Womens Wilderness Retreat

About the Experience

This transformative spiritual retreat was designed by Indigenous guides Tracey Klettl and Brenda Holder. This retreat offers an authentic experience and opportunity to learn the generational skills shared by the strong women in Tracey and Brenda’s Indigenous lineage. These women were fire carriers, medicine women and Knowledge Keepers.

This retreat encourages Wild Women to walk a path that awakens ancient knowledge from deep tap, natural roots. Learn how to cultivate balance and the necessary tools required to carry it into everyday practice.  Through the teachings of their Grandmothers, Tracey and Brenda share their knowledge and skills to foster self-reliance and confidence. Teachings include traditional plant medicine, grounding sacred earth walks, shelter construction, natural navigation, bow hunting and horseback riding. 

Situated in the sacred and serene foothills of the mesmerizing Canadian Rockies north of Calgary, Alberta, all the comforts are provided in a quiet and secluded area that supports the renewal of spirit and reconnection. In the company of gentle, curious, resilient women, investigate and re-write your own personal sacred story.

Click here to see the full itinerary!
Womens Wilderness Retreat

About the Experience

This transformative spiritual retreat was designed by Indigenous guides Tracey Klettl and Brenda Holder. This retreat offers an authentic experience and opportunity to learn the generational skills shared by the strong women in Tracey and Brenda’s Indigenous lineage. These women were fire carriers, medicine women and Knowledge Keepers.

This retreat encourages Wild Women to walk a path that awakens ancient knowledge from deep tap, natural roots. Learn how to cultivate balance and the necessary tools required to carry it into everyday practice.  Through the teachings of their Grandmothers, Tracey and Brenda share their knowledge and skills to foster self-reliance and confidence. Teachings include traditional plant medicine, grounding sacred earth walks, shelter construction, natural navigation, bow hunting and horseback riding. 

Situated in the sacred and serene foothills of the mesmerizing Canadian Rockies north of Calgary, Alberta, all the comforts are provided in a quiet and secluded area that supports the renewal of spirit and reconnection. In the company of gentle, curious, resilient women, investigate and re-write your own personal sacred story.

DAY ONE: MEDICINE WALKS

We will be met with a warm welcome at 9AM at the Acclaim Hotel in Calgary (which is situated close to the Calgary Airport).  Our guide will then drive us to the sanctuary of the Painted Warriors Ranch (located 1 hour from Calgary).

Upon arrival at the ranch, the friendly staff will help us get settled into the cozy canvas ‘glamping’ tents before a brief group orientation over hot coffee or a cup of tea. Following orientation, we will head outside for an enveloping walk in the fragrant forest where we will be introduced to the elements, natural navigation, traditional medicinal uses and extracts derived from plants based on Cree culture.

After a wholesome lunch prepared outdoors, we will learn about the intricate designs and importance of beadwork as we work on our own traditional projects, carefully stitched with a beaded pattern.  

Meals Included: Lunch, Dinner
Tonight’s Sweet Sleep: Glamping at Painted Warriors Ranch

 

DAY TWO: TRADITIONAL INDIGENOUS LIVING SKILLS

After a wholesome breakfast, our leaders will invite us to a smudging ceremony. We will begin the day with a sacred earth walk, a meditative journey that establishes a positive start to each new day. This morning, we will learn Indigenous living skills like how to start a fire without matches and the vital role of the firekeeper in traditional societies. Our guide will also demonstrate how resources from the earth are integrated as everyday tools.

After a lunch of swapped stories and good eats, we will continue our traditional education in the forest and learn to tie the knots that were used for shelter building to set up tripods. In these teachings we will hear stories connected to the evolution of shelter construction in the wild.

Our group will then have a crash course in raw food preparation for our evening meal. Tonight’s menu revolves around the benefits of eating naturally sourced food such as vegetables, nuts and fruits.

Satiated, we’ll absorb the magic of the night sky and relax into some casual social time around the campfire before turning in for the evening.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Tonight’s Sweet Sleep: Glamping at Painted Warriors Ranch

 

DAY THREE: CREATING NATURAL MEDICINES

After breakfast, we will have the opportunity to take part in a mindful yoga session.

In the afternoon, following lunch, we will learn how to make natural medicines from plants. Learning about the forest pharmacy at our feet is an amazing lesson in self-sufficiency.

It’s easy to feel rejuvenated after another healthy dinner and natural spa treatment using the plants that we gathered earlier. We’ll take part in a fun group foot soak and replenishing facial treatment before returning to our tents happily exhausted.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Tonight’s Sweet Sleep: Glamping at Painted Warriors Ranch

 

DAY FOUR: ARCHERY

After breakfast, we’ll start our day with a sacred earth walk and morning yoga session to properly ground ourselves.  The rest of the morning will be spent practicing archery, learning local wildlife identification skills and basic bow hunting techniques.

