Hiking Is Healing: Behind the Outdoor Wellness Movement

Women everywhere hike to heal. For this short film, Merrell teamed up with two women to share what it’s all about.

For some of us, spending time outside is a group activity. And for some, it’s a place to find solace. For many, it’s both. “We Hike to Heal” is all about channeling that connection with nature and each other.

In 2018, Kenya and Michelle Jackson-Saulters combined their shared interests (and differences) to create The Outdoor Journal Tour, and most notably, an event series called We Hike to Heal.

With We Hike to Heal, they strive to empower women through journaling, meditation, and spending time in the outdoors. Events are intimate by nature and focus on three essential ingredients — being outside, journaling, and meditating.

The event series combines one of the most common reasons for wanting to get outside (to find peace, whether inner or outward) with other mechanisms of healing. This, in turn, fosters a community among its participants.

More on The Outdoor Journal Tour

The program started organically. Kenya Jackson-Saulters was meditating on a mountain with some friends and noticed that some nearby strangers wanted to join.

Since then, Michelle and Kenya have hosted hundreds of groups of women together in the outdoors through their organization.

This past week, they hosted a special #wehiketohealweek honoring Black healing for women in their community and across the country. To check out future events, you can find The Outdoor Journal Tour here or on Instagram.

Produced by Merrell, Faith Briggs, and Whit Hassett, and with art by Latasha Dunston

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Mary Murphy

Mary Murphy is the Managing Editor of GearJunkie and serves as the leader of Lola Digital Media’s DEI Committee.

She has been writing about hiking, running, climbing, camping, skiing, and more for seven years, and has been on staff at GearJunkie since 2019. Prior to that, Mary wrote for 5280 Magazine in Denver while working as an outdoor instructor teaching climbing, kayaking, paddleboarding, and mountain biking at Avid4Adventure. Based in Denver, Colorado, Murphy is an avid hiker, runner, backpacker, skier, yogi, and pack-paddleboarder.

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