NOS Mission

Nevada Outdoor School inspires exploration of the natural world, responsible stewardship of our habitat and dedication to community.
This is the spot for us to share stories, fun ideas or general musings. When you aren't in here, we hope to see you out there!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Destination Recreation: Galena Creek Regional Park

In the Reno area this holiday season? Go on a winter hike or snowshoe (fingers crossed!) at Galena Creek Regional Park!

Destination: Galena Creek Regional Park
Adventurer: Ursula Unruh
Chosen Activity: Hiking the nature trails

Allure: The Galena Creek Visitor Center is newly opened and includes a weather station, exhibits, gift shop, and book store. As for the recreation area, Galena Creek has a lot to offer. There are individual picnic sites, as well as large group picnic sites. There is a wide variety of trails available: an accessible nature trail, the Jones-Whites Creek Loop Trail, and access to Mt.Rose Wilderness. Galena Creek also offers fishing at Marilyn’s Pond and summer campfire programs. There is a winter snow play hill that offers sledding as well as areas open for snowshoeing.

Other Activities: picnicking, fishing, sledding, snowshoeing, geocaching
Location: Western Nevada on Mt. Rose Hwy – SR 431, 18 miles south-west of Reno
Information: Washoe County – Galena Creek Recreation Area

Visit the Nevada Outdoor School website – Destination Recreation page to explore the rest of our favorite places to play in Nevada.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Cloud Reader

Imagine you’re hiking along a trail or out riding your ATV and look up to see clouds in the sky. Do you know if they mean more sunny skies ahead or impending doom is coming and you’d better get back to shelter fast? Take Backpacker’s Cloud Quiz and you will be able to predict the weather by reading the clouds. Plus, you get to view aw-inspiring photos by Michael DeYoung.

I took the quiz; I won’t remember the names of the clouds, but I’ll remember what they indicate and that’s what matters when deciding whether to press on or retreat.

Happy Cloud Reading,

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Oatmeal Energy

On my first few backpacking trips oatmeal was the go-to breakfast. And a power bar was my go-to snack an hour later because I was starving. This made me rethink my backpacking breakfast of choice. I opted for granola and dried milk with a bit of warm water – yummy and filling.

I recently discovered oatmeal on steroids in the pages of the September Backpacker magazine and was intrigued if it had what it took to keep me going until lunch or at least for a few hours. Here’s the recipe for power oatmeal from Backpacker:

Ingredients: 1⁄2 cup rolled oats, 3 tablespoons dried milk, 2 tablespoons wheat germ, 1⁄4 cup raisins, 1⁄4 cup almonds (or pecans), 1 tablespoon sugar, pinch of salt, 2 tablespoons almond butter

At home: Combine dry ingredients (oats, dried milk, wheat germ, raisins, nuts, sugar, and salt) in a zip-top bag. Measure almond butter into a spill-proof container or squeeze tube.

In camp: Mix dry ingredients with 1 1⁄4 cups water in a pot. Stir to combine, breaking up any dried milk lumps as the water warms. Bring to a boil and simmer for about five minutes (until most of the water is absorbed), stirring occasionally. Take off heat and mix in almond butter.

I made this at home to test it before a backpacking trip with a few substitutions: pomegranate craisins instead of raisins and crushed walnuts instead of almonds. Verdict – very filling and kept me going all morning! I can’t wait to hit the trail with this oatmeal.

What is your favorite backpacking or camping meal?


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Happy Birthday Blog!

Our adventure began one year ago today! Since then we've had 3,247 page views from 10 different countries including here in the United States, to Australia, United Kingdom and Canada! Thank you to all of our frequent visitors and keep spreading the outdoor ethics word!


Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Lorax

Is it March yet?! I'm really excited for this to hit theaters, hopefully it makes it to Winnemucca...

Happy Turkey Day,

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Earthcaches on the Playa

Some of you may already be avid geocachers, but for the muggles (non-geocachers) out there…geocaching is a high-tech scavenger hunt where you use a GPS unit to find a hidden container that might be an old Altoid tin with tiny log book or an old ammo container full of goodies to swap. You can find a wealth of information about this worldwide recreation activity on

Nevada Outdoor School recently published two Earthcaches allowing geocachers to follow Tread Lightly! principles as they discover the geology and ecology of the Black Rock Desert! Earthcaches are different than traditional geocaches in a few ways: there is no container to find, no log book to sign and you answer geology-related questions to prove you found the site. However, you can still log your find on and post photos from your visit!

