Bethany Denton used to hike a lot as a kid. Growing up in northwestern Montana, it's just what people did. But as she got older, and as her body got bigger, she stopped feeling welcome in the outdoors. As a self-described fat girl, she noticed that her friends and family gradually stopped inviting her on hikes, and she felt that even short, easy hikes were out of her league.
But then Bethany discovered the group Fat Girls Hiking; a “body-positive outdoor community based in Portland, Oregon.” Once a month or so, the group’s founder Summer (who prefers to go only by her first name) leads hikes around the Portland area and throughout the Pacific Northwest, including Seattle.
In fact, Fat Girls Hiking coordinates rock climbing, kayaking, kickboxing - all kinds of different activities that can be, what Summer calls, intimidating to fat people. The goal of Fat Girls Hiking is to create safe space for fat and differently-abled people to enjoy the great outdoors regardless of their fitness level.
Bethany joined Summer and five other hikers for a day hike around Carkeek Park in North Western Seattle. This story includes interviews with hikers Marley Blonsky, Lamonica Washington, and Kelsey Esquines.
Bethany Denton is managing editor and a producer for KCRW's Here Be Monsters podcast.