Women of Color Advanced Backcountry Journey

Yosemite 5-day Yoga and Empowerment Trek

with Chelsea Griffie and Elizabeth Sy
Women of Color Advanced Backcountry Journey
Date: July 28, 2014 - August 01, 2014
Location: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne River
Early Bird Price: $675 by May 28, 2014
Regular Price: $750
Type of Program:


Join an incredible community of inspired women on the backcountry trip of a lifetime! Practice the skills of backpacking accompanied by yoga practice and creative writing exercises to help you explore your inner and outer landscapes.

We’ve found that women — and specifically women of color — are highly under-represented in the backcountry. In this five-day advanced course, we hope to share our love for the Yosemite wilderness by exploring the beauty of its backcountry in a supportive environment. The incredible guidance of Chelsea Griffie, celebrated outdoor educator and Elizabeth Sy, co-founder of LushOrchid make this trip like no other. These instructors create a safe space for learning, while inspiring participants to go beyond their comfort zones for an empowering and rewarding experience.

Our core curriculum of yoga and reflection is incorporated on this trip as much as weather and time allow. Outdoor yoga classes on glacially polished granite expanses allow us to unwind after a day of hiking. Balanced Rock values time set aside for journal-writing and sharing in order to reflect on personal growth and achievements during the trip. There will be plenty of time to savor, and enjoy the mountain landscape of the high sierra.

As featured in Outdoor Afro: Black Women DO Camp – Experience Yosemite this Summer! Our annual Women of Color Backpacking Retreat began in 2004 and, to our knowledge, remains the only program of its kind for women of color in the country. Scholarships are available.

Want to donate to help support our Women of Color programs? Click here.


  • Backpacking, hiking, and camp-craft skills
  • Shared adventure with other women of color
  • Outdoor yoga, journal writing, and personal reflection
  • Immersion in granite peaks and forests of the Yosemite wilderness
  • Fresh meals include local and organic ingredients


Monday , July 28
We will gather at the White Wolf trailhead at 9 am. Our first day will be full of activity and excitement. We encourage folks to arrive by 8am so we can really get on the trail at a reasonable time. We will start with introductions and an orientation to the course. We begin our adventure of mind, body, and spirit. We will leave White Wolf (7875ft) elevation and drop into Pate Valley (4200 ft.) We will get as far as we can with ample time to set up camp, enjoy dinner and after dinner activity. There will be time for conversation, sharing stories, and stargazing as we settle in for our first night in the mountains. Our first day on the trail will include important instruction in backcountry travel skills, Leave No Trace, hiking and camp-craft, interwoven with yoga asana and meditation practice.

Tuesday, July 29
We greet the morning sun together and welcome the new day. After a nourishing breakfast, we will pack our backpacks and hit the trail, continuing to follow the Tuolumne River amidst mile-high canyon walls! We will match our pace to the needs of the group and the weather and trail conditions. Our hiking pace allows for time to enjoy the presence of the tall trees, spectacular rock formations, and mountain streams along our route. Our lunch break includes opportunities for group discussion, journaling, and soaking in the surrounding peace. After lunch, we continue our mindful journey towards camp. Together we create our home for the evening and share a delicious dinner prepared by the group. Evenings may include guided yoga practice, sharing ideas, and free time to relax in the serenity and peace of the backcountry.

Wednesday and Thursday, July 30 and July 31
The next two days will follow a similar schedule as we adapt to the rhythms of nature and adjust to the specific needs and desires of the group. There will be a combination of hiking, yoga, meditation, and other group activities to complement the experience and joy of our connection with nature. Some day hikes may take us above the 10,000 ft. elevation mark. Our final night will be spent camped near the Glen Aulin High Sierra camp (7800ft).

Friday, August 1
Our final day brings us to Tuolumne Meadows (8,800ft), the perfect place to celebrate and close our trip. As we move with the rhythms of nature, and because we are now in sync with the routine of wilderness travel, we continue with our morning sessions. After enjoying our last breakfast in the field, we pack our backpacks and begin our hike back to the trailhead. We will have gear cleaning and organization, fill out evaluations and say goodbye. Some people may choose to stay on for the weekend and join our Women of Color 10-year celebration. After putting closure on our journey together, we will conclude by 2 p.m.

Price Includes

Professional instruction and guiding, campground and permit fees, first-aid supplies, and group gear for backpacking and camping. Balanced Rock provides delicious and high-quality meals, cooking gear, and water purification supplies.

Not Included

Transportation to and from your hometown to Yosemite, park entrance fees, and personal items.