Next time you’re in the Black Rock Desert find our Earthcaches:
A Beach in the Desert: GC2VFKX
Why is that rock black?: GC2VFMW

Happy hunting and please be aware of playa conditions when traveling in the Black Rock Desert, especially this time of year.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

My Newly Discovered Creature: The Banana Slug

This past weekend a few NOS folks were able to attend an environmental and outdoor education workshop in Little Basin, an area of Big Basin State Park, which is near Santa Cruz, California. The workshop was fun and educational and on our last day we decided to explore the area a bit. I had been to California before, but hadn’t seen the redwoods, and it was one of my coworkers first time in California so we were excited to go exploring. We headed over to the visitor center and decided on a short trail through the redwood forest. Right before we started our hike, Trails mentioned we might come across a banana slug, something I had never heard of growing up in the Northeast. After finding out they are enormous for a slug - up to 10 inches - and bright yellow I was excited to find this new creature, but had doubts that I would be able to find one.

Low and behold about 10 minutes into the hike I stopped short. Right in front of me was a banana slug about 5-6 inches long just hanging out in the middle of the trail. Trails proceeded to ask us if we wanted to kiss it, because apparently it will make your lips numb, but we decided to pass. That got me curious though, about these crazy creatures, which look like something from a fantasy movie, so I decided to do some research.

The banana slug, which is the University of California, Santa Cruz mascot, is actually the second largest species of land slug in the world and can weigh up to as much as a ¼ lb hamburger (The Biogeography of the Banana Slug). The numbing factor has to do with their mucous, which has anesthetic properties when it comes in contact with a wet surface, such as inside a predator’s mouth, or a daring human’s lips. A way to get around this is to roll the slug in the dirt to get rid of the slime, which is a great option of a hungry raccoon, bird, or snake (Banana Slug Biology).

Some other interesting things I learned from The Biogeography of the Banana Slug:
• Banana slugs are mostly found in the Pacific Northwest and love the moist weather, which, because it had been raining all night is probably why we saw about a dozen
• Although they are land animals today, they are a mollusk and evolved from marine snails
• These slugs are pretty much loners, leaving their eggs as soon as they’re laid, and only interacting with other slugs during mating
• Mushrooms are their favorite food and they also like to feast on dead and decomposing plant and animal matter

Although I am new to this part of the country and am fascinated by a creature others may have seen their whole lives, it inspired me to take a closer look at plants and wildlife I’m familiar with. There may be something in your backyard that you don’t know much about, or maybe an animal you’ve seen your whole life; but do you really know why it lives in that environment or why it behaves the way it does? I challenge you to find out a new, interesting fact about a local creature—some things may surprise you!

Be Curious,

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Winter Travel

Nothing puts a damper on a winter adventure like getting stuck in the snow. Or sitting for hours on the freeway in an attempt to get over the pass. Or spinning out on black ice. Trust me – I speak from experience… Here are a few items I carry with me during the winter months to prepare for the unexpected.

Water – This is really a year-round item, but it’s important to stay hydrated! Keep in mind, frozen water is tough to drink. A potential solution – don’t leave water in your vehicle overnight.

Food – Your body can survive a surprising amount of time without food (as long as it has water), but why test that. Plus snacks can make a two-hour wait on the freeway more enjoyable.

Warm layers – If you’re stuck in your car for a long period of time, running your heater is a good way to run out of fuel. Stay warm with layers and a blanket instead.

Boots – I recall getting stuck on I-80 for an hour or so in Converse (not a snow-friendly shoe) and was glad to have boots to change into to keep my toes warm.

Gloves – Can be handy (ha!) when spending unexpected time outside your heated car, say putting chains on or shoveling snow. Glove/mitten combos are good for putting chains on when bulky gloves are getting in the way of dexterity.

Ice/snow scraper – Sometimes you just don’t have the five minutes to let your car warm up and thaw the windshield itself. Plus, let’s be honest, your car may be toasty warm when you finally get in it, but it’s not the most eco-friendly solution.

Shovel – Better than having to shovel snow with your hands! I have a collapsible shovel that fits nicely in my emergency tote.

Cat litter – Cat litter took up space in my emergency tote for two years before I put it to use. I parked in a snowy area to go on a snowshoe hike, returned to my car to leave, and the tires just spun in place packing down the snow into a slick surface. I put some cat litter behind each tire and backed right up. I’ll admit I left the cat litter there in the snow, but looking back I should have scooped up the cat litter snow and disposed of it. An alternative to cat litter is sand; it will also give you traction and I wouldn’t feel bad for having left it in a parking area.

