We're back from our recent trips to Yosemite and we've been grappling ever since to put into words the magic that happened there. We guided two, 10-day trips, each including an epic 6-day trek through the wilderness of the Yosemite High Sierras. 25 people joined us from all over the country.
Every time we guide this trip, we ask ourselves what we're doing and why? Preparing for these trips takes the better part of a year and is nothing short of planning an expedition: our group of 15 has to be entirely self-sufficient for 6 days in the wilderness.
As beautiful as Yosemite is, it's not just to see the sights. It's also not the physical, emotional and mental challenge these journeys offer (as much as we love a good challenge). And it's certainly much more than a "digital detox" although removing ourselves from the trappings of society is a powerful element of these experiences as well.
It's because we see wilderness as medicine. Long, uninterrupted periods of time in wilderness heal us, teach us and connect us with something greater than ourselves---however you want to define that.
These journeys are also consciousness-expanding. We've experienced it over and over: a day or two in the wild and we start to relax, time slows down and our heart-mind expands. Everything is interconnected and saturated with meaning. Long forgotten memories return. Our dreams are wilder; our relationships deepen. We are more honest with others and ourselves. The world comes alive. Rivers, trees and mountains speak to us, gently reminding us where we came from and why we are here.
We return better for having made the journey. If that's not medicine---what is?