A Silver Screen Among the Trails & Trees

By: Noah Zaiser

The Elon GAP Semester is, without a doubt, people centered. While we’ve all grown individually and learned new things about ourselves, there’s no denying that we’ve learned everything together. So how do we keep ourselves sane throughout the process of intense group- togetherness? The deep/ in depth answer would be that we “overcame group adversity through the skills we learned” or “a group like this utilized every aspect of ourselves to come together as a whole”. Not especially. The real common thread between us came in the form of movies. Think about it. Such a simple concept- the idea of a story being depicted through audible pictures dancing upon a screen. The funny thing is, movies are for everyone, but they belong to certain people. Everyone has a favorite, or one that becomes meaningful to them, and whether they know it or not, the reason behind their love of a particular movie stems from the person themselves. So here, I’ve compiled a detailed list of favorite movies and quotes from said movies from every GAP member and intend to use it to link everything I’ve observed about each Gapper with their best-loved flicks.

Alexa Baer

Favorite Movie: Bring It On (2000)

Favorite Quote: “Why do people always say ‘No offense’ right before they offend you?”

Oh Alexa. If there’s anything I’ve learned about this particular person is that she loves to talk. And you know what? It may be her greatest strength. Out in the NOLS course, Alexa kept everyone entertained (or on edge) with her multiple stories, complaints, and engaging attitude. “Bring It On” is very much a movie about competition and the will to come out on the other side with a greater sense of recognition and purpose, which almost perfectly describes Alexa as an individual. She may not always want to work for her goals, but by god she’ll make everyone know she’s there before she quits, even if it means talking to herself in a GAP group message. So yes, Alexa speaks more languages than just one, and that’s a language that everyone can hear. Others may say it’s time to throw in the towel, but Alexa says “No, Bring it on.”

Angelo Boone

Favorite Movie: The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

Favorite Quote: “Get busy Living or get busy dying”.

Angelo is an interesting guy to say the least. As someone who didn’t even come to the GAP orientation weekend back in April, he’s done a remarkably good job of making himself known, despite the fact that he keeps to himself at times. It’s the perfect synopsis of the Tennessee native: In everyone else’s world, but very much his own. Much like Tim Robbins did in “Shawshank”, Angelo Boone has made the most of his time in the isolated places he has found himself in. During NOLS, I noticed that he was rather comfortable and very busy in all aspects of his surroundings, even when the wilderness was more of a prison than a place to live. You never knew where this kid was, but you always knew he was doing well, and in the end, he came out victorious and continues to do so because of his meticulous nature. It’s safe to say that Angelo wastes no time, and he’s always busy living, that’s a fact.

Mary DiMartino

Favorite Movie: “A League of Their Own” (1992)

Favorite Quote: “There’s no crying in baseball”!

Who is Mary? Is she the chillest girl on GAP? Is she the most down to earth person I’ve met in a while? Who knows. But one thing I absolutely do know is that Mary is unique, and in an important way. Much like the women in “A League of Their Own”, Mary has shown confidence in the fact that she has broken the mold. Also like these women, she has proven herself to be a team player who is always ready to support others on her team. (Us Gappers). While she’s kind to all, she does have an appropriate edge that would suggest a no-nonsense mentality, which fits her favorite quote well. So yes, I truly believe it’s safe to say that she’s in a league of her own.

Emma Gummerson

Favorite Movie: “Fried Green Tomatoes”

Favorite Quote: “Undecided”

As someone who has not seen “Fried Green Tomatoes”, the fact that Emma has chosen such a unique movie does not surprise me, because Emma herself is a unique individual. As someone who has experienced challenges, she has found friendship within the group, and has also found her strength. Perhaps her “undecided” will become a full on quote throughout the course.

Brendan Gallagher

Favorite Movie: “The Usual Suspects” (1995)

Favorite Quote: “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist”

Brendan. B. Close Enough. Seth. These are all many names Brendan has been unceremoniously given throughout our time here on the GAP Semester, and he’s taken every one like a champ. Unlike some others, Brendan is not at the top of his game. But this is the absolute greatest part of this kid. He’s always almost competent- 26 days and he still doesn’t know a Trucker’s Hitch. 26 days and he still throws together the ugliest yet great tasting meals. He can’t use a Macbook to save his life and he spends more time Facetiming the “homies” or the “squaha-ha-had” than he does anything else, but it doesn’t matter, we love him for it. He’s literally the most likeable person you could ask for. He may seem like a “Usual Suspect”, the tall and athletic stereotype (who just so happens to be one of three people to ever beat me in ping-pong), from an outside glance, but under the surface Brendan is so much more. Or maybe he’s not, he’s B, and we wouldn’t have him any other way. In typical Brendan fashion, his movie choice doesn’t particularly line up with his personality at all, but hey, close enough right?

