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.

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


Anonymous said...

I LOVE IT!!! :)

Vicky said...

Jenn, you rock! What an awesome idea! Can't wait to see you on Memorial Day weekend!

Anonymous said...

Jenn....you're da bomb...I love you huge, big bunches..and you know I want the best for you...Remember, in life's journey there will always be another mountain to climb..it's not the destination, but the journey itself you must savour. Search each day for a reason to smile and feel my love nestled in your heart.

Charlie S. said...

Hi Jen, I loved reading your blog, you are a very insperational person and FRIEND to me, sorry we dont talk as much as we should!!! :)

I will try to support you as much as I can, dispite my employment situation, Because I do know that every penny does count and adds up, best wishes and my love, Charlie Santos

Anonymous said...

Go forth and do good for others. I support you in all you do!
Be strong, be safe and be true to yourself and Mother Earth. May your trail gods be with you in your search for peace and balance on the rocky paths you travel.

Anonymous said...

Jenn, you will never change the same free sprit I have always known. "Oh the places will go" you once said to me. Now I am saying to you "Oh the places you have been".Everyone needs one of you around. Love and old time friend!

Anonymous said...

Hi Jenn,
I appreciate what you said and I feel similarly about the lack of intentional pain and suffering of human against another in the Wilderness. I remember we hiked the same route in 2005, and then met up at the huts. And what great talks we had in the hut, and you were a big part of that. I hope this year is as wonderful for you as you helped make my trip in 2005.

Anonymous said...

you are my inspiration!