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What Can Spring Learn from Winter? Lessons for the Transition

By Jonny Hepburn on Apr 2, 2020
Photo by Eric Page

Instructor Jonny Hepburn reflects on lessons learned in one season and how they apply to the next.

Evening light catches mountains shrouded in snow as we head south—spring slopes tinged with the hues of sunset. It's a time of seasonal transition. We're headed to the river now, saying goodbye to snowy mountain adventures till next year.

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Topics: whitewater, Skiing, Skills, Kayaking, winter, Instructor Development Fund (IDF), Instructor expedition, Stories, spring, Instructor Stories

Hiking Like a Girl

By Caroline Dooley on Mar 16, 2020
Photo by Caroline Dooley

Every day for years I wore the same outfit: baggy red basketball shorts and pink floral sandals.

For me, this is what it meant to be a girl. My love of floral print combined with a hatred of form-fitting clothing, creating a unique juxtaposition that made me me.

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Topics: Leadership Skills, Sea Kayaking, Backpacking, Kayaking, Alaska, Alaska backpacking, Stories, Student Stories

Watch: Yoga for Sea Kayakers

By NOLS on Feb 6, 2020
Photo by Lynn Petzold

Looking for a complement to long days on the water? Yoga is a great opportunity to relax, stretch out tight muscles, and center yourself. In this step-by-step video, NOLS instructor Teresa Miller shares a yoga routine tailored to paddlers’ needs.

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Topics: Sea Kayaking, NOLS sea kayaking, Skills, Baja Sea Kayaking, Kayaking, education, paddling, yoga

Spring Break 2020: Get Ready for Adventure

By NOLS on Oct 1, 2019
Photo by Molly Hagbrand

Make your spring break an adventure. Forget the crowded ski resorts or touristy beach vacation—it’s time to do something different.

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Topics: Skills, Baja Sea Kayaking, Kayaking, Rock Climbing, education, backcountry skiing, NOLS Expeditions, Announcements, spring break

My Path to Outdoor Education from a Semester in Alaska

By Katiya Gombar on Jul 15, 2019

Editor's note: Katiya took a semester in Alaska in the summer of 2016 and became a NOLS instructor in May 2019.

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Topics: Semester, moutaineering, Skills, NOLS Alaska, Backpacking, Kayaking, outdoor education, Alaska, Stories, Student Stories

Winter & Spring 2020 Expeditions Now Online

By NOLS on Jun 11, 2019
Photo by Lisa Moen

Summer's here, and we want you to savor every single late-evening walk and early morning paddle.

But don't be fooled—fall and winter will arrive sooner than you think, and you don't want to be the person finishing out summer with nothing to look forward to until next year!

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Topics: Sailing, Events, climbing, Skills, Kayaking, Rock Climbing, backcountry skiing, snowboarding, NOLS Expeditions, Announcements, spring break, affinity

Taking a NOLS River Expedition

By Rob Motley on Jun 5, 2019
Photo by Austin Danicic

“It’s impossible to be bored running a rapid,”according to Fabio Oliveira.

He would know. Despite spending 289 weeks in the field as NOLS instructor, he’s never gotten tired of leading river expeditions. A long-time instructor from Brazil, Fabio has spent the last five years primarily teaching whitewater courses that are full of rapids, cheering, and giggling.

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Topics: Canoeing, whitewater, Skills, Kayaking, River, education, whitewater rafting, NOLS Expeditions

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

By Jessey Jansen on Apr 15, 2019
Photo by Lynn Petzold

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

I have always been a dreamer. As a kid, I would perch myself on our hard living room floor, nestled in front of the heat-vent, and longingly riffle through the heavy Encyclopedia Britannica.

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Topics: NOLS Mexico, Sea Kayaking, Skills, Baja Sea Kayaking, Kayaking, women in leadership, Stories, Student 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, Skills, Kayaking, Yukon, Becoming an Instructor, inspiring women, paddling, Instructor expedition, Stories

Instructor Expeditions of 2018

By NOLS on Mar 25, 2019

How do you become a better educator? There’s no one best answer, but continuing to be a learner yourself is certainly up there.

In 2018, NOLS instructors took their professional training to the heights of Washington and Alaska, to rivers around the world, and to the hills of Wyoming, on both wilderness expeditions and frontcountry trainings.

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Topics: whitewater, Training, Kayaking, Becoming an Instructor, Mountaineering, Rock Climbing, education, Instructor Development Fund (IDF), Instructor expedition, Stories, Instructor Stories

Andrew Bobilya: Taking the Classroom Outdoors

By Brooke Ortel on Feb 20, 2019
Andrew teaches rock climbing during an “Introduction to Outdoor Pursuits” class. Photo courtesy of Andrew Bobilya.

As an undergrad studying outdoor education, Andrew Bobilya didn’t aspire to be a professor. He didn’t plan on going into academia. Like many expeditions, his career didn’t follow exactly the path he expected.

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Topics: NOLS Mexico, NOLS alumni, NOLS Grad, Baja Sea Kayaking, Kayaking, outdoor education, Stories, Alumni Accomplishments

My Semester in Baja, as Told in Food and Sunsets [Photo Essay]

By Claire Burgeson on Jan 22, 2019

On the seventh day of my Spring Semester in Baja, we bought a goat.

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Topics: Sailing, Skills, Backpacking, Kayaking, culture, photos, Semester in Baja, NOLS Expeditions, Stories, Student Stories

Tolerance for Uncertainty: Sea, Mountains, and Culture on a Patagonia Semester

By Molly Herber on Jul 30, 2018
Enjoying rainbows in Patagonia. Photo by Ignacio Martínez.

“Learn, just learn about this unique and remote place in the world, connect with the people, nature, history, and its wild places—the glaciers, ice fields, rivers, lakes, islands, and sea.”

This is the advice that Semester in Patagonia graduate Ignacio Martínez would give to anyone thinking about taking a NOLS course in Patagonia. A native of Chile himself, Ignacio discovered many of the unknown parts of his own country, and himself, on his course.

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Topics: chile, Study Abroad Stories, Semester, Sea Kayaking, Skills, Kayaking, culture, Mountaineering, Semester in Patagonia, Stories, Student Stories

NOLS Instructor Expeditions of 2017

By Molly Herber on Jun 6, 2018
Photo by Eric Page.

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: Canoeing, Himalaya, Kayaking, Mountaineering, Alaska, Instructor Development Fund (IDF), packrafting, Instructor expedition, Stories, Instructor Stories

Sea Kayaking the Great Bear Rainforest

By Jonathan Brooks on Feb 6, 2018
Jonathan with bonsai island. Photo by Julie Bremner.

“This place is full of life on life on life!”

Julie’s assessment of a toppled sitka spruce couldn't have been more accurate. This giant nurse log spanned the tides, it housed a slug oozing over deer ferns at one end and a crab picking over some barnacles at the other.

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Topics: Sea Kayaking, Skills, Kayaking, British Columbia, Becoming an Instructor, Instructor Development Fund, Instructor Development Fund (IDF), Stories, Instructor Stories