Women in the Wild: Backpacking Trip

The wild is calling from within, calling from without. Will you listen?


A WOMEN’S BACKPACKING TRIP in the name of the wild.

September 14-18
Trinity Alps, CA

please note that if there is still ample smoke in the Trinites, we will choose a different location…

This trip is almost full! If it fills, please jump onto the waitlist!

Pre-Trip Skype meeting September 10th at 6pm PST

Register here.

This is the wilderness trip you have been waiting for. Framed in a mythic story from Women Who Run with the Wolves, we gather for the work of the soul.

Nature calls us back to ourselves, home to our most elemental rhythms as women. It is where we come from, and this we have always known. Indeed, there is a Great Remembering waiting for us in the cathedral of the wild, stirring our life blood in ways that nourish and anchor us once again to our vital core- instinct, aliveness, wisdom and beauty. These days together will touch this naturalness in the palm of nature herself.

This retreat will carve a river of light in body and soul as it draws from the practices of MogaDao Archetypal Qigong, land based ceremony and ritual, the oracular book Women Who Run with the Wolves, creative writing, community sharing and solo time.

This is no ordinary wilderness trip. It is a dive into the work of soul, of cycles, and of wildness – yours and that of the earth. Honest sisterhood, the bone stirring memory of your purpose and place in the “family of things”.  Be fed by beauty. Honor the cycle you are in. Come back home to yourself. Gather the courage to see hard truths, the fire to make important changes, the support to dive deep. Be nurtured. Be seen. Come for adventure, for solitude, for sovereignty and challenge. Come for mind-bending beauty and ceilings of stars.

This trip will be intimate, breathtaking, and truly life-changing – it will stand as a pivot-point of 2018.

So much more than a backcountry adventure, this is a deep initiation into your most elemental self and a return to the wild woman within that calls to you in your deepest longing.

Indeed, there is a great remembering waiting for us in the cathedral of the wild, stirring our lifeblood in ways that nourish and anchor us once again to our vital core: instinct, aliveness, wisdom, and joy. The creation energy of life itself is the drum beating behind this rhythm. These days together will carve a river of light in your body and soul.


  • No prior backpacking experience is necessary, however you must be comfortable and able to carry a 40 lbs backpack at elevation for stretches up to 6 miles in a day. Physical fitness is essential for this trip, and though covering miles is not the goal of our trip, it will be physically challenging and take us to our edges. This does not mean it will be easy-breezy for you- just that it is within the means of your current physical abilities.
  • Participants must  have experience, capacity and inner resources for navigating emotional, psychological and physical challenge and growth. This trip will be an encounter with your own truth and self, which can sometimes bring things to the surface. It is important that participants have the inner capacity to navigate their own inner journey and what might arise in their process.

Trip Details

  1. This trip begins in the Trinity Alps on September 14th at 10 am. Location of trailhead HERE. There will be car camping nearby this meeting spot, if you’d like to camp the night before, or the nearest town with lodging is Coffee Creek CA.
  2. We will aim to return to cars on the 18th by 4 pm, so we have a full day on the land.
  3. We will gather for a pre-trip Skype meeting Monday September 10th at 6 pm PST, to meet each other, answer any questions and bring our group energy together. 
  4. There will be no group transportation for this trip. Participants will meet at the trailhead. Once the trip has filled, we will send an email linking folks up for potential carpools from Ashland and the Bay Area.
  5. We will journey into the backcountry to rushing rivers, high mountain lakes, magical meadows and beautiful forests. We will hike approximately 12 miles with full packs over the course of our trip, and an additional 6-8 without packs.  There will be elevation gain in this climb.
  6. Our week together will create a space for connecting deeply with yourself, your own truth and soul. We will draw from practices of MogaDao Archetypal Qigong, land-based ceremony, wisdom and ritual, the Gateless Writing method,  the oracular book Women Who Run with the Wolves. We will ebb and flow through various activities and atmospheres of exploration, including sacred physical practice, writing, land-based activities, meditation, silence, movement, hiking, group sharing, solo-time, story and laughter…lots of laughter.
  7. Rather than using the wilderness as backdrop for an outward pursuit of adventure, we will be acknowledging and listening to her as a central and animate character in our own wild and human journey. We will attune to the land and allow her to inform and influence us, instead of the other way around. We will slow down and attune to a more natural rhythm that will allow us to see, hear and feel in ways that that elude us in the business of our daily lives. Our mornings will begin in silence.These trips dive deeply into inner transformation and exploration. They will ask a lot of you- they will ask for honesty, vulnerability, humor, a willingness to look and see, to grow.They are gentle, they are fierce, they are wild, they are sweet. We laugh, we cry, we hike, we share, we write, we sing, we practice, we dive deep, we soar high.
  8. You will walk away feeling recharged, nourished, more aligned with your life and intuition, connected to the fire inside you, and deeply aware of the preciousness of this sacred life.


