There’s nothing quite like seeing the remote wilderness on your own two feet, carrying all your own gear on your back while gaining the tools necessary to become a great leader in the backcountry and at home.
Backpacking courses often hike three out of every four days. You’ll travel in small hiking groups so you have more opportunities to lead, make decisions, and map read as you move through beautiful wilderness. Hiking days begin early when you light your stove, cook and enjoy breakfast, and then organize and pack your pack.
You’re usually hiking by mid-morning. Lunch on the trail might be bread you baked the day before, or a trail mix of nuts and dried fruits. You may stop for a short class on natural history, or to learn how to cross a river, travel through boulders or snow, or move over a high pass. When you arrive at your new camp location, you'll first spend time choosing a Leave No Trace site and organizing camp, then you’ll prepare a well-deserved dinner. If the day was long, a short evening meeting may wrap up the day. If the hike was short, there may be a class or discussion.
Dev Bhoomi, called "The Abode of the Gods," is a land steeped in culture, history, and mythology. It is the setting for some of NOLS’ most advanced cultural adventures. You will explore the Kumaon and Garhwal regions of India–places of staggering beauty, high ranges, and ancient civilizations as you walk some of the oldest trade routes between India and Tibet alongside the birthplace of the sacred Ganga River.
Our base in the mountain town of Ranikhet in the state of Uttarakhand, a peaceful rural haven with spectacular views of the Himalayas is where you will acclimatize before heading for the high country.
All our courses have at least one Indian NOLS field instructor, who's extensive knowledge of the region and its human and natural history will be a highlight of your experience. Your introduction to the languages, myths, cultures, and wild beauty of this country will be complete.
You’ll hike through subtropical forests and high alpine meadows, attaining heights you never thought possible—both in elevation and in what you are able to achieve as a NOLS student.