Welcome to Reclaiming Your Wild
Content and information for those interested in participating in hiking and backpacking retreats
“They say total life transformations can’t begin on social media; and the anti-capitalist in me doesn’t want to admit that a targeted ad while scrolling Facebook woke something up in me; but on the other hand, I’m here to tell the truth, and the truth is, that’s what happened. It was just after Christmas of 2020, and I saw an ad from a company I had bought one pair of shoes from previously. But this ad was for their hiking boots, and I thought to myself, “I want to be the kind of person that needs to wear hiking boots.”
I’m not trying to argue that an ad or a new product can actually change your life. Though an ad was the sort of inciting moment here, what happened was I felt a pull in my gut, a knowing if you will, that I needed to get outdoors. The irony is my husband had been saying he wanted to hike more for years, and a good friend of mine has been hiking and camping with her kids for at least 20 years, and I’d told both of them, “no thanks, that’s not me” to multiple invitations in the past. I guess that goes to show you no matter how old you are, you should try something before deciding you don’t like it.
We can’t lose sight of the importance of telling the truth about ourselves to ourselves. The question of who we want to be when we grow up is one that we are always in the process of answering, I think. But telling the truth to ourselves about ourselves is the basic building block of our relationships with everyone else.” Inward Apocalypse, pp. 102-103
I’ve written before about my experience having my wild discouraged and tamped down as a child and young adult and how it took me until the last few years to reclaim it and discover the holy in the wilderness and the wild within me.
As a theologian I’ve become increasingly bothered by the tendency of those in faith conversations to use the wilderness as a metaphor for all the bad things, for the lonely times, for the times you’re fighting for survival. It exacerbates our ongoing disconnect from the natural world and we continue this disconnection to our own detriment as well as the detriment of the natural world.
You see, the natural world is the context for everything and thus we ignore it to our peril. We cannot properly understand ourselves, our society, or Scripture if we ignore the grander context that all of this takes place in.
We talk of natural revelation and then ignore nature, and we remove the healing the natural world has to offer us from our reach. We shut ourselves in and away instead of understanding ourselves as a part of nature, as a part of the ecosystem for better or worse.
Well, I’d like to help change that, and one of the ways I’ve thought of doing so is by leading hiking retreats to help small groups at a time reconnect with themselves and nature. If this is something you’re interested in at all, if there’s a tiny voice inside of you calling you back into the wild, stay tuned for more information on retreat options coming in the Fall of 2023.
Cabin-based retreats where we participate in day hikes along with mediation, reflections, and other exercises to rediscover and reclaim the wild within us. These would be more accessible to those who are just getting started with getting back into the wild and for those with physical limitations who cannot sleep on the ground or walk as much (or any, some particpants may just enjoy being in the setting of the cabin and the surrounding area).
For a more back-to-nature experience, similar retreats could be based at a group campsite where participants stay in tents instead of cabins. Participants without tents and camping gear will be able to rent it.
Then there will be introductory backpacking experiences from one-to-two nights. Those who haven’t backpacked before can rent gear, so the lack of gear need not dissuade you from trying a guided wilderness experience.
All food and lodging will be included in each retreat, but if you travel from out of state to reach the retreat, that travel will be up to you to arrange. I plan to keep costs as managable as possible while taking into account participants food allergies and so forth.
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