Kisha in her own words:
“I grew up in Virginia, a gymnast and cheerleader, playing softball and soccer. I knew I was bound to do something special, but I didn’t know what.
When it comes to my career, I’m often called a ‘bad-ass.’ As the Managing Director of Portland's Artists Repertory Theatre, I feel at home on a stage in front of thousands of people. When it comes to spending time outside, however, I wasn’t what you would call an “outdoors woman.”
I didn’t camp. I didn’t spend hours in the woods. Yet, when I moved to Portland, I found a love I didn’t know existed: my love of hiking. Days spent exploring all of the swimming holes and waterfalls in the Pacific Northwest transitioned into my first solo trip to Reykjavнk, Iceland.
I scuba-dived, hiked through Gullfoss, Skуgafoss, Hengifoss, and ﬁingvellir, and I HIKED UP AND THROUGH A GLACIER! Me! All 240 pounds of me.
I became a superhuman on that trip. I’m a fat, Black woman with Lupus who hikes glaciers, mutherf*ckers! My outdoor exploration unlocked something in me. After that, I was unstoppable!
When I returned home, I wanted to hike all the time. I bought sturdy hiking shoes. I started reading outdoor magazines, watching Eco-Challenge and going into every outdoor store. I was inspired…but I never saw anyone that looked like me.
I didn’t let that stop me. I’ve been moving since, continuing to have solo journeys and proving to myself time after time that just because I look the way I do, doesn’t mean I’m not strong and powerful - nor does it mean that these adventures are not for me!”
“I’m undertaking my biggest challenge yet. I am hiking the Pacific Northwest Trail, from the Continental Divide to the Pacific Ocean. I am hiking to change the narrative. It matters to me to share my journey because not only did I not think I couldn’t do this as a child, but I never even knew stuff like this existed.
I know my story will have bigger resonance with others. I know I can be the representation I never saw. I want to offer an invitation to a journey of self-discovery and an introduction to a lifelong passion.
And I hope we can do this together. — Kisha Jarrett”
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- Who is Kisha and what she does
- The traditional lands of Portland
- Moving to Portland 5 years ago
- Growing up in a small town in Virginia
- Not spending time in the outdoors
- Falling in love with hiking
- Going on her first solo travel trip to Iceland
- Climbing a glacier and feeling empowered
- Being diagnosed with lupus
- Wanting to do all the things
- Heading to Bali in Feb 2020
- Why Iceland
- Being told that she couldn’t do it.
- Becoming more aware of her body
- The pivotal moments
- Taking the first steps into living a life of adventure
- Looking different and not seeing herself in the media
- Black Girl in the Woods
- The dream of thru-hiking the Pacific Northwest Trail
- Looking for exploration and a different type of challenge
- Deciding not to do a solo thru hike
- How the documentary came about
- Finding information about Native Land in USA
- Native Land App
- Preparations for thru hiking
- Finding gear to fit her body
- Getting a pack fitted
- Learning over the past year by doing
- Thinking about impact planning
- Financials of a thru hike
- Planning to hike in summer 2022
- Needing to hike in an alternative manner
- Dealing with the setbacks from the first thru-hike
- Processing and dealing with the experience
- Feeling disappointed and moving forward
- Recovering from surgery
- Top tips to encourage you to start
Black Girl In The Woods - chronicles Kisha Jarrett’s 1,200-mile journey as a Black, plus-sized woman with chronic pain thru-hiking the Pacific Northwest Trail.