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.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Food for Thought

Let's be honest. What do Wilderness Heals hikers think about most while they're hiking? Food! Sure, we all enjoy the pristine forest trails, cold mountain stream crossings, and breathtaking views from the summits, but nothing beats a piece of dark chocolate or a hunk of cheddar cheese after a long day on the trail.

Not sure about what kind of food to bring on your first training hike? Below are some suggestions from veteran Wilderness Heals hikers. Bon app├ętit!

Sheryl Barnes
- I always carry turkey jerky from Trader Joe's on the trail because it's tasty, full of protein, and light weight. Food can get heavy, so I pay special attention to the weight. My cravings vary from salty foods to chocolate, so I try to have both with me most of the time.

Maia Brodyfield
- I'm partial to the spicy Thai peanuts from Trader Joe's. They have lemon grass, chili peppers, basil, and other spices that satisfy my craving for salty and savory treats on the trail. I tend to rotate snacks, otherwise I get bored. Hopefully I won't hit the wall on the peanuts before the actual hike this year.

Monica Chopra - I like eating Clif bars on the trail because they suppress my hunger better than other bars. I've been told beef jerky is great, too. I crave Julia's ginger fudge when I'm hiking. And peanut butter and cheese. Honestly, when you're out there hiking for days at a time, any food that you would not normally eat tastes so good!

Becky Fullerton
- Usually I carry a couple of energy bars that have some kind of chocolate element, and some kind of bread and cheese (usually brie). Oh, and more chocolate. Those are the three most important food groups for the trail: chocolate, salt, and fat. Mmmm. There's also the token piece of fruit, which usually comes home with me, but it's there in case I need it. I buy my snacks at the Village Market and the Boston Cheese Cellar in good 'ole Rosi Square. I always crave sushi on the trail. And that yellow cheese that comes in a jar.

Jocelyn Gould - I always carry fig newtons and some kind of chocolate while I'm hiking. For last year's hike, I made a yummy mini-loaf of cinnamon bread (that had buttermilk in it, yuuuum), and I also carried a bag full of M&Ms, dried cranberries, peanuts, and raisins. I also had animal crackers, but they got pulverized. I like having a mixture because I can add whatever I want and bring as much as I want. The bread recipe I got off of a cooking site, and it was a really nice treat. I think bringing homemade food on the trail is nice because it isn't pre-packaged and you can tailor it to what you like. Hiking out, I always crave chocolate, milk, iced tea, and lemonade.

Beth Grierson - I go through phases, but the last few years I always have beef jerky, or some kind of sausage/salami thing. The meaty things are nice and salty, and have lots of protein. The salametti has fat, which is very important fuel for your body, and the jerky is very light weight. I always have some kind of fruit, as well as some chocolate. Fruit is a nice pick-me-up; there's almost something cleansing about it. Chocolate should not require explanation. In addition, I love avocados on the trail because they're a good source of healthy fat and vitamins, and the creaminess of it feels very indulgent. I usually bring a little bit of plastic wrap to cover any exposed surface. I try to aim for variety on the whole--some sweet, some salty, some soft, some crunchy. Texture is VERY important. I don't want to wear my jaw out chewing, but if I don't have something crisp or crunchy, everything starts to seem unappealing. I get Oberto beef jerky at the local supermarket, salametti at the Wine and Cheese Cask in Somerville, and everything else at Trader Joe's. TJ's has the most incredible variety of interesting things to eat, from snack bars to trail mixes...anyone and everyone should be able to find something there. My current TJ fave is the sweet and salty trail mix. I generally crave cold beer and French fries on the trail. I think about food a lot when I'm hiking, but unless I'm thinking of rewarding myself at the summit with a nice piece of chocolate or ginger fudge, what I'm thinking about really varies.

Abby Heisler - Trail mix is a MUST when I'm hiking, but it really has to be the right kind. For instance, I don't really like chocolate in my trail mix, but I do like lots of banana chips, dried fruit, nuts, and seeds. I save my chocolate, preferably dark with high cocoa content, for the end of the day. Whole Foods has some nice ready-made trail mixes. So does Shaw's. When I'm hiking, I crave fresh veggies and salad. And a backrub.

Katie Kozin
- I love grapes on the trail because they are tart, juicy, and refreshing. I also like to bring Trader Joe's snacks, such as sesame cashews and savory rice crackers. They are inexpensive and tasty! I don't tend to carry gorp; too much of that in my past for me to look forward to it anymore. I've always wanted to try avocados and hard boiled eggs. Other hikers have brought these and they look delicious. I tend to crave ice cream when it's hot, and hearty soup when it's cold.

