Hello everybody and welcome to the second of four lectures for the disability movement, etc series. I'm your host, Dr. Andy and I am broadcasting today from my home office that I get to share with my amazingly artistic spouse and partner. And I'm here in Denton, Texas, which sits in occupied land of Wichita, and Kado affiliated tribes. I'm a white male, I use he him pronouns. I have blonde hair, which is cut short at the moment, though it is a little bit longer on top, and occasionally you might see my cowlick coming through. I am wearing my accessibility matter shirt. And I know you can't see all of that, but I think it's an app shirt to wear for the conversation today that I'm very excited to have. But before I do, I'd like to welcome everybody especially those of you who are tuning in for the first time. I'm really glad that you found the show and hopefully you enjoy our conversation today.
In essence, disability movement, etc, is a show that I'm I'm trying to put together and bring activist community partners with scholars together in order to try to make sure that accessibility is a priority when we're talking about disabled folks and their experiences trying to be physically active. And so if you want to join the conversation, feel free to drop things in the chat. Or you can use the hashtag, dis move etc. On Twitter. And with that, I'd love to invite our second guest, which is siren, Naga, Kyrie now siren is an activist, writer, consultant and outdoor enthusiast. As the founder of disabled hikers they've become an advocate and expert voice and making the outdoors more inclusive and accessible for the disabled community and others that are underrepresented siren grew up with multiple disabilities and chronic illnesses, including Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, and postural or that Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. That's a lot to say on a Wednesday afternoon. They have also lived with depression, anxiety, and see PTSD in their mid 20s. When siren started hiking and exploring what their body could do and couldn't do in the outdoors. They found a lack of infrastructure, support and resources for the disabled community. So Sirin founded disabled hikers in 2018 with four main goals, organizing group hikes, celebrating disabled people's experiences, facilitating those experiences by making specific information available, and advocating for change in the outdoors. Siren is now working on a hiking guide for disabled hikers with Falcon guides, who is a lead publisher of guide books. I'm sure if you have spent any time in the outdoors, you've bought any guidebook you know exactly who they are. So with that, I would like to welcome siren on thank you so much siren for joining me today. Yeah, thank you for having me. Absolutely. Appreciate it. It's on a Wednesday, hopefully the weather is better for where you are than it is. For me. It's a little bit chilly here in Texas. But that's all perspective. So siren and for you and for those of listening. This show is kind of is broken up into three general parts. So the first one, I'm going to ask you to share experiences a story, a personal narrative about you attempting to be active as a disabled person. And after that, then you and I'll have a little back and forth and some q&a. And then if folks who are watching if they want to jump in and ask some questions, we'll filter those in as well. So are you ready? Yeah, ready to go. Alright, here we go. So I will turn it over to you. The floor is your siren.
Great. Thank you
Yeah, I'm Sarah Naga carry they them pronouns. And I am a white non binary person with medium brown hair, I'm wearing a rust colored jacket, and behind me is just kind of a scene of my house as so many of us are continuing to work from home, which, for me has been great, and really has opened up a lot of opportunities for me, which I really appreciate.