Chains – Don’t just carry them, have the correct size for your tires, have them in an accessible place, and know how to put them on. I have an all-wheel drive vehicle and have yet to put on chains, because typically if the road is treacherous enough to require all-wheel or four-wheel drive vehicles to put on chains the department of transportation would simply close the road. However, get caught traveling without chains and you may look forward to a ticket that will probably cost you more than purchasing tire chains in the first place.

In addition to winterizing your emergency kit, there are a few maintenance things you can do to ready your vehicle: make sure your wiper blades are in good condition, use windshield washer fluid that is anti-freeze, and make sure your tires are in good condition.

Truck bonus – my first big experience driving in snow was when I lived in Truckee for the winter. My Toyota Tacoma’s truck bed was full of snow and I had great traction all winter. However, the next winter driving up to Kirkwood I spun out on black ice. I was baffled because little cars without 4x4 were zipping by me. Turns out the bed of my truck was too light (no bed full of snow). Sand bags are one way to add weight to the bed or your truck and to maintain traction to all four wheels.

Safe travels,

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Beyond the Sagebrush

With the weather getting chilly
hot springs are looking more inviting.
Soldier Meadows hot springs - Black Rock Desert, Nevada

Serious injury and even death can and have occurred at hot springs - soak responsibly.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

It Starts With an S and Ends With a T

While accepting last week’s Lace Up Your Boots challenge I found inspiration for this week’s blog…on the bottom of my shoe - scat. There were ridiculous amounts of scat on the Water Canyon Interpretive Trail. Scat can be an exciting sign of wildlife, but I don’t need to see signs of the last dog(s) to pass through the area.

Respecting others isn’t the only reason to pick up Fido’s scat; pet waste can pollute water sources. Some parks have pet waste bags available or you can purchase a supply at your local pet store. I have a supply of pet waste bags and find them in my coat and purse pockets like most people find used tissues – thankfully they’re unused bags. Or if you’re out backpacking and far away from a trash can, have your dog use a cat hole – ha! – bury their poop at least 200 feet from water sources and trails.

Not only is dog poop on the trail unsightly and unsanitary, it’s just plain gross. Please dispose of Fido’s scat appropriately; the bottom of my shoe appreciates it.

Now scat,

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Lace Up Your Boots: Take a hike

Welcome to our new blog series that challenges you to get outdoors. The task may be as straight forward as this week’s – go on a hike. Or as challenging as…well you’ll have to check back to see what other exciting tasks we have in store for you.

Go on a hike: your hike can be short, long, flat, straight uphill, in your local park, or a far-off destination – your choice. Let us know how it goes!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Trail Log

Conserving what I love.
Sequoia Kings Canyon National Park, CA

"In the end we will conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught." - Baba Dioum

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

LNT on the TRT

Last weekend Nevada Outdoor School partnered with the Tahoe Rim Trail Association to host a Leave No Trace Trainer Course. Not only did we cover some exciting outdoor ethics materials, but we also covered some ground! We backpacked the 22-mile section of the Tahoe Rim Trail from Tahoe Meadows to Spooner Lake. We had opportunities to practice LNT principles, including Be Considerate of Other Visitors while sharing the trail with a wealth of mountain bikers and Respect Wildlife by storing our food properly in bear boxes. Throughout the hike participants enjoyed views of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and vistas of Lake Tahoe – I’ll put this trip in the success column.

Tracking our progress on the first day of our epic hike

LNT Trainers ready to impart LNT wisdom

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Lighten Your Load

I am about to embark on the longest backpacking trip I’ve been on – 22 miles. For some that may be a stroll, for others that might be an epic distance. Either way, that’s not a distance I want to carry 35 pounds. I’ve heard various numbers for how much your pack should weigh; including a third of your body weight, in which case I’m good to go. Recently I found a figure of 15 to 25 percent of your body weight; now my pack needs to lose at least five pounds. Here are some weight-loss ideas I put into practice:

- Swapped my camp shoes from Chacos to light-weight slip-ons. That just cut about two pounds, plus the point of camp shoes is to make less of an impact and my slip-ons have no tread left on the bottom – Mother Nature wins too.
- Traded my super-cush Thermorest for a three-quarter length lighter one.
- Lightened up on the trail mix. I always seem to hike back to the trailhead with an absurd amount of trail mix left, not this time!
- Photocopied the section of the trail we’ll be hiking, instead of packing the map of the entire Tahoe Basin.
- Removed the day-pack attachment; we’ll be through-hiking so there was no need for a day-pack besides to add extra weight.
- Combined educational materials. This is a Leave No Trace Trainer Course, which adds instructional materials to my pack weight. I ditched the clips and rubber bands and combined everything in one sandwich bag.
- Opted for a down-feather sleeping bag. Ok, this was done a long time ago because my synthetic sleeping bag weighed five pounds and took up a third of my pack space. My down bag weighs half of that and compresses significantly smaller.

