Event Report – Camping and Hiking in Jasper – Jul 2021 (AB)

Written by Omimah Hassan

A woman in hijab smiles she stands in the lake, with a full forest of trees behind her.
Photo by Allison Seto

Community. A word we often hear being used, but that is not often truly felt. I spent a weekend with Colour the Trails in Jasper, which left me feeling an overwhelming sense of it, and longing for more time outdoors filled with warmth, laughter, and connections.

A group of people with large backpacks in single file doing an ice walk
Photo by Allison Seto

The ice walk on the majestic Athabasca Glacier was already an exciting prospect as we headed out from Calgary. After a long halt on social gatherings since the start of the pandemic, I was looking forward to meeting our crew for the weekend. We’d carpooled, so we spent the next few hours of our drive getting to know Maria, someone else who’d decided to join the weekend adventure. And considering all the laughter on our way there, the next few days were off to a good start. They say it is often the people we are with that make moments memorable, and the incredible ladies we explored with, including little Sage, made our days in Jasper so wonderful and complete.

The beauty of the glacier, incorporated with the powerful indigenous perspective and knowledge shared by one of our guides, Tim, had me in awe and in a state of reflection. Being able to share those experiences with the group provided a great opportunity to bond and learn together. I will cherish these memories for a long time to come and it was a privilege to be amongst such amazing company.

A black and white photo of two women in hijab in prayer in the outdoors
Photo by Allison Seto

We come from all walks of life with roots all over the world and yet gathered around the campfire our shared love for the outdoors, and experiences as people of colour, brought us together in a diverse array of conversations and a comforting sense of belonging. The outdoors is a space that has often felt exclusive to Caucasian people, and not a place for BIPOC folk. I believe these are narratives that need to be dismantled and it’s groups like Colour the Trails that empower and create a welcoming and safe space for the BIPOC community to engage and flourish in the outdoors. We all belong outdoors and there is so much joy to be had when we can come together as a community and appreciate nature. Representation is so important as it opens the door for inclusion and empowers others to take up space and to feel that they belong, and are just as capable to participate in hiking, camping, and other activities.

It was heartwarming seeing the photos roll in from our weekend. I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the friendships formed, the memories made and that sense of belonging from a weekend full of the empowerment, joy, and connection that community provides.

Nine people, split into two rows, and a child pose for a picture against the edge of the forest. Everyone is smiling
Photo by Allison Seto

Full gallery of fantastic photos by Allison Seto

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