Yeah, so I started simple hikers in 2018. And, as you mentioned, I really have experienced a lot of barriers to access in the outdoors for the majority of my life and have felt very excluded from outdoor recreation. Really, it started in grade school and college in high school, you know, as I started getting older in early adulthood, and just continually met obstacles and a lack of understanding and acceptance about what my needs were in the outdoors, the kind of information that I needed to kind of support that I needed. You know, and there's are so many examples of that in my life. But I think a couple that I would really like to highlight is. So in community college, I, of course, was engaged in a took a, like an earth science course. And we had the opportunity to take a trip to the Grand Canyon, and I grew up in Florida. So this was like, of course, could have been the other side of the world to me, I had never left the state never gone anywhere before in my life. And this was like the first opportunity for me to really explore a new place. And the trip just went so horribly for me, the you know, the professor really didn't understand what I needed, didn't ask me any questions about what I needed to be able to engage in the material or in the trip and with my other classmates. So I often found myself just like, sitting on a bench at a viewpoint while everyone else went off and had this amazing experience. And, you know, I always tried to, of course, make the best out of it. And just, I felt like it gave me an opportunity to really just kind of be in in that moment and experience what whatever it was that I could in the way that you know, in the way that I could. So after that experience, I did feel like I had a different kind of connection with that place at the time than perhaps my other classmates did, who were all busy running from here to there. And you know, trying to get this done. And that done. Meanwhile, I spent a lot of time just kind of sitting there and enjoying the space in the place. So that really kind of created a real sense of meaning and purpose for me. And then that kind of continued, of course, as I grew older, and I engaged in some more educational opportunities, including I went to an herbal training program, where we spent a lot of time outdoors, and things like that. But the inspiration for disabled hikers really came after I moved to Northwest Washington state to the Olympic Peninsula, which is where Olympic National Park is located. And it's a stunning area, you know, old growth rainforest, like the really the last remaining temperate rainforest in the continental United States. And it's just a stunning place. So I was out, you know, just getting to know this new place and and I went out on a hike in the National Forest. That was a section of a trail of a, you know, an a system that I was already kind of familiar with, but I hadn't hiked this particular trail yet. So I started out and everything that I read about it had said it was easy, there was no obstacles, you know, super easy hike, nothing to worry about. And as soon as I started out on it, there were like multiple really steep stairs, like a really steep drop off lots of loose rocks, steep inclines and all of that. So I Yeah, it was really kind of dangerous for me, in a lot of ways, you know, this trail that was supposed to be really easy.
And eventually I did make it to my destination, which was this bridge over a really stunning waterfall and I was just exhausted and in pain and just feeling really defeated. But as I kind of, you know, sat down and leaned against the bridge railing and was just watching this waterfall flowing by and just inspiration struck in that moment. I said, Why don't I do something about this? You know, I've been having this experience my entire life. Why don't I do something? So I basically went home and threw up a website and started you know, writing a few things about my experiences and some trail guides and Before I knew it, disabled hikers was born and just kind of started taking off. And, you know, here we are. So I'm really proud of it. You know, in it all, it takes a lot of work. And there is, of course, still a lot of work that needs to be done. So.
Absolutely. Well, thank you so much for sharing that. And I mean, sorry to hear of your experiences, but I'm sure they are, are not. You know, it's not the exception, I think it's, it's sort of the rule. And which is very unfortunate. And, particularly for myself, I'm also a big outdoor person. And I, I find particularly with, with my own depression, and my own ADHD, that even taking 1015 minutes to just go for a walk and get out into nature, even just to sit or it doesn't have to be anything strenuous. It's just so beneficial. But it is a privilege that I I am as able bodied as I am, that I don't necessarily have to worry about all the extra stuff, right, the slope, the incline the the steepness. And so I really commend you in order to, I mean, see this and start building something from it. I mean, it's very, very cool. Can you talk a little bit, you know, about kind of what you've done with disabled hikers since, I guess 2018. So in the last kind of couple of years, and, and maybe a little bit about how, you know, the pandemic may have shifted or encouraged that, because I know lots of people have, have really taken to the outdoors since the pandemic started.
Yeah, so disabled packers started as providing trail guides. So I created kind of this unique rating system called the spoon rating system that is really designed to give like really objective information about difficulty and accessibility and quality of the trail. To be, you know, again, much more objective than kind of your typical ratings. Yeah, so then I started writing those and, and just produce trying to produce a lot of more resources than is what currently available. Yeah, and then I, Chris, we have the social media and started building up more community around that. And I feel like it really gave people a lot of opportunity to connect with one another, which is something that is really important. And from there, I started leading group hikes and to bring people together in the outdoors and offer an outdoor experience that was really tailored to people's individual needs, and kind of, you know, explore how do we interact with each other? How do we address everyone's needs in the outdoor space. So it's really a, I feel like it's very creative and very understanding environment, and offers a lot of opportunities. And, you know, but of course, when the pandemic hit, that actually changed a lot for us, I didn't feel comfortable leading group hikes, because, you know, a lot of disabled folks are at much greater risk with COVID. So we hit pause on that. But it did, I feel like kind of give disabled hikers more of an opportunity to reach out kind of beyond the disabled community to the larger outdoor recreation community, because there has been so much more conversation about how do we recreate outdoors when there's kind of this overarching, you know, risk and threat and access needs. And, you know, there is, appears to be so many more people recreating out now, so how do we do that in a way that is fair and accessible? And who better to answer those questions than disabled folks? So, yeah, so that has really I feel like provided a kind of helped expand the conversation a little more and give disabled folks a platform that previously wasn't being provided.