What good did all of that do me? Eight pounds! I’m much more excited about this trip now that I’m only carrying 27 pounds. Pick up a copy of Lighten Up! A complete handbook for Light & Ultralight backpacking by Don Ladigin for ideas on lightening your pack. Illustrations are by Mike Clelland, who also did the illustrations for Allen & Mike’s Really Cool Backpackin’ Book.

The best way to find out strategies for light backpacking is through experience and the experienced. How have you cut pack weight?


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

National Public Lands Day

NPLD is coming up! Join public land managers near you to lend a hand during the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer event for public lands. There are opportunities across the United States – find one close to you at Or join us for an event!

September 16th – 18th
Join Nevada Outdoor School along with a few of our partners: Friends of Nevada Wilderness, Friends of Black Rock High Rock, and the Bureau of Land Management, for a weekend of education, fellowship, and restoration in the Black Rock Desert-High Rock Canyon-Emigrant Trails-National Conservation Area. A variety of restoration projects will be completed on this trip, including “KTM campground” clean up and spring monitoring. Families are encouraged to attend; NOS will provide youth programs during the restoration events. Give us a call at the office for more information 775-623-5656.

NPLD Kids’ Camp 2010

September 23rd – 25th
Join Friends of Nevada Wilderness and the USDA Forest Service - Santa Rosa Ranger District in the Santa Rosa-Paradise Peak Wilderness for a trail-maintenance backpacking trip. Contact Wes at or 775-324-7667 for details.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Destination Recreation: Lamoille Canyon

Our education staff is gearing up for our annual fifth-grade field trip to Lamoille Canyon; we think you should venture out to this glacier-carved granite-fest too!

Destination: Lamoille Canyon
Adventurer: Shelby Hollmaier
Chosen Activity: Rock climbing and enjoying the scenery

Allure: Close enough for a day trip, but far enough to "get away" Lamoille Canyon is a beautiful location for a variety of outdoor recreation. There's something for every adventurer whether you're looking for a few days hiking the backcountry or a few hours picnicking by the river. Rock climbers will love the vast array of faces available for both trad and sport climbing or bouldering with well maintained hardware.

Other Activities: hiking, backpacking, camping, bicycling, horseback riding, fishing, hunting, photography, geocaching, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling
Location: North-eastern Nevada, twenty miles south-east of Elko off Lamoille Highway
America’s Byways – Lamoille Canyon Road
Nevada Rock Climbing
USDA Forest Service – Ruby Mountains Ranger District

Nevada Adventures – Lamoille Canyon

Visit the Nevada Outdoor School website – Destination Recreation page to explore the rest of our favorite places to play in Nevada.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Beyond the Sagebrush

Use your imagination to find shapes in
Valley of Fire State Park

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Trekking the Sierras

Last week I was at Meadow Lake, near Truckee, California, for Sierra Trek, one of the largest fundraisers for the California Association of 4WD Clubs, Inc. aka Cal 4-Wheel. This event has various types of runs from the extremely-challenging Fordyce Trail to SUV runs over easier terrain. There are also activities at base camp for all ages including a log sawing contest, a canoe race, and live music. All of this takes place with the gorgeous Sierra Nevadas as a backdrop.

Four-wheeling is the reason I am outdoorsy today. Some may be surprised that I love this recreation activity for a lot of the same reasons folks love to hike or bike – camaraderie, scenery, adrenaline, and fresh air. I wanted to give you a better idea of what four-wheeling is about, because when we tell friends and family that we’re taking the Jeep to go four-wheeling they think dirt roads. Well sure, we drive down dirt roads to get to the big-rocky trails. Since pictures are worth a 1,000 words, I figure I’d save you some reading and put together a photo essay of sorts instead.

Rigs (Jeeps, Broncos, trucks, etc) on the Fordyce Trail

Spotters help guide drivers on
tougher spots along the trail

We pack out trash too -
including banana peels!

