Start a lifetime of adventure with a two-week wilderness expedition. In this NOLS course designed for 14- and 15-year-olds, you’ll dive into learning leadership and outdoor skills as you explore the mountains of Olympic National Park or North Cascades National Park.
On this course, you will spend two weeks either exploring the lush, temperate rainforest of Olympic National Park or traveling among old growth forests and rocky passes of North Cascades National Park.
You will begin with learning the basics of wilderness living, including cooking, campsite selection, stove use, and Leave No Trace practices. As you progress, you will cover more advanced topics, including map reading, first aid, leadership, plant and animal identification, ecosystems, geology, weather, and environmental issues. Along the way, you will have real opportunities to put your new leadership and outdoor skills into practice every day. You’ll get to see some of the most spectacular wilderness in the United States.
Whether you climb your first peak, learn to read a topographic map, or cook your first meal on a single-burner stove, this course is designed to maximize hands-on learning and doing in the backcountry. For some it will be a great prelude to a 30-day NOLS expedition and for others it will provide a springboard to pursuing your own outdoor adventures.
*Duration: 14 days
*Route length: 40-50 miles
*Average group size: 10 students / 2 instructors
*Average age: 15 / minimum age: 14
*Average pack weight: 45-55 pounds
*Elevation range: 2,000-8,000 feet
*Location: Olympic National Park or North Cascades National Park, Washington
*Hiking may be on- or off-trail in forest and alpine environments
*Activities may include: long days of hiking, peak ascents, travel on snow, and river crossings
*Notable wildlife: moose, elk, deer, black bear, cougar, lynx, and mountain goat
*Opportunity for students to travel in small groups independent of instructors at the end of the course (depends on instructor discretion)