Neil Howland

Favorite Movie: “Miracle” (2004)

Favorite Quote: “A bruise on the leg is a hell of a long way from the heart, Candy Ass.”

Cornelius Howland is the definition of a miracle. The fact that he’s a part of the Semester is one in itself (a story for another time), the fact that he’s actually smiling in this picture is a miracle, and the idea that he’s going to be with us through December is a miracle as well, and we’re all thankful for it. In truth, there’s not much to Neil. He’s soft spoken with just enough to say, effortlessly funny, and proficient with everything he does. On more than one occasion, I’ve enjoyed the caustic sarcasm he brings to most situations, and the simplistic sense of fun that he adds to it all. Always the one to be straight-edged, he’ll call you out if you’re doing something stupid, or if you’re doing anything at all. Everyone in the group has been on the receiving end of his “Candy Ass” quote, and there’s no better person to deliver it than Neil, the surprise hit of the group. So here’s to the kid who chose to be silent up to the day we left for NOLS, it’s nothing short of a miracle you turned out the way you did.

Samantha (Sammy) Johnson

Favorite Movie: “Step Brothers” (2008)

Favorite Quote: “You have to refer to me as Nighthawk”

Will Ferrell and Sammy are actually pretty similar. Not in the sense that they have the same personality, but that they play a variety of roles. To name a few, she’s the small, quiet girl who got re-vac’d after a stomach bug, the girl who scared Neil and Nate, and the funny, even crass at times person who managed to defy our expectations. In typical comedy fashion, Sammy is often put in situations that invoke unexpected yet hilarious outcomes. This would include the fact that people are just as interested in Gabby (Sammy’s sister) as herself. Also in great comedy style is the way that the genre plays with one’s expectations. Sammy has proven this time and time again by carrying a pack at least 60% of her weight, climbing mountains with wind gusts that could knock her over, and bush-wacking through sticks and leaves that were bigger than her arms. It’s true, you don’t get to make a name for Sammy, she’ll tell you how to refer to herself.

Nate Jones

Favorite Movie: “Good Will Hunting” (1997)

Favorite Quote: “My father used to put on a stick, a wrench, or a belt, and say, “You choose.”.”

Nate “Bones” Jones is the very definition of good will. There’s never been a more optimistic or deeply introspective person I’ve met, and it always seems like the guy is searching for answers. Not the world’s answers, but his own, and it’s unbelievably admirable. In the Wilderness, Nate’s positivity spread faster than the Wildfire we saw on night 5. Always one of the first to wake up, he would shout “Finding Nemo” quotes and make everyone’s morning. He embodies Will Hunting’s character- he is a genius (with words), but he won’t admit it yet. The skill is there, but whether he knows it or not, there will be an important story to tell of Nate one day. Seeing as the film has a current standing of overwhelming critical acclaim on Totten Tomatoes at 97%, I’d imagine the same applies to his life, as his likeability soars above the rest of the crowd. (The 3% minority are sorely misguided). Nate will never shy away from his personal goals, even if life gives him lemons. He’ll choose the toughest way simply because he can, and that he’ll come out stronger than the person he was. Truly one of a kind.

Emerson Loria

Favorite Movie: “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” (1986)

Favorite Quote: “Life moves pretty fast if you don’t stop and look around every once in a while, you might miss it”

We should probably make a movie called “Emerson Loria’s Day Off” because every single day of his life seems like a day off. This is a compliment by the way. With any day off, you’re tasked with making the most of it, or completely wasting it, and Emerson certainly takes his days by doing what he enjoys. One thing I observed from the guy is that he’s his own person. People may say things jokingly towards him, but he’ll fire back in response with good-natured humor and continue to do the exact same thing he did before. An avid lover of media such as movies, music, and video games like myself, Emerson doesn’t try to hide his interests, he only embraces them, and lets them become known among the group. He’s a good guy, and if he and Ferris ever met, I’m more than positive that they’d take a few moments to look at their lives, not missing a single beat.

