At the top of a peak overlooking a valley below.
Course description at the NOLS home site.
Check out the pictures from my trip on my facebook page!
Dad and I flew into Riverton and took a bus to Lander. I’m staying in a dorm with Nick and Roman at a NOLS place. Dad and I ate at Gannet Grill. Did a lot of chillin in a rec room and walked to a Safeway with the other kids on my trip after an orientation.
There are a total of 9 kids and 2 instructors: me, Taimur, Roman, Nick, Sam, Joseph, Will, Luke and Oliver. The instructors are KG and Mike.
Woke up early and ate breakfast at the NOLS hotel. Then we spent the rest of the morning getting outfitted at the Rocky Mtn. Branch and getting ready to go. The RM branch is like a small warehouse. We went over our gear, rented/purchased what we lacked, packed our clothing and then packed the food and the rest. After lunch back at the NOLS Lander hotel we put all of our packs on top of a bus and rolled out for the Bighorn Mtns. It took about 4 hrs to get to the trailhead. There was some hail when we got there. We hiked to our first campsite (about 20 min.) and pitched our tents. We place the food about 100 ft. away from the tents in case the bears are hungry. Nick, Romy and I went on a walk and I played some Egyptian Slap War with the guys. Dinner was 2 pre-packed sandwiches.
Mosquitoes are brutal today, I swear they bit through my sock.
Woke up well-rested at 7. Everything up here camping takes a longer time to do so we didn’t roll out until about 10:30. Breakfast was melted cheese on bagels. It’s going to be difficult to eat fruits and vegetables this trip.
I suck at packing and unpacking my pack and tying down the tent with “trucker’s hitches.”
Mike, Nick, Luke, Will and I hiked today. The pack didn’t feel as bad as it did the first time I tried it on. It’s so pretty when you get out of the forest and emerge into a meadow. Meadows are super cold though because of the wind.
For lunch I had a trail mix of peanut butter pretzels, granola, dried apricots, almonds and carrots.
We got into camp around 2 and I took my first poo of the trip. I’d been holding it in a little so this sucker was massive. Nice and clean, however.
I walked in the meadow and along the creek we are camped near and am writing this while overlooking the meadow. No rain today so far.
We had 2 classes before dinner. First class was about fly fishing and the second about hygiene.
Dinner was cheesy pasta with summer sausage and KG cooked a cake.
We played a game similar to whizz, boing, bounce called Yee-haw. It was drizzling so we headed in to the tent early.
Had oatmeal like couscous for breakfast aka too much water. Being extremely slow at packing and getting ready I was the last one to the class on a Positive Learning Environment. I had my first river crossing today, 3 of them in fact. Even though some creeks look easy to cross because there are a bunch of rocks, it’s better just to wade in cuz the rocks are slippery. Socks and boots got wet, thank god the nads stayed dry. Nick and Oliver are really fast hikers so it’s tough to keep up. We got in to camp at 2; we’re staying near a lake. Setting up the tent was a bitch because 1) I suck at tying knots 2) we had the fly inside out and 3) we had to start all over in a different spot. At 4 we started fly fishing. Good thing I remembered to bring down the reel and flies and didn’t feel like shit walking back to camp and getting lost retrieving it. Now I’m chilling with a beautiful view of the lake we’re fishing at. Oh, and I swear I’ve got bitten more than anyone else. My legs are just red splotches. I get frustrated very easily and down on myself if I don’t get something and since I basically have zip experience camping, I have felt pretty low a few times. Like when I see others who just get ready way faster than I do, when my pack sucks or like today when I forgot the fishing stuff. Now I’m listening to the sounds of Egyptian slap war on top of a hill. Fly fishing was not successful, of course. Dinner was fried rice with a little trout that KG caught.
