NOLS Blog

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Our Favorite Places to #OptOutside

By Brooke Ortel on Nov 14, 2019

Join the NOLS community in opting outside on Black Friday! We hope you’re able to get outdoors this Thanksgiving, whether that means hiking a favorite trail, walking in a local park, or exploring nearby public lands.

If you’re looking for inspiration, here are some of our favorite places to #OptOutside!

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Topics: adventure, Thanksgiving, stories, #optoutside

Add Some Wild to Your Halloween with Our Pumpkin-Carving Stencils

By Jordan Cranch on Oct 21, 2019

Happy Spooktober from NOLS!

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Topics: halloween, stories

3 Mottos I Learned From My AMGA Ski Guide Training

By Jesse Quillian on Sep 18, 2019

Managing loose dry sluffs in "Mozambique." Photo by Mike Poborsky, Course Director.
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Topics: instructor, winter, backcountry skiing, Instructor Development Fund (IDF), stories

Learning to Say “Thank You:” The path to building community while climbing

By Andy Notopoulos on Sep 3, 2019
Photo by Alex Thomas.
 

“Thank you!!!”

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Topics: self confidence, wilderness education, instructor, rock climbing, Instructor Development Fund (IDF), thank you, gratitude, stories

Welcome to NOLS India: Expeditions in the Himalaya

By NOLS on Aug 12, 2019

Written by Annalise Grueter and Manohar D'silva. 


Photo by Kirk Rasmussen.


A line of solemn, snow-capped giants stretches across the three northernmost states in India.

These soaring peaks belong to the world’s highest mountain chain: the Himalaya.

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Topics: Himalayas, Himalaya, Educators Notebook, NOLS India, cultural expedition, stories

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, Live the Dream, outdoor education, Alaska, stories

Why We Leave Phones Behind on NOLS Courses (and why you should do it more often)

By Molly Herber on Jul 1, 2019

Photo by Molly Hagbrand.

Cell phones are becoming better adventure tools every day. You can find what feels like endless apps for navigation, trip guides, even stargazing.

So why, when you look through a NOLS equipment list, is a cell phone nowhere to be found?

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Topics: technology, Live the Dream, wilderness, stories

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, culture, Live the Dream, cultural expedition, stories

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

12 Days That Changed My Life: A Homestay in East Africa

By Steve Stoddard on May 6, 2019

Photo courtesy of Steve Stoddard.
 

Rather than my watch alarm bringing me out of sleep, it was roosters and cows. Instead of bundling up to get out of my tent and start boiling water for my cook group, I was waking up in someone else’s home.

This was all pretty different than what I had gotten accustomed to during the previous six weeks of backpacking on my NOLS semester.

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Topics: Behind the Scenes, study abroad, culture, NOLS East Africa, homestay, stories

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

By Jessey Jansen on Apr 15, 2019

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

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Topics: NOLS Mexico, Sea Kayaking, Baja Sea Kayaking, women in leadership, 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

The Spring Lineup: 5 Custom NOLS Products You Have to Have

By Rob Motley on Apr 1, 2019

At NOLS, we strive to bring you top-of-the-line products that transcend industry standards and meet your every need. Elevate your camping experience this spring with our exclusive, new product line that will transform and transmute everything you thought you knew about the outdoors.

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Topics: fun, Recreational Equipment, stories

Brave, Not Perfect

By Mairin Rogers on Mar 19, 2019

Photo by Alison Peterson.

My mom always told me that I was brave. Brave for learning to play a new instrument, brave for trying out for a sports team, brave for venturing off on my own. During my three months in the backcountry on a NOLS course, however, I realized she was wrong. I wasn’t brave—I was scared.

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Topics: Semester, NOLS Mexico, Baja, Live the Dream, Semester in Baja, stories