Absolutely. Absolutely. And I think I want to start our little conversation here with talking about what draws you so strongly to to hiking into being in nature.
Yeah, I think for me, it's really just that that being in nature, peace and of course, there's always a question of how do we define nature right? Is it something that's out there? I don't think it's out there. It's always here and within us and all around us. But you know, growing up as a sick and disabled kid, I and again, like I said, I grew up in Florida, where it's very hot most of the time. So I you know, really spent that a lot of time just like hanging out in my yard and watching the birds flying overhead and the bees and, you know, the lizards and all of that, that were just all around me in my yard. You know, again, because I couldn't necessarily get out for those big, those big outdoor experiences. So I found it where I could. And that really, I think, created in me this, you know, it made outdoor experiences really important. And as I grew up, and I realized that like hiking was a thing that I, you know, started just trying that out and figuring out for myself, like what I could do, and what I can do, you know, taking some risks, because there wasn't information and resources available for me. Yeah, just bigger. Yeah, I would say what?
Yeah, either outside of hiking, are there any other activities that you really enjoy doing in the outdoors?
Hiking is probably the biggest one. And yeah, but that for me, that includes like, just simple things as you're like sitting outside or going picnic or going for a scenic drive?
Yeah, like that. Yeah, yeah, hiking, I think can be used pretty synonymously with a lot of different activities. Absolutely. Now, you've you mentioned that sort of the, I guess the catalyst was moving sort of, to the Pacific Northwest, and there's certainly no shortage of outdoor opportunities up there. Unless you're disabled, right? In that case, then the accessibility certainly becomes a major factor. So what types of barriers have you faced, when you're trying to access those outdoor spaces?
For sure, a lack of information, everything that is provided out there, you know, all of the hiking blogs, and the trip reports and the trail apps, all of them are designed, assuming that everyone is able bodied. So there's a real lack of information that considers the variety of ways that people access and enjoy the outdoors. It's really kind of just, you know, one idea. And then, of course, a real lack of understanding among the outdoor community in general, and even among park rangers and land managers and, and everyone had in the larger outdoor industry, about, you know, again, about the variety of access needs and the variety of experiences and bodies.
Yeah. And, with, with your organization with disabled hikers, I know, we've sort of talked about kind of some of the great things and groups and connections, and now you working with Falcon guides in order to sort of write the disabled hikers guide, right. When working with those, you know, folks who are in the outdoor industry who don't necessarily have understanding of discipline, disability, how, how do you approach those conversations? How do you approach you know, land managers who, you know, they may not know, how to make something accessible, or they might not know that their trail is not as successful. So how do you how do you go about doing that?
Yeah, it's, I mean, it's a challenge for sure. And, you know, I kind of have to purchase it on a one, one on one level. And but I think, you know, I think a lot of land managers, maybe they're aware, but they don't know how to fix it, or they don't know how to go about making changes, or they think that accessibility only means one thing. You know, so it just means paving a trail, and then it's all good. Yeah, so I think, for me, I will often go to a place and kind of do my own site review and, you know, figure out what is working, what isn't working, and then provide that information. And then work one on one to figure out like, Where, where are the changes that can be made? What's the low hanging fruit? What are the things that would take a little more time and investment to do? What would be appropriate for the space? And just starting that conversation about, you know, the different types of access and what that means and how it doesn't have to be a major, major project.
And when you talk about different types of access, what do you mean by that?
