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, July 26, 2012

Lace Up Your Boots: Explore New Territory

Driving along 108 toward Sonora Pass, a few miles west of the actual pass there is a pull out on the south side of the road and you can look out at Night Cap Peak on your left and Granite Dome beyond it. If you’re anything like me you’d probably say to yourself, “I want to go there – how can I make that happen?”
Well last weekend I did just that! It was quite the adventure and so worth the sweaty uphill trek - gorgeous lakes surrounded by a granitefest.

Your challenge this month is to explore new territory! Whether it be hiking, four-wheeling, biking, geocaching, land sailing, or whatever your favorite outdoor past time is - discover a new place to recreate.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Plan Ahead and Prepare: Lightning Safety

While getting ready for my next backpacking adventure this weekend I took a look at NOAA’s weather forecast for the area. Not ideal…

I figured I should brush up on what to do if caught in a thunderstorm in the middle of the wilderness. I took a look at NOLS Backcountry Lightning Safety Guidelines by John Gookin, a NOLS Curriculum Manager. In an effort to finally retain some lightning safety, I’ve just picked out a few highlights. Take a closer look at Gookin’s full paper for some great information about how lightning strikes, reasoning behind safety suggestions, and more.

- Lightning tends to hit elevated objects: mountain tops, trees, a boat in water; so get low!
- Lone trees are especially dangerous. Also stay away from all tree trunks, they may send out surface arcs.
- If you feel your hair standing on end a lightning strike is imminent, spread out and assume the lightning position.
- Lightning position: squat with your feet together and your arms wrapped around your legs. It’s been debated whether squatting on your sleeping pad provides any additional protection, but I think the important part is to assume the position and get away from metal objects - like that metal rod in my backpack!
- If you’re in a group, spread out at 50 foot intervals – decreasing the likelihood that one strike will take out multiple people.
- A note for night time thunderstorms: if your tent is in “safer terrain” at least assume the lightning position, if it is in an exposed location get out and find a safer location until the storm passes.

“There are things you can do to reduce risk during a thunderstorm, but you can never get as safe as you could be in town,” says Gookin.

But what’s the fun in that?

-Happy (and safe!),

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Respecting Others: Visiting the Most Heavily Used Wilderness Area

Desolation Wilderness – ha! Clearly the origin of this name did not come from a lack of visitors. Last weekend I visited the most heavily used wilderness area per acre in the United States, according to Backpacker Magazine, and they weren’t kidding. With such heavy visitation, the Leave No Trace principle – Be Considerate of Other Visitors – becomes even more essential. Here are a few tips:

DON’T: Take breaks on the trail. At one point I literally had to step over someone’s feet because they were sitting on a rock next to the trail with their feet in the trail.
DO: Take breaks and camp out of sight of the trail. This allows for the feeling of solitude.

DON’T: Come charging up the trail, taking up the entire width with your pack of dogs.
DO: Yield to other users on the trail. Step to the side for others to easily pass.

Respecting Others on the Trail
DON’T: Let your dog run amuck in the wilderness chasing wildlife and harassing other visitors.
DO: Control your dog verbally or with a leash. While you may think your dog is cute, cuddly, and incredibly well-behaved – others may not be dog people, or had a bad experience with dogs, or have their own dog that doesn’t like to be overwhelmed by your pack of dogs. Aspen has learned a new trick of walking behind me on the trail, this way when I see wildlife or people coming I can grab the handle on her pack and make sure she stays right next to me.

DON’T: Dig a cathole right next to the trail and bury your toilet paper with it.
DO: Find a secluded spot with a nice view 200 feet from a water source to dig a cathole. More people = more poop and toilet paper in the ground. Pack out your toilet paper safely in a zip lock bag hiding in another bag – no one will be the wiser and wildlife won’t come dig it up before it can decompose. Oh, and if you think you found a nice spot to answer Mother Nature’s call it is likely that someone had that same thought before – look for signs of recent catholes and dig with caution. Or if you’re feeling extra adventurous use a RestStop 2, Wag Bag, or other portable toilet system to pack out your solid human waste.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Beyond the Sagebrush

Red, whiteish, and blue!
Hope you're having an outdoor adventure this July 4th!
Red Rock NCA, Nevada