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Kisha Jarrett - Black Girl In The Woods. A journey of self-discovery, documenting a thru-hike

Renata Chlumska  - Adventure athlete who became the first Swedish and Czech woman to climb Mount Everest and in 2005 did a circumnavigate of the lower 48 States of the United States by her own power.

Kisha in her own words:

“I grew up in Virginia, a gymnast and cheerleader, playing softball and soccer. I knew I was bound to do something special, but I didn’t know what.

When it comes to my career, I’m often called a ‘bad-ass.’ As the Managing Director of Portland's Artists Repertory Theatre, I feel at home on a stage in front of thousands of people. When it comes to spending time outside, however, I wasn’t what you would call an “outdoors woman.”

I didn’t camp. I didn’t spend hours in the woods. Yet, when I moved to Portland, I found a love I didn’t know existed: my love of hiking. Days spent exploring all of the swimming holes and waterfalls in the Pacific Northwest transitioned into my first solo trip to Reykjavнk, Iceland.

I scuba-dived, hiked through Gullfoss, Skуgafoss, Hengifoss, and fiingvellir, and I HIKED UP AND THROUGH A GLACIER! Me! All 240 pounds of me.

I became a superhuman on that trip. I’m a fat, Black woman with Lupus who hikes glaciers, mutherf*ckers! My outdoor exploration unlocked something in me. After that, I was unstoppable!

When I returned home, I wanted to hike all the time. I bought sturdy hiking shoes. I started reading outdoor magazines, watching Eco-Challenge and going into every outdoor store. I was inspired…but I never saw anyone that looked like me.

I didn’t let that stop me. I’ve been moving since, continuing to have solo journeys and proving to myself time after time that just because I look the way I do, doesn’t mean I’m not strong and powerful - nor does it mean that these adventures are not for me!”

“I’m undertaking my biggest challenge yet. I am hiking the Pacific Northwest Trail, from the Continental Divide to the Pacific Ocean. I am hiking to change the narrative. It matters to me to share my journey because not only did I not think I couldn’t do this as a child, but I never even knew stuff like this existed.

I know my story will have bigger resonance with others. I know I can be the representation I never saw. I want to offer an invitation to a journey of self-discovery and an introduction to a lifelong passion.

And I hope we can do this together. — Kisha Jarrett”

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Show notes

  • Who is Kisha and what she does

  • The traditional lands of Portland

  • Moving to Portland 5 years ago

  • Growing up in a small town in Virginia

  • Not spending time in the outdoors

  • Falling in love with hiking

  • Going on her first solo travel trip to Iceland

  • Climbing a glacier and feeling empowered

  • Being diagnosed with lupus

  • Wanting to do all the things

  • Heading to Bali in Feb 2020

  • Why Iceland

  • Being told that she couldn’t do it.

  • Becoming more aware of her body

  • The pivotal moments

  • Taking the first steps into living a life of adventure

  • Google!

  • Looking different and not seeing herself in the media

  • Black Girl in the Woods

  • The dream of thru-hiking the Pacific Northwest Trail

  • Looking for exploration and a different type of challenge

  • Deciding not to do a solo thru hike

  • How the documentary came about

  • Finding information about Native Land in USA

  • Native Land App

  • Preparations for thru hiking

  • Finding gear to fit her body

  • Getting a pack fitted

  • Learning over the past year by doing

  • Thinking about impact planning

  • Financials of a thru hike

  • Planning to hike in summer 2022

  • Needing to hike in an alternative manner

  • Dealing with the setbacks from the first thru-hike

  • Processing and dealing with the experience

  • Feeling disappointed and moving forward

  • Recovering from surgery

  • Top tips to encourage you to start


Social Media

Black Girl In The Woods - chronicles Kisha Jarrett’s 1,200-mile journey as a Black, plus-sized woman with chronic pain thru-hiking the Pacific Northwest Trail.


Twitter: @BGITW_doc


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