Tommy Nelson

Favorite Movie: “The Longest Yard” (2005)

Favorite Quote: “Cheeseburger Eddy, you gotta always protect the nuggets, it ain’t easy bein’ cheesy”

This one is too easy. Of course Tommy’s favorite movie is The Longest Yard. One look at him and you’ll be able to see athleticism and a love for sports in an instant. But beyond his “svelte” exterior, there’s more to see, and truly, it’s a great thing. Tommy’s greatest strength was and is the fact that he brings a certain lively and inappropriate energy to almost every situation, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. He’s always looking for a good time, and unless Dave Durant, one of our NOLS instructors, attempts to shut him down during First-Aid, he finds it every time. An avid movie fan himself, I appreciate the fact that he’ll watch and continues watching a multitude of movies, both in and outside of the sports genre. But that makes sense, just like his movie taste, he’s extremely well rounded. If you know Tommy at all, you’ll know “It ain’t easy bein’ cheesy”.

Laura Pacheco

Favorite Movie: “Almost Famous” (2000)

Favorite Quote: “Anyone wanna see me jump off this roof”?

Laura is a really good cook. Does that have anything to do with her movie? Probably not, I just kind of wanted to say it, because that’s what saved me for the last week in the Wyoming Wilderness. Now that we’ve established this, let’s get to what her movie says about her. Almost Famous deals with a guy who just really loves music and gets the chance of a lifetime based upon hard work and expression of the love he has for it. On the trail, Nate and I learned that Laura had recently decided to go into theater, something that she recently decided upon, but has a huge passion for, something that will likely translate into her Elon career. And when you hear about Laura’s drive and ambition for it all, you know she’ll be successful, and much like the breakout success of former Elon student Grant Gustin, there’s almost guaranteed success. The next four years we’re all about to experience are the chance of a lifetime, and Laura is more than ready to take center stage and invite all to watch her take the jump.

Juliana Siler

Favorite Movie: “Now You See Me” (2013)

Favorite Quote: “If by “has been” you’ve been referring to me, I just want to say I’m flattered, because I always considered myself a never-was”.

Juliana certainly picked an interesting movie for her favorite. A rather recent release in itself, “Now You See Me” was, in my opinion, a good movie, but ultimately forgettable, and most critics swept it under the rug before really giving it a chance. As a person, Juliana is about as approachable as they come, but only when you give her the chance, such is the case of her best-loved movie. “Now You See Me” had a wildly original concept for such an sleeper hit, and I think that Juliana Siler is exactly this: much more than what meets the eye. I personally enjoy her quote chosen from the movie, because it only reinforces who she is: someone who considers herself to be less than she really is. Sarcasm abounds from a person like this, and behind it all, we enjoy it, there’s a sense of something truly enjoyable here, and if there ever was a pragmatic person in this group, the award would go to that of Juliana Siler. Consider her to be a “Never has-been”

Cheyenne Wilson

Favorite Movie: “Dirty Dancing” (1987)

Favorite Quote: “Nobody puts Baby in the corner”

In a word, Cheyenne could be described as exceptional. Much like Patrick Swayze in the classic “Dirty Dancing”, she exudes a particular charm and unmatched proficiency that isn’t seen in many people these days, which in turn puts her at the top of her game. Throughout the semester, I’ve personally enjoyed getting a good sense of her growth and ambition to do more, be better, to adapt to the unusual and often foreign surroundings put in front of us. But it’s so much more than this. “Dirty Dancing” was created on a shoestring budget of six million, and went on to gross over one hundred seventy million over the course of its theatrical run, safely considering it a monumental hit. Interestingly enough, Cheyenne stands at a fairly small height of 5’2, but offers a thousand times the results that her size may initially suggest. Both were created small, but both find success through their own individual parts. This is what impresses me most, the quintessential connection to a favorite movie, the perfect match. You may think you know Cheyenne and place her however you will, but know this: you’d be hard-pressed to find a better, more independent person, and don’t you think that one can EVER put Cheyenne in the corner.

So there you have it. As such a diverse group, we’re way different, but we can at least come together through a common bond of the things that inspire us through cinema. As tacky as that statement sounds, it’s kind of nice to escape to something that we’ll remember for the rest of our lives. Hopefully this experience continues throughout the semester and maybe even beyond. Here’s to hoping; maybe we’ll create our own stories for the screen one day.

