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With an equal focus on diversity, inclusion, and representation, Unlikely Hikers is making strides in supporting the underrepresented outdoorsperson. The brainchild of Jenny Bruso, Unlikely Hikers is an Instagram community of individuals challenging the common depiction of who is considered “outdoorsy.”
The community features plus-size hikers, people of color (POC), people with disabilities, queer, and trans people. It also focuses on the most realistic portrayals of how the outdoors are enjoyed. Just because you haven’t scaled a mountain or hiked 10 miles of switchbacks in difficult terrain doesn’t mean you’re not an outdoorsperson. If you prefer to walk a paved path surrounded by nature or relax near a natural pond or lake, you are making a connection with nature and are as outdoorsy as any seasoned mountaineer!
Bruso says it best when discussing the meaning behind the name “Unlikely Hikers”:
The name itself is ironic, tongue-in-cheek, reclamatory. There is nothing unlikely about wanting to enjoy and explore nature, it’s one of the most natural things any of us can want to do. The name is not literal or meant to reinforce exclusion. Yes, the outdoors and public lands belong to all of us and sure, no one is getting a handwritten invitation to our National Parks and trailheads, but exclusion isn’t always verbal. A lot of the time, it’s about representation. Representation matters! Who is being targeted for outdoor recreation? Who has a seemingly natural sense of access?
The healing powers of nature and conversations about mental health are other topics the community focuses on. They also like to tackle important issues regarding inclusivity and social justice. Jenny Bruso is a refreshing voice with a punk rock personality, who is making positive waves in the hiking community, shining light on the underrepresented hiker that the modern outdoor and fitness culture tends to ignore all too often.
Are you part of an incredible community meant to empower one another with a travel or outdoorsy twist? Share it with us! And don’t forget to Pin!