Women of Color Backpacking Trip!


By Chelsea Griffie, Outdoor Afro Contributor

This year’s Women of Color trip by the Balanced Rock Foundation was July 21st to 25th. Our group ventured to Ostrander Lake also in Yosemite (see below). The premise of these trips is to increase the representation of women of color in the back country, while also providing a safe and supportive environment to learn new skills and connect with the outdoors.


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This year, there were a total of five participants, with two instructors, and an intern, which meant that participants were able to receive a lot of individualized attention.

Some Trip Highlights:

• It was a fantastic group of ladies. No one was competitive, or had anything to prove. Everyone seemed genuinely happy. I was psyched to hang out with everyone who was there.

• Even when one participant had to move very slowly, the rest of the group was very supportive and willing to move at whatever pace she needed.

• My co-Instructor, who was an avid fly fisherwoman, brought her rod and reel. While she did not personally catch anything, she coached a participant to land a trout! That night, we had steamy, succulent trout freshly caught in Ostrander Lake!

• We had some poetic moments — literally…here are some trip haikus:

Pennyroyal Tea
Queens of the Bay Area
Women of Color

Better than 2-ply
Corn lily fields forever
Really leave no trace

Really, it was a magical group, and I can’t wait until the next trip!

Chelsea Griffie is the the only known African American woman to have climbed El Capitan and Half Dome in Yosemite. She was featured in Dudley Edmonson’s book, Black and Brown Faces in America’s Wild Places. When not climbing and leading trips, she lives and works in the San Francisco Bay Area, California.


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