Liz Reyes - On the first day of the hike, I always bring leftover pizza and Snickers bars for lunch. I pack cheese and trail mixes for snacks. Hiking out, I always crave a big bag of salty potato chips and lemonade.

Linda Rosen - On the first day of the hike, my favorite sandwich is a pre-made wrap from Trader Joe's. I just throw it in the top of my pack and have a really great first-day lunch! I always bring a Luna bar (chocolate peppermint is my favorite). I also LOVE teriyaki beef jerky from Trader Joe's. I like the Luna bars because they pack well, aren't too sweet, and the peppermint is refreshing. And beef jerky just hits the spot when I need some salt. I always go for salty snacks before sweet ones, and I don't carry dried fruit or nuts on the trail because they tend to wreak havoc on my digestion. My pack also always has: hard cheese (Swiss-type, wrapped tightly in foil), dry sausage (wrapped in foil), a Swiss Army knife to cut the above, an apple, an orange, and bagels (one per day to eat with the cheese and sausage). Between the fresh sandwich, my bread/cheese/sausage/fruit, and a couple of Luna bars, I'm totally happy. I also bring Emergen-C packages to put in my water bottle because it's hard to drink plain water after a while.

Nika Stoop - I always hike with summer sausage, cheese, bagels, raisins, granola bars, and chocolate. Bagels are good because they don't get squished in my pack, and raisins are fruity and sweet! When I'm hiking, I crave cupcakes and beer.

Eileen Twiggs - I'm a bit of a traditionalist, I suppose, since my favorite hiking snack is good old peanut butter and jelly. For the three-day hike, I usually carry the makings for PB&J's. I'm a Skippy girl myself; the jelly can get a little more interesting. Raspberry or cherry preserves are really good. Recently, I've discovered that adding a sprinkling of sunflower seeds is quite nice, too. It's salty, sweet, and quite satisfying. Other snacks include Granny Smith apples, dried fruit (cherries are my favorite), sharp cheese (a good cheddar or an aged gouda--yum), little mini carrots (they satisfy the crunchy craving), and chocolate, chocolate, chocolate. Chocolate can take many forms and flavors: dark, milk, and white. I've been known to carry all three. Bars, chips, cookies, or melted into a lump--it's all good to me! Finally, Liz did turn me onto the cold leftover pizza on the trail during my first year hiking. So, I try and have pizza for dinner the night before the three-day hike so I can have the leftovers on the trail. Hiking out, I crave cold beer (preferably Magic Hat #9 on tap) and a big sloppy burger.

Vicky Waltz - Before I started hiking with women from Wilderness Heals, my hiking snacks consisted of peanut butter sandwiches and Luna bars, neither of which I particularly like. But after attending several training hikes, I learned that trail food doesn't have to be only energy bars or gorp. Nearly all of the hiking snacks I carry today were inspired from sampling other hiker's snacks. If I'm only going on a day hike, I typically carry vegetarian sushi and spring rolls for lunch. On multi-day hikes, I bring feta cheese, pesto, and tomato sandwiches on olive loaf. I tend to prefer salty and spicy foods on the trail, so I always carry spicy Thai peanuts and dried chili mango from Trader Joe's. I also really enjoy Boston's snack mix, which has pretzels, bread sticks, and rye chips. I typically combine it with cheddar cheese crackers. Avocados are an incredibly refreshing treat; one of the best snacks I ever had was an avocado at the summit of Mount Eisenhower. Hardboiled eggs are good sources of protein, but you have to be careful when it's hot. I had one spoil once, and I had to carry a rotten egg in my pack for two days. Granny Smith apples are delicious when I want something sweet, and dried apricots are good, too. After about three days on the trail, my favorite snack is whatever I can mooch off of other hikers. Three days of eating the same thing is my limit.

