Our Values

Play safe & stay found

Mountain Education, Inc. (MEI) wants our students to, ideally, learn by doing, but when that’s not possible, especially early in the learning game, we want them to ask questions whose answers will teach them the value of understanding the ways of wilderness that will lead to learning how to live within it with circumspection and awareness of those ways…for that is how you “Play Safe and Stay Found!”

donation based wilderness school

We are a wilderness school designed to empower people with the skills and wisdom needed to safely enjoy wilderness and tarry there as long as they desire, no matter the season. We do this by educating in print and video, first, then teaching by leadership example and demonstration out in the field, allowing our students to practice their skills and understandings under personalized supervision during our in-person classes of varying lengths.

 Knowledge and understanding of the wilderness world, its ways and how to behave safely within them, is what we give, but in order to provide it, in all its varying facets of the written word, teachings, videos, online live classes, and in-person courses out on the trail, itself, it costs money. We don’t like the distracting demands of digital advertising littering our site, in essence, taking away your enjoyment of it, so income can’t come from that source. We prefer it to come in donation form as expressions of our students saying, “Thank you,” as these financial seeds tell us that we are doing the right thing, meeting a need, and encourage us to provide more!

 As a 501c3 public charity, your thankful encouragements, not only, allow you to give us some feedback, but give you a tax-deduction, as well! We both benefit from a job well-done!


We believe at Mountain Education, Inc. (MEI), that peace and confidence in the unpredictable and often unforgiving wilderness setting is attained when the visitor 1) knows (unto understanding) the environment they are exposed to (what it can do, how it changes, and what that means for their safety), 2) has the right skills to overcome the expected challenges, and 3) listens more to the spirit within and around them, than the uncertainty in their heads.

 The mountain people of American history developed their peace and confidence through their experiences gained by living at length in and with the wilderness around them. Over time, they learned to value having a relationship with the wilderness. They could hear it in their hearts and paid attention to what it said, observed how it changed daily, and respected how joyous and harsh it could be. They were men and women who loved being outside and some made a living out of it guiding and trapping, fishing and hunting, exploring and teaching, or, often times, simply surviving the frontier. Names like Jim Bridger, Marie Dorian, Jedidiah Smith, Mary Fields, Kit Carson, and the Appalachian Trail’s very own, Grandma Gatewood spring to mind.

Our Why

American philosophers, environmentalists, and even Presidents have waxed long about the therapeutic benefits of wilderness. To reap these benefits, you need to have the knowledge and skills to stay in the backcountry long enough without getting hurt, lost, hungry, or fearful. That is why we provide this school for you. Pretty simple. For the wilderness is too beautiful a place to have a bad experience!

our mission

Is to empower aspiring day-hikers with the knowledge, tools, understandings, and skills needed to extend their wilderness wanderings from a day to continuous weeks and months, all in order to keep them vibrantly immersed long enough to hear and feel all it has to share!

our motto

“Why” and “How” Explained from our Experience unto your Experience = Wilderness W.H.E.E.E!

A life in the natural, accepting rhythms of nature is meant to be fun and relaxing, devoid of fear, doubt, concerns, schedules, and demands, a place where your savvy allows you to be so calm, free, and overjoyed that your spirit, suddenly, rejoices and exclaims, “Wheeeeeeeeee!”

This is what we want you to know, feel, and trust. It’s possible. It’s waiting for you to arrive!

Our Style

It has been said, “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” Our ultimate goal at MEI is to give you Freedom, of time, distance, direction, activity, purpose, and expression, all enabled because you, now, know and understand your identity and place in the natural ways of wilderness. You can be who you were originally made to be when you can be in an environment that loves and accepts you.

We teach because we want to enable and empower you with this Freedom to live safely and comfortably in an, otherwise, wild environment that, unbelievably, accepts and allows you to be you. We don’t do so to amplify, exalt, or divide, but to show you the door into a world that has always been there beyond the edge of civilization. You take it from there.

We teach from our Experience, the lessons we have learned over our years living in and with wilderness, giving it to you so that you may apply it for yourselves and see if it “works” for you to keep you safe, savvy, confident, comfortable, and happy in your Experience with the great outdoors.

We teach with passion, not script, trying to explain unto your individual and personal understanding of the “Whys” and “Hows” of wilderness living, till the “light goes on” in your head and you “get it.” Then, we expect you to test it on your own, apply it to your liking or reject it to do things your own way. This is the essence of the expression, “Hike Your Own Hike,” to freely create your own lifestyle in the wild, borrowing from everybody’s different ways of living out there.

Our style of teaching meets you where you are to take you where you want to go!

Our Vision

The more time spent in the arms of wilderness, the deeper it can reshape, re-prioritize, and redirect the purposes of a life.

Long-distance, “Thru-hikers” of our Nation’s National Scenic Trails, like the Pacific Crest, Continental Divide, and Appalachian Trails, come to realize, over the course of their multi-month adventures, that a life lived continuously within the walking embrace of wilderness changes their lives for the better. This doesn’t and can’t happen right away, for it takes time to shed the understandings, fears, and trappings of society to gain the natural rhythms of the wild.

This is our vision, that everyone come to realize deep within themselves, over the course of ever longer journeys and adventures into the wild, the love and acceptance of the spiritual, natural world gained while living at length away from society and in relationship with these rhythms. It is possible. It grows in hundreds of thru-hikers every year. And it never leaves!

In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, and reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.)

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.) should contact the responsible State or local Agency that administers the program or USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 877-8339. Additionally, program information is also available in languages other than English.

To file a complaint alleging discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, AD-3027, found online at http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, or at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by: (a) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20150-9410; (b) fax: (202) 690-7442; or (c) email: program.intake@usda.gov.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.