Summer, co-founder – Growing up in rural Minnesota, Summer didn’t hike. Winters were too cold, summers were too humid & infested with mosquitoes. Summer & her siblings would explore the woods near their home when their mother instructed them to, “Go out & play!” Other childhood outdoor activities consisted of family vacations to lakes “up north” for camping or road trips to National Parks. Summer took up photography as a child, taking after her mother who is a professional photographer. She studied writing & photography throughout high school & college. Summer earned BA’s in Writing and Women’s Studies with a minor in Studio Arts. She moved to Portland & started dating a woman who loved hiking. At first she only pretended to like hiking, to impress the woman. But eventually, something snapped inside her, something changed. She fell in love with the feeling of empowerment & strength that she got whenever she hiked. She now enjoys hiking several times a week, taking photographs of amazing places you can only see by walking there. She loves hiking alone, with her dog, and with the Fat Girls Hiking community. She loves creating community for folks underrepresented in the outdoors & leading body positive group hikes with Fat Girls Hiking.
Lezley, co-founder – Raised on the dusty streets of a small town in southwest New Mexico, Lezley feared going outside as she thought she would die of heatstroke, get bit by a rattlesnake or see the chupacabra. While she was active on her high school’s athletic teams, never did she think she would become a passionate hiker. Lezley would later leave New Mexico equipped with a BA in Journalism and head to Sin City to embark on a new adventure. During her six and half years there, she began to dabble in hiking. First came hikes around the area then hiking in Zion National Park. It became her release and she learned to leave everyday problems behind on the trail. Now living in Portland, the opportunities for hiking are abundant but the problem is that there isn’t much diversity on the trails. She sometimes feels out of place, but yet needs to keep feeding her hiking needs. Together, Summer and Lezley formed Fat Girls Hiking to showcase the diversity of people that actually do hike and create that space for them. Lezley is proud to represent the 575 and says “Juntos podemos hacer la diferencia.”