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Wed, 20 Apr 2016 0:00:00 GMT Marion MacDonald

Finding Yourself in the Middle of Nowhwere

Backpacking with Mirasol Clients

Mirasol’s adventure therapy program includes camping, hiking and also backpacking. Each trip is a logistical nightmare, but we always find that time spent in wilderness is a great way to restore inner peace while connecting with ourselves and with each other in ways that would never be possible within the walls of a residential treatment facility.

In mid-April, we spent three glorious day backpacking with clients in a steep-walled canyon where a permanent stream creates a lush riparian environment. In this extraordinarily wet El Niño year, we lucked out and slipped between unusual April storms. Days never got much warmer than 80 degrees, and the nights were just cool enough that we appreciated our big fluffy down sleeping bags.

The Narrows
Here we are entering the narrows, with the multi-colored cliffs in the distance. I call them the “granola cliffs”.
crossing the stream
There’s no trail in the canyon, so we pick our way along the shore, looking for the best footing, and crossing the stream dozens of times.
cozy campfire
The evenings were just cool enough than we appreciated a cozy campfire.
filtering water
Executive Director Diane Ryan and PHP Clinical Director Katie Klein, pumping water by the stream. It’s great to backpack along a stream where we can filter all the water we need instead of carrying it in our packs. Each person needs at least three liters per day, and it’s easiest with a partner, so we spend a lot of time sitting quietly by the stream with our teammates.
volcanic cliffs
Here’s a good look at the colorful volcanic cliffs that tower nearly 1000 feet above the canyon bottom.
heron
The canyon is home to more than 200 species of birds, including this handsome Great Blue Heron.
heading home
Heading back to camp in the late afternoon light. Local sunset arrives much earlier in the canyon!
wildflowers
Arizona spring wildflowers are legendary, including this colorful prickly pear blossom.
side canyon
Exploring one of the many side canyons. This one is blocked by a stack of large boulders. In the rainy season, a pour-off creates an impressive waterfall.
beetle on a a Russian thistle
Itty Bitty Beetle on a Russian Thistle.
looking forward
I’m already looking forward to our next trip!

Adventure Therapy

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