Anna Wells - I always have peanut M&Ms. They're an old favorite of mine and my mom's. Some turkey jerky is always good (I get it at Trader Joe's). And Snickers. Yum. I like salty/sweet things, because I can never decide which I'd rather have. And chocolate is always good. If I'm feeling ambitious, a special treat I like to bring is Oreo cookies in a Tupperware container so they don't get crushed. Something I'm going to try to bring this year is cinnamon almonds from Trader Joe's. SO YUMMY! As you can see, I don't necessarily eat very healthy on the trail. But we're working it off, so I give myself concessions. An apple or two is always nice. And if you're drinking iodized water, an organic orange is nice to have so you can flavor your water with the peels. As for cravings, I always crave pizza or macaroni and cheese hiking out. In the middle of the hike, I just look forward to warm, oven-fresh bread at the huts. Hopefully we can do some bread on the backcountry option this year!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A Memorial Day Weekend to Remember

Over Memorial Day weekend, fifteen Wilderness Heals hikers teamed up to collectively scale four peaks in the White Mountains. Saturday's training hike over Mount Percival and Mount Morgan proved to be hot and buggy--but ultimately beautiful. The hike included three team leaders, four veteran hikers, and five first-year hikers. Above: Shanti, Karin, and Vonda enjoy alfresco dining atop Mount Percival.

The Squam Lakes are seen from the summit of Mount Percival.

Susan, Shanti, and Karin make their way up Mount Percival.

Sunday's trek up the 4,003-foot Mount Tecumseh was an extremely pleasant hike. The weather was cooler, there were a lot fewer bugs, and the camaraderie was incomparable. Two team leaders, seven veteran hikers, and one first-year hiker participated in the hike. Above: Danielle, Susan, Donna, Eileen, Sandy, Sue, and Karin pal around on the trail.

There are limited--but lovely--views atop Mount Tecumseh.

Vicky eats an avocado atop Mount Tecumseh while Susan and Donna discuss the day's events.

Margaret, Susan, Donna, Karin, and Danielle are visited by a chocolate lab during a snack break.

On Monday, Karin, Eileen, and Vicky decided to hike the 4,051-foot Mount Tom on their own. While hiking up the A to Z trail, they hit many downed trees, stream crossings, and even some patches of snow. Above: Vicky at a snowy stream crossing on the A to Z trail.

Karin and Eileen enjoy the view atop Mount Tom.

The snow-covered Mount Washington is seen from the summit of Mount Tom.

A bird eyes Eileen's peanut butter sandwich. But being a responsible hiker, Eileen doesn't feed the wildlife.

While hiking Mount Tom, Eileen and Vicky discovered they share a birthday on October 18.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Wilderness Heals: A Trademark of Teamwork

Over Memorial Day weekend, first-year hiker Margaret Moore went on two training hikes: Saturday's loop over Mount Percival and Mount Morgan, and Sunday's hike up Mount Tecumseh. Here's what she had to say:

Memorial Day weekend marked my first training hikes with Wilderness Heals, and it came to symbolize why I chose to donate my time and raise money for the Elizabeth Stone House. The group of women who participated in the two hikes demonstrated the type of communal effort and support needed to allow for success of all of the hikers, regardless of skill or fitness level. The leaders led by example, encouraging and supporting everyone.

Anyone who has ever hiked in the White Mountains knows that they can be relentless at times and are always demanding of even the fittest individuals. Our hikes, though relatively short (five miles each) had everything the Whites can throw at you: long steep climbs and descents, stream and river crossings full of slippery rocks, heat, bugs, sudden cooling temperatures, and rain.

Through the two days, one hiker in particular, Donna, had a difficult time. Day one started out hot and buggy and only got hotter and buggier as we hiked. From the beginning of the hike, Donna had a hard time catching her breath and needed frequent stops. Having been in that situation myself, I know how difficult it was for her to continue on. It can take all of one’s resolve to take that next step forward. But with the help and guidance of one of the leaders, Sheryl, Donna pushed through her pain and uncertainty, established her rhythm, and completed the hike.

Day two started out much better; no bugs and considerably cooler. Donna worried that she would not be able to complete this hike because the previous day had been so difficult. But she set the goal for herself and began day two. In the beginning, all went well, but she again began to lose her breath until she realized she was not concentrating on her rhythm. This day’s hike consisted of the “never ending climb.” Although the climb was not as steep as the previous day’s climbs, it did not let up for most of the hike. Added to the difficulty were numerous stream and river crossings that required skill and balance. With the guidance of Eileen, another group leader, Donna was able to make the crossings and complete the climb to the summit--her first 4,000-foot mountain!

At the top, our third group leader, Susan, gathered us all together to commemorate Donna’s courage and tenacity in overcoming her fear and fatigue. Then we had to walk back down the mountain to complete the day. Susan hung back with Donna and encouraged and guided her through the difficult descent. And Eileen stayed at the river crossings to show Donna the best way to get across and to make sure she was safe.

