CROWDERS MOUNTAIN - JOURNEY TO THE TOP

Crowders Mountain, North Carolina


We came. We saw. We CONQUERED!


Crowders Mountain, North Carolina was a special time for me because it was our first group hike so far away from home. Being about 6 hours away from Baltimore, Crowders Mountain is nestled in Gastonia, North Carolina - about an hour west of Charlotte. And although Baltimore is considered the south too, the southern hospitality that the ladies had shown us the moment pulled up was unmatched. Walking up to the warm smiles and excited faces made us feel right at home.





Now the girls in North Carolina gets it in okayyyy! I’m usually in the front of the hikes because I like to keep it pushing but some of the ladies gave me a run for my money! I thought that I was doing something with my once-a-month (sometimes twice) hikes, but I learned that many of the people I was able to speak with usually hike between 6-7 times a month. Imagine that!


The journey to the top of the mountain was such a fulfilling experience. At 10am it was already a hot 88 degrees, so I knew that our 4.4 mile trek was going to be a sweaty one. I often use the top of the mountain breeze as motivation to keep me going on a hot day such as this one but I will admit that I took it a bit easier on this trail for a few different reasons besides the heat. One being that there was so much melanin on the trail! I was shocked to see so many black people besides us outside in the park. There were people biking, hiking, camping…I even noticed a couple of bird watchers. One of the reasons why Black Girls Hike became a thing is because Elisha and I felt like we were the only black women outside on the trail and to my surprise, we didn’t have the issue in North Carolina. This led me down the rabbit hole to so many questions.





“Why is the black hiking community so big in North Carolina?”


“How can we motivate people across the nation to get outside in nature?”


I’m a bit of a data nerd so naturally I looked up the demographic breakdown of Gastonia, Charlotte, and Baltimore to get a comparison going.


Gastonia

Black: 28.86%

White: 62.49%

Other Races: 8.65%


 

Charlotte

Black: 48.83%

White: 35.22%

Other Races: 15.95%


 

Baltimore

Black: 62.53%

White: 30.46%

Other Races: 7.10%


 

“How is it that although Baltimore has a higher percentage of black people than in Gastonia or Charlotte, less of us are seen outdoors?






So many questions and thoughts were going through my head. Some, I still don’t have the answer too.



The summit was beautiful. There is truly something amazing about looking out and seeing how far up into the sky you have made it. Not only does it gives me a sense of accomplishment, I feel so much more connected to Earth each time because Mother Nature allowed me to be out there! She provided us the breeze we needed to continue our journey when the sun got too hot, she provided the mountain that served as the foundation for future friendships, no one had gotten hurt and we all made it out alive. I kept seeing this hawk flying near us at the top and thought about how lovely it must be to be able to fly that high and to have a vantage point that many others do not possess. I thought about how freeing that must be. Maya Angelou’s book "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” came to mind at the moment and it suddenly all made sense to me. I am that bird, Baltimore is my cage, and Black Girls Hike is how I am able to sing.






So I’ll end this with a thank you to that hawk that unknowingly inspired me and so many others.


“If you’re a bird, I’ma bird!”


UNTIL NEXT TIME

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