Tips on Returning to the Front Country

By: Mary DiMartino

  1. You don’t have to use your phone right away

I honestly wouldn’t recommend using it at all. I can’t put into words how stressed out I was the first night back, solely from feeling the need to contact everyone from back home. I was completely overwhelmed and all of the peace the wilderness had offered me for 24 days flew out the window. Take your time adjusting the transition from having absolutely no technology to having it at your fingertips. I took the disconnect from technology for granted while I was out in the Wind River mountains.

  1. Your eyes are most definitely bigger than your stomach

After being back in the front country for a week, I still manage to get a full stomach from each meal to the point where I’m in pain. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner all come with an aching tummy and the regret of over-eating. Missing real food is understandable after living off of dehydrated fruit and cheesy pasta for three and a half weeks. However, know that whatever food that you’re desperately wanting will be there forever and you do not need to shove all of it down your throat the moment you get back. ALSO, don’t go on grocery store runs every day once you return, and if you do, keep telling yourself that buying 5 different snack foods is not acceptable, and you are going to regret spending all of your money on food that you end up giving away because you overestimated your hunger. Put that package of Oreos back on the shelf – it’s not worth it!!!

  1. People aren’t going to appreciate your experience as much as you, but that’s okay

This was probably the hardest thing for me coming back. As I was counting down the days until we returned to the front country, I couldn’t help but feel excited to share all of my adventures and stories from my time in the wilderness. Those 24 days and nights were probably the most difficult times of my life, but also the greatest. I wanted to be able to share that feeling with everyone from back home. And while everyone thought it was cool I climbed mountains and saw a bear and did a solo, it didn’t mean nearly as much to them as it did to me. The lack of excitement and interest in their voices discouraged me and made me feel as if my experience wasn’t as great as I thought it was. But I’ve realized that it doesn’t matter what others feel or think about my journey through the Wind River Mountains. Because they didn’t climb Goat Flat or sleep out in the pouring rain or trek through the wilderness for 4 days without the help of instructors. I did. And my take away from that experience is all that matters.

  1. Focus on yourself

When I returned from the wilderness I tended to focus on others and how they were doing, opposed to putting myself and the rest of my experience first. I found myself investing my time and energy into other peoples’ lives. This drew me away from my own experience. I somewhat forgot that after NOLS my journey wasn’t over. This past week I can honestly say I haven’t fully taken in or appreciated the things I’ve been doing because I’ve been too caught up with what people from back home have been doing. Make sure you put yourself before anyone else and don’t let your curiosity of others override your own life and experiences.

  1. Continue to live in the moment

A big thing for us as a group out in the wilderness was to live in the moment – to be present. We focused on “the now” and tried to appreciate what the wilderness had to offer: beauty and peace. Being back in the front country I’ve been faced with many problems, most focusing on the past or future. But what I’ve learned from being in the wilderness is that you can’t change the past or control the future, so just focus on what you can do in the moment. Be grateful for everything in your presence and don’t take anything for granted. Don’t fret over the little things; look at the big picture and and focus on what’s truly important.

A Day in the Life of a Gap Student

By: Sammy Johnson

Being an Elon gap student requires two skills, patience and the ability to fall asleep in any situation. To be able to fall asleep in a church common room while everyone is free-versing songs on a piano has proven to be very easy, then to wake up at 6:17am before your entire group and roll up an inflatable sleeping pad in the complete dark making no noise is now a mastered skill for me. Now, gathering everyone together to leave in the vans in an hour challenges your level of patience. You have to clean the bathrooms, wash the dirty dishes, pack the food and luggage, then finally make a last-call bathroom break without screaming at each other to either hurry up or simply wake up. By that point you better be ready to sit in a crowded van for hours with no service on your cell phone. Four hours in to the drive you begin to hope for a bathroom and snack stop. The minutes tick by until you finally reach your destination for the night, most likely a local church. If you can survive an entire day of tests to your patience and sleep schedule, you might be able to survive a gap semester.

Ten Things I Learned (So Far)

By: Alexa Baer

It’s currently 1:48 AM the Sunday morning that this blog post is due and I still have very little idea of what I want to write about. This week we just traveled and went sight-seeing, nothing monumental (it’s a pun cause we saw national monuments today) happened. So here is a short list of things I’ve learned so far.


