GAP Year 2018-2019

by Andrea Wackerle

by: Nicole Gerber

As we sink back in our chairs and reflect on all we have just experienced over a cup of warm tea because of course, it is still snowing here in Wyoming, Eagle View Ranch wants to give a special acknowledgment and appreciation to all the 2019 Star Gazers have accomplished.  

We make a promise when participants join the GAP Year that we will do everything in our power to help them accomplish their goals.  The GAPPERS know that for the Directors at EVR that means holding them to their commitments and challenging them even when they feel uncomfortable.  The Star Gazers rose to the occasion and finished with flying colors! Below are just a few of those amazing accomplishments.

  • Covered over 12,500 miles of Western US roadways
  • Completed over 150 miles of backpacking/hiking and 50 miles of kayaking,  canoeing, rafting and paddleboarding over the course of the Gap Year Program while on expeditions and weekend adventures.
  • Rock Climbed and rappelled at world-renowned locations including Sinks Canyon, Wyoming, City of Rocks, Idaho, White Rocks, NM, and Red Rocks, Nevada.  Routes ranged from 5.7 to 5.9 in difficulty.
  • Experienced a variety of college campuses while on expeditions including Evergreen State College, University of New Mexico, New Mexico St., University of Utah, University of Arizona and the S.A.L.T Program
  • Volunteered and served in the community at a multitude of locations such as: the Boys and Girls Club, East Fork Veterinary Clinic, Warm Valley Lodge Retirement Home, the Opportunity Shop, Dubois Superfoods, the National Bighorn Sheep Center, the Dubois Museum, the Dubois Fish Hatchery, the Dubois Library, Absaroka Tannery, and Adopt-A-Highway.
  • Visited a total of 26 national parks and monuments, 11 western states, numerous state parks, and national forests, and two international countries! The national parks and monuments visited include: Yellowstone NP, Grand Teton NP, Northern Cascades NP, Olympic NP, Great Sand Dunes NP, Tent Rocks NM, Mesa Verde NP, Bandelier NM, Guadalupe Mountain NP, Carlsbad Caverns NP, Big Bend NP, White Sands NM, Channel Islands NP,  Saguaro NP, Grand Canyon NP, Death Valley NP, Zion NP, Capitol Reef NP, Arches NP. St. Hermans’ Caves and Blue Hole NP in Belize, Unesco World Heritage Site/ Guatemalan National Park in Tikal, Xunantunich National Park and Actun Tunichil Muknal National Park in Belize.
  • Organized the final 18-day expedition from start to finish.  As a team held one of the most successful expeditions planned and run by GAPPERS to date.  Including a 24 hour solo in Capitol Reef NP, where each member of the team demonstrated their wilderness skills by camping alone, rationing their food, and caring for themselves and the earth.  
  • However the most impressive piece was learning to live and grow is a group of unique individuals for 208 days, away from family and comforts.

We are so proud!  

The year was concluded with an amazing Family Weekend.  Thank you to all who skyped in or were able to make it in person.  The weekend was a huge success and that is thanks to all the participation from Families.  We practiced our skills to help our wonderful participants keep the momentum going. Over the weekend we laughed, cried and celebrated.  

So one last time let us say thank you to everyone who participated in the challenging and beautiful 208 days of growth and adventure! Enjoy the Benedicto send-off from the mentors below.  We can’t wait to hear how you all impact the world moving forward! Stay in touch!

Benedicto: “May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. May your rivers flow without end, meandering through pastoral valleys tinkling with bells, past temples and castles and poets towers into a dark primeval forest where tigers belch and monkeys howl, through miasmal and mysterious swamps and down into a desert of red rock, blue mesas, domes and pinnacles and grottos of endless stone, and down again into a deep vast ancient unknown chasm where bars of sunlight blaze on profiled cliffs, where deer walk across the white sand beaches, where storms come and go as lightning clangs upon the high crags, where something strange and more beautiful and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams waits for you — beyond that next turning of the canyon walls.”  -Edward Abbey

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