In the heart of Buffalo, a movement has emerged that is challenging stereotypes, fostering empowerment, and uniting a diverse community of outdoor enthusiasts. Founded by LaTasha Bulluck, Black Girls Hike Buffalo is not just a hiking group; it’s a powerful symbol of inclusion, camaraderie, and the transformative impact of nature on the human spirit. What began as a solo journey through the trails of Buffalo has blossomed into a movement that brings together individuals from various backgrounds to experience the beauty of the outdoors and the joy of breaking down barriers.
A Trailblazing Journey
LaTasha, a proud Buffalo native and mother of four, embarked on her hiking journey as a solitary pursuit. Finding solace in the serenity of nature, she says, “I just loved the way it made me feel; it was very peaceful, it made me feel whole. It took away a lot of anxiety and stress, so I wanted to start the group to let other people experience that as well.” Friends often asked to join her hikes. Recognizing the absence of representation on the trails, particularly from the African American community, LaTasha decided to start a group to bridge this gap.
In September 2018, Black Girls Hike Buffalo was born. Initially catering to a predominantly female audience, the group now boasts membership and/or followers of around 2,500 from diverse racial, gender, and age backgrounds. Before the pandemic, the group gathered approximately 20 hikers; post-pandemic, their numbers have swelled to around 40 participants per hike.
An Inclusive Haven
While the name might suggest exclusivity, the group’s heart is inclusivity. Hikers of varying ages, races, and gender identities find a welcoming space to explore the wonders of nature and form lasting connections. LaTasha’s realization that the outdoors lacked representation resonated with many in her community. The average age of hikers is currently around 35, but the group proudly hosts older individuals.
“Through this group, we’re smashing stereotypes and empowering everyone to get out there,” LaTasha says. She’s right. By embracing their love for nature and countering preconceived notions, Black Girls Hike Buffalo changes the narrative around outdoor pursuits.
Nature: The Ultimate Equalizer
The transformative power of hiking is undeniable, and LaTasha’s journey exemplifies this truth. As the owner of a family-owned mobile wash and fold laundry business, LAST Call Laundry Services, LaTasha juggles her entrepreneurial responsibilities alongside her role as a mother of four. Despite her busy life, she found the time to embark on her hikes, discovering a sense of wholeness, tranquility, and stress relief in nature.
With planning help from Ta’Via Brooks-Vines, Milena Johnson, Salley Crews, Desiree Brown, and Jill Lapham, Black Girls Hike Buffalo explores trails and parks around Buffalo and the surrounding area, but also other states and even countries.
The group enjoys trying new outdoor adventures, including kayaking, snowshoeing, and even birdwatching. The group’s recent events include yoga sessions with mimosas and wine-fueled hikes at Spring Lake Winery. They even venture beyond Buffalo, exploring Las Vegas and Utah’s Zion National Park, and the Hoover Dam. Bulluck has her sights set on Black Girls Hike Buffalo traveling and hiking in as many of the 50 states as they can. The group will celebrate their fifth-year anniversary this September in Punta Cana.
Changing the Narrative, One Hike at a Time
Black Girls Hike Buffalo is on a mission to challenge perceptions and rewrite the narrative. They aim to shatter stereotypes and inspire more individuals to embrace the outdoors.
Black Girls Hike Buffalo is more than a hiking group; it’s a movement redefining what it means to be an outdoor enthusiast. Through their inclusive approach, LaTasha Bulluck and her trailblazing companions prove that the outdoors belong to everyone, regardless of their background. The trails they tread serve as both a journey of personal growth and a collective endeavor to break down barriers. So, as the sun rises and sets on their hikes, members of Black Girls Hike Buffalo continue to forge a path toward empowerment, unity, and the unyielding beauty of the natural world.