RYE, N.Y. -- Chris Hanson, a 20-year-old Rye resident, recently completed a wilderness expedition traveling in Wyoming with the National Outdoor Leadership School.
Over the summer, Hanson and his course mates set out on an Absaroka Backpacking course during which they did not have access to modern conveniences and were challenged to step outside their comfort zones. A NOLS education stresses that leadership can be learned and is based on the belief that the outdoors is a challenging environment where students will learn technical skills and about themselves. This expedition traveled in the North Absaroka Wilderness Area of northwestern Wyoming. On this 30-day expedition, 10 students were accompanied by three instructors who are experts in the field. This expedition was divided into three ration periods during which students learned skills to become proficient backcountry travelers. All students learned cooking on stoves, setting up shelters and using topographic maps for navigation. Rivers swollen from spring runoff provided many challenges. Hanson and his course mates also experienced inclement weather, with precipitation on 21 days in the field. Curriculum focused on an introduction to the NOLS leadership model, an in-depth exploration of wilderness first aid, environmental studies and Leave No Trace principles. This course culminated in a two-day independent student expedition. Overall, Hanson and his course mates traveled 85 miles and gained 21,000 feet of elevation. Students wrapped up the month in fine fashion, equipped with solid backcountry skills, which should allow them many days of safe and fun backcountry travel in the future. Hanson’s Absaroka Backpacking course was full of exploration and learning. Students learned risk management, judgment, outdoor living and environmental studies lessons not taught in a traditional classroom setting. Hanson and his course mates graduated from their NOLS course competent and responsible wilderness travelers and leaders. They join the NOLS alumni network of more than 221,000 graduates.
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