Unlikely Hikers is Making the Great Outdoors Way Greater

by Maya Olson

When Unlikely Hikers came on my Reels showing a new colorful hiking shoe collaboration, I was immediately intrigued. After a quick look at their profile, it was obvious that they offered so much more than just gear.

For those new to outdoor activities and wanting to spend more time outside— whether trying new hiking locations, venturing into climbing, or learning how to safely camp— most necessary information is not readily available, and quite frankly, the outdoor community can be quite exclusive and elitist. Although it may seem easy to “get outdoors,” the reality is that gear is expensive, knowledge of your surroundings is necessary, and the great outdoors are not always safe to explore alone. This makes the outdoor community typically white, affluent, ableist, and exclusive. It also makes it difficult for people to try new outdoor activities. But Unlikely Hikers is here to change that.

According to their website, “Unlikely Hikers is a diverse, anti-racist, body-liberating outdoor community featuring the underrepresented outdoorsperson… Unlikely Hikers is for adventurers who are plus-size & fat, Black, Indigenous, People of Color, queer, trans and non-binary, disabled, neurodivergent and beyond.” They were founded by Jenny Bruso and exist as an online community, with a podcast, and even meeting up IRL for group events.

On their Instagram, they connect their community, and pass along essential outdoor information. They uplift stories of incredible adventures from Unlikely Hikers, sharing what is possible for all folks. From humor to how-tos, they share posts such as how a backpack should fit, and their incredible journeys as a group.

Unlikely Hikers gather throughout the United States to do group hikes with the motto, “no hiker left behind.” They recently met up in southeastern New York at the Minnewaska State Park Preserve and have hikes scheduled throughout the summer with different focuses. On June 17, Unlikely Hikers hosted a Queer Pride hike with the Venture Out Project, exclusively for 2SLGBTQIA+ hikers, and an Accessible group hike on June 24 in Portland, specifically for those with disabilities.

As Unlikely Hikers states on their website, “If you see yourself as an Unlikely Hiker, then you are.” So if you’re excited to get outdoors, there is a community waiting for you wherever you might be starting.

Top Photo by Ameruverse Digital Marketing Media: https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-standing-in-front-of-pine-trees-1687514/

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