Women of Color Wilderness Trip

6-Day High Sierra Empowerment & Healing Retreat

with Ursula Jones & Miho Aida
Women of Color Wilderness Trip
Date: July 04, 2021 - July 09, 2021

Early Bird Price: N/A
Regular Price: $925
Type of Program:


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 a woman, trans-inclusive, and as non-white such as Black, Hispanic/Latinas, AAPIs (Asians and Pacific Islanders), Native Americans, Indigenous people and mixed race people.

Trip Details

July 4th-9th, 2021 at the Golden Trout Wilderness School

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 public lands.

BR’s Mission is to inspire health and wellbeing through deep connection to nature and spirit. These courses include mindfulness practices, hikes and shared adventure, journal writing and personal reflection, facilitated group experiences and much more!

With COVID-19, many of us may have experienced challenges and have been feeling the toll of pandemic and isolation. We want to dedicate this retreat space to women of color who seek to connect with their spiritual self in nature.

Through sharing and reflecting on both challenging and uplifting stories in tandem with nurturing self-care practices, we create a welcoming and supportive space for collective healing in nature. Each one of the participants & instructors comes with their own wisdom. Everyone has something to offer and something to receive from each other.

Come reconnect with yourself and find peace. We want our participants to walk away with a feeling of empowerment for their own self-care so that they can take care of their community and the earth.

During the course of this retreat we will focus on connecting with our inner and outer landscapes, sharing story and meals, spend healing time in nature, building community, exploring identity, reflecting in our journals and, and resting with an incredible community of women of color in the beautiful Golden Trout Wilderness just south of Mt. Whitney.

“These safe places are important for WOC. Thank you for allowing this trip to happen. It was an indescribable and unforgettable experience. This is an opportunity that is hard to come by. Thank you for allowing this space to be ONLY WOC.” -Past WOC Program Participant

Program Price


Tuition Assistance is available through Balanced Rock upon request.

Tentative Itinerary

We will incorporate many rituals, cultural practices and mindfulness practices that help us bond and ground ourselves. We will respect and celebrate many identities, cultures and experiences. Our instructors are excited to share some of their traditions and knowledge. Ursula will begin each morning with blessings and will share basket weaving, songs and stories from her Yosemite Ahwahneechee/Mono Lake Paiute Kuzedika/Coast Miwok/Kashaya Pomo culture, and Miho will share her ritual from Japan before and after our meals as well as meditation practices.

July 4th: hike in to the camp (2.5 miles) Meet at trailhead by 1pm to walk in together

July 5th – July 8th: See below sample schedule which will include possible activities such as: meditation, art & natural history day hike, basket weaving class, group hike, optional challenge hike or peak ascent, yoga, sharing circles, wilderness navigation practice, etc.

July 9th: Morning practice, breakfast, closing circle, hike out to the trail head (2.5 miles) Return to trailhead by 1pm.

Sample Daily Schedule for July 5th-8th

  • Morning blessings with Ursula
  • Breakfast & pack lunch
  • Hike to destination
  • Lunch along trail
  • Afternoon activity
  • Free time
  • Dinner
  • Evening circle by fire or candlelight

*Registered participants will receive a detailed Welcome Letter with the exact trailhead location, what to pack, and other important info.

Covid-19 Safety Protocols

We will follow general guidelines of social distancing and masks inside spaces. Note: we will be having meals outside and participants will sleep in tent cabins, their own tents, or outside under stars.

In order to participate in this program we will need documentation of:

  • You have received your 1st shot of the COVID-19 vaccine*
  • A proof of a negative test within 72 hrs of the program
  • Signed COVID waiver (will be required at registration online)
  • No signs or symptoms of flu upon arrival

*We acknowledge that although we would like a full vaccination to be a requirement to attend the course, we understand that not everyone can get fully vaccinated in time. Those who are fully vaccinated can share the documentation and that’s all they need to submit. For folks who are not vaccinated, we ask to receive 1st shot and a proof of that in tandem with proof of a negative test within 72 hrs of the program. We are asking for vaccination because in this wilderness setting instructors may have to respond to any minor or major medical situations during the program and potentially have a close contact with participants such as providing CPR. For this reason, we are requiring a full vaccination or at least one shot of vaccine.

