Evelynn Escobar knows firsthand how hard it can be to feel like an outsider in the outdoors. Even though she’d spent a couple years hiking local trails in Los Angeles, she didn’t visit a national park until age 23—and on that trip to Zion, she found herself standing out as the only Black person among the crowd.
After that trip she was determined to continue finding ways to be in nature, and also to make sure other Black and Indigenous women and women of color were able and felt comfortable to do the same. In 2017, she founded Hike Clerb, a nonprofit organization and intersectional women’s outdoor club that seeks to bring more diversity to the trails, parks and camps throughout the United States.
“Understanding how quintessential a practice of going outdoors was to my own healing journey and my own mental health, I realized that I really needed to help get other Black and brown women out there, so that they can experience what it means to just be in nature,” Escobar recently told “Wild Ideas Worth Living” podcast host Shelby Stanger.
Escobar’s organization puts on group hikes and other adventures on a regular basis, primarily in Los Angeles and New York City. More recently, Hike Clerb has expanded into other cities, like Toronto. In this film, we meet Escobar and a Hike Clerb crew for a trek in New Mexico.
Hike Clerb is intended to be a safe space, both literally and figuratively: The organized events are meant to create safety for women hikers, especially in more remote areas, as well as to offer an emotionally and socially safe space “to bring your whole authentic self and not hold back,” Escobar explains. “Take up space.”
To learn more about Hike Clerb, join or start a local chapter, or donate to benefit the organization, visit hikeclerb.com.