Team Captain Justin Smart Shares His Mountain Climbing Experience

Hi, justin Smart here. Let me tell you about my time at nolS pacific northwest.

So when I arrived off my flight I went down to baggage claim 1 and was found. I was found by Mr. Tim Shartel, he was one of my instructors. He then introduced me to the group and soon after we hit the road. We loaded our luggage and set off for the branch, which was a 3 hour drive. When we arrived all the NOLS staff warmly greeted us. It was immediately just about time for dinner so we ate and chatted about the course with Tim and the other guys.

Our group consisted of ten boys including myself. The other guys were Ben, Max, Alex, Zach, Danny, Brandon, Josh, Will, and Nick. After dinner I met my second instructor Kathryn Sall. She was like an open book I felt like I could talk to her about anything. So the instructors went off and all the kids just hung around. The next morning we woke up kind of early and my group had to prepare breakfast. Everyone was assigned a job and I got to clean the tables. Then we ate, I chose to eat cereal for breakfast. Afterwards there was clean up, fortunately my group wasn’t on clean up since we did set up.

Then it was time to get gear and I was over prepared I didn’t really need to get much, except for a sleeping bag and a new pack. Other than that I was set. After we weighed our packs. Mine weighed 50 lbs. then we loaded our packs into the truck and we rode out to the wilderness in a separate van.

We arrived in another three hours and set up camp. I set up a tent for the first time ever and kind of got it right on the first try. Afterwards we ate our last tastes of real food then set up a campfire. We sat around it and ate then it was off to bed. The next day it was ”packs on” and time to head out for our hike. It was kind of hard the first day, my pack was heavy and the straps weren’t adjusted right. Throughout the first day I had to play around with the pack to get it to fit right. The first day we hiked 7 miles and I was super sore when we came into our first camp, which was Porcupine Camp. That was the first day of hiking.

On the fifth day we saw our first deer in plain sight. We actually saw lots of deer and they were very social. Their names were Bambi, Thug, Hopper, Spigot, King Purp, and Padme. Whenever we saw them they were like really close up. I remember this one night when the foxes were barking off in the distance and it made the deer really skittish.

The day after that we had our first day hike, which was when we basically hiked with nothing but food and water. So we hiked to the top of a mountain called Nanny Goat Mountain. It was incredibly hard going uphill because we didn’t want to cause any rockslides. So eventually we came to this flattened part on the mountain where we could see the top. Then we decided from there to go up the back side of the mountain because the face of the mountain was really steep. Then we hiked on and we could see everything for miles around. It felt like being a cloud. So anyway I took it all in and took a nap as well. I mean who can say they’ve slept on top a mountain.


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