A Summer in the Woods


Raegan Jacob

This is what a week’s worth of food rations looks like. It has almonds, raisins, rice, powdered food and other items. It is heavier than it looks!

Raegan Jacob, Staff Writer

Anasazi is a program based out of Arizona. It’s a non-profit wilderness therapy program that hikes in the Tonto National Forest. This program is mainly for teenagers and young adults with mental illnesses or substance abuse problems. At Anasazi, there are separate “bands” for girls, boys and walkers over 18. Each band hikes around 35-45 miles a week through the Tonto.

Each walker learns to make fire with their hands, by using different plants and trees. After the hiker’s first week, it is up to them to create their own fire within their bands in order to eat a hot meal- the staff won’t make the fire for them. (Unless it is an emergency, of course) Every walker recieves a fresh set of clothes every two weeks: one t-shirt, one pair of hiking pants and one long sleeved button up shirt. Yes, they have to wear those clothes for the whole two weeks until they are given new ones.

Every week, the walkers receives a food pack. The pack is around 15 pounds and has mostly dry food in it. The main source of protein is rice and lentils, that’s where the walkers get their energy for hiking. There is also powdered milk, butter, cheese and gatorade. There are also walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds and a few other items. To stay healthy during hiking, each walker drinks about 6 or 7 canteens of water daily, and each canteen is 32oz.

Almost all of the walkers have said that Anasazi was a great experience. Although it can be tough sometimes when they drink muddy water, they say it had some kind of impact on their lives in some way. Being fully submerged in the wilderness can be very peaceful for some people, and that is sometimes exactly what a person needs to de-stress, and regroup.