By: Emma Gummerson
Coming into the Gap Experience, I already had a personal perception of what leadership entailed. In my mind, strength, resilience, initiative, and service to others were the most important pillars to a leader. We are well over halfway over with the NOLS portion and a lot has changed. For me, my perception on many things has been permanently altered. To many people it may seem that we have three NOLS instructors. However, there is a fourth one that has been more persistent and stern than the others: Mother Nature. When you think you’ve reached the summit she brings on an incessant amount of slopes. Leave your tent rainfly unzipped and she’ll send a storm to put you in your place. One of the main ideas that Mother Nature emphasizes is self-awareness. Out in the wilderness the basic need for survival drastically increase. Hiking with a heavy pack for several hours results in a calorie deficit of thousands of calories. High elevation means a bare minimum of 4 liters of water. Sleep becomes your best friend real fast. As soon as you ignore any of these areas, your ability to perform is compromised. Also, all of those leadership pillars I mentioned at the beginning become seemingly impossible to implement. This was an issue I confronted from the very beginning of the expedition. One of the key motivating factors for me to keep on improving, has been my Gap squad and instructors. They have been with me every step of the way on this tumultuous journey. If the ideas I laid out earlier are the pillars to leadership, then community is the foundation holding the entire thing up and together. I know with this extraordinary Gap community that I’ve created a tight bond and trust with, I will be able to combat whatever comes at me.
Emma aka Emma Dilemma
PS There was a REAL moose nibbling on my pack at our Star Lake campsite. Was torn between whether she was a ferocious beast to be bear sprayed or a friendly visitor. I decided she was a friend. Also moose are very good at staring contests.
PPS shout out to my favorite Zephyr at Mountain Alliance. Couldn’t have gotten this far without your incredible support.