Getting some air at the top of Winch Hill 5 -
this is where that adrenaline comes in

Working our muscles during the log sawing contest

The ice cream truck testing its flexibility on the RTI Ramp -
Ramp Travel Index, hosted b the Joaquin Jeepers

How do you trek the Sierras?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Buckaroo Dutch Oven Cook-Off

When you’re outdoors an exciting way to cook is with a Dutch Oven. Want to see the process? Join us for Nevada Outdoor School’s 3rd Annual Buckaroo Dutch Oven Cook-Off where experienced and beginner cooks come together to enjoy a day of friendly-competitive cooking. You can taste-test your way to a new dish to try on your next outdoor adventure. Already have some experience in the outdoor kitchen? Heat up your Dutch Oven(s) and show us what you’ve got at the Cook–Off on August 27th. Family, friends, and the local community will all enjoy this relaxing day of fun-filled cooking and tasting. Come and join the friendly competition to find out who has the best cooking techniques in the area.

There will be two categories to register in either Bean Master, cooks a main dish and dessert, or Chuck Wagon, which cooks a main dish. Each category will have separate tasting and a panel of judges to decide the winner. There will also be an overall People’s Choice award that will receive a trophy and be judged by the public. Cash prizes of $200 and $100 for winners!People’s Choice Award – You be the Judge! Taste many different Dutch Oven dishes when participating in the People Choice Award. For a suggested $10 donation, that includes all utensils needed to taste, a drink and five tickets to use for voting this year’s winner. The first 100 participants will receive a commemorative cup.

For inspiration on a dish to cook check out this Fizzy Fruit Cobbler recipe from There are so many yummy recipes to choose from it is hard to pick just one!

Fizzy Fruit Cobbler Dutch Oven Recipe

Ingredients: Apple pie filling, 1 box yellow cake mix, 1/2 can 7-Up, 1 Tbsp. cinnamon

Directions: Any combination of flavors that sound good to you can be tried. This example is apple, yellow cake, and cinnamon. Another might be cherry filling, chocolate cake, and powdered sugar. Or, blueberry filling, white cake, and grape soda.

Line the dutch oven with aluminum foil to make clean up easier if you aren't adverse to doing that. Pour the fruit filing into the bottom of the D.O. Sprinkle the cake mix on top of the filing - do not stir it. Pour the soda on top of the mix from a low height so it does not splatter all over. With a fork, mix the soda into the cake mix, being careful not to mix it into the filling too much - a little is ok. When the cake mix is stirred, sprinkle cinnamon on top. Cook for 45 minutes at 325 degrees.

Light your fires!
Bug Dust

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Get to Know an Invasive Species: Cheatgrass

Cheatgrass - as far as the eye can see.

Everyone has run into this pesky invasive species. It sticks to your socks and shoes and even in your dog’s paws. It raids lawns and gardens. This invasive species has taken over numerous beautiful areas in Nevada; including Water Canyon, a local recreation area. The abundance of cheatgrass takes away from the native landscape. Good luck getting rid of this plant now; it will just keep taking over. In Nevada cheatgrass is a huge issue and it is difficult to control.

photo courtesy of Steve Dewey,
Utah State University,

Some ways to indentify cheatgrass:

- Stems are slender and several inches tall
- Leaf sheaths and blades are covered in short, soft hairs
- Leaves can be up to eight inches long
- Root is finely divided into fibrous roots
- Cheatgrass is annual, meaning it completes its lifecycle in one year
- Invades rangelands, prairies, and pastures; widespread in Pershing, Humboldt (lucky us!), Lander, and Eureka counties
- Potential to completely alter the ecosystem it invades by replacing native vegetation and changing fire regimes; burns very fast and hot

Some ways to control this pesky plant is frequent mowing or tillage, fire under controlled conditions (let’s leave that to the land managers though!) You can help stop the spread of this invasive by washing vehicles and ATVs after an outdoor adventure, shaking your tent out, and bathing your pets. If everyone lends a hand this invasive species it can be controlled.

- Nemo

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Got Water?

Now that spring has sprung and the summer heat is really starting to kick in, let’s take a look at a few additions to our essential outdoor-adventure gear.

