We understand that mountaineering is not for everyone. Recovery Beyond recently expanded its programming options to include other physical outdoor activities to accommodate the varied abilities of our program participants. Backpacking is one of these activities. For the inaugural backpacking trip this summer (exciting, we know!), Recovery Beyond decided to backpack to Spider Meadows, a gorgeous alpine meadow hike located close to Leavenworth, Washington. There was a limit of eight people for this trip. In June we had seven participants from the Tacoma Rescue Mission and Seattle Union Gospel Mission, our program partners, signed up to participate in this trip. Program participant numbers fluctuate for a variety of reasons throughout the year, including graduation from our partner programs before our program year ends, moving, and getting a new job. We ended up having two program participants for this trip. The trip was broken down into three days, and on each day, physical abilities were put to the test, relationships were strengthened, and ample time out in nature was enjoyed.
Day 1: Riverton Union Gospel Mission to Spider Meadows
On day one, the team, consisting of program participants and Recovery Beyond team leads, set out from Riverton Union Gospel Mission early in the morning. They drove to the Phelps Creek trailhead, prepped their gear, and began their backpacking journey together to Spider Meadows at 1:30 pm. They planned to arrive at camp around 4:30 pm. Spider Meadows was about 6 miles from the trailhead. The weather was warm, muggy, and there were quite a few bugs. The team hiked for an hour, took a break for ten minutes, and then repeated this pattern of hiking and taking a break until they arrived at camp around 5:00 pm. Once they arrived, they found a beautiful camping area in the meadow to set up camp. There were wildflowers everywhere and it was a gorgeous sight to see! After setting up their tents, they made dinner and filtered their water at a nearby creek. They were thankful to be able to enjoy a beautiful sunset and evening stars together, and then headed off to bed around 10:00 pm.
Day 2: A Hike to Spider Gap
On day two, the team woke up around 7 am, ate breakfast, and set off on a strenuous hike up to Spider Gap around 9:30 am. It was a beautiful hike and nature was in full effect all around. Spider Gap became the new physical high point of this expedition, with an elevation of 7,100’. The team arrived at the pass around noon, ate lunch, and then returned to camp for the evening, arriving at 3 pm. During dinner that evening, everyone took turns reflecting on the trip thus far, their experiences, and what it meant to be together as a team.
Day 3: Packing up and heading out
The team awoke at 7 am to a fair amount of rain on day three. They decided to eat a cold breakfast and pack up camp quickly. They hit the trail soon after, around 8:30 am, and were back to their cars before they knew it, around 11:00 am. They rendezvoused at a diner in Plain, Washington, for a warm lunch. Out of the rain and inside with good food, they were able to have a moment to reflect, connect, and celebrate a great weekend together in the backcountry.
Reflection on Teamwork
Teamwork can present itself in many ways. It can present itself as a safety measure on a mountain being roped up together. It can present itself as active listening to make sure all needs and concerns are being accommodated and met so that a goal can be achieved. It can be the sharing of kind words to encourage and motivate one another. It’s the understanding of everyone’s abilities and strengths. Teamwork, ultimately, is being able to work together toward a goal and knowing that you need each other’s strengths and dedication to be able to find success. This backpacking trip brought out new opportunities for Recovery Beyond’s program participants to become part of a team and to build new relationships. Just like a trail leading to a beautiful place, new and strong relationships are pathways to a place of lasting sobriety. Overall, the trip was a fantastic inaugural success and we look forward to our next backpacking adventure!
If you’d like to make a gift today to further our mission and allow others the opportunity to participate in this program, please click here. Our team thanks you so much!
Recovery Beyond will continue to expand its programming this fall. Many exciting, new ways to get involved are on the way with our soon-to-be launched “Climbing Up” program, which will be the next phase of our “Climbing Out” program. “Climbing Up” will offer even more ways for our community to be involved with our organization. It will also be a place for the sober community (and those who support it) to maintain healthy lifestyles, build relationships, and have new experiences together. Please take the time to look at our current program schedule (see below) and sign up to volunteer with us here.
If neither the fitness or hiking activities fit your schedule currently, we have other ways to get involved. Start your own fundraiser here and/or volunteer remotely on our admin side with storytelling, social media amplification, outreach, and other administrative tasks here.
The success of our organization depends on the help of our community. Thank you for getting involved and supporting our mission of building healthy lifestyles for lasting recovery!
