NOLS Alaska Backpacking and Sea Kayaking

    NOLS Alaska Backpacking and Sea Kayaking


    • Listing Type: Summer Programs
    • Destination: United States
    • Program Delivery: Residential
    • Session Start: May, June, July
    • Session Length: Four Weeks
    • Entering Grade: 10th, 11th, 12th, PG, College
    • Gender: Coed
    • Category: Outdoor Adventure
    • Sub-Categories: Kayaking, Hiking
    • Selective: No
    • Ages: 16, 17, 18, 19+, 19
    • Accreditation: Gap Year Association - Program
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    Alaska is a land of incredible fjords, forested ocean coasts, and high alpine meadows. Your month-long adventure will give you a chance to learn two wilderness travel skills: backpacking and sea kayaking.

    Climb mountains & paddle coastal fjords in the Land of the Midnight Sun

    This summer, set off on an unforgettable adventure in the rugged northern backcountry. Paddle alongside tidewater glaciers in Alaska’s famed coastal fjords, keeping your eye out for whales, porpoises, sea otters, seals, and sea lions. Backpack across the tundra and over high mountain passes. Enjoy the long daylight hours of a northern summer as you hike through lush green valleys and cross braided streams.

    This expedition is an opportunity to expand your wilderness travel skills—in the mountains and on the water. Starting with the basics of outdoor living, like reading maps and cooking on a camp stove, you’ll work your way up to navigating off trail and leading river crossings. While sea kayaking, you’ll build your paddling skills in a protected ocean environment, beginning with paddle strokes, chart reading, and wet exits. Later, move on to more advanced topics, like assessing marine hazards and ocean currents.

    Along the way, build your leadership skills. Practice effective communication while navigating up steep slopes off trail. Develop your problem-solving and decision-making skills while planning a hiking or paddling route. Learn conflict resolution techniques and get comfortable taking on different roles to support your group. Gain the experience and confidence to lead in the outdoors and beyond.

    *Duration: 30 days (approx. 14 days backpacking, approx. 14 days sea kayaking)
    *Route length: up to 150 miles
    *Average group size: 12 students / 3 instructors
    *Average age: 19 (except for 16 and 17 only courses)
    *Sea kayaking in Prince William Sound 
    *Backpacking through tundra, shrub thickets and gravel river bottoms
    *Wildlife seen may include caribou, moose, dall sheep, grizzly bears, wolves, whales, porpoises, and sea lions
    *Fishing: season and route dependent
    *275-pound participant weight limit (this is a function of the kayak’s weight carrying capacity)

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