Water – Alright, this one was on the original list, but it’s even more important now since your usual water sources may be dried up or contaminated beyond your water filter’s ability from grazing livestock. You should carry two to six quarts of water per day depending on your exertion level and the length of your trip. A good way to check if you’re staying hydrated – check the color of your urine, it should be colorless or pale yellow. This may not be the easiest thing to do when you’re out in nature peeing on the ground, but do your best. Also note that water alone won’t do the trick. If you drink too much water without replacing electrolytes you risk suffering from hyponatremia – a fancy word for a life-threatening condition where there is not enough sodium in your body fluids. Quick fix – munch on some trail mix with salty peanuts every hour.

Don't forget to add these summer essentials to your pack!

Sunglasses – Protect your eyes from sunburn. Seriously, this is actually possible. How do I know this you ask? Because I did exactly that while snowboarding due to the bright sun reflecting off the bright snow, but the summer sun can do the deed as well.

Brimmed hat – Added protection for your head, ears, and neck. I don’t know about you ladies, but sunburning the part in my hair is THE WORST!

Bandana – A great multi-functional tool to get wet and wrap around your neck or over your head to keep cool.

Sunscreen – I know this is another repeat, but I wanted to include it for those I-don’t-need-to-wear-sunscreen-because-I-don’t-burn types. Avoid skin cancer; all the cool kids are doing it.

Breathable clothing – Add light-colored to that description as well. This will help protect your skin from the sun and cuts down on evaporative sweat loss. Plus if we want to get more scientifically sweaty, loose-fitting clothing encourages airflow and cools the skin through convection.

I’ll add one more item to my backpack, and that is an umbrella. This UV ray-shielding device isn’t just for rain folks. You’ll be thankful you packed it when the only natural shade you can find is under a sage brush.

Happy Hydrating!


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Trail Log

View from Steamboat Rock in the Black Rock Desert

"To say nothing is out here is incorrect; to say the desert is stingy with everything except space and light, stone and earth is closer to the truth." - William Least Heat Moon

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Wanted: Campfire Dead Out

As more folks head into nature for camping trips we want to provide a friendly reminder - never leave your campfire unattended and when you're done make sure it is dead out, these G.I. Joes and Jane won't always be around to help you out.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Destination Recreation: Jarbidge Wilderness

Now that the snow is finally starting to melt it’s time to venture into the high country for a backpacking trip!

Destination: Jarbidge Wilderness
Adventurer: Erin Gray
Chosen Activity: Camping and relaxing by a beautiful alpine lake

Allure: Nevada's first designated wilderness in 1964, this area receives the government’s highest possible rating for air quality and is home to a lush diversity of plant species not often found in Nevada. Jarbidge Wilderness, part of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, has many rugged mountain peaks greater than 10,000 feet, several alpine lakes, crystal-clean streams, and is home to a host of wildlife including elk, owl, mountain lion, and coyote. A good network of trails access remote backcountry areas; hike through pine forests, sage and alpine meadows while enjoying the natural splendor all around. Watch out for man-eating spirits according to local Shoshone legends; Jarbidge does come from a native word roughly translated as weird beastly creature or devil. However, after seeing the place for myself, I think that legend was probably meant to scare everyone else away and keep this stunningly beautiful place for the locals alone.

Other Activities: hunting, fishing, horseback riding, wildlife viewing, checking out historical mining areas, getting away from it all
Location: Buy a good map – this is in remote northern Elko County Nevada. For Jarbidge townsite and trailhead access, take Mountain City Highway north from Elko, turn right on Elko County Rd 746 to Charleston, head north on local Forest Service road to Jarbidge. The scenery on the drive alone is worth it. Bring what you need, limited supplies available in Jarbidge.
USDA Forest Service – Jarbidge Wilderness
Community of Jarbidge, Nevada

Visit the Nevada Outdoor School website – Destination Recreation page to explore the rest of our favorite places to play in Nevada.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Plan Ahead, Prepare, and Adapt

Last weekend’s trainer course had a slight change of plans from Lamoille Canyon due to treacherous water crossings from the mass amounts of snow and rain we got this winter. Thankfully this was figured out during the scouting trip instead of when there was a line of participants waiting behind me on the trail at an impassable water crossing – Leave No Trace principle number one: Plan Ahead and Prepare!

Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces –
practicing off-trail travel by dispersing their
impact to avoid creating a trail

Even with the change of plans, the course was a huge success with 13 participants, exciting presentations, thought-provoking activities, and a chance to put new-found knowledge to use. We ended up exploring our own backyard by backpacking into Water Canyon. Here are a few highlights from the course!

