Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Back to (outdoor) school

The perfect picture in my head is me with my backpack for 3-4 days at a time, hiking short trails and sleeping under the stars in some of our great national and state parks. Of course this hope will probably be dashed with the realities of Mother Nature: wind, rain, sun, bugs, bears, getting lost, sleeping on a rock, no toilet (or paper), finding water, dirt, body odor and all sorts of fun stuff :)

So trying to be a little wiser in my delayed gap year, I'm going to outdoor school! It's a program with National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). It seems pretty legit - you can get college course credits for their programs. I'm doing 2 weeks in the Wind River Wilderness in western Wyoming. 

We will hike about 40 miles at elevations of 8,000 - 12,000 feet. There are maximum 12 students and 2 instructors with an average age of 35. We will learn to lead the group, navigate, maybe some fly fishing and I'm assuming a lot of the basics about tent living that I just don't know that I don't know yet. I am excited but am sure it will be quite the challenge. I'm hoping there are some other cubicle transplants there so I'm not the only one :)! #prepareperu

I start class July 27th and there are no electronics allowed. It will be quite the change! I plan to drive out and back and visit some friends and family along the way. I'm looking forward to seeing Julie in Memphis (we started work together and spent 2 weeks travelling Greece together in 2006). Then to see Stephanie in her new home in Kansas City (my Singapore travel buddy), or if not there, join her and Cindy (an almost reunion of our NYE girls group) for a night at the frozen tundra chalet in Colorado before I head on to Wyoming. On the way home, I'll make my way via Des Moines and visit Curtis and Emily (my future sister-in-law) before getting back to Mom & Dad's (my new home base) and prepare for the next adventure!

Here is the current plan for my route. I welcome anyone to join along the way (can always get a hotel room) or let me know if I'll be passing near you and I can stop in to say hi.

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