Kaunakakai Resident Completes 78-day Expedition
National Outdoor Leadership School News Release
Colby Smith of Kaunakakai recently completed a 78-day semester exploring the mountains, deserts and coastlines of the Baja California Peninsula with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS.)
From Sept. 21 to Dec. 7, 2011, Smith’s group of 14 students was introduced to a variety of adventure-based skills such as backpacking, sea kayaking, sailing and costal navigation.
The first section of the students’ semester began with 21 days of hiking in the Sierra San Pedro Mountains in northern Baja California— a volcanic mountain range extending over 1,000 miles down the spine of the peninsula. Students learned skills like terrain management and navigation.
The mode of travel in the second section required learning to maneuver 22-foot Drascombe longboats that allowed the students to travel over 200 nautical miles in 26 days. The group focused on sailing basics, weather, waves and tides, while developing their leadership skills as first mates. Some of the section highlights included voyaging to remote islands, sailing through pods of Pilot and Sperm whales and watching dolphins jump and barrel roll off the bows of the boats.
For the final section of the semester, students switched to sea kayaks to explore the ocean frontier. The students began learning about rolling, surfing and paddle strokes in addition to ocean navigation. By the end of the course, students had mastered the skills necessary to not only venture safely and with minimum impact into the wilderness on their own, but also to lead others on adventures.
Founded in 1965 by legendary mountaineer Paul Petzoldt, NOLS is the leader in wilderness education and sets the industry standard for responsible, high-quality educational expeditions. NOLS provides an awe-inspiring, transformative experience that develops active, positive leaders with lifelong environmental ethics and outdoor skills to more than 10,000 students each year. NOLS students, ages 14 to over 70, explore the most remote wilderness around the globe. College credit and scholarships are available. For more information, call NOLS at (800) 710-NOLS (6657) or visit nols.edu.