At Chrysalis, recreation is a huge part of healing. Recently, we took eight girls on a fall backpacking trip. On the first day was a short hike to an alpine lake. When we arrived, the girls set up their tents near the small streams that meander through the forest. One girl set up her hammock nestled between two trees with a nice A-frame tarp shelter set up above it. While dinner was being prepared, the girls built a fire to enjoy, sharing stories and laughter as the sun went down.
The next day we woke up, broke down camp and hiked to another lake. After we set up camp there and had some lunch, we day-hiked to the top of an unnamed peak that we have called “Chrysalis Peak” for many years. It was a mental challenge for some to walk up the scree field, which was a new type of terrain for a few of the girls. In the end, everyone overcame their fears and reached the top of the peak. At the top, we enjoyed views from all angles. We looked down to the west and saw the town of Eureka and Lake Koocanusa, to the east and could see into Glacier National Park, to the north and saw the Canadian peaks and to the south the Whitefish Range. After soaking up the views and enjoying each other’s company, we made the descent to our camp at the lake. What a beautiful and clear evening! We had pesto pasta for dinner and roasted s’mores around the campfire for dessert.
On the last day, we woke up with a bittersweet feeling that we were heading home in just a few hours. As we hiked out, there were huckleberries that lined the trail the entire way down. Needless to say, the girls arrived in the parking lot with berry-stained fingers and faces. As we debriefed the trip, girls shared their favorite memories about the trip and what they learned throughout the weekend. Several girls shared funny moments and memories and others shared deep insight that they had gained while in the woods. The outdoors gives great opportunities for learning and growth and this year was no exception.