Dispose of Waste Properly – participants had a
problem or solution taped to their forehead and
had to find their match by asking yes or no questions

Nevada's latest batch of LNT Trainers!

See you on the trail!


Friday, June 24, 2011

ATV Rider Camp

Eight participants revved their engine for ATV Rider Camp earlier this week! Nevada Outdoor School and Humboldt County Cooperative Extension 4-H Program hosted a three-day camp for local youth to learn safe riding habits, Tread Lightly! ethics, and basic first aid skills. The first two days were at the fairgrounds and full of activities including talks from local ATV shop owners, pop-up obstacles, outdoor ethics dash, a poster project, and more. On the third day, campers were able to bring their ATVs to the Winnemucca sand dunes and practice safe ATV riding habits.

Rider practices his quick turns during camp

We would like to give a special thanks to Jim White, owner of Snowstorm Sports; Jeff Thompson, owner of Ravenswood; and Northern Nevada ATV Association for their generous help with ATV Rider Camp.

Campers display their posters that showed off what they
learned at camp

Monday, June 13, 2011

Beyond the Sagebrush

A moment of quiet on Lake Tahoe during our
sixth grade Sierra Summit Camp

Thursday, June 2, 2011

2011 Rendezvous Snap Shots

Playa moonboots after a morning of rain

This year’s Black Rock Rendezvous was full of excitement – including a bit of inclement weather. However, thanks to planning ahead and preparing, our partners were able to weather the storm and continue the festivities by relocating camp off the playa to higher ground.

Gorgeous view from our second camp at Cassidy Mine

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Leaving No Trace in Lamoille Canyon

Favre Lake - our destination

Fish your backpack out of your gear closet and come learn more about Leave No Trace (LNT) and teaching techniques while exploring Nevada granite wonderland. Nevada Outdoor School is hosting an LNT Trainer Course Saturday, June 25 through Monday the 27 in Ruby Mountain’s Lamoille Canyon.

We will explore the various principles of LNT while enjoying a three-day, two-night backpacking trip. Each participant will give a short presentation on an assigned principle; this is a great way to practice your teaching techniques and get ideas from fellow LNTers.

Visit for more information and to register. Sign up now – this course is filling up fast.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

On the road for Tread Lightly!

Two of Nevada Outdoor School’s own are spreading the Tread Lightly! message throughout eastern Nevada. We’re visiting third through sixth grade classes in Ely, Pioche, Panaca, and Caliente. Through these lessons students are learning the importance of leaving what they find (except trash!), ATV safety, being prepared for outdoor adventures, and invasive species.

It is important to reach out to these rural communities with Tread Lightly! because a majority of the students partake in off-highway vehicle recreation; we want them to be safe and take care of nature while recreating. This is the second year NOS has toured eastern Nevada and we aim to continue this outreach in the future.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Bringing State History to Life

Students get to go into Lovelock Cave

Nevada Outdoor School and the Bureau of Land Management brought state history to life for more than 300 fourth graders last week. This annual field trip included educational stations at Lovelock Cave and the Marzen House Museum. This experience is beneficial to fourth graders for many reasons, one of them being sparking that outdoor ethic within students.

Prior to the trip NOS instructors visited classrooms to help students explore the importance of the Leave No Trace principle – Leave What You Find. It was rewarding to hear students remind each other – and chaperones – to leave rocks and other natural treasures where they found them.

Spark your outdoor ethic by visiting your local public lands!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Tread Lightly! on the Dunes

Nevada Outdoor School congratulates nine new Tread Trainers from Northern Nevada ATV Association. On May 1 we met at the Winnemucca Sand Dunes to explore the Tread Lightly! principles, discover the role of outdoor ethics in the recreation community, and learn about the tools to conduct workshops and outreach. During the training, we put the principle Do Your Part into practice by cleaning up the camping and staging area. Time was also taken to practice responsible riding on our off-highway vehicles. Overall, it was a successful day!

Three new Tread Trainers analyze the
What Motivates You? activity

Tread Trainer Courses are great opportunities to delve into outdoor ethics while experiencing them first hand. If you are interested in attending a trainer course e-mail me at


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Defacing Tribal Lands = Closed Areas

Recent vandalism prompted the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribal Council to close the area near the pyramid tufa rock and Tribal Route #5 access road as of April 15 to the general public until further notice.

Pyramid Lake is an area of cultural importance and in general a natural area. Not to sound too demeaning, but what do we do with things we find in nature? Leave them how we found them! I don’t appreciate graffiti in general, but graffiti on natural objects really irks me because we can’t just paint over it to get rid of it.

