Close Subscribe

Get the Weekly Recap!!

Get recaps, exclusive offers, stories and discounts. We’ll never share your email address and you can opt out at any time, we promise.

One Temple Grad is Empowering Women, One ‘Hike + Heal’ at a Time?
Business

One Temple Grad is Empowering Women, One ‘Hike + Heal’ at a Time?

June is Great Outdoors Month. This local org is building community outdoors.

After hitting the trails in Colorado during a 2017 vacation, Brandi Nicole’s life completely changed.

Over the next two years, she worked full-time while completing a dual Master’s degree program in Health Education and Health Administration from St. Joe’s University. When Brandi couldn’t find a diverse hiking group for women in Philly, she took matters into her own hands feet. She created Hike + Heal, a Black-led organization and women’s hiking “hive” to increase overall wellness: physically, mentally, and spiritually. 

“One day the idea just came to me. I thought it would be so amazing to bring women together to hike for their physical and mental health while creating a community where they feel free to share whatever is on their minds or bogging them down. So I just did it! I finally put it out there and received so many positive responses,” explained Nicole.

How Hike + Heal is not your average walk in the woods

She organized her first hike + heal in May 2019. Hike + Heal hosts three hikes a month: a weekend hike, a happy hour hike, and a community care hike. “Anytime you join our hike, there is no hunnie [sic] left behind,” explained Brandi. “You will find encouragement, support, and community.”

Over the past two years, Brandi has led hikes in Wissahickon Park, Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, Valley Forge, John Heinz Wildlife Refuge, Fairmount Park, and Ben Franklin Bridge.

Hike + Heal members weren’t the only ones heading outside during the pandemic. Local and national trails saw record visitors in 2020. Philly Parks and Recreation staff estimate at least a 50% jump in visits to city parks. The Circuit Trail jumped 30% to 107% in March 2020, compared to the prior year. In April 2020, there was a 138% increase at the US 202 Parkway in Montgomery and Bucks counties.

Good for the body and soul

Hiking is a whole-body workout. Cornell researchers found as little as 10 minutes in a natural setting can help college students feel happier and lessen the effects of both physical and mental stress. Hike + Heal incorporates mind and body practices into every step of their hikes.

Women of all fitness levels start with a welcome circle, warm-up, and set an intention. Halfway through the hike, the group takes a “mindfulness break” with a community stretch and reflection. And, most trips end with a mindfulness activity (sound bathing, meditation, yoga, etc,.) led by a local practitioner.

Making outdoors and self-care accessible to all

The hikes are capped at 30 people, and the distance depends on the participants. “I want everyone to feel like they can join us from wherever they’re at. Most people have never hiked before. So I don’t want to shock them. So it’s very dependent on the group. It can range from like three to four miles unless I mark it as like an adventure hike, which would be like four to eight miles.”

Depending on the programming, events are free or donation based. Hike + Heal also offers a virtual membership with yoga, meditation, and mindfulness classes. In the future, Brandi hopes to combine her virtual offerings and IRL hikes with a yearly membership with unique programming.

For now, Brandi is sticking to local trails, but her long-term goal is to open other Hike + Heal chapters across the country.

Upcoming Hikes

If you’d like to find out about upcoming hikes, sign up for Hike & Heal’s email list. The next scheduled hike is Stroll + Sip with Callowhill Greens on Wednesday, June 29.

Cover photo: Hike + Heal on Facebook


Become a Supporter!

If you love what we do you can support our mission with a one-time or monthly contribution.
array(3) {
  [0]=>
  object(WP_Term)#6894 (10) {
    ["term_id"]=>
    int(4129)
    ["name"]=>
    string(9) "Black-led"
    ["slug"]=>
    string(9) "black-led"
    ["term_group"]=>
    int(0)
    ["term_taxonomy_id"]=>
    int(4137)
    ["taxonomy"]=>
    string(8) "post_tag"
    ["description"]=>
    string(0) ""
    ["parent"]=>
    int(0)
    ["count"]=>
    int(1)
    ["filter"]=>
    string(3) "raw"
  }
  [1]=>
  object(WP_Term)#6893 (10) {
    ["term_id"]=>
    int(2054)
    ["name"]=>
    string(4) "hike"
    ["slug"]=>
    string(4) "hike"
    ["term_group"]=>
    int(0)
    ["term_taxonomy_id"]=>
    int(2064)
    ["taxonomy"]=>
    string(8) "post_tag"
    ["description"]=>
    string(0) ""
    ["parent"]=>
    int(0)
    ["count"]=>
    int(19)
    ["filter"]=>
    string(3) "raw"
  }
  [2]=>
  object(WP_Term)#6710 (10) {
    ["term_id"]=>
    int(3432)
    ["name"]=>
    string(8) "outdoors"
    ["slug"]=>
    string(8) "outdoors"
    ["term_group"]=>
    int(0)
    ["term_taxonomy_id"]=>
    int(3440)
    ["taxonomy"]=>
    string(8) "post_tag"
    ["description"]=>
    string(0) ""
    ["parent"]=>
    int(0)
    ["count"]=>
    int(42)
    ["filter"]=>
    string(3) "raw"
  }
}
Inspired by her college internship with an ocean advocacy non-profit, Leslie started her career planning stream cleanups and writing about watershed issues. Leslie is an accomplished writer and social media expert. When she isn’t chasing a toddler, you can find her writing, planning events, cooking, reading, hiking, and helping brands tell their stories. View all posts by Leslie Hudson

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Green Philly

Featured
In These
Great Spots: