Behind the Scenes Planning for Healing Hikes

The work of healing hikes runs deep into our inner work so necessarily, the planning process calls for an intentional time in crafting. Here's a brief overview of what happens when Tereza and I connect our healing spirits into a walk through these local majestic places. 


Its all about INTENTION. Of coarse its important to know why we're even out here. For Tereza and I, we're empaths and healers and our work is deeply connected to nature. So our intentions are always of being that vessel to support our hikers through their own inner processing. For the clients we guide on the Vicarious Trauma Healing Hike Workshop, a clear intention needs to be there as well. That's why when we talk about this workshop we have a brief consultation call to understand how we can best support the group. For pop-up hikes and others I lead on my own, many of you know we begin our grounding process with crafting a clear intention for the hike. I often prompt hikers with questions like:

  • What challenges do you want to work through today?
  • What [information] does your heart need today?
  • How can this community gathered today and nature support you?

WITHOUT a clear intention, it's like what I say to my partner every time he asks me where something is around the house and I know he didn't look hard enough -



LOCATION, location, location. For me, finding the right location doesn't mean we only hike in specific parks. It means I need to find the time to go out there and CONNECT to the location no matter where it is. Nature is everywhere, even in our busiest city parks and tourist traps. The "location" only matters to me in being able to support a deeper dive into a healing process vs. walking casually in a group like you would as a social recreational activity. So before any hike I look a map of the surrounding location (city) and I look for hiking locations in natural areas and ask myself:

  • What area of this park calls me to gather a (particular) group or person?
  • What's happening around me that gives me insights on how I can hold sacred space for someone?
  • Are there sacred (legally designated or not) places within the park?

I walk on my own, often in silence, doing the same meditative walk I facilitate on hikes so that I CAN COMMUNICATE WITH THE LOCATION. When Tereza and I do this together we communicate with each other as messages (insights) come up for us, individually. And often times it means we each breaks off into individual meditations when the cues come. 


Connecting the TEACHINGS to the LANDSCAPE. This is one of my favorite parts of the process where I get to use my unique approach in blending my academic ecological knowledge to the teachings of our ancestors (indigenous spiritual principals, oneness, wholeness, and interconnectedness). I'm reminded each time I'm out scouting with Tereza that we compliment each other! Her elder wisdom is rooted in Curanderismo; strong, solid, much like a nurturing grandmother and I am the younger healer connected by a modality that has yet to be claimed a name but still evident, empathic, and flowing with the natural dynamics of the land and the people gathered. 

In order to connect these teachings to the actual landscapes, Tereza and I often have conversations with these guiding questions

  • What are the self-care and wellness needs of the group and are there ecosystems in the area they can walk through to connect to their personal growth and healing?
  • What is the history of the land/landscape and can it inform our hikers on accessible ways to revisit on their own time if needed?
  • Are there any parts of the trails ideal for deeper reflection time? 

As an example, on a recent visit to a mid-peninsula park, Tereza and I were planning for a private group. This park has vast areas of wetlands. So the teachings of wetlands as buffer or "filter" zones where salt and fresh water meet before going out into the ocean. It serves is a good connecting point for a group if a presenting challenge comes up around not knowing how to "filter" out the saltiness or muddiness in our life. Wetlands are homes for specific species that function ONLY to be that filter of "stuff" before reaching its next destination. We can then ask a hiker,

  • Who or What can you call on in your life to help you "filter" out the parts of your story (or behavior) that no longer serve you?


GIVING THANKS and PERMISSION. Probably the most important part of the planning process. It is often the part that we take for granted when we go outside. And I too am still guilty of coming onto a site without the proper ritual of GIVING THANKS and ASKING PERMISSION. But it's a very important piece and one Tereza and I have done at each location to honor the natural cycle of giving and receiving; the circle of life. 

To be grateful in our minds for the open spaces and access to nature is one thing. To take it a step further and acknowledge all the forces of creation that make it possible to be in our outdoor spaces and ask for healing is another. A moment on each hike, even on prep-hikes is given for a ritual of gratitude and asking nature for the permission to do the work we are about to do on that land.

It is a sacred ritual we do to serve as our best, whole selves and it is a time where we honor the ancestors that have cared for and nurtured the land since time immemorial. It is also a sacred ritual you can do EACH TIME you are out in nature. 


Join the next hike and experience the intentions we craft for you to go deeper and make connections to your health and wellness in nature!

*hikes are often posted on Instagram, Facebook, and Eventbrite. Private hikes are also available by booking online at or emailing me directly at raynelle[at]