Editor's note: Katiya took a semester in Alaska in the summer of 2016 and became a NOLS instructor in May 2019.Read More
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.Read More
Photo by Claire Burgeson
The second week of my sophomore year of college, I walked into my 9:00 a.m. history class and asked myself, “What am I still doing here?”
I was doing what I'd always done: what was expected of me. I had graduated high school, chosen a college, and just chosen a major—journalism. I got good grades, had friends—on paper, I was a list of checked boxes.
At the same time, I felt my energy and creativity drain through the holes that the classroom grind had worn through me.Read More
Not every day can be sunshine and rainbows. Photo by Carolyn Highland.
It was four in the morning, it was sideways sleeting, and the tent pole cup was broken. I stood huddled in my rain gear, aiming my headlamp down at my tentmate and my instructor, who were lying sideways on the icy snow, trying to speedy-stitch the stirrup back to the tent body before they lost all dexterity in their hands.
It was four in the morning and I was supposed to be snuggled up in my sleeping bag inside the tent, but instead I was outside getting pelted with rain on the side of a snowy mountain, the blackness around me increasing the sense of being in the absolute middle of nowhere.Read More