Thing #1

You aren’t the only one.

I am a horrible sleeper and that’s something I’ve been self-conscious about since I learned that I talk, moan and snore. Sleeping in a room with 14 other people helped me realize that I’m not the only bad sleeper and other people do weird stuff too.


Thing #2

Long van rides equal weird sleeping positions.

There are always ideal seats for sleeping in a van (the window seat where you can lean on the window) however I was not always fortunate to sit in one of those seats. One time I fell asleep with my legs in the air and my upper body laying across two seats. When E. Coder went to open the door she got an interesting view of my butt and my legs.


Thing #3

Just because you can stay up until 4 AM does not mean you should.

There were many times this week when I have stayed up well past 2 AM. I still got to catch up on sleep in the van but going to sleep before midnight really helps the mornings go smoother.


Thing #4

We are children when it comes to food choices.

The amount of sugar and junk food we consume is unreal. We went through a family size box of frosted flakes and cinnamon toast crunch in one day and an entire pack of Oreos and a box of Scooby snacks in 30 minutes and everyone is always eating pop tarts. (Don’t worry Mom we’re still eating fruits and veggies!)


Thing #5

Sometimes all the boys need is a football.

Neil bought a football and it was literally the best purchase of this entire semester. This one thing keeps all the boys constantly entertained and at almost every stop on the road or after dinner they’ll throw the ball around.


Thing #6

Music is very important.

Music can make or break a car ride and so can music tastes. Some people don’t like Taylor Swift which is understandable but there are others that don’t like Piano Man which is not understandable. Also there are some people in the group that don’t believe in letting songs finish.


Thing #7

Odds is very important.

The amount of times odds is mentioned in an hour is unnatural but it’s such a fun game. The thrill of not having to do something you didn’t wanna do because someone said odds is so amazing. And the amount of crazy things people have had to do because of odds is hysterical. I can’t even remember all of them but a few involve getting tattoos and recent one involved 15 clothespins on someone’s face.


Thing #8

People will judge you for dipping things in icing.

So in my world there’s this great snack that I enjoy pretty often. Some people call it spooey and others call it pretzels dipped in icing. Anyways we got some community pretzels so I bought my self some icing and decided to eat some spooey. Almost everyone in the group was skeptical of the combo but some of them tried it. I think only two of them thought it was good.


Thing #9

Ice cream is still important.

I haven’t really learned anything here I just really love ice cream and ate it for breakfast yesterday.


Thing #10

The people are the best part.

They’re all QTs.

Importance is Relative

By: Laura Pacheco

Today, I learned the first of many unforgettable lessons from an Elon professor. Rod Parks, our faculty member for the first week of service added an interesting and necessary dynamic to our group. While he was extremely fun and lighthearted. His intellectual side came to the forefront at our evening meetings at which his proposal to us one night was “ Do you want to talk about death, race, or regrets?”. At first this seemed morbid and intense and as he spoke you could feel the mood of the group shift into discomfort. But a big part of this trip is for us to look deeper into ourselves and each other, even when it’s uncomfortable. This is honestly not possible without deep intellectual stimulation in a group setting, On this particular day when Rod took over the meeting, we visited Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park on our way across country. He asked us to describe the moments in detail leading up to the geyser’s eruption at approximately 10:33 am +/- 10 minutes.The point of the question was that we couldn’t really, and Rod went on to assert that most likely not one, of the hundreds of people with cameras, or just eyes at the ready could. Because of the importance of this predetermined moment, we missed the small moments before it happened because of a moment that in this context was paramount but in truth may not be all that special depending on who you are. I decided that this is an important lesson to learn this semester. I can view this as a pit stop, and wait to be on campus like my friends whose snapchat stories I look at longingly. Or I can realize that I am doing something of substance, something invaluable, and that material, shallow college life can wait and when I get there it won’t make me feel the way that anything we do on this adventure does . I can close my eyes on the car ride and wait for the next destination or I can look out the windows at the world around me and appreciate it and talk to my friends about it, and think about the perspectives of everyone I see and let everything I see in “the middle” (my phrase for the spot between big and small milestones of life that is seemingly unimportant) and let it cultivate meaningful thought, laughter, joy, and fulfillment. I am going to try as hard as I possibly can to be present and optimistic in “the middle”, on gap and in my life after and appreciate that in life, importance is relative.