In the end, because Donna had set her own goals, and because the group leaders and other hikers taught and guided her with patience, Donna was able to accomplish her goals. I truly feel Donna could not have succeeded without both. Her goals and resolve were necessary, but probably would not have been sufficient without the guidance and patience of the leaders and other hikers.

The Elizabeth Stone House operates in the same way. Individuals need to set their own goals before they can be accepted into the mental health and substance abuse programs. Once they are in the programs, they are advised and assisted by advocates who teach them the basic skills they need to succeed. Once they learn these skills, they will be able to succeed in life and become independent and strong women.

This is the cause I choose to hike for: building strong, independent women and families from those who are wandering in their own wilderness of misfortune. I want everyone to have the opportunity to succeed and to have patient guides who lead them out of their personal wilderness to success. Once the opportunity is given, the individuals are the ones who must follow through and find their own success in the same way Donna found her success in the mountains.

Wilderness truly heals not only those we are hiking for, but the hikers themselves.

--Margaret Moore

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

I Know That Wilderness Heals

Six-year veteran hiker Mary Walsh wrote the following poem in 2001.

Wilderness Heals

My husband wouldn't take a hike
So, I decided to
Because someone told me about
Wilderness Heals

Some groups choose to walk or bike
This group chooses a long, long hike
They know that Wilderness Heals

For eleven years and still hiking
In conditions not necessarily always to their liking
They shift into another gear and uncomplainingly persevere
Because they believe in Wilderness Heals

For survivors of trauma
Each the keeper of her own personal drama
For family, for friends, for victims hoping for the violence to end
From wherever the motivation stems
It's true that Wilderness Heals

For the challenge, the healing, the energy, the synergy
For affirmation, validation, to overcome trepidation
Through the smiles, the tears, the hugs, the fears
It suddenly becomes clear that Wilderness Heals

The tattooed, the newly shoed, the altruistically imbued,
The formerly often overwhelmingly unglued
And the hopefully never again to be black and blued
Hike together as one
And say in unison
"Wilderness Heals," "Wilderness Heals"

My husband wouldn't take a hike
So, I decided to
Now, I know that Wilderness Heals

--Mary Walsh

Monday, May 21, 2007

Closer to Fine; or How Wilderness Heals Taught Me to Sing

Here’s a secret: I don’t sing. It isn’t because I don’t like music. No, it’s because I am absolutely, positively tone deaf. My mother tells me that, once upon a time, I had a decent singing voice. At four years old, I knew the words to every single song from My Fair Lady. In fact, Eliza Doolittle was my imaginary friend, and the two of us spent many glorious summer afternoons singing “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly?” and “I Could Have Danced All Night.”

I’m not sure when I stopped singing, or why. I know that by the time I was 10, I refused to utter a single note. I dreaded the school Christmas pageants; I always stood in the back row and mouthed the words.

When I was 11, I went to an amusement park with my friend Rachel, who convinced me to cover the song “It Must Have Been Love” at a karaoke studio. (Give me a break. It was 1991, and I was in fifth grade.) For a mere $10, you could record the song of your choice on a souvenir cassette tape — just like a real rock star! Against my better judgment (I plead temporary insanity), I agreed.

I didn’t comprehend just how truly horrendous my voice was until I heard myself warbling, “It musta been loooooove, but it’s ooooover now!” over the amusement park loudspeakers. I remember turning to Rachel and hissing, “Get me out of here!” Not even four rides on my favorite roller coaster could ease the sting of my humiliation, and when I got home, I destroyed the tape.

It took nearly 10 years for me to recover, but by the time I was in college, I would sing in front of my friends. I generally chose country tunes (John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain High” and “Country Roads” were two favorites), and I always made myself sound as atrocious as possible. As long as I was deliberately butchering the music, singing was okay.

And then when I was 25, I went on my first Wilderness Heals Hike. On the final morning of the three-day event, one of my teammates gathered us in a circle and taught us the Wilderness Heals song. It’s an uncomplicated melody with only eight words, and it is beautiful in its simplicity. By the final round, I was singing softly with the rest of the group and tentatively clapping my hands.

Later that evening, during the bus ride back to Boston, a small group of hikers led the rest of the passengers in song after song. I was sitting in the back of the bus — the quiet section — but I enjoyed listening to the boisterous voices of the ladies up front. They sang everything from the Beatles to Billy Joel, and the music lulled me to sleep. As I drifted in and out of consciousness, I told myself that next summer, maybe, just maybe, I might be comfortable enough to sing with the rest of the hikers.

