Rahawa Haile is an Eritrean American writer. In this piece, she shares her experience of being a queer black woman backpacking across the Appalachian Trail and challenges the preconceived notion that ‘blacks don’t hike’. Rahawa addresses the politics, history, survival kills and fear inherent to the relationship between black peoples and the outdoors in a predominantly whites-only mind-set; and highlights that access restriction to natural sites are linked to the park system, Jim Crow laws and Native American removal campaigns. She cites Evelyn C. White, author of ‘Black women and the wilderness’, who describes wilderness as both an access to the past and a trigger of race-based suffering, since these places have history of abuse, eradication and persecution of non-white hikers. Rahawa also notes how this relationship is changing with black public figures like Oprah promoting a new vision of black people enjoying hiking through the wilderness. Photo Credit: Rahawa Haile