Submitted By: Ashley Barry, VP of Organizational Development

Last fall, I had the opportunity to combine two loves of mine: the outdoors and great company. Korrin and I set off on a long weekend in what we fondly call the Adventure Prius. Although rather small and of questionable wilderness driving ability, the Prius seems to get us to where we want to go: Away. Away from the city, responsibilities, task lists, mobile phones, the internet, and the other accoutrements of modern life. Cranberry Wilderness in West Virginia was the destination – ­about as “away” as one can get from Washington within a few hours of driving.

This photo essay is not a trip report, nor is it a backpacking “how to.” Rather, it is a call for women to get away, to get outside to discover what is inside and to reexamine what is really important in our lives. It is a call for women to put themselves and their spiritual growth first, a task with which many of us often experience difficulty. Put this task at the top of your list in 2016, and let the following guide you:

Get out and go

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Have a little fun (and enjoy your morning coffee)

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Stop to notice the little things

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Take a moment to feel small

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Accept that in backpacking, as in life, some trails are clearer than others (and prepare yourself with a good map, a compass, and orienteering skills)

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Take time to breathe and find your center

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Celebrate milestones

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Don’t forget to look up

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Celebrate the finish line (and have a pair of clean clothes waiting for you)

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