4 payments of $350 or 1 payment of $1300.
Financial aid is available – please email admin@theelementalself.com with a personal request about this need and your desire to join the trip!


Register Here

Backpacking Trip

    We will be able to accommodate for Vegan, Veg and GF. More specific dietary needs can be augmented with your own food supplies.
  • I understand that Sarah Byrden and The Elemental Self utilizes a number of different contexts, approaches and practices depending on the particluar course of study and work I have signed up for. These include but are not limited to MogaDao Qigong, MogaDao Sacred Daoist Sexuality, MogaDao 5 Element Yoga practices, Chinese 5 Element Theory and application, meditative and therapeutic inquiry, wilderness immersion, elements of archetypal and Jungian psychology, and the Gateless Writing Methodology. I am aware that my work with Sarah Byrden is depth work that has the potential to impact my body, mind and spirit and may release or uncover emotions, mind states and spiritual states that can be at times challenging, however beneficial and integrated they may be in my long-term well-being. I understand that some of these practices involve physical movement that may, from time to time, be strenuous, and that such practices carry some risk of injury. I also understand that I must judge my own capabilities in regard to my work with Sarah Byrden. I agree to take full responsibility for not exceeding the limits of my body and for any injury that may incur from my practice. I acknowledge that it is my responsibility to ascertain my physical, mental and emotional readiness to engage the practices and work that will be offered and I acknowledge that it is my responsibility to inform Sarah if this changes during our work together. I am aware of and take responsibility for these aforementioned potential challenges as I embark in my work with Sarah Byrden. I also recognize that though Sarah Byrden is extensively trained in her various arenas of expertise and holds multiple certifications, she is not a licensed therapist, counselor, or doctor (including not a Doctor of Oriental Medicine). I agree that if I need further support and resources for my care and health (be that mental, emotional, physical or spiritual) I will seek and obtain guidance from a licensed health care practitioner. I hereby waive and release any claim that I may have at any time for injury and/or liability of any sort against Sarah Byrden or The Elemental Self, LLC I have carefully read this release fully and understand and agree to the above.

Please be sure to check the email address that you have entered on the registration form. You will receive an important welcome email, as well as all pertinent updates about the trip there. I can’t wait to journey into the wild with you!

I will be leading this trip with Kelly Shelstad of InnerGuide Expeditions. Kelly is a world class guide and facilitator. She brings a shining heart of gold, keen intuition, big vision, and a diverse and honed skill set.

Kelly and I LOVE working together and have a fantastic collaborative synergy. It’s contagious.




Can’t make this trip? Sign up here, and you’ll be the first to know about our 2019 Wilderness Trips!

I feel like I have my life back.

Words often fail me when I want to convey just how impactful this experience was and remains for me. Not a day goes by that I am not reminded of something that was touched, seen, felt, or healed from this trip. Of all the learning experiences I have signed up for thus far in my life, being led into the wild by Sarah has touched me more deeply than any other, and I am so happy to have this work forever ingrained in my soul. If you need your connection restored — to self, to others, to nature, to the wild in us all — this is one path I highly recommend.

If you are feeling the itch inside, the rising tide of knowing that something is ready to shift for you — something you may not be able to put words to yet, but something nonetheless is calling to you from inside…. calling for space, calling for attention, witness, accountability, clarity, direction, ownership, reflection… this trips provides a perfect container for you to access all of what you need RIGHT NOW for your life, sourced from within and tended to by nature and by Sarah’s skillful, loving guidance.

It is difficult to put into words how powerful and life changing this wild woman trip was for me. It was a process that worked through my mind, body, heart, and soul…I reached places on this journey I had no idea existed. It was challenging yet incredibly fun and felt free flowing…This trip has changed my life drastically and I will be forever grateful.

It was easily one of the best experiences of my life thus far, and I loved every bit of it. This is probably the first workshop type experience I have ever been a part of that I walked away completely and utterly satisfied with everything that had been offered….my own experience is that my expectations for this trip were completely exceeded in every imaginable way. I’ve never felt so safe in a group of women

I fell in love with every single person on this trip.


Fullsizerender 4

Be the first to know about Sarah's upcoming workshops, retreats, courses and speaking engagements.

I respect your inbox. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit