Recovery Beyond’s Climbing Out program participants continued to build up their fitness during the third conditioning hike of the season Feb. 8 in the Issaquah Alps.
Though it was a drizzly morning, spirits were sunny as Recovery Beyond Program Manager Nate Lanting kicked things off with a demonstration of the rest step and how to walk with hiking poles. Participants and volunteers laughed as they shared their favorite midnight snacks which ranged from jalapeno poppers to popcorn and ice cream.
Then a profound question was posed for the group to contemplate: What do we take with us or leave behind when we’re on the trail? Whether it’s emotional baggage, anxiety or something troubling that happened the past week, do we take the time to reflect on it while we’re putting one foot in front of the other surrounded by the healing power of nature? Or do we engage with those around us and leave all those worries behind? The group got the opportunity to do both as they set off from the parking lot and headed up West Tiger 3.
This close-to-town leg-burner isn’t easy as it winds steadily uphill on old logging roads through a rejuvenating forest, but the team enjoyed the journey along with a few sun-breaks as they connected and continued to get to know each other. “Every time I come out with this group, I feel genuinely loved,” one participant said. Spending time with people who want to get to know you, listen without judgment, and support you in your quest to build a healthy lifestyle for lasting recovery is a powerful thing!
Recovery Beyond’s outdoor recovery community gives all those deciding to get clean and sober a safe place to belong, healing relationships that last a lifetime, and healthy active hobbies. Each of these critical success factors for long-term sobriety came into play during the hike as past adventures, upcoming hikes, questions about life and personal stories were shared.
“The time goes by quick this way, and it can keep us out of our own heads where we sometimes just don’t need to be,” said Recovery Beyond volunteer Scott Brown. “We all have our own way out here in nature, but we must remember to embrace that healing power of it however we see fit for ourselves.”
The Climbing Out outdoor recovery program is offered free of charge to participants in Tacoma Rescue Mission’s addiction recovery programs. This year the Climbing Out team is preparing to climb Mt. Adams in June and Mt. Baker in July, and this was the third of a series of required conditioning hikes which will get progressively harder as the climb dates approach. Learn more about our Climbing Out program.
Our participants crushed West Tiger 3 and celebrated with a leap of joy at the summit! Our next hike is Mt. Si which gains 3,100 feet in a little under 4 miles. It’s a big step up, but participants will be training hard the next two weeks and will no doubt arrive ready for the challenge.
Our efforts are largely driven by the commitment and compassion of our volunteers and donors. Please help us change lives, support our program climbers and expand the program to more participants. Make a gift and sign up to volunteer today.
The Washington Hikers and Climbers (WHC) Facebook group has raised almost $12,000 for Recovery Beyond in memory of our friend and supporter Ann Nelson.
Ann, a moderator for WHC, tragically lost her life in August 2019 while hiking in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Her sudden passing touched many people around the world including those in the hiking and climbing community. We were honored to be chosen by WHC moderators to be the beneficiary of a Facebook fundraiser in her memory.
In addition to being an experienced northwest hiker and climber, Ann was a brilliant physicist and generous community supporter. She believed in providing opportunities for those who are disadvantaged, marginalized, or facing discrimination. Ann clearly lived beyond herself, and this was evident by the outpouring of support the WHC fundraiser received. Contributions rolled in quickly, and the fundraising goal of $10,000 was achieved in just over a week.
Ann became a strong advocate of our work after learning about us from McKenzie Johnson, one of our “super” volunteers. “Ann saw me posting on WHC and followed our Facebook page after that. She was a believer in Recovery Beyond, and me, and I couldn’t be more thankful for that,” McKenzie says. “She was the one who was behind WHC allowing us to post about Recovery Beyond on their page.”
“The first thing we did was ask for gear donations. When we do mountaineering activities, we have to outfit everyone with hiking boots, helmets, and other equipment. We’ll take anything that’s in good condition,” says Nate Lanting, Program Manager for Recovery Beyond. “WHC was having a social, and they let us use that event as a gear drop. All the moderators were on board, but Ann was the champion.”
As a young nonprofit, we were consistently encouraged by Ann and her husband David’s constant support for our program and participants. “Although Ann wasn’t in recovery herself, she connected with the idea of healing and addiction recovery through the outdoors,” Nate says. “One thing that is true of anyone in addiction recovery is the necessity to heal from pain in life. There’s no doubt that she connected with this sentiment and understood it.”
To date, the WHC fundraiser in remembrance of Ann Nelson has raised almost $12,000 for Recovery Beyond. These funds will be directed toward developing a new program, Climbing Up, which will be available to the broader recovery community throughout King and Pierce Counties.
Thank you to everyone who donated for your generous support. We will continue to honor Ann’s memory through bringing people to the outdoors for their health and wholeness.
If you’d like to make a donation in Ann’s memory, you can do so at: https://donate.recoverybp.org/campaigns/in-remembrance-of-ann-nelson/.
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