Yeah, so um, you know, again, there's, I think in the outdoors, there's a large focus on creating like wheelchair accessible sites and trails and, but then there's only there's just a very one, one idea about even what wheelchair access means. And but there's a variety of types of wheelchair users a variety of types of adaptive equipment that is available experience levels and all of that. So, you know, not all wheelchair users necessarily need a level paved trail, they may be able to do something a little more rugged. You know, as long as cuz there's, you know, for example, no major barriers in the trail surface and things like that. And then also making sure there's resources available for people who are blind or deaf, who are autistic neurodivergent have cognitive or intellectual disabilities, making sure that information that is available is provided in a way that is accessible for them. Making sure there's even just places for people to sit in water available, and you know, a good restroom, things like that are all simple ways to really improve access.
Absolutely. And so now in your work, you know, what, what is it that's still needed? Right? I mean, I know, we've got a long way to go, and you just started, right. But as we look at how to make spaces and activities more accessible, you know, I guess, what are those low hanging fruit that those listening can, if there a program manager have access? Or they want to access a trail? What could they do? To better access their own community trails?
Yeah, um, you know, I think, starting out close to home, for me has been kind of the way that I got got started in this, you know, a lot of, you know, like, developed state parks and city parks tend to be a little more accessible, and a little less, you know, rugged in the way that kind of presents a lot of accessibility issues. So those are good places to start. But I feel like, for me, at least a big focus of my work is that it's, while like, the concrete access, things are really important. Unless we change the culture and the conversation, it's not going to mean a whole lot. You know, it's not a build it and they will come kind of scenario. Yeah, we really have to change the way people think about this. So,
yeah. And to that point, you know, in trying to change culture. have you faced any resistance in order to in your push for better access?
Yeah, I think, well, there's Yeah, a lot of but I think kind of one of the most common ones in the outdoor community is this idea that building inclusion and access will increase our impact on the environment. And, and that's really not true. But it's also a very entitled perspective, I feel like, because, you know, people are already having an impact on the environment, it's just the idea that their impact is normal and acceptable, whereas anyone elses is not. So I think, you know, I, like I don't want to go into the wilderness, and pave all these trails, you know, and like, build roads everywhere, and all of that that's not what I'm advocating for. It's just thinking about how we create access, and how we're including people. And the ways that, you know, in a lot of ways, creating access actually helps, I mean, helps everyone, and it can actually reduce our impact in a lot of ways a well designed, universally accessible trail will reduce the impact on that site and on other locations.
Yeah, and I think that's a really interesting point, that you bring up the idea of, actually using universal design, and and considering the trails that we develop. Because one of the conversations I've seen in many different ways, in many different spaces, is that idea of building things and building up natural spaces. And I think you summed it up very, very succinctly, right? We are already having an impact, right? But it doesn't necessarily mean just because we're not having an impact in this one particular area that what we're doing isn't ultimately impacting that natural space. But if we actually consider it, of what's going on, and the trails, we do have we focus on those and make those, like you said, well designed? Well, traversable because I've, I mean, I've seen countless examples of a trail, where it doesn't necessarily have to be a disabled person that can't access it, but it's simply a rocky Rudi trail. And so people will walk around. So then they start, like, just widen the trail and create this alternate path or they the the switchback is too steep, so they cut it and so we end up still having these impact items. And so how, how do we get, I mean, I guess how do we get an eight maybe you have the answer, maybe you don't. But how do we get folks who are land managers who are the folks who are You know, at the state parks or, or even local municipal parks or hopefully at some point or national parks, but how do we get them to understand that accessibility means more than just sort of this one? narrow idea?
Yeah, I wish I had a simple answer for that.
Right, you wouldn't be talking to me if you did you certainly.
Yeah, I think, you know, I think it comes down to conversations and having land managers talk with disabled people, and, you know, making not only inviting them to the table, but making that table accessible. For them, you know, I talked to a lot of people who work in kind of these large agencies, and they say, well, we invite disabled people to have conversations with us all the time, and they don't show up. Well, making it accessible.
