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the durango diaries

An exploration of this southwest corner of Colorado, experienced through work in wilderness therapy, an expressive community, and outdoor adventure. Shared as stories, photos, and poetry. 

Navigating the diaries

A multimedia approach to living life on the wilder side

The Durango Diaries is an opportunity for me to share my adventures and experiences working and living in and around Durango, Colorado. Through my stories, poetry, and photography I'd like to paint a picture of life as a field guide in wilderness therapy, both in the field and out in the community.

My hope is that, through this platform, I am able to bring awareness to work that's done as a wilderness therapy field guide, and share what life looks like beyond the field. I will honor client confidentiality and keep the focus of my work solely on experiences that can be shared publicly. 

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What is wilderness therapy?

A brief overview of the therapy that's getting us outside

So, I had the same question too. Wilderness therapy is, put simply, a form of therapy that takes adolescents and young adults in crisis and plops them in the middle of nowhere, to first stabilize and then learn tools for self-efficacy under the mentorship of licensed therapists and field guides.

For More Robust Definitions:

  1. Wikipedia says it pretty well
  2. Shouting at the Sky is a good book about WT
  3. Open Sky explains different clinical approaches
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What is my role as a field guide?

Basically, I'm in charge of asking unreasonable people to do reasonable things for eight days at a time. This is hard. There are confrontations, blowups, crying, bickering, and laughter. My top priorities are safety and supervision. I'm constantly counting students to make sure all are present. Kids have to call their names while they pee and poop. They give us their hiking boots and rain gear at night. There are knife protocols, fire protocols, constant communication with the guide team, and safety watches. We push students to do their work, and celebrate their efforts with ceremony. There is a lot of babysitting - asking the same student 10 times to clean out his cup, coaching a student to unpack his tarp backpack to retrieve his only pair of socks that he packed for a six day expedition into the desert. Many are students who hate themselves, lack the self-worth to take care of themselves, and the guide team is there to make sure they are safe, warm enough to avoid frostbite, full enough to maintain weight, hydrated enough to keep normal body functioning. It's demanding, and exhausting, and exhilarating. 

navigating the diaries

Click the images to jump around the diaries, or follow the link 10.24.17 - Introduction to proceed chronologically.

WINSTON SALEM WRITER, WINSTON SALEM PHOTOGRAPHY, WINSTON SALEM HIKING, WINSTON SALEM BACKPACKING, TRAVEL CHILE, PATAGONIA BACKPACKING, ARGENTINA BACKPACKING, GREATER PATAGONIAN TRAIL, GREATER PATAGONIA, WINSTON SALEM RUNNING, WINSTON SALEM YOGA, YOGA WINSTON SALEM, YOGA INSTRUCTOR WINSTON SALEM, RYT CERTIFIED YOGA WINSTON SALEM, POWER YOGA WINSTON SALEM, HOW TO BACKPACK CHILE, HOW TO TRAVEL CHILE, HOW TO TRAVEL WRITE,