Good cheesy summer sausage hashbrowns for breakfast. Today’s hike was long and difficult. There was a ton of rock scrambling. Rock scrambling is very fun without a pack, but with a 30+ lb pack it is tiring, slow and demands all of your attention. We stopped at a small pond and took off our packs for our first peak ascent. Peak “79″ was 11,279 ft high and took a deceptively long time to get there. There was a “poop tube,” no idea why the name, at the top that is basically a summit box. Didn’t get in to camp until after 6 so we were out for 8+ hours. Will was slow and had some breathing problems. We camped in an area by a lake surrounded mtns. on all sides. I felt better once I got to camp because I was able to tie a trucker’s hitch and set up the cooking equipment. Dinner was a ton of snacks in the food bag and instant soup. Will was throwing up from dehydration. KG emphasized the importance of hydration and layering to protect from mosquitoes and then we played a new game called “Big Booty.” I took a dump with some sweet views.
We salvaged a rice, hashbrowns and sausage breakfast despite 2 spills. Had some tough bushwacking and we had to backtrack in order to get out of the mtns. Slowly gaining more confidence being the leader and deciding the path the group takes. It’s not like there are huge trails with signs. You have to orient with the map using big landmarks like peaks, rivers and lakes and then find the small path. Now we’re chilling at a lake with an extended lunch break because people are fishing. Our lake that we’re camping at is again surrounded by mountains. I chilled with Nick on the lake and we fished and discussed the various maniacal ways we would kill a fish if we caught one. It was super relaxing. For dinner our bean, powdered cheese, onion and vegetable burritos didn’t work so it was soup instead. KG and Taimur caught fish which was shared and Romy, Nick and I made brownies. We played a super epic game of Egyptian Slap War by headlamp light and stayed up late.
We woke up early because we were going to be walking through a lot of snow and didn’t want it to be melting while we were hiking. We had oatmeal for breakfast. At this campspot there is not a tree in sight. Only the lakes, rocks and snow. There’s been a lot of snow for the last 3 days or so. In the morning we had our most difficult climb so far. We hiked out a pass walking through rocks and the most snow so far this trip. Lunch was leftover oatmeal, a peanut butter cookie luna bur, smashed peanut butter pretzels, peanuts and almonds. After the tough ascent we walked downhill to Mirror Lake. It included downhill snow walking (fun) and some bushwacking. Nick and I talked for most of it, so it went quicker. Poo #3 was bad. Didn’t have time to dig a hole and the mosquitoes were biting me everywhere. Went down to Mirror Lake and watched the guys fish and Nick and I fished elsewhere. Nick dropped my camera in the water. I was fishing and turned around to see my camera clacking against the rock hurtling towards the water. Nick ran and admirably slid into the water, but the camera fell and isn’t responding. We were really running low on food so we had soup. Our classes were on assigning Leave No Trace projects and we discussed the re-ration. Nick, Romy, Taimur, Will and I played Egyptian Slay War in our tent after dinner. The mosquitoes here are really bad, I have two cuts on my foot and the camera is probably broken but things are still well.
Nick woke early to go fishing and I made tomato soup for breakfast. This is the last meal before re-ration and all we had was tomato sauce, a few soup packets, butter and almonds. Mike gave us an extensive lesson on “Patient Assessment” and we did our first leadership activity where a blindfolded person tries to drop a stick into a Nalgene and bring it out of the circle. Then KG gave us a lesson NOLS 471 leadership. We had consolidated, that’s a new word I learned that I’m going to bust out a lot now, the food bags and brought them to a designated re-ration spot about 15 min. from the campsite. This is a way longer re-ration so we got loaded down with food. some new stuff we got was flour, chocolate covered stuff, M&M gorp and asian trail mix to name a few. I worked on a short lesson on designated leaders and read a little of the leadership education notebook while it rained outside for a bit. For dinner I made some kick-ass gado-gado spaghetti which had a sauce of sunflower seeds, peanut butter and cheese.
The reration meant new tent and cooking groups so I leave Nick and Roman for Sam and Luke. I don’t think I will ever be in a better group than Nick and Roman.