We’ll spend more time deep in the forest after lunch, learning more about First Nations hunting and gathering traditions as we continue our archery journey on a 3D archery course.  We will leave plenty of time to relax before dinner and this evening is a sweet one!  Our talented raw food chef will show us how to make an irresistible campfire dessert.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Tonight’s Sweet Sleep: Glamping at Painted Warriors Ranch

 

DAY FIVE: HORSEBACK RIDING

We will start our morning with an in-depth session on horsewomanship and explore how a horse connects with us and why this relationship is so important. In time, we will learn how to read and understand horses from the ground before we begin the beautiful communication process.

As our confidence builds, we’ll learn and practice riding basics so when it’s time to hit the trail, we will have a full grasp of the safety measures to consider.

Our afternoon will be spent on a short glorious trail ride where we will have a little taste of backcountry riding! Yahoo!

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Tonight’s Sweet Sleep: Glamping at Painted Warriors Ranch

 

DAY SIX: BLESSINGS

After breakfast together, we’ll gather for a special blessing walk. This final walk is a direct connection and blessing from Mother Earth that we can take with us, always, in whatever direction we take next in life.

A shuttle will transport us back to the Calgary airport where we can either continue to explore the bluebird skies and wild expanse of Alberta or catch flights home. We will arrive at the airport around noon so please schedule any departing flights accordingly.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Click here to see upcoming trip dates to book your spot!

Wild Women Expeditions and our local partners intend to adhere to the described itinerary. This is only a general guide to follow on your tour of the region. Our itineraries are subject to change, as we cannot predict the weather or other environmental conditions. We are continually striving to make improvements to all our trips based on feedback from Wild Women members, guides, partners, and other research. We reserve the right to alter itineraries based on the above at any time.

Arrival into Painted Warriors Ranch, Mountain View CountyCalgary is easy to get to by air, rail or road. If you are flying to Calgary to join the retreat and arriving a day early, a pick-up is available at the Acclaim Hotel.If you are driving to the retreat, from Calgary area:1. Take Hwy 1A (Trans Canada) to Hwy 22 (north)2. Turn left (west) onto Township Road 312 (Mountain View County)3. Turn right (north) onto Range Road 514. Drive approximately 2 km / 1.24 mi and Painted Warriors Ranch is on the rightGroup Rendezvous PointThere are two possible rendezvous spots for this trip:Acclaim Hotel

  • Date: Day 1
  • Time: 9 AM
  • Location: Front Lobby (Acclaim Hotel is at 123 Freeport Blvd NE, Calgary, Alberta)

 

Painted Warriors Ranch

  • Date: Day 1
  • Time: Approximately 10:30 AM
  • Location: Please refer to the driving directions above.

 

Notes about Pick-Up

You will be met at 9 AM at the Acclaim Hotel. Your guide will then drive you and the group to the Painted Warriors Ranch located 1 hour from Calgary.


Recommended HotelsIf you plan on arriving early, Wild Women Expeditions recommends the Acclaim Hotel. This is the hotel where you will be picked-up on Day 1 of the retreat, if you are not driving independently.It is near the Calgary International Airport (YYC) and there is a free 24-hour shuttle from the Calgary Airport to the hotel. After you retrieve your baggage, head to the customer service desk in the baggage claim area or find a host in a white cowboy hat and vest (white hatter) and ask for directions to the hotel shuttle pick-up location at the airport.

Departure from CalgaryBook your return flights after 2:00 PM.Drop-Off Point:

  • Date: Day 6
  • Time: Approximately 12 noon
  • Location: Calgary International Airport (YYC)

If you plan to stay and explore or continue your adventure from here, Wild Women Expeditions recommends the Acclaim Hotel.For other options, please visit the Calgary tourism website: https://www.visitcalgary.com/

You are responsible for booking your own flights or other transport arrangements to the trip start location. These arrangements and any other independent arrangements that you may make are not a part of the trip booked with Wild Women Expeditions and are entirely at your own risk. Wild Women Expeditions accepts no responsibility, directly or indirectly, for any loss, damage or injury to property or person in connection with such arrangements.Should you require assistance with your travel arrangements, please contact:Megan and Zale | Now Boarding Travel Travel SpecialistEmail: wildwomen@nowboarding.travelNote: Now Boarding Travel only provides services of 3-star quality or greater. For budget alternatives, please refer to the Lonely Planet guide for your destination. 

Important: For international and remote destinations, there is always the risk of flight delays, baggage delays and flight schedule changes which may cause late arrivals, which may, in return, result in you missing the group tour departure. For these reasons, we encourage you to consider arriving a day early, which will also help you overcome any jet lag from traveling!


You are fully responsible for your own visa requirements, permits, and certificates for your trip. It is the sole prerogative of each country or region to determine who is allowed to enter. It is your responsibility to check with the country’s Consulate and your country’s travel website such as Canada’s for up-to-date information about traveling internationally.

  • Passport

Most countries and airlines recommend passports be valid for at least six months beyond the date of your expected return to your home country. Before you leave, ask your transportation company about its requirements related to passport validity, which may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.

