Women of Color Wilderness Trek

4-Day Advanced Yosemite Backpack

with Miho Aida
Women of Color Wilderness Trek
Date: June 30, 2022 - July 03, 2022
Location: Yosemite National Park Wilderness
Early Bird Price: $645 if purchased by April 15th, 2022
Regular Price: $695
Type of Program:

BOOK NOW


Program Details

Balanced Rock has been offering a Women of Color* (WOC) Wilderness Retreat since 2004, offering programs that provide empowering opportunities for WOC to gather in supportive communities while exploring beautiful natural areas and connecting with the lands. We’ve found that women — and specifically women of color — are highly under-represented in the backcountry. Balanced Rock’s mission is to inspire health and wellbeing through deep connection to nature and spirit. In 2022, we are offering two programs as dedicated spaces for WOC communities!

This advanced backpacking trip will explore identity, community, and transcending both internal and external limitations, along with learning essential backpacking skillsets to feel comfortable and empowered in the wilderness.  During this 4-day course, we hope to share our love for the Yosemite wilderness by introducing women of color to the beauty of its backcountry while educating participants on how to access these outdoor spaces with confidence and preparedness.

Backcountry skills we will explore: how to get a backpacking permit, how to get gear and what to pack, how to read a map, basic first aid and hazard management skills, how to plan/prepare food, cooking classes, etc! Our goal is for participants to feel self-assured and empowered to go into the backcountry after this trip, equipped with these essential skills. We are so lucky to have the incredible Miho Aida back again as trip leader for this program! You can read more about Miho in the “About Your Guide” section below.

This trip is tailored for individuals who have had previous backpacking/advanced hiking experience, and will require trekking along moderate to hard trails at high elevation with a heavy pack. The prior backpacking experience can be defined as having done “at least one or two backpacking trip(s) within the previous three years that have been two nights or more.” Please read the full list of requirements for this backpack here, and don’t hesitate to reach out to our team with any questions.

A dedicated space for women of color* who seek to connect with their spiritual self in nature.

*Women of color: any individual who self-identifies as trans, woman, non-binary, intersex, two-spirit, and/or genderqueer and as non-white such as Black, Hispanic/Latinas, AAPIs (Asians and Pacific Islanders), Native Americans, Indigenous people and mixed race people.


What is included?

This 4-day backpacking adventure features:


Sample Retreat Schedule

Please note this schedule is tentative and subject to change based on the needs of the group.

Check back soon for an updated schedule for this program!


Where will this trip take place?

This backcountry adventure will take place in Yosemite National Park, located in northern California. Known for its dramatic granite peaks, cascading waterfalls and high alpine landscapes, this World Heritage site has been a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers since its official establishment as a national park in 1864.

Yosemite National Park is the ancestral homeland of the Southern Sierra Miwok (Miwuk or Me-Wuk), with seven local tribes having ties to Yosemite National Park: the American Indian Council of Mariposa County, Inc. (aka Southern Sierra Miwuk Nation), Bishop Paiute Tribe, Bridgeport Indian Colony, Mono Lake Kutzadikaa, North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians of California, Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians, and the Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians.

How much does it cost?

$695/person 

Balanced Rock strives to offer affordable programming to all of our interested participants, and no one will be turned away due to lack of funds. Please inquire with our team if you are seeking financial assistance to attend this program.

What should I bring?

Each participant will receive an email from us with any relevant packing instructions for this trip closer to the start date. You can view our general pack list for a backpacking trip here as you begin to plan for this journey. Balanced Rock has loaner gear available, so please ask our team if you are interested in our gear loan program!

Health & Safety Policies

In order to ensure the health and safety of our participants and staff, we will require one of the following for attendance to any Balanced Rock in-person program in 2022:

  1. Proof of full vaccination status against COVID-19
  2. Proof of a negative COVID-19 test performed within 24hrs of the event start date

All participants will be required to read and sign the Health & Safety Policy for 2022 Programs at registration.

Cancellation & Refund Policy

We understand plans change. As a small nonprofit, we can offer a partial refund of the program price minus a $50 administrative fee up to 30 days before the program start. Any cancellations after this deadline will not be eligible for a refund. All participants will be required to read and accept our Cancellation and Refund Policy upon registration.


Why Affinity Spaces? 

Affinity spaces allow the opportunity for people with shared identities to gather in the absence of folks from the dominant group to build community and see themselves and their experiences validated and reflected. Often folks who have identities that are marginalized in society (Black, Indigenous, POC, LGBTQIA, Disabled) find that they are the “only one” in professional settings. Additionally, they are often asked to speak on behalf of the group they identify with. Racial affinity spaces are a strategy to disrupt this norm by empowering folks with marginalized identities to take leadership and claim space for themselves in the environmental movement.

The reality is that BIPOC folks often have to have conversations about identities, race, oppression white supremacy, etc., from a young age, and it’s important to have space where BIPOC voices are centered without tokenization and that do not rely on BIPOC folks educating non-BIPOC. 

The affinity spaces that will be hosted will provide an opportunity for BIPOC employees to see themselves reflected, celebrated, validated, and to build community. One of the goals of these affinity spaces will be to create a framework for ongoing affinity space or employee resource groups for racial affinity and for other communities whose identities are marginalized in society. 

Resources: 

https://arrow-journal.org/why-people-of-color-need-spaces-without-white-people/


Still on the fence about attending?

The Balanced Rock team is deeply committed to offering support for all interested participants for our programming. Schedule a zero-commitment 15-min call with one of our team members to get your questions answered and receive further info about this program!


About Your Guide

Miho Aida (she/they) is originally from the Island of Rising Sun, aka Japan. The two characters of her name 民 (mi) 穂(ho) represents her parents’ wish for her to become a creator of the greater democracy and a protector of people, culture and environment. Her birthdate is a day that the US Congress officially recognized as Women’s Equality Day. Miho thrives to live up to her name and birthdate. She is the founder of an environmental media project called “If She Can Do It, You Can Too: Empowering Women Through Outdoor Role Models.” By producing videos and films of dynamic outdoor women of color, Miho hopes for girls and women of color to have role models who look, sound and live like them so that they know what outdoor careers, adventures and leadership opportunities are possible. As a Liv-Cycling supported adventure cyclist, Miho has taken her award-winning film: The Sacred Place Where Life Begins: Gwich’in Women Speak on bicycle film tours since 2014, riding over 3,000 miles across the country. On her tours, in collaboration with the Gwich’in Steering Committee, the Sierra Club and Patagonia, Miho is calling for a permanent protection of Gwich’in people’s sacred land from oil development in the Arctic. She is a featured athlete among the 2019 World’s Most Adventurous Women in Men’s Journal as well as the recipient of 2018 NOLS Alumni Achievement Award and the 2017 SHIFT Adventure Athlete Award. She also serves as the Director of Equity & Inclusion and Environmental Science Educator at NatureBridge and a member of In Solidarity Project and its Outdoor CEO Diversity Pledge.

BOOK NOW