Being Present

By: Tommy Nelson

Reintegration into society was something I was extremely excited for while on NOLS.  I couldn’t wait to get back and talk to my friends and family.  I even began counting down the days until I could have things like my phone, showers and Oreos. While having Oreos and showers has definitely been nice, I didn’t fully realize what my phone takes away with having use of it.  During NOLS we were forced to be present in every aspect of what we were doing.   There wasn’t anything to distract us from that.  On the final day of our trip we all sat in a circle under the stars and talked about what we did each day on the trip.   We went around one by one and shared what we each did each day.   As a group we were able to remember specific things about what we did each day.   I could remember conversations I had, jokes that were told and where I was in the Wind River Range at the time.   I was amazed that I was able to remember things from weeks before, and with such detail.  Since returning to civilization I feel like I have separated more from the group and am not as in touch with what is going on.   I have been glued to my phone and laptop.  I see how it has changed how I interact with the people around me.   At times I wish I could go back into the mountains and give up my phone for another month, so I could be present in what is going on daily.

Meet Me at the Top: A Semi-Complete List of our Back Country Vernacular

By: Juliana Siler


Origin: After our first reration during NOLS, we had an Iron Chef competition, where the “I Team” (Our instructors) rated meals we prepared for them. They each had to have two courses, appetizer and entree, or hot drink and entree, and one group comprised of Neil, Nate, and Sammy, made an outdoor hibachi grill and were given the seemingly unfair rating of 6.5.

Gap Gab: Mentioned in passing to take Neil down a notch when he’s acting too feisty.

Back Country:

Actual Definition: “a sparsely populated rural region remote from a settled area.” (Dictionary.com)

Gap Gab: The woods, any region that is not ordinarily occupied by the majority of people. In our case, the Wind River Range.

Close Enough:

Gap Gab: Brendan’s cooking.

In Daily Life: *Brendan’s night to cook, the meal comes out not as planned but still slightly edible* “Eh, close enough, dinners ready!”


Gap Gab: Never. Forget. The. Butter. N e v e r

Front Country:

Actual Definition: “Frontcountry is composed of outdoor areas that are easily accessible by vehicle and mostly visited by day users. Developed campgrounds are also included in the frontcountry arena”


Gap Gab: Home; the land of city slickers.

Fry Bake:

Gap Gab: The worst thing in the world to clean out, never forget butter when you cook in it.


Actual Definition: “any of various chiefly ground-dwelling birds (family Tetraonidae) that are usually of reddish-brown or other protective color and have feathered legs and that include many important game birds” (merriam-webster.com)

Gap Gab: Heaven in a fry bake.

Hella Lit:

Actual Definition:

Hella:  “Originated from the streets of San Francisco in the Hunters Point neighborhood. It is commonly used in place of “really” or “very” when describing something.” (UrbanDictionary.com)

Lit: “The act of which a person is excited, or hype due to an upcoming event.” (UrbanDictionary.com)

Gap Gab: Dave thinking he’s cool, and “hip”.


Actual Definition: “a person’s mother” (merriam-webster.com)

Gap Gab: Cheyenne.


Gap Gab: Used in place of saying, “Hey, can I try a bite of that?”

Example: “Yo, lemme get a nib-nib” Or simply, “Nib-nib.”

*Sometimes stylized as a single Nib*

No Thank You Bite:

Gap Gab: Something Nate uses on his four year old sister to get her to eat food. He also uses it on me to get me to eat food that I don’t want to eat, except he screams it. Loudly.

Oh Wooooooooowwwwwww:

Origin: So, one time, Chase went on a NOLS course and his co-instructor was this dude who had an accent, and he always said, “Oh wow”.

Gap Gab: Whenever Chase was being sassy he would say a very exaggerated “Oh wooooooooooowwwwww”, it caught on with the rest of us so he stopped saying it.


Gap Gab: Dave’s way of telling us that we were doing something wrong, and there was a more efficient manner of doing it.


How it’s usually used: A southern greeting said to just about everyone by waitresses and your Grandmother

Gap Gab: Nate’s greeting to everyone, but mostly Cheyenne.

Davey Flay’s thoughts: A demeaning term that should never be used by anyone, however, apparently calling people “Mom” is okay and not demeaning at all.

Truckers Hitch:

Actual Definition: “The trucker’s hitch is a compound knot commonly used for securing loads on trucks or trailers.” (wikipedia.com)

Gap Gab: The subject of jokes that could only be funny in the Back Country.

