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Any Year Can Be a Gap Year

By Shelby Cranshaw on 9/9/16 6:49 AM

I am not entirely sure what I meant when I claimed to “hate nature” for the majority of my life.

But I said it. Often. My dad used to bribe me up mountains with M&Ms every 100 steps. He threatened to send me on NOLS courses during my high school summers when I complained of boredom.

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Topics: Alumni, NOLS Patagonia, Semester, wilderness medicine, adventure, Live the Dream, Gap Year, education

How to Create an Eye-Catching Resume by Talking about Your NOLS Course

By Kim Freitas on 9/1/16 9:33 AM

A resume is a tool to introduce yourself to a potential employer. It’s challenging to clearly and concisely articulate your work history on one page. Not to mention when you have to explain something like a NOLS course!

Whether you took a two-day Wilderness First Aid course or a three-month gap semester, you can use this experience to stand out on your next application.

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Topics: Alumni, Behind the Scenes, adventure, education, leadership

Intro to Federal Public Lands in the U.S.

By Katherine Boehrer on 8/30/16 10:32 AM

America’s federal public lands are an amazing resource for all kinds of recreation—but how much do you know about the different kinds of public land?

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Topics: adventure, Environmental Stewardship, stewardship, education, Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability, leadership

My Playground, My Dad, My Leadership Voice

By Brette Brickel on 8/23/16 11:09 AM

I have always loved being outside, being in the mountains; however, my road since college had taken me from that lifestyle. In the past few years I made it a priority to bring it back to the forefront, which is why I was so excited to show my dad my New Hampshire playground.

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Topics: Alumni, adventure, Live the Dream, leadership

5 Things You Learn from Climbing (That Also Matter in Real Life)

By Molly Herber on 8/19/16 8:47 AM

Like with most sports, it's not just about getting to the top. Read on to see some of the best lessons you learn from rock climbing.

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Topics: Behind the Scenes, climbing, adventure, education, leadership

3 Months in the Rockies to 30 Countries in a Year: How a NOLS Alum Went Worldwide

By Erica Levine Weber on 8/18/16 9:46 AM

My choice of going on a NOLS Semester in the Rockies was as absurd as traveling to 30 countries with a baby before their first birthday. Apparently, I have a flare for the ridiculous!

I had never been canyoneering, kayaking, rock climbing, ridden a horse, or even camped before. Now, add to that dumbfounded look you're starting to picture, a 17 year old girl who was still mastering a command of her limbs (think a few clicks past klutzy), and not exactly an Olympic athlete. I'm pretty sure my parents cried when they dropped me off at the airport, not because they'd miss me, but because they weren't totally confident I'd survive.

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Topics: Alumni, travel, Family, adventure, Live the Dream, education, leadership

3 Tips to Improve Your Outdoor Photography Game

By Will Harrison on 8/12/16 8:00 AM

Taking photos in the wilderness is a great way to capture memories you will hold for a lifetime. There’s nothing better than coming home with a camera full of your favorite moments—laughing around the campsite with friends, the delicious pizza you managed to perfect (albeit the third attempt), and the breathtaking vistas of the alpenglow on Bastion Peak in the Wind River Range.

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Topics: Alumni, Behind the Scenes, Backpacking, adventure, mountaineering, backcountry, photography

Why City People Are Made for the Backcountry

By Shelby Cranshaw on 7/22/16 9:57 AM

 A city prepares you for the backcountry more than most might think. We call them “concrete jungles” for a reason. 

In a city, you develop a certain set of skills that translate surprisingly well into the wild. So fear not, city dwellers—here's why you're already prepared for the backcountry.

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Topics: adventure, Live the Dream, backcountry

11 Essentials to Complete Your Backcountry Kitchen

By Sam Cook on 7/21/16 10:48 AM

Having a complete cooking for camping set does not come easy. Outdoor gear can be expensive, and usually has to be bought in small doses. You might have a stove, but no spice kit. You may have a knife, but no fry-bake.

It’s a smart idea to figure out which friends have which items so you can divide and conquer, but if you are on a mission to have your own complete cook set, here are the essentials you will need.

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Topics: Expedition Prep, cooking, adventure, expedition, backcountry

Educator Expedition: A Day in the Waddington Range

By Katie Oram on 7/18/16 10:29 AM

We arrived in Bluff Lake, British Columbia at 1:30AM from various places: Roger and I driving 30 hours from Wyoming, Jeremy flying in from California and Dane just finishing up class in Vancouver. We had been talking about it for a while now, applied for the funding from the Instructor Development Fund, but still it had just been this idea: a ski expedition to the Waddington Range in British Columbia, home to some very remote, high peaks and endless miles of glaciers with real hazards.

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Topics: NOLS Yukon, climbing, adventure, Educators Notebook, instructor, mountaineering, backcountry, IDF, Instructor Development Fund, leadership

The Backpacker’s Guide to Happy Feet

By Kim Freitas on 7/14/16 12:01 PM

If you like to adventure outdoors, you’ll know during backpacking trips that your feet are your primary mode of transportation. Spending extra effort to keep your feet happy and dry is well worth your time and attention. After all, your feet are essentially your “wheels” in the backcountry!

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Topics: Expedition Prep, climbing, Backpacking, adventure, education, backcountry

Reasons to Take a Longer Trip

By Shelby Cranshaw on 7/12/16 1:47 PM

Spending an extended period of time in the backcountry can seem challenging even to the most experienced of wilderness travelers, but you can learn a lot of humorous and valuable lessons when you're removed from civilization for a long time.

Here are few reasons why you should go into the wild for more time than you think.

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Topics: Behind the Scenes, cooking, adventure, Gap Year, education

7 Simple Items to Upgrade Your Backcountry Setup

By Sam Cook on 7/11/16 12:29 PM

Just because you’re in the backcountry doesn’t mean you need to stop being fabulous. You may think that your wardrobe is going to consist of khaki, black, and gray, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

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Topics: gear, Expedition Prep, Backpacking, adventure, expedition

Tips for Visiting 12 Iconic National Parks

By Molly Herber on 7/8/16 10:18 AM

We know you love to get down and dirty in the wilderness for weeks at a time—it's what you do.

Luckily, for the times in between when you have just one day to explore, our national parks have plenty of activities—and will spark your appetite for bigger trips in the future.

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Topics: Behind the Scenes, climbing, Backpacking, adventure, education

10 Junk Foods to Indulge in after Your Expedition

By Sam Cook on 7/1/16 9:22 AM

Everyone has their food cravings, and being far out in the backcountry just makes them worse. We desire things like Starbucks frappuccinos, funnel cake, and fried chicken when we are miles away from them. We have hourlong conversations on the trail about what foods we love and hate, what our favorite home-cooked meal is, and where we splurge back home.

But this list isn’t about the foods you can’t get. It’s about what to do when you're done with your expedition.

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Topics: Expedition Prep, cooking, adventure