Type: Weekly, Year-Round
- Seattle Men – M/W/F @ 10:30am
- Seattle Women – TU/W/[email protected] 3:00pm
- Tacoma Women – Tu/F @ 11:30am & W @ 3pm
- Tacoma Men – M/W @ 8:00am & F @ 9:00am
- October 19 – Annette Lake
- November 16 – Mason Lake
- December 14 – Gold Creek Snowshoe
Want to get involved with Recovery Beyond and aren’t sure where to start?
How about becoming a Recovery Beyond Fundraiser and starting your own campaign? You can help others live healthy lifestyles for lasting recovery by setting up your own fundraiser today. What you do matters and has a greater ripple effect than you’ll ever know. We know YOU can make a difference in helping us achieve our mission. You’re just a few clicks away from helping someone change their life.
We are excited to implement our new fundraising kit here at Recovery Beyond. This kit is available to anyone who would like to fundraise with us. It’s simple and easy to use. You’ll be given the tools you need to be successful at fundraising.
Need a reason to fundraise? Fundraisers are a thoughtful way to memorialize a loved one, to celebrate a birthday or special occasion, and so much more. Are you riding in a race, running a long course, climbing a mountain, wanting to support those in recovery, or simply just being an amazing human being through your mere existence? Get others involved in what you’re doing and start a campaign today.
All campaigns benefit Recovery Beyond. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your interest in helping us achieve our mission of helping others live healthy lifestyles through lasting recovery.
We can’t wait to see you achieve your fundraising goals and will be here to support you along the way!
To get started, view the Fundraising Kit.
Mountaineering is not an easy sport. It requires intense physical strength, training, practice, patience, and an admirable mental fortitude. The odds may be stacked against the mountaineer at times, but the way the mountaineer handles an unexpected, undesirable, potentially unsafe situation is by far the most inspirational of all the things a mountaineer can do. Reaching the summit is exciting, but the real success lies within the mountaineer’s decision-making skills on safety and awareness of personal limits.
Everyone is following their own path in life and is developing their abilities and skills within their own timeframe. They are doing what is authentic to them. Not everyone is built for mountaineering; it’s a tough activity. It’s an impressive feat to even get part of the way up a mountain. The amount of time, dedication, training, and perseverance that goes into that alone is amazing. Let’s not forget that the National Park Service only allows so many people up on the mountain at a time, too!
Defining success is relative to each person in question. Success may be reaching the summit. Success may be getting to a new high point on the mountain. Success is choosing to stop drinking or using and taking the first steps to change. Success is being one hour sober, one day sober, one week sober, one month, one year, and so on. Success to some may be getting out of bed in the morning. Success to others may be getting a highly sought-after career position or completing a difficult project or working through a hard diagnosis. Success is pushing oneself to achieve something greater than what one already possesses whether it be physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual. Everyone is different and everyone has their own measure of success. Most importantly, everyone can be successful if they try. It’s as simple as that.
60 people participated in Recovery Beyond’s program last year. Recovery Beyond works with both the Seattle Union Gospel Mission and Tacoma Rescue Mission. Program participants with Recovery Beyond are also involved in programming with these two rescue missions and maybe on a different trajectory than the timeline Recovery Beyond has available. Life circumstances such as acquiring a job, moving, or graduating from the rescue mission’s programs may result in an individual moving on from Recovery Beyond’s program before completing the program. Graduating from Recovery Beyond’s program doesn’t define that person’s success, though, just as summiting a mountain doesn’t necessarily define success for a mountaineer. Graduations, new jobs, new homes – these individuals are quite successful! Even if they have to leave our program early, they benefit from the skills they have learned and from the relationships formed during their involvement.
Success at Recovery Beyond is not a mountain summit. It’s a new high. It’s re-establishing a connection with a community of support. It’s creating new, healthy relationships. It’s getting that new job or that new home because of a healthy lifestyle. It’s being roped up together in life and celebrating each other’s unique achievements. Recovery Beyond believes that everyone has their own measure of success and that individual successes should be celebrated!
The journey is almost always better than the destination. The best part? The views keep on getting better and better. Starting this fall, the view is about to get a whole lot better with Recovery Beyond as we introduce our new Climbing Up program. Climbing Up will be open to anyone interested in being part of a sober community that focuses on healthy lifestyles for lasting recovery. New programs, new relationships, new ways for the community to be involved, and new supports are all waiting to help individuals continue to be successful and flourish.
How will you continue to define your own success? How will you share your success? Stay tuned for more information on how to be a part of our Climbing Up program!