Type One Fun:

Gap Gab: The type of fun that has an immediate reward, such as riding a rollercoaster, eating a chocolate bar.

Type Two Fun:

Gap Gab: Goat Flat, Whiskey Mountain, need I say more?

Visualize Winning:

Gap Gab: The term Dave would use when he wanted to teach us how to achieve our end goal. Mostly we used it to make sarcastic comments when he wasn’t around.


Back Country Definition. (n.d.). Retrieved from Dictionary.com website: http://www.dictionary.com/browse/backcountry

Macleay, A. (2010, July 6). Backcountry vs. Frontcountry: What’s the difference? Where’s the line? Retrieved from http://www.trailspace.com/blog/2010/07/06/backcountry-versus-frontcountry.html

Grouse Definition. (n.d.). Retrieved from Merriam-webster.com website: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/grouse

Lit. (2013, November 7). Retrieved from Urban Dictionary website: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Lit&page=2

Hella. (2004, May 27). Retrieved from Urban Dictionary website: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=hella

Mom Definition. (n.d.). Retrieved from Merriam-Webster website: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mom

Trucker’s Hitch. (n.d.). Retrieved from Wikipedia website: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trucker%27s_hitch

Back Country to Front Country

By: Angelo Boone

I learned a lot from my month long experience in the Wind River Mountain Range.
Transferring back to the front country definitely had its ups and downs. Some of the things that were challenging were trying to communicate all the things we did effectively. A wide variety of things happened in that month and it seemed impossible to explain everything accurately or get others to grasp what the experiences were actually like. Another tough thing that arose upon my
arrival was the idea of being “present.” Almost a month without phones or electronics forced me and the group to interact and make our own entertainment. Now that everybody has their phones and electronics again it is super easy to “clockout” and not pay any attention to anyone else. I have found that our electronics in moderation are very useful and fun, but can quickly turn into a
handicap for socializing and being present. Of course, returning to the front country meant that big, delicious meals, toilets, music, beds, communication and all the other things people take for granted every day were in reach again. What has been especially cool for me is how many skills from the back country I have been able to bring back with me. Just as we did at NOLS, we will soon be split up into different cook groups. Hopefully the meals I prepare in a frontcountry kitchen will be much better than the ones I learned to cook outside on a whisper stove. One skill
that has been especially useful is the ability to move my “home” quickly and effectively. I have ever in my life slept in so many different place in such a short amount of time. Learning to live in the moment and not taking any cool place or sight for granted has also helped me make the most of my time as a nomadic Gapper.

By: Brendan Gallagher

Assimilation back into front country society was much more difficult than I expected. A month without technology, showering, and toilet paper is still incomprehensible looking back now. We all take so many aspects of daily civilizational life for granted, but myself and 13 of my peers were able to experience life without amenities. After completing the most productive month of my life in the Wind River range, I have successfully transferred an array of skills from NOLS into my everyday life. With verbal communication and constructive feedback bolstered to new measures, my relationships with the other gappers are continuously developing and flourishing. After indescribable physical, mental, and emotional adversity on the trails, it has truly made any hardships of reality seem significantly simplified. Additionally, I’ve loved the breathtaking sightseeing of the western U.S. especially Yellowstone and Mount Rushmore.

We’ve done a heavy amount of cramped group van but it has truly allowed me to renew my expanded appreciation for music. After a month of group acapellas and hum-a-longs, it’s great to be back listening to the reality of instruments combined with talented vocals (with the occasional unnecessary auto tuning). Overall, it’s been a bit overwhelming integrating into our technology-filled society. However, it’s been awesome reconnecting with friends from my high school, hometown and my family. It’s also so rewarding to continue the journey with such an accepting and optimistic group of fellow Elon students.

  1. Grand Teton National Parkbrendan-1


  1. Spring at Yellowstone National Park


  1. Old Faithful


  1. Three elated Gappers posing in front of Grand Prismatic Spring


  1. Grand Prismatic Spring


  1. Grand Prismatic Spring


  1. Angelo, Noah, and I at Yellowstone


  1. Mount Rushmore


  1. Angelo, Laura, and I


  1. Left to right: Noah, Laura, Angelo, Mary, Me, Alexa, Emerson, Sammy


  1. My dog Angus


  1. Crazy Horse National Monument