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New Courses for Summer 2017

By Molly Herber on 2/21/17 9:50 AM

When we decide to create a new course, it comes from a combination of our faculty’s passion for the area and constant desire for growth, and from what students say they want to see more of.

So, here’s a peek at the new courses you can take starting the summer of 2017. You can focus on service learning, explore the far north of Norway, or walk through the heart of Alaska’s Talkeetna Range.

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Topics: service, Behind the Scenes, NOLS Rocky Mountain, Sea Kayaking, NOLS Alaska, Backpacking, NOLS Scandinavia

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

6 Secret Ingredients to Try on Your Next Camping Trip

By Jeff Mogavero on 8/2/16 11:06 AM

In NOLS rations, there is certainly no shortage of ingredients to whip up the most scrumptious of backcountry meals. But some instructors and students like to take backcountry cooking to the next level.

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Topics: Expedition Prep, recipe, cooking, Backpacking, education, backcountry

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

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

7 Musical Instruments to Take Backpacking

By Jacob Taswell on 6/27/16 9:55 AM

Of all the frontcountry comforts, music is one of the things I miss the most when I go into the wilderness. I can’t bring a piano out there, and even a guitar is pretty cumbersome.

Luckily, I don’t have to leave music behind altogether. 

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Topics: Alumni, Expedition Prep, Backpacking, adventure

Quantifying the Unquantifiable: What I Learned after a Week in the Wilderness with the Archer School for Girls

By Jen Pontrelli on 5/9/16 8:10 AM

There I was in the middle of the Galiuro Wilderness in southern Arizona. Traversing a mountain trail at top speed for the terrain, sweating profusely in the desert sun, and humming Fergie’s 2007 hit “Glamorous.”

As a diehard Metallica fan, I didn’t expect this particular tune to be rattling around in my brain, but my fellow expedition members, 12 high school freshman girls, would not have it any other way.

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Topics: Backpacking, adventure, Live the Dream, NOLS Southwest, NOLS Professional Training, leadership, NOLS Custom Education

Smart Ways to Protect Yourself from the Sun

By Sarah Zimmerman on 4/15/16 12:17 PM
Photo by Kirk Rasmussen.
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Topics: wilderness medicine, WMI, Backpacking, adventure, backcountry, paddling, Wilderness Medicine

How to Choose Wildness Every Day

By Molly Herber on 4/2/16 8:00 AM

If you’ve spent any time in the wilderness, you know that how you feel there is special. Wilderness isn’t just a space, an empty shoreline or a quiet grove of trees—it’s a state of mind, too.

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Topics: Behind the Scenes, Backpacking, adventure, wilderness, backcountry

Go Camping—With Your Cat

By Molly Herber on 4/1/16 7:04 AM

We know you love your feline friend, your beclawed bestie, your clawsome companion, but you wish they could enjoy going to the wilderness as much as you do.

Now, when you head to the meowntains or coast for an advenpurr, you don’t have to leave them behind.

Introducing the newest NOLS course: Catpacking.

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Topics: climbing, Backpacking, adventure, Live the Dream, backcountry, cat

Daily Gratitude: NOLS in the Frontcountry

By Scott Stewart on 3/18/16 2:55 PM

 NOLS taught me two of life’s most valuable lessons: humility and gratitude.

On my course, I couldn’t climb the 5.10 crack in Joshua Tree National Park, although my knuckles were bloodied and my fingertips were raw from the attempt. I couldn’t carry my equal share of weight after throwing out my back in the Wind River Range, burdening my teammates by adding more mass to their already 70-pound packs.

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Topics: NOLS Rocky Mountain, climbing, Backpacking, Live the Dream, NOLS Southwest, leadership

How NOLS Ruined the Old Me

By NOLS Blog on 3/1/16 8:53 AM
Photo by Erin Sullivan.
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Topics: Alumni, Lander, NOLS Rocky Mountain, Backpacking, Live the Dream, education, leadership

What to Know Before You Go: Common Pre-Course Questions

By Molly Herber on 2/22/16 1:24 PM

Before you go, a NOLS course can seem like a mystery. Below, you’ll find the answers to some of the common questions we get about our courses—we hope they help you out!

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Topics: Expedition Prep, cooking, Backpacking, adventure, education, backcountry, leadership

Why You Should Get Outside for Your Gap Year

By Molly Herber on 2/12/16 1:27 PM

Each year, more students choose to take a gap year before college, spending the year after graduating high school to travel, work or volunteer. A gap year is a great way to gain experience, learn about yourself, and take a break from the traditional classroom before buckling down for another four years of school. Choosing the right gap year program can be tricky. If you type "gap year" into your search bar, you'll see what feels like an endless list of options.

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Topics: Behind the Scenes, Semester, Backpacking, adventure, Gap Year, education, backcountry, leadership