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, May 17, 2008

Wilderness Heals Hikers 'By the Great Hill'

On a rainy Saturday morning, seven Wilderness Heals hikers set off for Wachusett Mountain in Central Massachusetts. By the time they reached the trailhead at ten o'clock, the skies had cleared and the sun was shining--a perfect day for a training hike. Hikers who scaled the 2,006-foot mountain included first-year hikers Linda Ballance and Megan Foret, and veteran hikers Susan Genatossio, Jenn Guiry, Vicky Waltz, Anna Wells, and Donna Whyte-English.

In Algonquin, Wachusett means "by the great hill." It is the same root as the word Massachusett, which means "people of the great hill." Although there are many moderate trails that lead to the top, hikers chose a more challenging route to the summit. Following the Bicentennial Trail, they wandered through a forest of tall oak, maple, beech, and hickory trees before turning onto the High Meadow Trail, which led steeply uphill.

Next, they turned onto the Jack Frost Trail, which led into a thick grove of hemlock trees that quickly gave way to a series of smooth, pillow-shaped bedrock that was polished by the glaciers that retreated more than 10,000 years ago. Wachusett is the remnant of a lone peak that once rose high above the surrounding plains, independent of any other mountain range. According to geologists, the peak was once a towering 23,000 feet, but was gradually worn down by glaciers and erosion.

After a short stretch on the Lower Link and Harrington Trails, hikers enjoyed a leisurely lunch at the summit, where Megan and Linda had their pictures taken. Afterward, it was only a short, half-mile jaunt back to the parking lot.

Megan stands on the summit of Mount Wachusett.

Linda stands on the summit of Mount Wachusett.

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