GREENWICH, Conn. – Edward Oliver, a 20-year-old from Greenwich, recently returned from a semester-long wilderness expedition. He traveled to Patagonia in South America for the adventure, courtesy of the National Outdoor Leadership School.
Students who went on the Patagonia trip were not given access to modern conveniences. They were able to learn leadership in the outdoors, where they were challenged to develop technical skills and test their own strength and abilities.
Before they went out into the backcountry of Patagonia, they completed a 2.5-day Wilderness First Aid course. The group consisted of Oliver, 14 other students and four instructors.
The course was the beginning of the semester, which included mountaineering in the Colmillo Plateau, north of Rio Engano. Among the skills the students learned were how to manage hazards like crossing rivers, snowfields, crevasses and the extreme weather in Patagonia.
Food was shuttled to the group while they spent 31 days in the backcountry, bushwacking their way through the thick forests and through rocky land. They traveled 75 miles, before moving on to southern Chile, where they spent 30 days sea kayaking.
Challenges they faced there were fjords, mountains and rain forests, paddling a total of 165 miles. They were educated on the concept of “Leave No Trace” camping and working together.
NOLS was founded in 1965, and since then more than 221,000 students have made their way through the program. For more information, call 800-710-NOLS (6657) or visit www.nols.edu.
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