Exactly, yeah, there's, yeah, the the lack and limit of accessibility is not just in one space, it's, it's pervasive, right. So I think it's, it's definitely a tackling, at least in my understanding in my, in my own work, it's tackling accessibility in all spaces, and not just the, you know, the space we may actually want to engage in, right, the space that we go for a hike in or the the local recreation center that we want to attend. They're just there's so many levels of accessibility issues, and all of those items. Can you talk a little bit about the things that have helped you So what types of supports maybe for you, or even the ones that you've helped others through? The community groups, the hiking groups that you put together? What types of supports have been really helpful? And how can others maybe incorporate that into what they're doing?
Well, I think connecting with other disabled people, for sure has been really meaningful for, you know, for my own experience, and learning. You know, in doing this work, that has been really meaningful for me, and just realizing that I'm not alone, and that there are other people trying to figure this out, has been really, really good. And then I think, you know, I think one of the low hanging fruit things that we mentioned earlier is that information piece, and making sure that the information that is provided is thorough, and detailed and accessible. So, you know, like, one of the things I love is if I go to a trail or recreation site, and there's a trail access information sign right there at the trailhead, that has like all the steps of the trail that I need, and a map and all of that really well laid out. That makes it so much more easier to decide if I want to do the trail right then. And makes me feel much more confident to be there. And like people have at least really thought about this.
Yeah. What types of things have you done for those group outings? So how have you gone about it? Because obviously, everybody's access needs are a little bit different. So if you're putting together a group, how do you consider sort of the variable needs of that group?
Yeah, so it starts before I even put the hike together. So I always try to go out and do a review of that trail and write up a guide, or, you know, train someone else in that location to do it, if I'm going to be traveling there. So that information is provided ahead of time that I give people opportunities, both when they register, and that I connect with them one on one to discuss their access needs, and anything that they may need to feel safe or comfortable in that group experience. And then once we all come together, everyone has an opportunity to share with the group about their needs if they choose to. And then it's a process of just constantly, you know, checking in with each other throughout the event and making sure that like, no one's being left behind. Everyone is feeling comfortable and safe and having their needs met.
Yeah. And I think, you know, maybe this is kind of, I guess, maybe an outdoor sort of person. thing is I've I found the outdoor community tends to be a little bit more accepting than some others, though. We there, obviously, there's still issues, but at least when attention is sort of brought to it, it seems there's a shift that folks are going okay. Yeah, that makes sense to me. I didn't realize that before I didn't recognize that before. And particularly being in the Pacific Northwest there. You know, there's a ton of outdoor opportunities and I think the culture up there's probably a little bit more accepting than, say other parts in the country in terms of providing access. So do you have any advice for those in other parts of the country where are, you know, they might have or might face a little bit more resistance to that acceptance, what they could do to help them get into the outdoors easier?
Yeah, I mean, I think everywhere has its issues, right. Like in the Pacific Northwest, there's still lots of misconceptions. It's not this ideal community that a lot of people perceive it to be, you know, I grew up in the South, like I said, in both issues, both areas have their issues. Trust me. Yeah. No, you know, so I think it's really just a matter of, you know, I mean, there's no one size fits all solution, right. Like, that's kind of a core part of being disabled, like everyone has to figure out their own access needs. But I think, you know, starting out small and figuring out what, what works for you. And, you know, being just tried learning how to be your own self advocate that doesn't come naturally, especially when we're told in so many ways that our needs don't matter. It is definitely a process. But you know, connecting with other disabled folks has really helped me in that process. You know, and a lot of that community is available online, where you can access it from anywhere. So, you know, just starting to have that conversation and figuring out, you know, how you can do this for yourself in your own community? And then getting out there and, you know, figuring out how to make that change and have those conversations.
Yeah. How can non disabled outdoor enthusiasts be better allies?
Believe disabled people when we tell you this is an issue. Like that shouldn't have to be said, but it does.
Yeah. And, you know, and learning more about about access and accessibility and what that means. And, you know, again, that when we're advocating for access, it doesn't mean that we want to, like, change everything. You know, it just means that we want to have our needs met, just like everyone else. And we have that. Right. So, yeah, figuring out how we do that together.
