Storms are bashing the western United States with tons of rain and snow, then coating the rest of the country with blizzards and sheets of ice. Long-distance “thru-hikers” have finally received the “green light” of their epic start dates and are feverishly preparing for their life-changing, 5-month journeys along the nation’s mountainous backbones. Aspiring summer backpackers, who enjoyed their first day-hikes last season, want to know more about how to safely and comfortably do longer trips this summer. People across the country, who have been pent up by pandemic confinement or, simply, working too much, want to get outside, stretch their legs, breathe deep of fresh, mountain air, and relax beside a river beneath aromatic pines!
All want to know where they can find an easily available online source that will teach them how to do this and why, so they can make up their own minds about the wilderness experience they want to have, someday. They don’t want to be propagandized by some bright and cheery, self-promoting, mountain genius in a buffalo-check shirt in a YouTube video to go buy the newest “best thing” because it’s the only way to go. Most people want to explore an outdoor topic at their own pace, do a little reading, watch an informative video without a glitzy sales pitch, mull it over in their heads for a while, then, when they’re ready, to test its main premises out in their own way, in their own house, out in their own, familiar backyard, or in their local State Park – just to see if they like the idea and find out whether it “works” for their way of enjoying life.
That’s exactly what we want to provide, a place to go where you can research your wilderness questions and find Experience-based answers via 1) text, 2) online classes, 3) teaching videos, 4) live, online meetups with other like-wondering individuals, and 5) in-person clinics taught right out on the trail that will show you what to do and Explain “Why,” then demonstrate it and help you do it, too.
After 50 years of life in wilderness and 40 years teaching wilderness knowledge and skills, our Founder and Educator, Ned Tibbits, is here to share and teach his knowledge and wisdom with anyone who asks, but doesn’t require you to, ultimately, do everything his way. What he does is “Teach & Show, then let you Go!” He just wants you to have the tools of knowledge, skills, and wisdom to use when and how you like (if you like), so that you have good, safe, fun outdoors.
So, the doors to this Wilderness School have, officially, reopened (after a few years of remodeling), but you won’t be able, at first, to wander down every hallway and poke into all the various classrooms to see the details of what we plan to offer in each. Most of the doors will still be locked as our finish-crews continue to display curriculum inside.
Nevertheless, step in, wander around, and try the doors from time to time to see if they’re open, yet, but make sure you visit one place, the school’s Schedule of Events to see what will be happening, next! The online stuff will “pop” first, like the live meetups on Saturday mornings, where Ned will be teaching on various topics from gear to skills to why things happen the way they do in the backcountry (with lots of Q&A, included!) and the Digital Classes, where you can read-up on a subject, just like in a good book, then take a quiz to see if you understand it. The In-Person Classes may roll-out on the Schedule, next, offering all-day, Saturday skills clinics for the adventurous (think snowshoeing with presentations on avalanche awareness and avoidance), followed by the Video Learning, where Ned hauls the camera out on the trail and teaches from there (so you can watch and see how things really “work” in the backcountry as you settle down in your comfy bed for the night!).
Above all, thank you for wanting to be savvy and safe in a wild environment before you get too far from the trailhead! A lot of people are under a lot of pressure these days and they just want to, impulsively, “get away for the weekend” without doing their due preparations, then get in trouble. We are here to help get you ready so you feel confident, secure, safe, and happy out on the trail, whether that be on the snow, rocks, dirt, or sand!