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Unlikely Hikers is a diverse and inclusive Instagram community featuring the underrepresented outdoorsperson. The outdoor industry and outdoors social media tend to display a very narrow definition of who is “outdoorsy,” that isn’t representative of most of us. We are people of size, people of color, queer, trans and gender nonconforming. We are people with disabilities and people who utilize the outdoors to aid our mental health. We talk about access, politics and conservation while we honor the land and its Indigenous stewards. We don’t conflate these experiences, we explore and build community at their intersections. We all have a story. If you see yourself as an Unlikely Hiker, then you are. Welcome!
The name itself is ironic, tongue-in-cheek, reclamatory. There is nothing unlikely about wanting to hike or be in nature. The name is not literal or meant to reinforce exclusion. 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?
We all love those extreme summit shots and seeing people do exciting, challenging things, but the “outdoor fantasy” is not a realistic portrayal of how most of us are getting out. However YOU like to enjoy the outdoors, there is a place for you here.
The literal concept of the Unlikely Hiker is very western and normative. The outdoors and outdoor activities are foundational to many cultures. We feature these experiences as well and believe they are a central part of the conversation.
Change your feed, change your life! Connect with other Unlikely Hikers on Instagram: @unlikelyhikers. Use the hashtags #unlikelyhiker or #unlikelyhikers and possibly be featured! Also, check our schedule to see where you might be able to catch a group hike! Want to see what the press is saying about Unlikely Hikers?
A note about our features:
On our featured posts, you will notice the following included:
- gender pronouns
- land acknowledgement
- verbal image descriptions
Every person featured is asked what their gender pronouns are. Why? Because gender identity is vastly beyond our binary concepts of what it means to be a “man” or “woman.” Examples of some gender pronouns: they/them, she/her, he/him. You don’t know how someone identifies just by looking at them, just as you can’t know someones story just by looking at them. We want to both normalize this practice and honor each other’s unique identities. Your discomfort with someone’s identity bears no importance to their lived experience. Land acknowledgement is also an important part of our practice. We are on colonized land, founded on the displacement of Indigenous people. Native land being stolen from its people is not a thing of the past, it is still happening to this day (Bears Ears, Grand Staircase-Escalante, etc) and we must acknowledge this in our conversations about land stewardship and conservation. We reject colonialist language like “crushing” miles and “conquering” peaks. Let the land crush and conquer YOU! Learn from the land. Lastly, the verbal image descriptions are for the visually impaired.
Please consider donating to or sponsoring Unlikely Hikers to help the work along.
Some other must-follow Instagram accounts changing the outdoors narrative:
(Both logos by, Cabin Supply Co – firstname.lastname@example.org)