The following year, there were two buses to take us back to Boston: the quiet bus and the singing bus. After much deliberation, I boarded the singing bus with my friends Emily and Monica. The driver had not even pulled out of the parking lot before a group of women began leading the rest of us in a rousing rendition of (what else?) the Indigo Girls’ “Closer to Fine.” I whispered part of the chorus, but only because Emily kept elbowing me.

Afterward, Sandy and Sue — who I’m convinced know the lyrics to every song on the planet — sang Joni Mitchell’s “Circle Game,” Don McLean’s “American Pie,” Janis Joplin’s “Me and Bobby McGee,” and “Summer Nights” from the musical Grease. Although I occasionally hummed along, I remained relatively silent until they began to sing “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly?” from My Fair Lady. I thought about how my grandma and I used to sing the song during car rides, and I remembered how disappointed she was when I stopped singing. And so that evening, I sang in earnest with Sandy and Sue and all of the other hikers — for Grandma…and for me.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Remember to Leave No Trace

Training hikes are officially under way, and that means Wilderness Heals hikers are climbing mountains, summitting 4,000-foot peaks, and--for those who camp--sleeping under the stars. We at the Elizabeth Stone House are committed to protecting the beauty of the White Mountains, and that is why every Wilderness Heals hiker is required to practice low-impact hiking and adhere to the Leave No Trace ethic.

Leave No Trace is a nonprofit national organization dedicated to promoting and inspiring responsible outdoor recreation through education, research, and partnerships. The program seeks to develop wildland ethics--ways in which people think and act in the outdoors to minimize the impact they have on the areas they visit and to protect our natural resources for future enjoyment.

The Leave No Trace ethic is guided by seven principles:

1. Plan ahead and prepare

• Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you'll visit.
• Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies.
• Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use.
• Visit in small groups. Split larger parties into groups of four to six.
• Repackage food to minimize waste.
• Use a map and compass to eliminate the use of marking paint, rock cairns, or flagging.

2. Travel and camp on durable surfaces

• Durable surfaces include established trails and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses, or snow.
• Protect riparian areas by camping at least 200 feet from lakes and streams.
• Good campsites are found, not made. Altering a site is not necessary.
• In popular areas:
◦ Concentrate use on existing trails and campsites.
◦ Walk single file in the middle of the trail, even when wet or muddy.
◦ Keep campsites small. Focus activity in areas where vegetation is absent.
• In pristine areas:
◦ Disperse use to prevent the creation of campsites and trails.
◦ Avoid places where impacts are just beginning.

3. Dispose of waste properly

• Pack it in, pack it out. Inspect your campsite and rest areas for trash or spilled foods, and pack out all trash, leftover food, and litter.
• Deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep at least 200 feet from water, camp, and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished.
• Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products.
• To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater.

4. Leave what you find

• Preserve the past. Examine, but do not touch, cultural or historic structures and artifacts.
• Leave rocks, plants, and other natural objects as you find them.
• Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species.
• Do not build structures, furniture, or dig trenches.

5. Minimize campfire impacts

• Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the backcountry. Use a lightweight stove for cooking and enjoy a candle lantern for light.
• Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings, fire pans, or mound fires.
• Keep fires small. Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand.
• Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely, then scatter cool ashes.

6. Respect wildlife

• Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them.
• Never feed animals; feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers.
• Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely.
• Control pets at all times, or leave them at home.
• Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting, raising young, or winter.

7. Be considerate of other visitors

• Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.
• Be courteous. Yield to other users on the trail.
• Step to the downhill side of the trail when encountering pack stock.
• Take breaks and camp away from trails and other visitors.
• Let nature's sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Ask Her How Wilderness Heals

Three-year Wilderness Heals veteran, Recruitment Committee member, and Team Leader Jenn Guiry recently expressed her commitment to the Hike and the Elizabeth Stone House by tattooing the Wilderness Heals logo on her arm. Here, she writes why the wilderness is such an important part of her life.

Someone once asked me “Why wilderness? What about the wilderness heals?” My first instinctive response was to answer, “Because I feel safer in the wilderness than anywhere else in the world.” My instinct remains my only response. When you enter the wilderness and you hit the trail, time seems to freeze. All you have is that moment, that next step. As you journey on and look up and down the trail, you see only the recent past and the immediate future. Perhaps you just made it up a long haul and the trail finally levels out, or perhaps you're seeing the switchbacks that you are about to face. Either way, it is small and safe and contained. You have no choice in the wilderness but to be completely mindful of the present moment, which is so very healing.

