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"Gila Wilderness Backpacking, Ancient Sites & Natural Hot Springs" New Mexico

The Gila Wilderness is very close to my heart. The first time I visited this area was in 2002, and received so much healing, guidance, and direction. I fell in love with the giant Ponderosa Pine Trees and their sweet smelling bark, I relaxed and nourished my spirit in the wild and natural hot springs, and became fascinated with the culture and the people who lived here for a short time and disappeared in history leaving behind amazing pottery designs, and cliff dwellings.


This trip will include 5 days and 4 nights in the back country. We will pack lightly, carrying our own backpacks and make the beautiful trek up through the canyon on the trail. We will be immersed in the amazing cliff walls on each side, the pine, juniper, and sycamore trees, and the wild rivers of this ancient wilderness area. We will walk by dwellings from a culture that disappeared leaving behind only traces of their existence here with shards of beautiful pottery. We will set up our backcountry camp near the natural hot springs and relax in this wilderness setting... a retreat for body, mind, and spirit.

PROGRAM: Along this journey will be opportunities to participate in guided meditations to clear and rest the mind, and to assist you in being more fully open to receive. We will have a focus on being grounded and connected with the earth and elements, and will have optional activities to help you to see where you are on your path, where you want to go, and to move through challenges that may be blocking you. We will work together to dream a healthier, more relaxed, balanced, and open life ahead, and help you step more fully into your spirits expression on earth...with more ease, and more grace.

MEETING PLACE: Upper Scorpion Camp Ground at Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument. There is free camping here on a first come first serve basis. You can check out the camping options here:

MEETING TIME: Meet at 8 AM for a Welcome, Orientation, Intention Setting & Gear Packing

TRANSPORTATION: You are responsible for your own flight and travel to the Meeting Place. You may fly into Albuquerque, NM, Or Tucson, AZ. These are both about a 4-5 hour drive from the campground. Please contact me to see if we can arrange a car share.

DIFFICULTY OF HIKE: We may backpack up to 8 miles in 1 day depending on the group and how heavy everyone packs. The total mileage is just over 14 miles. This can be broken up over a few days or we could backpack all the way in and have a base camp to explore and relax.

ELEVATION: The elevation at the trailhead is 5,669 feet
We will gain 850' in elevation on our planned travel route

WEATHER: In autumn the temperatures are mild during the day and become cold at night. Star gazing is usually amazing. Click here for the National Weather Service forecast.

THE AREA: Although this is in New Mexico, it is the Gila Area, which is mostly high elevations, forested mountains, mesas, and deep river canyons. The world’s largest remaining virgin Ponderosa Pine forest is here. You may see evidence of mule deer, elk, black bear, wild turkey, Mexican gray wolves, which have been reintroduced and can sometimes be heard howling. This is the largest forested wilderness area in the Southwest.

HISTORICAL INFO: Aldo Leopold, a legendary conservationist, convinced the reluctant Forest Service to protect this area in 1924. The Gila was our first officially protected wilderness in the U.S.

ITINERARY: We will travel out and back on the same trail, setting up camps along the way to explore the natural and ancient history of the area. There will be opportunity for ancient teachings in quieting the mind and accessing our inner light.


Jaclyn Ouillette Wilderness Wisdom Guide, has a B.A. in Outdoor Education with a concentration in Wilderness Leadership & Adventure Education. She is a Certified Practitioner of Energy Medicine & Luminous Healing, Practitioner of Generational Healing method, and a Registered Maine Wilderness Guide. She has been leading wilderness journeys focused on self awareness and personal growth since 2004. In 2004 she received the Outdoor Education Honors award and the Outstanding Community Service Award from Johnson State College for her leadership in the local community. She worked as an Instructor for NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) in Wyoming. For several years her focus was in Therapeutic Wilderness and Adventure programs and worked as a Senior Backcountry Field Instructor in Maine, Colorado, Idaho, and North Carolina. A devastating run with a severely debilitating disease, "chronic, late stage neurological Lyme Disease" led her through unsuccessful treatments in western medicine to ancient energy medicine from the Q'ero who lived in the high mountains of Peru. The ancient teachings and energy medicine techniques helped her to heal what her doctors thought was impossible. After 5 devastating years she built her strength back and studied with 3 Master Maine Guides to become registered as a Maine Wilderness Guide and to return to the wilderness in a new way.

David Lonebear Sanipassa Native American Storyteller & Guide will be joining us on this trip. He will be sharing with us some Wilderness Skills, Storytelling, and Ancient Teachings. He has traveled the world and guided hundreds of people through the wilderness. He has incredible knowledge, wisdom, and skills to share with us.

Note: The exact route varies, depending upon weather conditions and the ability of the group. The mileages and elevations are approximate.

* You will need your own backpack, day pack, sleeping bag/sleeping pad, as well as personal gear and appropriate clothing. Cook stoves and cookware will be provided. A complete gear list will be sent to you upon registration. Please contact us if you have any questions

*A non-refundable deposit of $200 reserves your space on this trip. The remaining balance of $600 will be due 2 weeks in advance of the start date. Please contact Jaclyn to register or for any questions.

You may also reserve your space with a deposit Here

Or pay in full Here

I'm looking forward to sharing this journey with you,