Hike Clerb Is Creating Space for BIPOC Healing in Nature

Several years ago, Evelynn Escobar-Thomas went on her first road trip to soak up the natural wonders of the Southwest. Exploring the Grand Canyon and Zion National Park, she was taken aback by the lack of diversity—feeling like an outsider in the overwhelmingly white environment. “I know I’m not the only Black and brown person interested in the outdoors in this way,” she says. But she felt like a spectacle, and she wanted to knock down this notion that these kinds of activities were “white people things.”

“The outdoors were essential for my own healing journey, so I wanted to bring, facilitate, and hold space for other women and for what nature can do for them,” Evelynn says. So in 2017, she started Hike Clerb, an intersectional womxn’s hiking club. What started out as a small group going on a hike in L.A.—her husband taking their photos and Evelynn posting it on Instagram—has grown into an official nonprofit organization with over 23,000 followers.

“We speak to everyone, from the person who has never been on a hike to the person with experience—outdoorsy looks different for everyone,” Evelynn says. “You don’t have to summit a mountain, you don’t need any qualifications. We are totally accepting of everyone who has that innate curiosity.” This open-door policy is true for all. “We get a lot of questions from allies,” Evelynn adds. “Anyone who wants to center our mission and vision is welcome. If you love our mission and you have no hesitation about ‘Is this for me?’ Then it’s for you. If it’s prompting you to question that, then think about, ‘Why is this causing a larger dialogue within me?’”

The spirit of camaraderie is one of many incredible aspects of the club. It’s also why Hike Clerb is expanding beyond its L.A. origin story and is poised for what Evelynn refers to as worldwide domination. “We have people involved all over the world,” she says. “We are laying down the groundwork for expanding, for more events and pop-ups.”

Not even the pandemic or a pregnancy has slowed down Hike Clerb or Evelynn. “As we are expanding, I am growing a human, making sure all the ducks are in a row,” she says. “There’s much to come in the fall.”

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