Please feel free to contact us directly with any questions or concerns on the COVID-19 Safety Protocols.

About the Location

This wilderness retreat will be held in a beautiful remote place on the Eastern slopes of the High Sierra at an elevation of 10,200ft. We highly recommend spending a night before the trip at an elevation of 6,000-8,000ft in order to allow yourself to acclimatize to the altitude and avoid altitude sickness. We will base out of the Golden Trout Wilderness School in GTC Wilderness and access trails in Sequoia National Park and US Forest Service.

We will be sleeping in tent cabins and there will be an amazing cook on staff. Most dietary needs/requests can be accommodated. There are pit toilets and a rudimentary shower at the camp.

Our team is happy to offer recommendations on nearby lodgings and accommodations to help you plan for this trip!

About the Instructors

Our experienced BR guides identify as WOC and have many collective years of wilderness guiding, group facilitation, local knowledge and wilderness risk management to draw from. See their full bios below:


Ursula Min-ne-ah Jones was born and raised in Yosemite Valley! Min-ne-ah means Beautiful Meadow in Mi-wuk and Ursula was born in a beautiful meadow in Yosemite Valley and born into a family of strong cultural heritage – of basket weavers, and Medicine People Healers. She is the oldest sibling of 5 and has close ties with her four younger brothers.  Ursula was raised learning the way of her people…the old way. The Yosemite Ahwahneechee and the Mono Lake Paiute Kuzedika ways from her Gramps, Ralph Parker. Coast Miwok & Kashaya Pomo ways from her Grandmother, Julia Parker. She has been taught to be the keeper & teacher of these cultures that not many know. Ursula has two beautiful children, Naomi (26) & Parker (20). Both have been taught at a very young age to know the history of the people they come from & will carry this vital history on when it’s time.

Ursula has been a teacher of basketry, which she learned from her mother, Lucy, and Grandmother, Julia, and has passed on to her daughter Naomi. They are 4 generations of weavers that teach together throughout the U.S. They have had opportunity to teach in Norway, sharing knowledge & learning the native Norwegian style of weaving. Ursula has always been a part of her traditional heritage. She dances the old way in the Roundhouse, wearing the regalia passed on to her. Being a part of the old ways is very important to her—learning & watching & listening to her Gram & Gramps. She is a teacher, a healer, a basket weaver and she will teach those who ask. The old ways are deeply instilled in Ursula and she shares her knowledge lovingly and generously.

Growing up in Yosemite has always allowed Ursula the opportunity to be outside in nature. She loves hiking, skiing and climbing. In her teen years she was a junior Olympic ski racer, was always on the snow.  She loved the winter outdoors so moved she moved to Mammoth in the Eastern Sierra-Home of the Mono Lake Paiute. Ursula found herself teaching skiing & snowboarding for 14 years.  Her love of healing practices has also allowed her to become a massage therapist, CNA, and dialysis technician on the Bishop Reservation.

Every year, Ursula walks the traditional Indian Walk that her Gram (Julia Parker) started 30 years ago which follows the old trade route between the Paiute and Ahwahneechee.  She even carried both of her children in utero on this strenuous walk. She has also hiked the John Muir Trail.

Ursula currently lives in Mariposa, CA with her husband Boone Jones and dogs Smokey and Boozer, where she can be close to her Gram, her family, her birthplace, and share her many talents with her community.

Miho Aida| Educator, Filmmaker & Activist

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 an environmental science educator and Equity & Inclusion Manager at NatureBridge, a member of Leadership Council for PGM ONEDiversify Outdoors and its Outdoor Industry CEO Diversity Pledge steering committee.