Women's Backpacking Pilgrimage Trip
In every walk with nature, one receives far more than [s]he seeks." --John Muir
Let your stressful feelings melt away, learn to weather life's challenges with more courage, strength, and an emerging grace while immersing yourself in the healing power of wilderness ... no prior backpacking experience required.
September 4 - 8
(four days, five nights)
Early bird deadline: May 15th
Final deadline: June 30th
Location: Hoh Valley Trail
(out and back)
The Hoh Valley Trail is located inside Olympic National Park in WA state.
Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt." --Anonymous
Backpacking in the Wilderness has always been, for me, one of the times I feel closest both to the deepest expression of the Divine and to the people I'm with. Even my earliest backpacking trips in my teens and early twenties, (while experiencing a major learning curve) filled me with awe when I saw mountain tops, lakes, and rivers come into view, a marmot pop up behind a rock, or a mountain goat or a black bear in the distance. I learned to tune in to the sound of silence ... nothing but nature sounds and breathing ... and let it fill me completely. Plus, there is an additional level of both independence and camaraderie that develops when you're out in the wilderness sharing a tent, relying on one another to set up and take down camp, tuning in to your companion's needs for food, rest, silence or shared laughter and deep conversation, and basking in the glory of Nature far away from man-made conveniences.
Additionally, every trip stretched me. And every time I stretched past my comfort zone I got a little stronger, a little more confident, a little more safe inside my own skin.
I am super excited to be offering the backpacking Pilgrimage experience again this year. I've partnered up with ISO Adventures to offer the Hoh River Valley pilgrimage from September 4th - 8th. Trips are limited to four women, so be sure to SAVE YOUR SPOT NOW!
This year's theme is The Wild Edge of Sorrow. We will explore what it means to be in right relationship with sorrow as we connect deeply with the earth and listen to the wisdom of the rain forest, the river, the mountains, and your own wild and wise heart.
For me, sorrow has been a constant companion over the past few years. My partner and I lost five family members between the two of us since December of 2016, and I've also struggled with other types of losses. In his book, The Wild Edge of Sorrow, Francis Weller suggests that there are five gates to grief, and that there is an intimacy between grief and aliveness --a sacred exchange between what seems unbearable and what is exquisitely alive. Learning to be with our grief, while simultaneously being with our aliveness is the work of this trip. It will be a journey, and our surroundings will provide lessons unique to each of us.
If you are new to backpacking, you will be in good hands. I have been backpacking since I was 16, sometimes alone, sometimes with friends, and often with those new to the experience. I've been trained in Wilderness First Aid and mountaineering. My backpacking and climbing experience includes summiting all the major volcanoes in WA state: Mt. Rainier, Mt. Baker, Mt. Adams & Mt. Olympus. And because I am also a trained transformational coach, I will be there to support you emotionally every step of the way.
Our ISO Adventures Guide this year is Erin Breading, Former Staircase, Royal Lake and Grand Valley Backcountry Ranger in Olympic National Park. As a back country ranger, Erin spent an average of 30+ hours a week climbing, mountaineering and backpacking in the Cascades, Olympics, and Sierra Nevada over the past eleven years.
You can read more about Erin here.
Photos from past adventures to Buckhorn Wilderness & Marmot Pass
(photo credits Maura Treaccar, Melissa Delikat & Xandra Kopp)
“Give nature half a chance and she has a miracle in store for everyone.”
Testimonials from the Inaugural Pilgrimage
"I am so thankful to have shared this experience with each and every lady. I did not know what to expect and I was worried about many things. I do not have a lot of experiences in my life where I got to bond with women. I did not have many relationships with strong women in my life, so it was wonderful to watch each and every one of you and see your strengths and see mine as well. There is something different being in a group of strong women that is empowering and uplifting and something I have not experienced before. Kristin you are an amazing human being. You exude strength, power and utter kindness simultaneously. You have a gift that makes those in your presence want to open up, you make people feel safe. I really admired your ability to lead and to guide each of us as we faced our questions and uncertainties. Thank you so much for opening yourself up to the idea of the pilgrimage and following through with it, you have greatly touched my life and I will never forget this trip. I still also use the tools that you shared with us to get through some of my tough days. ? I have [already] incorporated several things into my life. I don't generally see myself as a strong woman, even with everything that I have overcome in my life. I always have that small piece of myself that chatters and tells me negative things. This trip allowed me to see that we ALL have that voice, but we don't have to let it dictate or take away the power that we do have. I learned that each of us had things that made us feel small in some way, but we each had a dozen more things that made us strong. ... I learned that we are all in the same boat and if we can afford ourselves same kindness that we afford others in the same situation we may just see that we are as amazing as we find others to be." --Xandra. (Some backpacking experience.)
One year later: "So worth it! One of the best trips I have taken. I learned so much about myself and I still use several of the tools that you taught us. I feel like I really grew into myself this [past] year."
"[This backpacking trip] was wonderful. We were in a beautiful place. We got to move our bodies., dig deeper into ourselves, meet some new and awesome women, and learn a lot of new skills. What's not to love? [You both] made me feel safe [physically and emotionally.] ... I got a lot more confidence in saying yes to new adventures." --Melanie (This was her 1st backpacking trip.)
"The whole day [we summited Marmot Pass] was amazing. One of the best in my whole life. The anticipation of being at the Pass, the different ecosystems (meadow, alpine, rocky) the flowers! The views of the ridges, the MARMOT!!!! ... I had that feeling like when you witness a miracle. Being at the top, surrounded by all of the beauty--was just wonderful. This whole trip was life changing. I made new friends, felt totally fulfilled, and am still carrying with me the nice, balanced, "centered" feeling. ... [If you're thinking about doing this,] you have to do it! You wont regret it!" --LuAnn (This was her 1st backpacking trip.)
Beannacht / Blessing