Heather Hamilton - NOLS: Earthquakes and a Flood


Manage episode 286559694 series 2882936
By Shawn Stratton. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Like many outdoor educators’ travel has been a constant theme in the life of our guests today. I'm thrilled to have Heather Hamilton join us on the show. Heather has always had a hard time answering, “where are you from?” – as she has lots of places that feel like home but was born in Wichita, Kansas, and has traveled a fair amount for a Kansas kid. But after finishing University at CU-Boulder, she bounced around the west a fair bit, did some international travels to Costa Rica, Italy, Greece, Sweden, Mexico, etc., and eventually ended up living in New Zealand for a bunch of years. While living in New Zealand, she traveled extensively throughout Australia and Indonesia, as well. And now her base is in Hawaii. She worked in outdoor education roughly 2000-2013. After her time as the Operations Manager for the NOLS NZ Branch, she shifted to Hawaii and chased after more judging work with professional surfing events. Heather was doing that as well in NZ while still working for NOLS but decided to mix things up a bit and go after some surfing dreams. When she first started with NOLS, she was a river instructor - primarily white water kayaking and then migrated into canoeing, hiking, sea-kayaking, etc as most of us do.

In this episode:

  • Heather shares her experience following the devastating earthquake in New Zealand in 2011, while she was an Operation Manager of the NOLS branch outside of Christchurch. and had been residing near a 30-minute drive through town to Sumner Beach. She explains how shaking turned water-saturated layers of sand and silt beneath the surface into sludge that squirted upwards through cracks. Thick layers of silt covered properties and streets and water and sewage from broken pipes flooded streets. House foundations cracked and buckled, wrecking many homes.
  • She tells us how once the mobile coverage was back on; students and instructors were bombarded with calls from parents and loved ones all around the world. She further states the tragic aftershocks that lasted for months playing a game of catch it before it hits the floor, as she assisted the neighborhood with laundry and filling water jugs, which resulted in taking an emotional toll on her health and pushed her to the breaking point.
  • Hamilton talks about another dreadful incident in Mexico City, and how she was hot to trot beforehand knowing all the ins and outs – that surfaced all the memories and struggled of the past.
  • Moving forward, Heather shares some memorable trips on the Drysdale River in Northwest Australia, and how it still is the most special place to her. She gave us a deeper insight into how they went to the Malcolm Douglas crocodile farm and learn about saltwater crocodile country, and get educated on 10 different snakes.
  • She entertains us more with hilarious funny stories with her pals, Warren, Travis, and Lelia, and shares some great tips to stay dry in Mozzie domes.
  • We throw a quick intriguing rapid-fire questions at her, which she answers as gracefully as only she can.
  • Lastly, she tells us her favorite hot drink after a long hard day at camps, and one particular place she wishes to share this drink in the field with - after all, what's more, soothing than wrapping your frozen fingers around a piping hot mug of something refreshing.

25 episodes