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

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the event called Wilderness Heals?
Conservationist John Muir once said, “Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”

For centuries, people have sought solace among the world’s forests, mountains, oceans, and deserts. The serenity that many encounter in the wilderness has a calming—even healing—effect. Similarly, the wilderness forces all who seek it to become self-reliant. Although beautiful, the wilderness can also be a harsh and unforgiving place. Hikers who take part in Wilderness Heals will develop the skills necessary to survive three days in the alpine wilderness. Women who have never before climbed a mountain will find strength and support among their teammates and in the beauty around them, thus enabling them to accomplish things they never thought possible. Triumphs such as these are healing experiences in and of themselves.

Why is Wilderness Heals an event only for women?
Wilderness Heals mirrors the philosophy and mission of the Elizabeth Stone House, which believes that women, through peer support, can help each other through episodes of trauma, crisis, and violence in their lives. By working together as a community, women find support among themselves to overcome these obstacles. The Hike operates in a similar fashion; women are grouped into teams, where they help one another overcome the challenges each encounters during the Hike. No one hiker is stronger than the other. Although there are many men who support issues of mental illness and domestic violence, it is through this bond that women share with other women that makes Wilderness Heals the empowering event that it is.

How can men help?
Men can support the Hike in a variety of ways. They may sponsor a hiker, sponsor the event in general, or volunteer throughout the recruitment season by posting fliers, tabling at events, and encouraging all of their female friends and family members to take part in Wilderness Heals.

I’m not much of an athlete. Can I still hike?
Of course! Wilderness Heals is designed so that women of all backgrounds and athletic abilities may participate. In previous years, women as young as 18 and as old as 70 have hiked. Regularly scheduled training hikes throughout the spring allow hikers to test their equipment—and their muscles! And once you register, the Stone House will provide a pamphlet of recommended training activities that will prepare you for the Hike.

How much of every dollar raised directly benefits the women and children of the Stone House?
Wilderness Heals raises 5 to 10 percent of the Stone House’s annual budget. While the cost of the Hike can fluctuate from year to year, approximately 25 percent of every dollar goes towards administrative costs of the agency, including, but not limited to, Wilderness Heals.

May I bring a guest or my dog on a training hike?
Unfortunately, no. Guests and pets are not permitted on Wilderness Heals training hikes. Everyone who attends a training hike must have registered for the event prior to hiking. Although your dog may be extremely well-behaved, it is for the safety of the animal and other Wilderness Heals hikers that they are not allowed.

Can my child hike with me?
Daughters 12 years or older may participate in the Front Country option. Participants for all other routes must be 18 or older.

I don’t live in Boston. May I still participate in Wilderness Heals?
Absolutely! Women throughout New England take part in Wilderness Heals. While most hikers live around the Boston area, others live in Western Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, Rhode Island, and even New York City! You can live anywhere in the world and participate, as long as you meet the requirements of the event.

How will I get to New Hampshire?
The Elizabeth Stone House provides round-trip transportation to New Hampshire from Boston on the first morning of the three-day Hike. A bus departs from the Riverside T-stop outside of Boston at exactly 6 a.m., and the Stone House provides complimentary bagels, coffee, and juice. All hikers are required to ride the bus to New Hampshire. The ride provides an opportunity for teammates to get to know one another and allows hikers to discuss any questions or concerns with their team leaders. Although teams will have the chance to meet each other at the mandatory safety meeting held prior to the Hike, coming together Friday morning allows team leaders to check all packs for required gear and go over last-minute safety rules. If you're coming from out of state and you're concerned about driving all night in order to make it to the T-stop by 6 a.m., don't worry! In previous years, local hikers have always hosted out-of-state hikers the Thursday night before the event.

On Sunday evening, hikers may either take the bus back to Boston, or they may catch rides home with friends or family members who drove up for the reception.

While hikers must provide their own transportation to the training hikes, many hikers from the Boston area carpool the morning of the training hikes.

What are the Appalachian Mountain Club huts?
There are eight Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) huts located in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. Huts are owned and operated by the Appalachian Mountain Club, an organization committed to promoting the protection, enjoyment, and wise use of the mountains, rivers, and trails of the Northeast outdoors. Located in spectacular locations above treeline or near mountain lakes or waterfalls, the huts provide a unique backcountry adventure for novice and experienced hikers alike. Visitors stay in comfortable, shared bunkrooms and enjoy family-style dinners and full breakfasts prepared by the hut staff members, or “croo.” For more information about the huts, click here.

Are there showers at the huts?
No, there are no showers, but the huts are equipped with solar powered lighting, cold-running water, and composting toilets.

I’ve never raised money for charity. How will I do this?
Raising money for a cause is not nearly as difficult as you might think. Although for many women who participate in the Hike for the first time, it in fact seems like a daunting task. However, upon registering the staff at the Elizabeth Stone House provides hikers with a plethora of material to aid in this process, including sample letters, sponsorship forms, donation tracking logs, and a fundraising booklet. In addition, we discuss a number of different ways hikers can fundraise at our Informational Hiker meetings. For more information about fundraising, contact the Elizabeth Stone House.

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