Scene report from my Arizona hiking + writing retreat in February

Although I’ve hiked thousands of miles with many different groups of people, before February I’d never facilitated a guided hike quite like this one. I scouted a dreamy stretch of trail in southern Arizona, booked a rental, convinced my friend KK to come cook for us, helped everyone build their gear lists, and hoped for the best. In the end, the hikes were incredible; the weather in the desert, the food, the people. There was laughter, endorphins, adventure, growth, creativity and peaceful cozy nights under the stars. Below are testimonials from the 10 participants.

Cindy says:

I had a wonderful time on Carrot’s Arizona hiking and writing retreat. It was my first time backpacking after a fairly traumatic birth, and I was scared. Carrot’s pre-trip coaching sessions had me feeling logistically prepared, but was I strong enough? Turns out, I am plenty fucking strong, but most importantly, that it wouldn’t have mattered even if I wasn’t. Carrot was right there with us the whole time, k-taping knees and blisters, teaching us about the local flora, finding water, guiding us across tricky navigation points and most importantly, troubleshooting and leading us with calm and experience when the going got rough (hail in the desert? injuries? not a problem with Carrot there!). I had a magical time, made some really awesome friends and left finally feeling confident with my post-pregnancy body. So will you!

Bailey says:

I had the best experience on the AZT section trip in February with Carrot, KK and all of the people I was lucky enough to get to know. Having a queer/woman/trans space was HUGE and instantly felt like a community. The food was delicious, the hike taught me so much, and Carrot was super cool, helpful, and friendly. I did not feel judgment or competitive vibes from anyone and I gained so much confidence in myself as a backpacker. Will come back for another trip for sure!

Kaiden says:

I was nervous signing up for the trip as someone who had minimal backpacking experience and a lot to learn. The nerves quickly dissipated upon arrival. Carrot, KK, and all of the trip participants were so helpful, kind, and encouraging. I loved being surrounded by women, trans and non-binary people. The trip definitely pushed me physically! At the end, I felt so accomplished and empowered. A big motivator for going on the retreat was to prepare for the PCT— test my gear, test my limits, and hear firsthand experiences. I can confidently say that when I stepped on the PCT a month later, I was ready. I felt so grounded in myself and sure of my gear. It truly made all the difference! I am immensely grateful for the retreat!

Louise says:

I’m so glad I went on this hike with the group and with Carrot. It was my first time on a multi-day hiking trip and I felt warmly guided and supported all throughout. This part of Arizona is insanely beautiful and special, with views I’ve only seen in dreams before. Carrot was attentive, responsive, patient and caring all through our days on the trail together. They truly bring a special presence to the experience and are as inspiring as the landscape we were in. Our group of women hikers held a positive, mutually supportive and safe space for new hikers like myself. A month later I am still integrating the deep wisdom and beauty the land and elements imparted to me on this trip. I’m now confident in my abilities to keep myself safe and on-track on my own multi-day hiking and camping adventure.

Max says:

Carrot made us a trip of rare and amazing beauty! She put together a group of really beautiful souls and took us to a really special place at a perfect time of year. When I had a trail accident, she and others heroically took care of me, hiking out with me and then all the way back in again.

I would recommend Carrot as a guide for anyone, but on this trip I saw she is especially good at leading hikers relatively new to hiking. Carrot is rare mix of kindness, skill and teaching ability.

Even though I couldn’t complete the hike, I can truthfully say I had a fantastic experience in a majestic place with some exceptionally dope people.

Jina says:

I’ve always wanted to backpack but the idea of doing it alone was overwhelming to even think about. After enjoying Carrot’s writing and books for years, I knew I had to go hiking with them on their retreat. Carrot created an atmosphere that was lighthearted, challenging, and incredibly all kinds of type 1 fun.

Rebecca says:

I spent a few days backpacking a 35-mile section of the Arizona trail with a group of women and non-binary people who are reinventing themselves and doing whatever the fuck they want! The Sonoran Desert was so lush and I got to make a bunch of new friends, eat delicious food, and hang out with my ultimate hiking role model Carrot Quinn. The trip was kick ass! I left feeling so energized and excited!

Christine says:

I LOVED this trip. You can’t ask for a better guide than Carrot. I 10/10 recommend her to anyone who is interested in learning backpacking skills in a supportive and fun environment. I had only done one overnight trip before this one, but now feel ready to do much longer trips, and turn my dream of hiking the AZT into reality. Maybe I’ll be AZT Class of 2024?

Jen says:

If you are even remotely thinking about going on a hiking trip/retreat with Carrot, stop dithering and sign up already! I was honoured to be part of their first trip and it was fantastic. I learned so much about hiking and gear and built up enough confidence about thru hiking that I’m now planning a long trail for next year. Carrot is just as funny, warm, and thoughtful as they seem online and in their books. The other participants were beautiful people and I had an amazing time. I would love to do another hike with Carrot.

Hannah says:

It didn’t surprise me that the group of people Carrot brought together were amazingly kind and warm people. As someone who already has backpacking experience, this trip still taught me new things, introduced me to a beautiful trail, allowed me to meet some wonderful people who I hope to hike with again and grow friendships with. It was a great opportunity to not only backpack somewhere beautiful, but also do it with some great folks!