E-Net News

Elon students complete first part of their Gap Semester

Students complete a 25-day NOLS expedition in western Wyoming.

A group of Elon students hiking through western Wyoming

On Sunday, September 8, 15 Elon Gap Semester students completed the first part of their semester, a 25-day NOLS wilderness expedition focused on leadership, teamwork, environmental ethics, and outdoor skills.

In total, approximately 79 miles were hiked through scenic fields, over boulders, around lakes and to the tops of mountains. Students learned about their leadership styles, how to work with others, Leave No Trace principles, and how to live comfortably in the wilderness, among other life lessons. They also examined their environment as they hiked their course, learning about edible and medical plants, other plants native to the area and which ones to stay away from for various reasons.

 “I have had a great time with NOLS and I think every last one of us has grown from this experience," freshman Riley Aparicio writes. "NOLS has taught me that personal growth is a never-ending process.”

Freshman Muriel Zino adds that she has “a new found confidence in (her) own abilities and skills.”

Students reading a map

Students earned a total of four credits with NOLS and will earn nine for the semester.

Upon preparing to finish the expedition, Laura Brockington writes: “We had to wake up at 5 this morning so we could be at the trailhead in time for the bus.  It was an incredibly bittersweet hike because we all knew it was the end.  I’m so sad to be leaving the wilderness and our instructors but I can’t wait to continue on this journey, especially since I’ll still be with my Gap family.”

Students will be joined by faculty and staff over the next 5.5 weeks to travel across the country performing week long service projects while learning about the changing issues facing our country.

With stops planned in South Dakota, Missouri, Kentucky, and Washington, D.C.,

A student looking at from where he just hiked
students will pass through 10 states before fall break.

Follow our experience on facebook (Elon Gap Semester Program) and twitter (@ElonGapPrograms)

Steve Morrison,
9/14/2013 10:55 AM