Interview with first time hikers–Katherine, Sarah and Sara!

I had the opportunity to meet with some of the Wilderness Heals hikers of 2015 and the pleasure of finding out their goals and what they want to get out of this hiking season! Ever wonder if a new hiker has some of the same worries or anxieties about committing to Wilderness Heals as you? Today we are going to dive into some of the reasons, goals and expectations these hikers have for this year. We also get some tips and tricks on fundraising and hear about their favorite part of hiking!


Meet Katherine (left) and Sarah (right)!

First up I had the pleasure of interviewing two NEW hikers to Wilderness Heals, Katherine Gekas and Sarah Kacevich. Katherine found out about WH from a yoga buddy, veteran hiker—Sarah Bansen! Sarah Kacevich’s story went a little differently but had heard about WH/ESH from a few different places. First, Sarah was early to a job interview and was trying to waste some time so she popped into 10,000 villages, which was hosting a fundraising event for the Elizabeth Stone House. After that, Sarah had received a list serve email and also lives nearby ESH so she was learning more and more about everything they do.

One of the things I was most interested to hear about was each of the hiker’s goals/expectations and what they were most excited for or worried about. So when I asked Katherine she said she was looking forward to a fun weekend bonding with other women, she did admit that after a long day hiking she can be a little whiney, but we laughed about it and I could totally relate, I have definitely found myself whining to my roommates about being sore from a long hike. The part Katherine was most worried for the three-day event was that she has food sensitivity and she talked about calling ahead at the huts to relieve some of that stress. I also suggested backcountry because you make all of your own meals, but you know that I am biased towards backcountry! I assured her that any route she decided to do we would find a way to accommodate her needs, we often have hikers with dietary restrictions.

Sarah is very much excited for the challenge of hiking and is hoping for skill building, support and success (I have a feeling she is in the right place!) One thing Sarah said she was worried about was her fundraising. I think this often is a stress for new hikers, so we talked about some ideas and I let her know about the blog and some of the ideas that are posted here!

When I asked about fundraising secrets or plans, Katherine had this wonderful idea of hosting an her walk where she would teach folks about weeds and their medicinal properties. Sarah was excited to be hosting a fundraising party where she had some local businesses donate goods for the party. Sarah also said she put together an Etsy shop where she sells tapestries and would donate the proceeds to her hike.

Lastly, I wanted to know what these hikers loved about hiking in the outdoors, Katherine said she loves breathing in the fresh air and Sarah felt most at home in the wilderness and was looking forward to being relaxed.


Meet Sara (right) and veteran hiker, Victoria (left)!

After I got the chance to interview Katherine and Sarah, I had the pleasure of interviewing another first time hiker, Sara MacKenzie! Even though this is Sara’s first year with Wilderness Heals she does have hiking and outdoor experience with YOP, YNPN, working an overnight camp and currently she works at AMC. Sara initially found out about Wilderness Heals through a list serve but she now works with veteran hiker, Victoria Sandbrook-Flynn at AMC who convinced her to take the leap. Sara is pumped to get to know the White Mountains, because even though she has a lot of outdoor experience she hasn’t spent much time in the Whites. She is also most excited to get to know people on a deeper level and figure out which route she wants to be on for the three-day event. The thing Sara is most worried about is finding time and planning out her summer as far as fundraising, training hikes and she also worries about being in shape for the hike. (that’s why we have training hikes!)

In Seattle Sara worked at a womens transitional housing, so she is looking forward to supporting women get back on their feet with the Elizabeth Stone House and getting to learn more about how Wilderness Heals supports ESH and all that ESH has to offer. Sara’s plan to conquer her fundraising is to team up with her fellow co-worker, Victoria and encourage coworkers to donate and support both of them. Lastly, Sara’s favorite part about hiking is the beautiful scenery!

Now that we have gotten to know these three new hikers, let’s see how their goals and expectations line up with veteran hikers… week in PART 2! Thank you so much to Katherine, Sarah and Sara for letting me interview you at the Wilderness Heals BBQ, I appreciate your insight and willingness to share your thoughts and stories with me and the WH community!

Happy Wilderness Heals Wednesday!


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