Wilderness Heals

Thank you for visiting the Wilderness Heals blog. Wilderness Heals is an all-women, three-day annual pledge hike that benefits the Elizabeth Stone House (ESH), a Boston-based emergency shelter, transitional housing program, and therapeutic community that provides services to women and children who are escaping violence and overcoming trauma. By encouraging hikers to set challenging physical, emotional, and financial goals, Wilderness Heals mirrors the experiences of hundreds of women who have sought help from the Stone House. Committing to hike is a way to grow personally while simultaneously standing in solidarity with women of the Stone House and women everywhere who are working to overcome the effects of violence in their lives.
Wilderness Heals 2011 will take place July 15-17, 2011. Registration materials may be downloaded here.
Go here to view the 2011 routes, and visit our Who's Who page to meet this year's team leaders and Recruitment Committee members.
Want to learn more? Visit our list of Frequently Asked Questions.
Still have questions? Contact Erika Whyte, Wilderness Heals event coordinator, at 781-726-0551 or ewhyte@elizabethstone.org.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

About the Hike

Thank you for your interest in Wilderness Heals: Women Hiking for Women Healing. Wilderness Heals is an annual pledge hike that benefits the Elizabeth Stone House (ESH), a Boston-based emergency shelter, transitional housing program, and therapeutic community that provides services to women and children who are escaping violence and overcoming trauma. Over the past thirteen years, more than 600 women have raised more than $1 million in support of the Stone House.

Wilderness Heals is a three-day hike that takes place every summer in the stunning White Mountains of New Hampshire. Women of all ages, backgrounds, and hiking abilities are encouraged to take part in this unforgettable adventure that has proven to be a transformative journey for many past hikers. Participants will share three incredible days filled with laughter, intimate conversations, gorgeous forest trails, cool mountain cascades, and pristine alpine summits. The hike is not always easy, but it is a rewarding and noble challenge. Wilderness Heals is an opportunity for women to find their inner strength by helping end violence and trauma in other women’s lives.

The Fundraising

While climbing mountains and making new friends is an integral part of the Hike, Wilderness Heals is—first and foremost—a way to raise money for the women and children of the Elizabeth Stone House. Thus, each hiker is required to raise a minimum of $1,200. For many women, this challenge proves to be even more intimidating than carrying a 30-pound pack up a 4,000-foot mountain. Hikers raise money in a variety of ways, and the Elizabeth Stone House fundraising staff provides participants with important fundraising tools, tips, and information. Raising $1,200 may seem like an impossible task, but remember, over the last thirteen years, the Stone House has helped more than 600 women reach their fundraising goals. In fact, many women actually raise more than the required amount! In 2008—the most successful Wilderness Heals hike to date—50 registered hikers raised $115,000.

The Routes

Wilderness Heals is designed for hikers of all abilities. Some women are seasoned backpackers, while others have never set foot outside the city of Boston. The beauty of Wilderness Heals is that its all-encompassing design allows anyone to participate.

Wilderness Heals offers a range of hiking routes that are uniquely tailored to a variety of skills and interests. Teams of four to six women—comprised of hikers with similar styles and abilities and led by an experienced team leader—go on one of four trips that differ in mileage, difficulty, terrain, and lodging. Four of the six trips utilize Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) huts for overnight accommodations. The fifth itinerary uses backcountry campsites, and the sixth is a front country option where hikers stay in the Joe Dodge Lodge in Pinkham Notch. For a description of the 2009 Wilderness Heals routes, click here.

The Training

Training for the hike is imperative. Wilderness Heals is not a stroll through the woods. It was designed to be a challenge, and that’s what it is. Hikers are expected to train on their own, as well as attending at least one training hike. Training hikes, led by experienced team leaders, begin the first weekend in May and are held every weekend leading up to the three-day event. Although hikers are required to attend only one training hike, they are welcome and encouraged to attend more for additional training and to meet different team leaders and other hikers. Training hikes are only open to registered Wilderness Heals hikers. To see a list of scheduled 2008 training hikes, please mail your registration packet to the Elizabeth Stone House.

Safety is an extremely important part of Wilderness Heals. Hikers are required to learn and adhere to the Wilderness Heals safety rules described in the safety meeting and included in the registered hiker packet. In order to ensure safety in the mountains, hikers must prepare for emergencies, bad weather, and other unexpected events by bringing essential clothing and equipment. For a list of required gear, click here.

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