I knew my 6-day backpacking course to the Snowy Mountains with Women’s Wilderness was going to be great, but I had no idea that it would be such a life-changing experience. When I set off to Wyoming on that hot summer’s day in July with 10 girls that were practically strangers, I had no idea that we would all feel like sisters by the end of the trip.
Over the course of the trip, we all learned how to set up tents, cook food in the backcountry, and survive in the wilderness. One of the many thrilling aspects of the course was being able to decide as a group where we would sleep at night. That, as well as many other things, made me feel very free while I was on the trip.
Every night, we did a Bead Ceremony, when the girls and leaders would reflect on their day and add a bead to their bracelet. I remember that the leaders were so kind, understanding and helpful, and how it was so powerful to be in an all-girl group. We really understood each other, and we each experienced the thrill of the wilderness.
But of course, every good experience has a bad side to it. This experience came hand in hand with......bugs! By the end of the trip, I had at least 50 mosquito bites! But I tried to look past that and made the most of the course anyway. That was probably what Sally* was trying to do as well, but she was homesick and miserable for most of the trip. When a horse wandered into our camp on our last night, Sally’s attitude changed completely. She loves horses and feels a strong connection with the animals.
The horse incident was pure magic - I’m sure of it. Along with the beautiful views, thrilling night noises, crying for joy and sadness at the same time, and the feeling of peacefulness I had during the trip, Sally’s transformation was one of the moments that made the Wild Voices backpacking course unforgettable. Although I faced mental, physical and emotional challenges throughout the trip, I know that the course made me a stronger, better person. If every girl in America could go on a Women’s Wilderness trip, the world would be a much better place. I feel even more confident now that I have gone on the Wild Voices trip, and I know I will be successful in life, whatever I do. The spiritual aspect of the course, especially, was overwhelmingly powerful to me, and I know I will continue to see the girls and leaders I met on the trip for many decades. I can’t wait for my next course with Women’s Wilderness!
I hope those of you are in the Boulder/Denver area will come to Gear and Cheer on Thursday April 23, at Rembrandt Yard in Boulder and help support the programs that help make strong girls and strong women.
* Name changed