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How Climate Change Might Impact Your Next Backpacking Trip

By Brooke Ortel on 8/13/18 8:50 AM


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.

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Topics: Wyoming, Backpacking, Environmental Stewardship, Alaska, Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability, climate change

The Top 3 Leadership Lessons You Won’t Learn in an Office or Classroom

By Liz Townsend on 7/10/18 8:51 AM


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.

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Topics: tolerance for adversity and uncertainty, Backpacking, MBAs, Live the Dream, leadership, NOLS Custom Education

Snow in May: Leadership in the Face of Uncertainty

By Sarah Delany on 6/18/18 10:01 AM


Photo from Pixabay.

Postholing is a gamble at best; the unstable snow holds a person carrying a pack one step and collapses the next, leaving you up to your knees in snow when you least expect it.

When my Leadership Development class from Bates College rolled into the NOLS Northeast campus in Gabriels, New York this spring, the last thing I could have imagined was that I would find myself hip deep in rotten snow, moving slower than imaginable, and pondering whether or not I would have to set up my tent in the dark.

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Topics: Backpacking, Live the Dream, NOLS Northeast, NOLS Custom Education, Bates College

How to Pack Your Backpack

By Molly Herber on 5/23/18 7:01 AM
Photo by Nadine Lehner
 

The first time I tried to pack a backpack, it took me over an hour to get everything inside. The result was a chunky, clunky pile that rose at least six inches over my head. It wasn’t pretty, but everything was inside.

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Topics: Expedition Prep, Backpacking, backpacking, hiking, adventure

Lessons from the Alpine Pass: Columbia Business School Student Goes to Chile

By Sho Fujiwara on 5/10/18 8:29 AM


Classmate Oly looks at his feet and looks back on the alpine pass. Photo by Sho Fujiwara.

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Topics: NOLS Patagonia, Columbia Business School, Backpacking, Live the Dream

Learning the Meaning of Teamwork in the Wilderness

By Wolf Johnson on 1/22/18 7:44 AM

I crested the top of the small mountain, ahead of the rest, for a brief moment of celebration on the top, all by myself. The view took my breath away, literally, but also emotionally. I could feel a tenderness and had a few tears in my eyes. These were happy tears. As the others, my coursemates, arrived on the mountain’s top, the sun was at an angle and beginning to set. We all celebrated, and we were also exhausted and laughing. In this moment I felt immense joy and pride, and, realizing we were now about one-fourth of the way through our 30 days in the wilderness, I thought to myself, I think I’m going to make it, and I think this is going to be amazing.

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Topics: Wind River Wilderness, Wyoming, Backpacking, Live the Dream

The Poetry of Experience

By Daniel Koepp on 11/6/17 8:30 AM

“What’s it good for?” Our pilot asked me that question as we flew deep into Alaska’s Brooks Range. A thermal rocked our Beaver bush plane and we lurched heavily. Below us, the tree line was falling away. From the rain-speckled cockpit it looked like a giant green circle where no brave spruce grew.

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Topics: Backpacking, River, Live the Dream, Alaska, Brooks Range

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