Through the Lens: Photos from our July Backpacking + Yoga Retreats

Explore memories and sacred moments through snapshots from two empowering backcountry trips this past month in Yosemite’s High Sierra


The height of the season when the air is drenched in heat and the Sierra granite sizzles and shines in the summer sun. It’s that time of year when locals and visitors alike wander out of Yosemite Valley and set their sights to higher places–namely the High Sierra–for a little respite from the heat and some sweet, sweet elevation gain.

Here at Balanced Rock we absolutely love this time of year for that reason, and how that evolves the kind of experiences we can offer our participants on our summer backpacking trips. The passes open up, and so do the options for backcountry exploration and deep connection to these sacred spaces within the bonds of community.

We most recently facilitated two incredible treks into the High Sierra, led by a team of wonderful guides and instructors. They were asked to document moments and memories from these trips through photos, here is their story:

Wild Awareness 4-day Yoga & Meditation Trek, Ostrander Lake, July 18th-21st

Wild Awareness participants and guide Breezy Jackson go through the backcountry gear
Saluting the mountains in tree pose
Guide JP Salonen offers an assist in headstand on the 2019 Wild Awareness backcountry trip
The group strikes tree pose during their backcountry adventure this past July
Many thanks to this amazing group for a memorable 2019 Wild Awareness backpacking trip!

Women of Color Wilderness Retreat, May Lake, July 25th-28th

Our WOC program is one that is very near and dear to our hearts, and one of our absolute favorite experiences to share. We believe that women, specifically women of color, are highly underrepresented in the outdoor and Westernized yoga sectors. Since 2004 we’ve offered this program to encourage WOC to participate in these environments, and to foster the belief that these public lands belong and should be accessible to everyone. Every year, this trip invokes powerful and meaningful experiences for the participants and guides. Here are some treasured snapshots from our 2019 WOC Wilderness Retreat as they set out for May Lake:

Hikes through the backcountry
Photo credit: Grace Anderson
The 2019 group poses for a photo lakeside
Photo credit: May Vang
Miho & Sandy keeping the vibe high during the rainstorm!
Photo credit: Sandy Hernandez
Balanced rocks and High Sierra sunsets
Photo credit: May Vang
The group takes in sweeping views of the High Sierra
Photo credit: May Vang
The group gathers amidst sweeping vistas
Photo credit: Grace Anderson
Smiles all around!
Photo credit: Endria Richardson
Swim anyone? Cooling off in High Sierra lakes!
Photo credit: Grace Anderson
Sharing and empowerment in community by way of the backcountry
Photo credit: May Vang
Mountain silhouettes and High Sierra sunsets
Photo credit: Bryana Moore
Our incredible instructors for the 2019 WOC trip, Miho Aida & Grace Anderson
Photo credit: Grace Anderson
Smiles, community and bonding bubbled over on this 2019 WOC trip!
Photo credit: Bryana Moore
What a group of incredible humans! We are so grateful for these strong participants and our talented instructors for guiding another amazing WOC trip!
Photo credit: May Vang

A huge thank you to all the participants & guides for sending their photos from these two adventures, and to the entire BR support staff for making these experiences happen.

If you are interested in attending one of our trips please visit our programs page for more details, we will be posting our 2020 trips this winter!


  1. I really didn’t know some of these things before which you have informed us through your helpful and informative article!! keep sharing awesome stuff.

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