After spending several days marooned in a whiteout atop a distant Alaskan mountain, 21-year-old Katiya Gombar ventured outside her tent and was immediately stunned by what she saw.
The 19-year-old recently finished a 75-day expedition in Alaska, kayaking, hiking and mountaineering hundreds of miles over land, sea and snow. Carrie’s expedition was part of a summer semester with the National Outdoor Leadership School, a program that runs wilderness programs for students.
As an escape, he signed up for a three-week National Outdoor Leadership School sailing expedition in Mexico in October 2012. “You just hold your head high and go sailing and hope the ocean has the answer,” he said.
Allison Palm, now 26, also signed up for the trip. She had just graduated from Brown and wanted to do something out of the ordinary and out of her comfort zone. “I was a supernerd in high school,” she said. “I was this very strict engineer in college. I knew I was going to be an engineer in my career. I thought, ‘I’m so one-dimensional.’”
When Ms. Palm met Mr. Brown, she thought he seemed overly formal, with his unwrinkled clothes and impeccable manners. “He was so perfect,” she said. “I thought, ‘Come on, we’re just sailing!’”
A recent alumni of the City Kids program, Tyrhee Moore, did so well with the initiative that he was selected by the National Outdoor Leadership School to take part in the first African-American ascent of Denali — an experience that he never in his wildest dreams would have thought about before his involvement with City Kids. Before his first summer camp experience, Moore noted that the closest he'd ever come to a mountain was the pile of clothes that built up on his bedroom floor. Summiting Denali has given him a new perspective on life.
Both my boys went on NOLS trips when they were 15, spending five weeks in the Wyoming wilderness. With bears. For five weeks, I had no contact with them. For a parent, especially a nervous Nellie like me, that’s an eternity.
My husband, Andy, had one week left of vacation and our objectives were simple: to get the kids outside and explore somewhere new. I’d been dreaming about Wyoming for a long time. I hadn’t been in almost 20 years and my previous trips had been limited, mainly to Jackson and Yellowstone. I wanted to go Lander, home of the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), and to the Wind River Range, where the peaks were lower in elevation and the fishing, supposedly epic.
Is there any child in the modern era who never dreamed of being an astronaut? It seems hard to believe. Certainly this author spent a sizable chunk of her formative years geeking out on the space shuttle and reading up on the amazing world beyond the sky. That’s why it’s such a treat to have an actual astronaut at Worldcon. Better still, she came to talk about how she got to that place in life, and how others can follow in her footsteps.
When it comes to bridging cultures, little things can make a big difference. For Middlebury Institute student Tom Stagg MPA ’16, one small aspect of living and working in Patagonia in southern Chile ultimately loomed large in his impressions of the experience: sharing a warm cup of yerba mate with his colleagues.
The best food to eat around the campfire is unapologetic comfort food. It’s hot, hearty and, after a long day of trekking through the woods, it satisfies the body and soul. And if you believe a flavorless and freeze-dried meal, wolfed down in solitude, has ever made a hiker happy, Molly Herber, Staff Writer at the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) and wilderness-foodie-extraordinaire, will disagree. Herber instead recommends a recipe that’ll knock the wool socks off any camper: backcountry pizza.