We were tired of reading about other people’s epic outdoors adventures. And weary too of daydreaming about our own. It was time to either take that step or to forget about it. This was the birth of the Black Canada Hike.
Nobody looks like us – two Black women – in the classic adventure stories. Instead the tales are filled with white men and women on grand tours of the wilderness. They did these because they were fun, a challenge, or a quest to walk in the footsteps of bygone explorers. It seems to me there was a subtext to these grand treks – people were recreating colonial fantasies of exploring, mapping and ultimately conquering exotic lands.
Our Black Canada Hike is a counter-narrative. It’s an alternative take on what it means to do a transcontinental expedition. And the exotic land we are exploring is our own country. The hike is on the Great Trail, the outdoors recreation path that links Canada from coast to coast, and across its three oceans. We will hike along the places where the trail connects to Black history.
The Great Trail is about 24,000 kilometres long. We don’t have two uninterrupted years, the money or the sponsorship, to walk its entire length. So, our trek combines road trip and hiking. This Summer we will do the western half of Canada. The following summer we will do the eastern half.