 

US citizens at land and sea borders have other options, such as an enhanced driver’s license, permanent resident card or NEXUS card. See Canada Border Services for approved identification documents.

  • Visa

Visitors from certain countries require a visa to enter Canada. Those who are exempt require an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA; $7 USD), with the exception of Americans. This must be applied for prior to traveling and can be completed online. It usually takes minutes but can take days. See how to apply Electronic Travel Authorization.

 

Note: As fees and policies can change, we highly recommend that you contact your local embassy or consulate for the most up-to-date visa requirements, or see your travel agent.


Retreat guides and staff tips are included in the price of you retreat.

  • Rooming Arrangements

All accommodations are based on double occupancy – two women per canvas wall tent.

  • Potable Water

Potable water is readily available at the ranch. All tap water is good to drink (deep well water that has been tested). Please bring 1-2 water bottles with you.

If you would like to join Wild Women Expeditions in its commitment to reducing single-use plastic, you can travel prepared with your own water treatment system!

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  • Canvas Wall Tents at Painted Warriors Ranch

Painted Warriors Ranch offers quiet, sheltered canvas wall tents equipped with cots with mattresses.

There is a campfire-pit nearby, where some of the programming will take place.

Bathroom facilities, including flush toilets, showers, and sinks, are a short walk to the main building (less than 100 m) from the tents.

Most meals will be served in the main building, as well as the cooking classes and some yoga sessions (yoga may also be offered outdoors).



Wild Women Expeditions recommends that each participant should bring enough cash in local currency or available credit/debit funds to cover their meals during travel to and from their destination. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, meals not included in the trip package, shopping, etc., and we also suggest you have access to emergency funds.

  • Currency Exchange Offices & Banks

Please check online for current exchange rates. Wild Women Expeditions likes XE Currency Converter

We highly suggest you read this article: Where to Exchange Currency Without Paying Huge Fees for more information about this for your trip.


Please be sure to provide complete, accurate, and up-to-date information about your health & fitness level and keep us updated if there are changes. Wild Women Expeditions trips travel to remote areas where limited or no sophisticated medical facilities exist.A medical emergency situation is extremely unlikely; however, should it arise we need to be prepared with the necessary information to help you.Important Note: If you choose not to disclose a condition, infirmity, injury, or ailment herein and are subsequently deemed to be unfit for expedition travel due in whole or in part to such condition, infirmity, injury or ailment, Wild Women Expeditions guides, and partners shall have the right to remove you from the trip with no refund or compensation payable. Any evacuation expenses incurred are payable by the evacuee via their medical travel insurance or personal expense.
Getting FitYou don’t have to be a professional athlete to enjoy your Wild Women expedition. Not by a long shot! You’ll be surprised at what you can achieve with our experienced guides at your side and a little camaraderie.That said, you’ll definitely enjoy yourself far more if you do some preparation so your body is conditioned and ready to enjoy and make the most of the outdoors.Here are a few ideas to help you get ready:

  • Take every opportunity you can to be active.

You can improve your fitness a lot just by adopting some new habits; take the stairs at work, go for a walk at lunchtime, park your car away from work and walk. Aim for 30 minutes a day and keep a diary so you can look back on it and feel proud. These may sound trivial but they’re all building blocks!

  • Rev up your ticker!

Think ‘interval training’, which means doing short bursts of high-intensity work with recovery time in between. Depending on how fit you are this can mean strolling with bursts of power walking, or jogging with sprints. Either way, the aim is to get your heart rate up.

  • Join a local walking or running group.

This is a great way to get fit and you’ll also see new places, meet great people… and make them all jealous when they find out what you’re about to go on your travels.

  • Work on your upper body and core strength.

Weight lifting, yoga and pilates can help with this.

  • Warm up, cool down and stretch.

If you’re doing a workout then make sure you start and finish gently and stretch any tight muscles – this will help you avoid any aches, pains and pulled muscles. If you’re a member of a gym try some yoga, tai chi or pilates classes to build up your flexibility, stability and balance.

  • Hydration.

When you suddenly ask your body to walk or be active, it needs a bit more fuel than it needs when, say, sitting at a desk all day! The main thing your body needs is water, so stay hydrated and practice sipping water often. Getting a water bottle or hydration bladder is a great way to make sure you have it on hand at all times. Make a habit out of taking a bottle of water with you wherever you go.

  • Nutrition.

Eating little and often will keep your body well fuelled for outdoor exercise, especially food like nuts, dried fruit and bread. The odd bit of chocolate and a few boiled lollies are good for keeping your blood sugar levels up while you’re hiking as well!

  • Have fun!

The most important point of all! You are about to embark on the trip of a lifetime. You’re going to meet some amazing people, see some wonderful places and create memories that will stay with you for life. The more prepared you are to tackle the various challenges, the more fun you will have. Also, with all the endorphins you create from all this training, you’ll be smiling from ear to ear! It’s a great way to boost your happy vibes.


For general Wild Women Expeditions FAQs please click here.