The wilderness was a eye opening experience besides taking me out of my comfort zone.
I was very nervous of backpacking for three days, but looking forward to having time outside of the city. I also wanted to prove to myself and others that I can accomplish this portion of the course.
The first day we went out, I was nervous but the South African participants on the course brought such a spirit with song, that made hiking in dusk very inspiring. We made it to our first camp site and I was exhausted and only wanted to go to bed. However, we banded together to make dinner and pick out where to sleep that night. It was my first time truly sleeping under the stars, no tent for protection. The moon shined brightly over the camp site, which at first I thought was someone’s headlamp.
The next morning, I woke up and wasn’t feel so well. I thought it was just adjusting to backpacking and haven’t slept outdoors in awhile. I volunteered to be a leader for the second leg of the trip. I was nervous to lead the group, but prepared to take on a new challenge. However, not too far into our journey, the heat overcame me and I was unable to continue on with the rest of the trip. Not only were my colleagues and professor from DU super supportive, the participants from South Africa jumped in to make sure I was okay, had water and food.
I was so disappointed that I couldn’t continue on and that I failed the group. I appreciate Duncan coming back with me to base camp and continuing on with the experience at base camp.
That experience really opened my eyes to not only taking care of my health and not letting things get too far. I appreciate the support and everyone rallying around me. I may not have backpacked the whole time, but I did truly see the value of self-care and how leadership takes on many forms including realizing your health needs to be a priority.