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There and Back Again, a Patagonia Tale: The Patagonia Cultural Expedition

By Jen Antocci on May 29, 2019
Photo courtesy of Alex Chang - Cornell Leadership Expedition

I was sitting in my doctor’s office, awkwardly fussing with my johnny gown and glancing down at the NOLS health form in my hands. My doctor comes in and after some formal chitchat I ask her to complete the health clearance for this month long hiking and cultural expedition in Patagonia.

“A month of hiking? Sleeping in tents? In South America? Are you being punished?” she half joked. “No, I’m paying to do this” I joked back. “Well good for you, I don’t even like going out in my backyard.” She signed the form and I left the office, mentally checking off the final item on my expedition to-do list.

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Topics: Patagonia, NOLS Patagonia, Skills, Backpacking, culture, cultural expedition, Stories, Student Stories

Best of NOLS Instagram in 2018

By Caleb Walker on Dec 21, 2018

Your favorite photos of wilderness, friendship, and leadership from NOLS Instagram.

Find a little inspiration as you start dreaming of your adventures for 2019...

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Topics: NOLS Patagonia, NOLS Rocky Mountain, Events, NOLS Alaska, Backpacking, NOLS Pacific Northwest, Just for Fun, river crossing, Mountaineering, winter, tent, NOLS Three Peaks Ranch, photography

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

By Sho Fujiwara on May 10, 2018
Classmate Oly looks at his feet and looks back on the alpine pass. Photo by Sho Fujiwara.

On the sixth day of our eight-day expedition in the Aysén Region of Chilean Patagonia, we traversed what we called the “alpine pass,” a rocky, snow-speckled valley a mile above sea level. The rain on the pass was cold, almost icy, and the wind blew it horizontally into our faces as we hiked. It was not unlike some winter storms I experienced growing up in Chicago, where the wind blows so cold and strong that a direct gust leaves you gasping for breath. My usual reaction to that kind of weather is to bundle up and steel myself to endure it until it mercifully goes away (or avoid it all together by moving away from Chicago).

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Topics: Leadership Skills, tolerance for adversity and uncertainty, NOLS Patagonia, Columbia Business School, Backpacking, NOLS Custom Education, Stories, Student Stories, Leadership

Tolerance for Adversity and Uncertainty in the Southern Andes

By Brett Carroll on May 31, 2017
Photo by Brett Carroll

I grimaced slightly as I rolled onto my side, stretching the sunburnt skin on my back and shoulders. After the mild pain subsided I couldn’t help but laugh at this new source of discomfort, and its stark contrast to the bite of the frigid wind in Frey and the raw chill of the fog in Los Arenales.

We were nearing the end of a monthlong climbing trip in the southern Andes of Argentina and Chile to hone our skills as climbers and instructors. The trip had featured weeks of challenging weather.

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Topics: tolerance for adversity and uncertainty, Tolerance for Adversity, NOLS Patagonia, Skills, Rock Climbing, Stories, Instructor Stories

Getting Ready: Mental and Physical Prep for My Gap Year

By Brooke Buchanan on Jan 9, 2017
Photo by Julie Rice

While sitting in yet another mundane lecture in physics class, my phone vibrates. Sneakily, I pull it out and glance at my new notification: an email.

I open up my Yahoo app expecting to see a pointless message from some telemarketer, but I’m caught by surprise. I click on the message and see that it’s from NOLS.

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Topics: NOLS Patagonia, Study Abroad Stories, Expedition Prep, Skills, Backpacking, Kayaking, Gap Year, Stories, Student Stories

Any Year Can Be a Gap Year

By Shelby Cranshaw on Sep 9, 2016

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, adventure, Gap Year, education, Wilderness Medicine

Educator Expedition: Paddling at the South Pacific Sea Kayak Symposium

By Jonny Hepburn on Jul 21, 2016

Southern Chile offers world class sea kayaking. In northern Patagonia, where NOLS is based, the Pacific Coast of South America fragments into a network of islands and fjords that offer some of the most remote, challenging, and beautiful paddling in the world. I had the chance to spend almost five months travelling and working for NOLS in Chile this past winter, and was grateful to receive an IDF grant to attend the South Pacific Sea Kayak Symposium in December.

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Topics: Leadership Skills, NOLS Patagonia, Sea Kayaking, Educators Notebook, Becoming an Instructor, education, IDF, Instructor Development Fund

Educator Expedition: La Patagonia Desconocida - The Unknown Patagonia

By Marissa Bieger on Apr 25, 2016

… Perhaps when I say the word Patagonia, most of you will think of legendary places like el Chaltén or Torres del Paine, but here is the difference, my Patagonia is a land unknown to many and familiar to few. Yes, that is what I speak of, of that land that still has magical air to explore, that which hides in maps without information, mountains without name and routes that definitely do not exist.

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Topics: Leadership Skills, NOLS Patagonia, climbing, Educators Notebook, Becoming an Instructor, Mountaineering, education

How You Can Be More Sustainable Every Day

By Sarah Zimmerman on Apr 22, 2016

Photo by Austin D.

At NOLS, we try hard to incorporate earth-friendly practices into our work every week, every day, around the world. We try new ideas, like planting native flower seeds, and stick with the old practices that we’ve been working on for years, like repairing gear to keep it in use.

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Topics: NOLS Yukon, NOLS Patagonia, NOLS Mexico, Environment, NOLS Australia, NOLS Alaska, NOLS New Zealand, NOLS Pacific Northwest, NOLS India, NOLS Scandinavia, NOLS Southwest, education, NOLS Northeast, NOLS Teton Valley, NOLS East Africa, NOLS Three Peaks Ranch

12 Photos to Get You Excited for Spring

By Molly Herber on Mar 16, 2016

Spring is coming—it's time to start frolicking through wildflowers and get antsy for summer expeditions.

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Topics: NOLS Patagonia, NOLS Mexico, NOLS India, NOLS Southwest

A Second Family: My Home Stay in Patagonia

By Caroline Herman on Nov 13, 2015

Editor's note: Caroline took a gap year between high school and college to spend a year learning and living with NOLS in Chilean Patagonia. This is the story of her home stay with a Chilean family during her course.

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Topics: Alumni, NOLS Patagonia, Gap Year

Writing and Trekking: One Woman’s Mission to Walk from Chile to Alaska

By Molly Herber on Nov 3, 2015

 

Bethany Hughes walks for self-expression and storytelling. Photo by Ethan Allen.
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Topics: Alumni, Leadership Skills, NOLS Patagonia, WMI, Backpacking, Wilderness Medicine

The Story of Gear: Reuse as an Ethic and Necessity at NOLS

By Kara Colovich on Sep 7, 2015

In the mountain town of Coyhaique, Chile, Phil Henderson, the NOLS Patagonia Equipment Manager, strips the last rings off of a tent that has just returned from a 30 day mountaineering course in the Andes.

This tent has seen the last of its exploration days—worsening tears spread through its seams, causing water to leak onto unwary sleepers—but this is not the end of its journey.

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Topics: Leadership Skills, NOLS Patagonia, Environment, education

New Frontiers: From the Netherlands to Alaska

By Molly Herber on May 11, 2015

 

Trekking through the Alaskan wilderness.
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Topics: Alumni, NOLS Patagonia, Expedition Prep, NOLS Alaska, Alaska Sea Kayaking, Backpacking, NOLS Scandinavia

Spring Break in a Tent: The Patagonia Leadership Trek

By NOLS on May 7, 2015

 

 
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Topics: Leadership Skills, NOLS Patagonia, Backpacking, backcountry, NOLS Professional Training, NOLS Custom Education