This is a NOLS course with students 16-21 years old, and three well-qualified instructors. They are currently walking through the Talkeetna Mountains … which is no small feat for anybody who knows Alaska. I have twice flown in fresh groceries consisting of powdered potatoes, pasta, hash-browns, grits, cheese, peanut butter and pilot bread. I also back-haul their trash, and mail, and anything else not needed in an attempt to lighten their load. Usually the envelopes holding these letters are taped together with ace bandages and the paper used to write on is torn from the back of a well used book.
I will see them once more before they complete the nearly month long adventure. They will cover approximately 160 miles and the only physical human contact they have is with me. The weather has been challenging lately as we have recieved LOTS of rain and low lying fog. Fortunately this course appears to be up for the challenge, because they were all smiles when I last saw them and they appeared to be working well together as a team … which is the key ingredient.
The snow has been a little deeper this year than past years so I know they have endured some wet feet and their fair share of post-holing. The World Cup and the NBA playoffs are a huge curiosity to them right now, and I always disappoint them with my lack of sports knowledge. NOLS is an excellent operation and we always enjoy working with them.