My Body Took Me Here – Unlikely Hikers

YOUR BODY. YOUR TRAIL. Because everyone belongs outdoors.

Jenny Bruso (she/her/hers), @jennybruso

It was only about nine years ago that I had my first intentionally “outdoorsy” experience. I didn’t think about things like hiking or camping, most likely because I didn’t see people like me in those narratives. On the trail, I found joyful movement, embodiment, and a sense of belonging I struggled to find in day-to-day life. I deeply wanted to share these findings and build a community with everyone who didn’t fit the outdoorsy status quo.

In 2016, I created Unlikely Hikers, a diverse, anti-racist, body-liberating outdoor community featuring the underrepresented outdoors person. We’re an Instagram community, a nationwide hiking group, and a podcast.

The new Unlikely Hikers shoe in collaboration with Merrell blends all of the function of a hiking boot with the style so often missing from a traditional hiker, with one style for people of all genders and more sizes for our unique needs. Whether you’re climbing mountains or exploring your neighborhood, your adventure is valid. Where will your body take you? #mybodytookmehere


Dan White (he/him/his), @theblackalachian

I didn’t go on my first hike until I was in my 30s. A couple of months later, my brother was dropping me off at Amicalola Falls to start hiking the Appalachian Trail (AT) from Georgia to Maine, 2,189 miles. It sounds romantic, but it’s definitely not a joke. It was 190 days of every human emotion while climbing the equivalent of 20 treks of Mt. Everest. During the whole six months on the trail, I only saw a handful of other hikers of color.

After the AT, I biked 2,000 miles from Mobile, Alabama to Ontario, Canada along the Underground Railroad Trail to reflect on the history of racism in the U.S. I wanted to shed light on the lack of people of color represented in the outdoor scene and make the country’s public lands, monuments, and natural wonders more accessible and comfortable for all.

Once we are able to recreate safely again, I plan on climbing El Capitan, Completing the Triple Crown of Hiking, and starting a homestead in Maine.


Tasheon Chillous (she/her/hers), @chilltash

Never in a million years did I think I would be a dance fitness instructor let alone quit my full-time job to chase Personal Training. The lack of diversity in the fitness industry pushed me to pursue movement as a career instead of a hobby. ⁣I take a size-inclusive, Health At Every Size (HAES) approach to movement. It doesn’t have to be about changing a number on the scale or body measurements. I’m also a hiker. Being in nature is so deeply rooted in my soul. It’s where I’m most grounded, challenged, and happy. I have deep gratitude for the land that I have the privilege of recreating on.⁣



Brie Jones (they/them/their) @breezy__does__it

As a child, my clothes were always muddy from adventures outside and exploring; often spending summer nights sleeping under the canopy of stars that blanket the ancestral land of the Leni Lenape. One of my first memories is of a cicada landing on my arm. I remember the deep curiosity, sudden fear, wonder, and excitement I felt as I observed it.

Nature is a generous teacher. Whether I am leading a group hike with Unlikely Hikers or backpacking with a friend for the first time, this connection to nature is something I seek to nurture myself and I find purpose in sharing this with the community.

I identify as non-binary and queer. For me, that can sometimes create barriers to safety. Building an outdoor community that embraces body liberation, anti-racism and inclusivity are crucial to my wellbeing and the wellbeing of us all.