Start and End at Home!

A comprehensive course about trip planning, navigation, safety, and low-impact travel.

Whether you are looking to get deeper into the woods—or to help someone return home—these resources can help.

Start and End at Home!

Whether you are looking to get deeper into the woods—or to help someone return home—these resources can help.

Informed, not lucky 

Preparing for your outdoor time puts you in a better position to respond to surprises.

Designed for:


Rescue professionals


Backcountry skiing

Hunting & Fishing

Multisport adventures

Nordic skating



Module 1: Route planning. Plan ahead and prepare by drafting an intended route—replete with points of interest and bail-out options. This is the longest module in the course.

  • Google Earth
  • CalTopo
  • Documenting the trip plan


Module 2: Near-real-time satellite imagery. Use day- or week-old imagery to make the best guess at current conditions. Is there still snow? Are the lakes frozen? Has the vegetation leafed out?

  • NASA Worldview
  • Sentinel Hub Playground
  • Sentinel Hub EO Browser
  • EOS Landviewer


Module 3: Weather. Weather forecasts and history help you determine what to expect and when to visit.

  • Meteogram forecasts
  • Choosing a departure date and direction based on seasonal trends
  • Getting weather updates during the trip


Module 4: Modern navigation. Your smartphone serves as a powerful GPS unit that can show your location on a topographic or satellite basemap. 

  • Gaia GPS
  • Avenza Maps
  • Importing a route to a GPS unit
  • Printing maps
  • Map and compass essentials


Module 5: Risk and the emergency plan. An SOS button is not an emergency plan. Take the time to evaluate what could go wrong and how you will respond. 

  • A risk assessment framework
  • Documenting an emergency plan
  • Satellite communication
  • Evacuation insurance


Module 6: Stewardship. Let your love for wild places inspire you to reduce your impact. Impact is easy, recovery is hard. 

  • Leave No Trace ethics
  • Sharing routes and geotagged locations
  • Visiting Native lands

Meet the instructor, Luc Mehl

Hard-earned experience and skilled instruction

Luc Mehl is an award-winning outdoor educator based in Anchorage, Alaska.

Luc's unique trip-planning process was developed during geology programs at UCSB and MIT, followed by a decade of work in the GIS sector.

Incorporating modern GIS resources to his personal trips has enabled Luc to travel over 10,000 miles of remote Alaska by foot, packraft, ski, bike, and ice skate. These resources will revolutionize what you think is possible in the outdoors.

Sam Alexander

Mountain Guide and Former US Special Forces Detachment Commander

I have planned and executed high-level Special Operations combat missions as well as complex backcountry guided tours and I will outright say that taking a course from Luc has made me a better operational planner. And as an Alaskan Native, I appreciate the thought and care he puts in his approach to stewardship of the land and his sincere desire to be a good neighbor.

If you want to take your backcountry planning to the next level, spend some time with Luc.

Online course: Start and End at Home

$̷4̷9̷5̷ ̷U̷S̷D̷ $395 USD

Trip planning, safety, and low-impact backcountry travel. Everything you need to create your dream trip.

  • Unlimited access to over 60 instructional videos
  • Complete at your own pace/schedule, but intended to take 6-8 weeks to complete
  • Office hours for troubleshooting and consultation from January through March
  • Course opens January 1st, 2022

Starts January 2022

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