About the Hike
about follow the drinking gourd
This Spring, BFO will launch its first backcountry* hiking adventure. This adventure will take folks through a small portion of the Georgia-Appalachian Trail. In total, the Appalachian Trail runs 2190 miles, curves through 14 states from Georgia to Maine, crosses 5 national parks and has a peak elevation of 6,643 ft (2,025 m). This segment of the Georgia Appalachian Trail is the land of the Cherokee people who and cared for this territory until their forced removal.
This hike intends to create space for Black folks to traverse self-sufficiently through time and space with all of the necessary items needed on our backs. Yes, ya’ll, everything you need will be carried on your back; including food, water, clothing, and shelter. We will slowly and intentionally move through the Georgia mountains practicing and learning practical, hands on skills while increasing our individual and collective awareness about our ever changing environments (natural, political, social, personal, physical, spiritual), strength, courage and ability all while honoring our ancestors that often walked 10-20 miles a day to gain their freedom from enslavement. Mountains were often used by enslaved Africans escaping enslavement. There are records of slaves fleeing north through the Adirondack mountains toward Canada, and establishing free Black communities in mountainous areas such as Timbuctoo, NJ.
Additional components of the hike will include: key plant identification whether medicinal or nutritional; daily reflective activities including meditation, writing or artistic expression; mindful movement and a day of foresting. The day of foresting is a day of not hiking, but rather communing in the forest with each other and oneself. This day will allow participants to carve out self-time to do soak up the sun, take a dip or a trail walk or nothing. There will also be time for the group to commune together in intentional ways guided by the Sojourners or hike leaders.
Our journey will start at Hightower Gap and conclude at Neals Gap. Covering approximately 22.4 miles. Along the trail we will conquer the tallest peak on the GA portion of the trail, Blood Mountain Summit, sitting 4,458 feet (1,359 m) above sea level.
This backcountry hike provides a unique space for participants to have both individual and collective experiences. Though only you can hike in your body, we are always together within eyes view of each other, encouraging one another to dig deeper within ourselves. Collectively, we prepare camp and meals.
BFO ensures that no one is left behind and you are able to hike at a pace that is both safe and enjoyable. As a collective, we all contribute to the success of the hike by co-leading various tour activities such as leading portions of the hike, meal preparation, setting up nightly accommodations, leading dialogues, and skill exchanges just to name a few. This tour is guaranteed to be an experience of a lifetime and truly unforgettable as it is an example of ongoing love, strength and resistance.
*Backcountry Hiking: Backcountry hiking means spending at least one night in the wilderness, usually at a designated backcountry campsite or trail shelter far from the nearest road.