NOSers visiting Pyramid Lake

View the press release from the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe for more details and photos of the vandalism.

Let’s take care of the outdoors so we can continue to enjoy our natural areas and remember to leave what you find. Unless you find litter - you can pick up litter.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Invasion of the Impact Monsters

These first two weeks of April have been a whirlwind of outdoor ethics lessons. We prepared all of Winnemucca’s fifth graders for their trout release field trip in Water Canyon by discovering the damage impact monsters can have on their favorite outdoor place and then deciding what essentials they needed to pack for their adventure. On Monday, the 11th we saw all 225 plus students again when they visited our Camp Ohno station during the event to see if they remembered the proper way to camp.

The Tread Monster revving to learn

Plus, all of Battle Mountain’s elementary school students, kindergarten through sixth grade, are now well versed in Tread Lightly! Our lessons incorporated tread monsters, trash timelines, guessing games, a beach ball, invasive species, and more. Few students had heard of Tread Lightly before our visit, but with these annual lessons, students will build upon their new-found knowledge and develop responsible outdoor ethics!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Trail Log

Trout Release Day in Water Canyon - 2010

"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." - William Butler Yeats

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Midnight Bandits and Poison Oak

I visited scenic Big Sur last week; along with weathering the storm and Highway 1 falling into the ocean, we battled midnight bandits and poison oak.

Note to self - throw trash
away before getting into tent

Apparently bear country isn’t the only place you want to secure your food – ice chest included. I woke to find food wrappers strewn about camp from dare devil squirrels that ripped into our hanging trash bag. Then there was the unpleasant discovery that they also managed to open my ice chest and contaminate my food with plague and/or rabies cooties. I’ll take the blame for the trash, but my ice chest?! Crafty little buggers… Let our mistake be your lesson, even when you think your food is safe from bears, another critter is lurking behind a bush waiting for you to let your guard down, so store it in your car or if there are storage boxes provided even better.

Poison Oak along the trail

Then there was the relentless poison oak – bordering campsites and encroaching on trails with its urushiol oil just begging to reach out and give you an itchy rash. I have a few tips based on my week of experience with this itchy-oilfest of a plant. 1) Long pants! I’d much rather deal with getting the poison oak oil off my pants than off my legs. 2)The leaves aren’t the only part of the plant that is poisonous – bare stems have oil as well. 3) If you come in contact with poison oak wash ASAP with COLD water; warm water opens your pours and allows the oils in. I’ve heard dish soap works well to break down the oil, but when I touched the plant with my hand I was happy to have Tecnu. Tecnu attaches to the oils and rinses off with cold water, to be on the safe side I treated my hand twice. 4) Another helpful hint that is relevant in all outdoor ethic situations - stay on the trail. You help protect nature and stay out of poison oak – win win! If you don’t have poison oak in your area, a lot of these tips are valid for other rash-inducing plants

McWay Falls

Even though we dealt with midnight bandits and poison oak I promise we did have fun. We had great views (when the clouds and fog lifted), rehydrated (pruney from the mass amounts of rain), crowd free (not many folks are as crazy as us), and tick free (I think…)!


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Destination Recreation: Cathedral Gorge

For this installment of Destination Recreation we’re escaping the cold northern Nevada and heading south for a warmer climate.

A truly unique place in Nevada

Destination: Cathedral Gorge State Park
Adventurer: Sven Svenington
Chosen Activity: Hopping around in the cave-like formations

Allure: Cathedral Gorge is truly a hidden gem. The bentonite clay formations are awe-inspiring; their cathedral-like spires are what the park is named for. My favorite place to explore is the narrow slots between the formations called the “caves” area; it’s like entering a new world – plus the 10-degree temperature drop is an oasis from the scorching-summer sun. On top of that, the park is full of cryptobiotic soil – so many tiny micro-organisms hard at work! There’s a scenic overlook of the canyon with panoramic views; from there you can walk down the staircase into the canyon and explore the land formations close-up. If you doubt how enchanting this place is, just look at my smiling face!

Hoping around the
cave-like formations

Other Activities: hiking, photography, camping, nature study, not busting the crust, ranger programs, geocaching
Location: Eastern Nevada on US 93, two miles north of Panaca
Information: Nevada State Parks – Cathedral Gorge

Visit the Nevada Outdoor School website – Destination Recreation page to explore the rest of our favorite places to play in Nevada.