Roping up on the mountain and in life
On Thursday, July 18th, through Saturday, July 20th, Recovery Beyond’s mountaineering program, with combined leaders and participants from Tacoma Rescue Mission and Seattle Union Gospel Mission, went on their second and last multi-day mountaineering trip of the year to Mount Baker. The trip was split into three days. On day one, the team reviewed travel and approach. On day two, the team camped and reviewed skills training. And, on day three, the team attempted a summit, descent, and traveled home. For any of our participants to qualify for this climb, they had to meet a certain number of other physical requirements, including hikes and a previous climb.
Day 1: Review of Travel and Approach
Weather: 50’s, overcast and cool, with light rain for the first couple of hours of the ascent
On the morning of the 18th at 7:00 AM, the team set out from Riverton Place Union Gospel Mission in Burien, Washington for the Mount Baker-Easton Glacier climb beginning at Park Butte trailhead. After a quick coffee stop, the team arrived at the trailhead at 11 am and began getting their gear prepared while also enjoying additional snacks and water. At 12 pm, the team set out on the trail with a plan to arrive at camp around 4:00 pm, hiking for an hour or so, taking a ten-minute break, and then continuing with this pattern until camp was reached. Once the team reached camp, they set up tents and a kitchen/eating area. Around 6:30 pm, dinner and reflections of the day were both shared as a group. The team reviewed travel and approach. At 9:00 pm, the team went to bed, ready to rest for the night.
Day 2: Camping and Skills Review
Weather: 50’s, low-visibility with clouds, eventually breaking open to some sun and sights of the mountain
The team arose at 7:00 am, had breakfast, and by 9:30 am prepared to review snow school skills for Cascade glacier travel. The leaders led the skills training, covering the review of an ice axe, cramponing, and the self-arrest maneuver. After practicing rope travel, walking on a rope, stepping over the rope, rope intervals, and communicating as a team, everyone set off to eat lunch and rest. Around 3:30 pm, the team ate an early dinner, and had a team meeting at 4:30 pm. Everyone prepared their packs, crampons, ice axe, helmet, clothing, food, and water for the climb the next morning.
One of our team members, Sarah, found the ascent to be more challenging than expected. The team came up with a new plan for her, which was an important call and one that had been discussed during the weeks leading up to the climb. There was a beautiful hike to a fire look-out nearby on a well-marked trail, and the next morning Sarah planned to hike to the fire look-out with Becky, one of the team leaders.
The entire group went to be around 6 pm, with a wake-up call of 1 am for those climbing to the summit. Sarah and Becky had a wake-up time of 7 am.
Day 3: Summit, Descent, and Travel Home
Weather: 50’s and clear with gorgeous, endless views
The team woke up at 1 am, ate hot oatmeal, and were roped-up and ready to begin the climb by 2:15 am. They hiked for about an hour and twenty minutes before taking a break at 3:30 am and continued this hiking-and-taking-a break pattern until 5 am. At this time, they were 1,000’ from the summit. The group was traveling well and showing strength and endurance. At 6:30 am, the team arrived at the summit! They took some photos, high-fived one another, and enjoyed the gorgeous views.
The began their descent an hour later and arrived back to camp around 10:00 am. At 8:30 am, Becky and Sarah had headed off on their own side-adventure to the fire look-out to enjoy the mountain and the beautiful views from a different perspective. The original plan was for both parties to meet up on the trail, and through thorough communication, ended up deciding to just reconvene at the trailhead.
Once back at camp, the climbers took a short rest, and then began to pack up the camp. At 11:30 am, the team set off back downhill. By 3:00 pm, they had arrived back to the trailhead, meeting up with Becky and Sarah.
As per usual, the next stop was a well-earned dinner followed by travel back home!
The climb was a success. The whole team had the pleasure of enjoying gorgeous views that morning while reflecting on their journey in life to get to that point. Recovery Beyond believes that team-building and relationship-building are important factors for maintaining lasting sobriety. This trip wouldn’t have been successful without a team in place who knew how to trust and communicate with each other. The concept of roping-up together applies not only to mountaineering, but to life off the mountain as well. Being able to build healthy relationships and to feel support from one another is how we ultimately find our new high points in life. Our team supports our program participants by listening to them, advocating for them, mentoring them, and by simply being a good friend to them. Our success rate for our participants is high. These healthy relationships, evident in the success of this trip, help create healthy lifestyles for lasting recovery, which is the mission of Recovery Beyond.
If you’d like to make a gift today to further our mission and allow others the opportunity to participate in this program, please consider making a donation today. Our team thanks you so much!