Each of us has a story to share & we want to inspire others to share theirs. We are excited to introduce Veronica, whom we met on our group hikes. Veronica is an Oregonian that has an infectious laugh that makes other people smile. She is currently participating in the 52-Hike Challenge. We recently caught up with Veronica for a Q&A session.
What were your outdoor experiences like as a kid?
My dad loved to drive so he would take us up to Mount Hood, Multnomah Falls or Lost Lake. My parents weren’t hikers. Instead, we would take adventures we could drive to. As a kid, my parents would let me play outside all day with my friends until the streetlights came on. It was different then, when kids were allowed to play outdoors alone. I don’t know how kids now-a-days are always indoors, playing video games. I want to say, “Go outside! Spend time outdoors.”
What motivates you to go outdoors & hike?
Hiking for me is like a restart for the week. I love my job, don’t get me wrong, but at the end of the week I just want to clear my head, clear my soul and get a reboot. Hiking takes all my worries and insecurities away. I leave it all behind. It makes me appreciate being in the moment.
Do you feel represented by outdoor social media accounts?
No, I don’t think so. Instead of showing that hiking is for ALL people, accounts always feature this certain type of person. Skinny, blonde, blue eyed, pretty. There’s a group on Instagram for women hikers. I really want to follow them because it’s women hikers and, as women, we should support each other. But I look at it and I don’t connect with it. They aren’t supporting ALL women because women come in all sizes, not just teeny, blonde, and petite.
What drew you to Fat Girls Hiking?
I had started hiking and I knew, on trails, I was thicker. But it didn’t stop me from hiking. When I realized, Fat Girls Hiking is from Portland, I figured we might have had similar experiences on the trail. It’s fun to go on group hikes and experience hiking with other people that look like me and get to know new people. To have the support of other people, that’s cool! That’s awesome! I think that part is what drew me to Fat Girls Hiking.
What was your initial reaction to Fat Girls Hiking using the word Fat & do you identify as fat?
I thought, “Wow, yeah, they’re using that word, but they’re not using it in a negative way.” It’s a word. There are so many words that our society uses in a negative way. Yes, I know I’m fat. I feel like if I describe myself in that way, then that’s all that will come across. I don’t think being fat is negative but other people do.
When you’re on the trail, what are you feeling/thinking?
When I first start out on a trail, I’m thinking, “UGH! When am I going to get to the waterfall or the view?” Once I’m there, I’m amazed. Every trail feels different. When I hiked Dog Mountain, I was the biggest person on the trail the entire time. I’m huffing and puffing but I’m going to do it, because I want to. Then there are trails like Silver Falls State Park, where the hike feels more diverse. There are so many different types of people. We are all out there doing the same thing. Hiking should be a happy place. At least it’s my happy place.
What would say to someone who wants to hike but they feel intimidated?
You should try it at least once. Don’t be scared. There are a lot of different things in the world, not just hiking, that you might not fit in to because of your race, the color of your skin, your accent, and your body, whatever it may be. You still should go out and do it. Hiking is no different. Try the short hikes. You might like it. You might love it! It might be your new favorite thing to do.