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I Don't Need to Be an Extrovert to Lead: Reflections on Backpacking in Alaska

By Natasha Gold on Jun 18, 2019
Photo by Natasha Gold
 

In January 2018, I was perusing the internet for outdoor schools on a whim that perhaps I would apply to a program. I stumbled onto the NOLS website; instantly, I wanted to go.

I found an 8-day women-only backpacking expedition in Alaska. I liked the idea of a women’s only trip and I have wanted to camp in Alaska since I was little.

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Topics: Live the Dream, Alaska, all-women, inspiring women, leadership, women in leadership

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

By Ashley Drake on May 13, 2019

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, nols instructor, instructors, inspiring women, whitewater rafting, NOLS Expeditions, stories

Finding What Makes Others Tick on a Baja Semester

By Alison Peterson on May 8, 2019
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, stories

Turnback Canyon: A NOLS Instructor Shares Lessons from Whitewater Paddling the Alsek River

By Natalie Sands on Apr 9, 2019

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, stories

"There Is No Limit:" A Kenyan Mountain Guide Advances Her Wilderness Training

By Carol Wanjiru (Mimie) on Mar 13, 2019

On the right is Ol Doinyo Lengai Mountain, which we would attempt summit later that night. On the left is Lake Natron (on the Tanzania side of the border) and Shompole Mountain Conservancy (on the Kenya side). Photo by Carol Wanjiru.
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Topics: Live the Dream, inspiring women, NOLS East Africa, women in leadership, stories

Discovering My—Slightly Strange—New Normal on a NOLS Gap Year

By Tricia Ballard on Mar 7, 2019

 

Photo by Kevin Castellanos
 

I’m normally apprehensive about opening up to people—so I was nervous when I showed up to a random bus stop three plane rides away from home for the start of my Semester in New Zealand. That day, I met nine strangers who would supposedly become my new best friends during the following 77 days in the mountains of New Zealand.

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Topics: NOLS New Zealand, Gap Year, inspiring women, Semester in New Zealand, stories

Leading in the Avalanche Safety and Education Industry

By Kim Freitas on Dec 19, 2018


Musnicki climbing on Mt. Moran in the Tetons. Photo by Paul Rachele.

Editor's note: Adapted from the Fall 2016 issue of The Leader. 

When Jaime Musnicki was first introduced to skiing at age two, it led to a lifelong love of winter sports and an unexpected career path.

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Topics: Alumni, Behind the Scenes, avalanche, winter, inspiring women, women in leadership, stories

Meeting the Experts: NOLS Winter Instructor Kate Koons

By Caleb Walker on Dec 18, 2018


Kate Koons takes a photo of her friends on an expedition in Alaska.

Kate Koons has a love affair with winter sports.

It began when she learned to ski as part of an after-school program in northern New Jersey.

"There was one lift and one Poma and many of my first memories revolved around trying to push my sister off the Poma lift, or not fall down while skiing the icy moguls to the bottom."

These days she is referred to as the "winter guru" around NOLS.

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Topics: Behind the Scenes, winter camping, winter, NOLS Teton Valley, backcountry skiing, inspiring women, snowboarding, splitboarding, women in leadership, stories

From the Office to the Wild: How I Became a Naturalist

By Day Scott on Dec 18, 2017

On a recent camping trip, I saw a group of young boys using sticks as swords, throwing rocks, and flinging algae from the tiny creek that ran adjacent to the campground—not ideal Leave No Trace behavior. I went over to their trip leaders and introduced myself as a naturalist and expressed my discomfort with what the boys were doing. I wasn't sure how the leaders would react—would they ignore me, a black woman, and let “boys be boys”? Instead, one of the leaders called the boys over and told them to have a seat because they were about to learn a lesson on stewardship.

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Topics: Alumni, Wilderness First Responder, wilderness medicine, Live the Dream, inspiring women, women in leadership, stories

55 and Climbing

By Liz Johnson on Dec 11, 2017

“You’re cruising, Alex. I can hardly keep up with you!” I called up to my climbing coursemate as I belayed her.

“I’m trying a new technique,” she yelled back. “It’s called ‘Keep Going!’”

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Topics: Live the Dream, rock climbing, all-women, inspiring women, women in leadership, stories

A Letter to My Future Self

By Carolyn Highland on Nov 29, 2017

Editor’s Note: Carolyn wrote this letter to her future self on a one-night solo near the end of her Semester in New Zealand.

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Topics: Semester, NOLS New Zealand, Live the Dream, inspiring women, stories

Growing Confidence through Solo Canoeing

By Rumi Kodama on Jun 14, 2017

Editor’s note: Instructor Rumi Kodama takes us inside the connection between person and paddle as she develops her whitewater canoeing skills.

Knowing and understanding a canoe stroke goes much deeper than the movement of the paddle. It’s all about the interplay between the paddle, the canoe, and the movement of the water.

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Topics: Educators Notebook, nols instructor, inspiring women, whitewater canoeing, women in leadership, stories

NOLS Leaders: Tori Murden McClure

By William Roth on May 5, 2010

A boat called Pearl, Muhammad Ali, and an impressive list of firsts all feature prominently in the newest addition to our NOLS Leaders video series.

This time we sit down with Tori Murden McClure. Her accomplishments give new meaning to the word determination and will inspire you to take on the world.

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Topics: South Pole, tori mcclure, NOLS, leadership, nols leaders, ski, Live the Dream, atlantic, video, first woman, inspiring women, women in leadership

"If you can do a NOLS course, you can ski to the South Pole"

By Aparna Rajagopal-Durbin on Feb 25, 2010

"If you can do a NOLS course, you can ski to the South Pole" 

Tori Murden McClure, Author of A Pearl in the Storm (Harper Collins 2009)

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Topics: Tori Murden McClure, NOLS, leadership, Debbie Armstrong, Kelly Pyke, Reena Dharmashaktu, Candice Carpenter Olsen, Arianne Zwartjes, Michelle Murphy, Deb Armstrong, Live the Dream, Louisa Willcox, women, Catherine Stifter, ann mills, inspiring women, women in leadership