When you give the earth the respect she so much deserves--whether it be in the woods or at the shorelines--then the gifts you get in return are so wonderful. In the wilderness, you do not have to worry about man-made hurt and pain, such as wars, violence, or oppression. Each passer-by says hello, and you get the feeling that everyone--even if you don’t speak the same language--has the same desires and destinations, despite having different goals and reasons for hiking. People do get hurt in the woods and tragedies happen to strong, smart hikers every day, but they seem less painful because they are not tragedies created by anger and hate. For the most part, as long as you respect your limitations and respect the awesome force of Mother Nature, you are totally and completely safe in the woods. I feel safe and strong every moment I spend in the wilderness, whether I am hiking, camping, or just walking in the woods close to home. For me, that is why Wilderness Heals.

Each year, I choose to participate in Wilderness Heals as a way to heal and grow personally while supporting women and children of the Stone House and everywhere who are working to overcome the effects of mental illness and domestic violence. I feel more dedicated to this event than any other event I have ever participated in. Each year I have a new personal reason for hiking that goes above and beyond my love for the wilderness. I have never been great at expressing myself through artwork, but I love other people’s ability to do so, and I use tattooing to express something in me that I am passionate about.

This past week as my personal tattoo artist worked on my Wilderness Heals tattoo, we both began to drift off into the beauty of the mountains. He shared with me how he was reminded of the beauty and peacefulness of the mountains of his homeland of Thailand, and I shared with him my reasons for hiking and my love of the wilderness. We both agreed that the serene feeling we had when thinking about the mountains would last all day, and it did. I shared with him why I am hiking this year, and this is basically what I said:

This year I am hiking in memory of my dog, Fenway. Fenway loved me unconditionally and helped me to feel less alone in the world, the woods, and on top of many mountains. He had a short but adventurous life. On his final journey he led a dear friend to heaven and saved my life by guiding me into recovery. He is my guardian angel and trail god. Through his spirit presence in my life and the lives of my other dogs, he will hopefully lead me to the top of many mountains and out of much pain. He gives me hope that I will see the end of violence in my lifetime and that children can feel safe and never alone. Finally, he gives me hope for healing and comfort and most of all peace of mind, body, and spirit.

--Jenn Guiry

A Tasty Way to Raise Dough

Second-year Wilderness Heals hiker and Recruitment Committee member Monica Chopra is getting creative with her fundraising efforts, and you can help her! On Thursday, May 10, 2007, print out this coupon and head to the Allston UNO Chicago Grill. Twenty percent of all dine-in and take-out orders that include drinks will be donated to the Elizabeth Stone House on Monica's behalf. This offer is only valid at the Allston UNO Chicago Grill, 1230 Commonwealth Ave.

Things to Do, Places to Go, Hikers to Recruit

Hello, past, present, and future Wilderness Heals hikers.

Spring is finally here, and that means that Wilderness Heals 2007 is officially under way! There's a lot going on in the upcoming weeks, and we hope to see you at one or more of these Wilderness Heals activities. Check them out!

First off, there's still time to bring a friend on a recruitment hike.

Saturday, May 5, 2007, at Middlesex Fells Reservation
Meet in the Long Pond parking lot at 9:30 a.m. Dogs are welcome.
For more information, contact Beth Grierson at bgrierson@glad.org.

Saturday, May 12, 2007, at Blue Hills Reservation
Meet by the Reservation Headquarters at 1 p.m.
For more information, contact Sandy Goodman at sandragon@lycos.com.

And don't forget about these upcoming festivals:

Saturday, May 5, 2007 - Wake Up the Earth, Jamaica Plain
Sunday, May 6, 2007 - MayFair, Harvard Square, Cambridge
Saturday, May 26, 2007 – WBOS EarthFest, Boston Esplanade

The Elizabeth Stone House will have tables at all three events. Stop by and chat with staff and volunteers, or better yet, sign up to volunteer! Contact Danielle at 617-427-9801, ext. 415 or dpiscatelli@elizabethstone.org for details.

And then there's Women's Fit Night, sponsored by the Natick Eastern Mountain Sports:

Women foot gurus from Merrell and EMS will discuss women's unique footwear in this 45-minute after-store-hours clinic. Participants will receive a free Merrell All-Terrain outdoor travel skin care kit ($20 value) and be entered in a raffle for a free pair of Merrell shoes. Custom fitting will be available.

For more information, contact the Natick EMS, 1400 Worcester St., 508-872-7915.

And finally, don't forget that training hikes begin this weekend on Saturday, May 5, 2007. Check the most recent training hike schedule to sign up!