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Leadership Position: First woman to row solo across the
Atlantic Ocean; first woman to ski to the South Pole
NOLS Graduates: 1985 Semester
in Alaska; 1986 Semester
Tori McClure quotes William Blake, Charles Lindbergh, Lao-Tzu
and Homer. She pens a solution to the world's fossil fuel
wars and takes time for inward reflection, so it is really
no surprise that she is well-educated and well read. She
obtained a masters of divinity from Harvard and a law degree
from the University of Louisville. When it came to outdoor
schooling, she chose NOLS.
In 1985, Tori took a semester in Alaska with NOLS and then
followed that experience up with a semester in Kenya. "There's
absolutely no question in my mind that NOLS is the finest
outdoor school in the world," she says. "I had
been overseas before, but I didn't experience the immersion
that I had with NOLS."
The two semesters offered very different experiences. NOLS
Alaska taught the nuts and bolts outdoor skills an individual
needs to feel comfortable in a cold harsh environment.
NOLS Kenya [now NOLS East Africa] did some of this but
more of a cultural exchange. Both were very valuable.
"NOLS made me comfortable in the outdoors," recalls
my first NOLS course I realized that I could go anywhere
in the world and be comfortable. NOLS is really the foundation
for everything I do in the outdoors and it's not an exaggeration
to say that a week doesn't go by when I use something
that I learned at NOLS."
Indeed, to plan and pull off her now-famous solo trip
rowing across the Atlantic, she used tried and true NOLS
for fuel and food consumption.
Sometimes the things Tori uses that come from NOLS are "as
simple as rowing in the winter with polypro or Capilene.
"In the backcountry overlooking the simple stuff
can get a person killed. All of the comfort, efficiency,
I feel in the backcountry began with NOLS. The respect
that I have for the wilderness and my desire to preserve it also
come from NOLS."
And much of her mental stamina, the same endurance
that allowed her to become the first woman to ski to
distance of 750 miles in 1989) and the first American
and first woman to row across the Atlantic came from
the school. "It's
a lot about patience. Patience and meticulous planning.
That comes from NOLS. I often think back on my NOLS experiences
and view them fondly."
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