After a lengthy battle with a rare brain disease, Crystal Gail Welcome came to recognize the healing power of nature.
She now uses her intersecting identities; Black, disabled, lesbian to break down barriers so more people can access the outdoors.
Crystal is an experiential educator, author, storyteller, activist, backpacker, and Black outdoor leader. She chooses to speak out against racial injustice in the United States by hiking and giving voice to her experiences.
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Who is Crystal Gail
Living in Minnesota
Growing up in Florida
Where Minnesota is located in the States
Not being exposed to the outdoors
Not thinking the outdoors was for her
Her first visit to a National Park
Visiting the birth home of Martin Luther King Junior in Atlanta, Georgia
Learning about the National Parks
Feeling connected to Nature
Feeling a sense of belonging and wanting to spend more time in nature
Continuing her journey and connecting with nature
Going out to live life and getting back into running
Her desire to go backpacking and wanting to hike the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT)
Hiking 600 miles on the PCT
Learning about her capabilities
Her love of the outdoors and the power of connecting with nature
How hiking improved her health
Why nature is a wonderful place to be
Her experience on the PCT
Trail culture and trail families
Needed to recharge her batteries every 7-10 days for 1.5 days
Connecting with new people and the kindness of strangers
Her trail name “The Giver”
Book: “The Giver” by Lois Lowry
After the death of George Floyd
Protesting in the way that she knows
Her reason for hiking the Superior Hiking Trail
The Great Western Loop - is a 6,875-mile footpath that links together five existing long-distance trails — including the Pacific Crest Trail, Pacific Northwest Trail, Continental Divide Trail, Grand Enchantment Trail, and Arizona Trail — and a trail-less segment through the Sonoran and Mojave Deserts.
Hiking until her body tells her body it’s time to stop
How her disability effects her hiking and how she adapts her hiking to suit her
Needing to keep her base weight at 10lbs /4.5kg and having to forgo luxury items (apart from her tent!)
Structuring her day while hiking
Listening to podcasts and music while being on the trail
Listening to true crime while being out in nature
The music to power her up the hills - Eminem - fight song
Being inspired by Harriet Tubman
Learning about adventure therapy and going on to study it at Prescott College
Sharing more about restorative narratives
The power in the stories we tell ourselves
Plans for 2023
How Crystal Gail afford to backpack
Writing a book of poetry when she was first diagnosed with a rare brain disease
Being published in an anthology “Crossing Paths”
How to connect with Crystal Gail (see links below)
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