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Crystal Gail Welcome - Utilizing her intersecting identities: Black, disabled, lesbian, backpacker.

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.

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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Show notes

  • Who is Crystal Gail

  • Living in Minnesota

  • Turtle racing!

  • 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)


Social Media

Twitter: @awesomewelcome


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