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.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

News Flash: Wilderness Heals Hikers Discover New Old Man of the Mountain on Jefferson

New Hampshire's most iconic landmark, the Old Man of the Mountain--a series of five granite cliff ledges that, when viewed from the correct angle, appeared to be the jagged profile of a face--collapsed on May 3, 2003. But during a recent training hike on the 5,712-foot Mount Jefferson, Wilderness Heals hikers discovered another Old Man of the Mountain--on the Caps Ridge Trail. Above: Victoria, Trish, Laura, Amy, Esther, Christine, and Beth set off for the summit of Mount Jefferson.

Laura, Esther, and Christine take a break on the Caps Ridge Trail.

Although round-trip mileage for Mount Jefferson is short at five miles, the trek up the Caps Ridge Trail is notoriously one of the most difficult hikes in the Whites. It's enormous boulders and multiple false summits, as well as the region's unpredictable weather patterns, make Jefferson far more challenging than its mileage suggests. Above: Hikers make their way through fog on the Caps Ridge Trail.

Hikers looked up to see the new Old Man of the Mountain looming in the fog.

Although the group did not summit Mount Jefferson, they enjoyed stunning views from numerous false summits. Above: Beth, Trish, Esther, Christine, Laura, Amy, and Victoria gaze into the Great Gulf Wilderness.

Clearly, this hike involved a lot of scrambling down muddy slabs and boulders.

Sadly, Christine's pants were a casualty of the hike. It's a good thing she had all of her required safety gear, including her long underwear!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Choose Your Own Adventure on Mounts Morgan and Percival

Anyone who grew up in the 1980s is likely familiar with Choose Your Own Adventure, a series of children's books that allows the reader to make choices that determine the main character's actions. After the reader makes a choice, the plot branches out and unfolds, leading to more decisions and multiple endings. And so it was on the five-mile loop over Mounts Morgan and Percival: hikers could chose to summit via scenic cliffs or through caves. They decided to scramble through the caves, which required passing their packs through the extremely narrow openings before wedging themselves through. On their way down from Mount Morgan, they climbed through a second set of caves and discovered a ledge with a 40-foot drop. The only way to get down was via three wooden ladders that were bolted to the side of the cliffs. Everyone agreed that the ladders and caves were their favorite part of the day because, although they were the most challenging, they allowed for the most teamwork. Above: Ginevra, Vicky, Kathleen, Michaela, Jo-Ann, and Keri on the summit of Mount Morgan.

Keri takes a brief break as she climbs Mount Percival.

Kathleen wiggles through the narrow opening of the cave on Mount Percival.

Vicky squeezes her way through a cave.

The sun shines through an opening in the cave.

Michaela and Kathleen climb to the summit of Mount Percival.

Sisters Michaela and Ginevra summit their first mountain together.

Fourth of July on the Hancocks: A Hail of a Celebration

There were no fire works at the summits of North and South Hancock on July 4, but there was thunder, lightening, rain, and hail. Five Wilderness Heals hikers completed the 10-mile loop over the 4,420-foot and 4,319-foot mountains in record time, despite the extreme weather, swollen river crossings, and horribly flooded trails. Above: Vicky, Emily, Anna, Jenn, Lucia, and a friendly visitor take a break at the summit of North Hancock, shortly before the storm rolled in.

Prior to the completion of the Kancamagus Highway, North and South Hancock were two of the most remote, inaccessible peaks in the White Mountains.

Emily, Jenn, Anna, and Lucia have lunch before attempting the steep climb to the summit of North Hancock.

North Hancock is flanked to the northeast by Mount Carrigain, to the south by Mount Huntington, and to the west by Mount Hitchcock.

More Rain, More Fog--Just a Typical Day in the Whites

Thanks to the unseasonably rainy New England summer, there wasn't much to see at the summit of the 4,315-foot Mount Osceola. But that didn't deter a group of Wilderness Heals hikers from climbing to the top. Thankfully, the clouds broke long enough for everyone to see just a little bit of a view.

Karen, Debbie, Nechama, Barbara, and Theresa take a short break on the way to the summit.

Barbara, Keri, and Nechama break for lunch.

Debbie and Karen smile in spite of the rain.

Mount Osceola is named for a Seminole chief. When it's not raining, views from the summit cover a large portion of the White Mountains, extending from Mount Washington in the northeast to the town of Waterville Valley in the south.

Debbie and Theresa are thankful for their rain gear!

Beth laces up her boots.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Wilderness Heals Interview on Mix 98.5

Last month, local radio station MIX 98.5 interviewed Amy Howard and Anna Wells about Wilderness Heals. Amy is the Hike's event coordinator, and Anna is a second-year team leader coordinator and an 11-year hiking veteran. Click on the link above to listen to the interview.