across the river that seems to stare back. The ridge below Bates Creek has bright orange scree that contrasts against the nearby grey and black rock, still scarred by the ancient glaciers lining this valley.

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Topics: whitewater, kayaking, Educators Notebook, Yukon, instructor, inspiring women, paddling, Instructor expedition

The Spring Lineup: 5 Custom NOLS Products You Have to Have

By Rob Motley on 4/1/19 5:30 AM

At NOLS, we strive to bring you top-of-the-line products that transcend industry standards and meet your every need. Elevate your camping experience this spring with our exclusive, new product line that will transform and transmute everything you thought you knew about the outdoors.

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Topics: Recreational Equipment

Instructor Expeditions of 2018

By NOLS on 3/25/19 11:31 AM

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: whitewater, Training, kayaking, Educators Notebook, instructor, mountaineering, rock climbing, Instructor Development Fund (IDF), Instructor expedition

Why You Should Take a Wilderness First Aid Course

By Ben Lerman on 3/21/19 8:12 AM
NOLS Wilderness Medicine student practices caring for a patient in the outdoors. Photo by Jared Steinman.
 

You love the outdoors. The beauty. The adventure. The chance to unplug. The quality time with family and friends, or even by yourself. Whether you choose to explore the wilds by hiking, on the water, with a fishing rod in hand, or up a mountain road with your camper, the remoteness and rawness of it all is likely part of the appeal.

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Topics: wilderness medicine, Wilderness First Aid, Wilderness Medicine

Brave, Not Perfect

By Mairin Rogers on 3/19/19 8:45 AM

Photo by Alison Peterson.

My mom always told me that I was brave. Brave for learning to play a new instrument, brave for trying out for a sports team, brave for venturing off on my own. During my three months in the backcountry on a NOLS course, however, I realized she was wrong. I wasn’t brave—I was scared.

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Topics: Semester, Live the Dream, Semester in Baja