The beginning of my new adventure led me to my first time in the USA, the Rocky Mountains to be more specific. I arrived in Denver a day early and was lucky to crash at a super awesome UWC USA alumn's place. Shout-out to Janica, it was very energizing to spend an evening at your place and talk about everything and nothing.
The moment I arrived at the airport the next day and met the rest of the Blue Cohort was the moment Winterline officially started. We hopped onto a van to Estes Park where we had our intro week. First highlight: meeting Susie in real life. Susie is director of students and my very enthusiastic contact person and interviewer for the program. Second highlight: staying at the YMCA of Estes Park. Not only are there endless things to do, the views and wildlife are incredible. As a Dutch girl from below sea level, a week of altitude sickness hit pretty hard. Throughout the week we went over rules expectation and the awkward realms of small talk and getting to know each other. After a week of American cafeteria food, we were ready quite ready to head to Lander, Wyoming for our NOLS course. We were welcomed by the best vegetarian meals served at the Noble Hostel in Lander. This was the beginning of a great experience in Wyoming.
Lander is a small town that is pretty much NOLS branded. NOLS has been around since 1965 and has really become a mark of Lander. Everyone around, in the forest or in cafes, knows NOLS and tends to recognize the type of people participating in their courses. I really liked the cozy feel at our hostel and the cute cafes around. I just couldnt get over how large the streets and sidewalks were. I mean, I knew the Netherlands is densely populated and everything as going to be more spacious, but wow. The feel for distance and walking time I developed on google maps in the Netherlands proved to be absolutely useless in the US.
Lander is cute...for a few days. Let's just say, I was ready to dive into the bushes quite literally. There was much more than just bushes waiting for us out there though...