Yeah, exactly. I think I heard it. It wasn't in the context of the outdoors. But in short, it was, you know, disabled people have a right to try everything they're able bodied peers do, right? And it's just a matter of, how do we make sure that when you try, you have that access and that support to do so. And that, you know, it might mean that there are there are certain trails or spaces, that it might be hard to get up to a 14,000 foot summit, right, and as a wheelchair user, but that certainly doesn't mean that you can't access other spaces that are in that area and still get the benefit of being outdoors. And still, you know, I think a part of at least for me, there's some there's some joy in the challenge of, of going to a trail and hiking it and, you know, and getting the joy of completing it, right. It's not necessarily that I think people may have this misconception that when we talk about accessibility, it's just, oh, yeah, it just means easy, right? We want an easy button for everything. And that I think there's nuance to that, right? We just want folks to be able to try to do that trail and barriers that can be eliminated or hinder or removed or reduced. I think we have the, the not the right, the what's the word I'm looking for? Need? Right, we have the requirement, right to make those changes? In what ways do you think that programs that already exist, how they could whether they're focused on, you know, helping meet the needs of disabled folks? Or if they're just just a general outdoor group? How might they better support folks who are disabled to maybe join their group or just support their own initiatives?
Yeah, I think recognizing that, you know, disabled folks make up at least 25% of the population if you add in chronic illness, it's 60% of the population. So there are already disabled and chronically ill people engaging with your program, you just may not know it. So when you approach it that way, you know, and realize that you're don't have to necessarily change your entire program or anything like that. Just you need to rethink how you're doing what you're doing. So go in with that assumption that there are disabled people already in your program, that you need to ask everyone about their access needs, and provide an opportunity for everyone to share what it is that they need to be in that space. Because whether you're disabled or not, you have access needs, you know, and then providing really good information and being flexible. In understanding that, you know, it's not a one size fits all, then you're going to have to adapt and adjust your program.
Yeah, absolutely. Now, when we think of the outdoor community, it tends to be quite small, right? When we sort of, at least in my experience, when I have friends who now work in the outdoor community, and they work for different outdoor companies, or, or as freelancers, you realize how, really everyone knows everyone else at some point, right? And how do we go from, you know, having a small sort of woven community that has really very relatively few examples of disabled individuals in the outdoors, right? We often we don't see disabled athletes really marketing, skiing, or climbing or other sort of outdoor pursuits. But we know they exist, right? There's lots? How do we go about making sure that when outdoor companies start to get involved, and that that outdoor community does get activated, that accessibility is a part of the plan, right, that when we go into, you know, create new wild space, I don't want to say to create new wild spaces, but to protect certain spaces, you know, there's the it's been the back and forth about Bears Ears over the last few years and sort of these other kind of national monuments or forests, etc. How do we go about making sure that accessibility is a major part of that?
Yeah, I think, again, it having disabled people involved in that process, and in their opinion, and their knowledge is really important. And disabled folks bring more to the table, then only, you know, ideas about disability and accessibility. You know, and I, of course, I want to avoid any broad strokes, because, you know, people with disabilities are just as diverse as any other community. But, you know, broadly speaking, I feel like, you know, we do bring a certain level of creativity and, and flexibility and knowledge to the table that really benefits everyone, you know, in doing these projects, so yeah,
absolutely. I 100% agree with that. And, you know, I think it's certainly not comparable, but it's, it's very similar to the idea of of any diversity initiative, and then expecting, you know, only putting that work on folks who may be black or Latinx. And assuming that, yeah, they know all the answers, right, because they're diverse in assuming that the only purpose disabled folks would serve in any of those cases would be oh, there, they just, they tell us what's accessible or not, not that they have any other value in that. And so I think that's an important piece, too. And I think you're right, you kind of mentioned at the beginning, it is a changing of a culture, right, it's a changing of an understanding and in our perception of, of ability, right, and understanding that most disabled folks, I know, just just want to engage in the outdoors, right? Which is, if that's if that's the thing, or they just want to be able to try to do it. And so, you know, in your experiences and working with folks, I mean, what do you see is, particularly with the outdoors, what do you see is the benefit, when folks do finally are are finally able to access it? They're, you know, with the supports that they might need?
Yeah, um, you know, I think for me, at least, then, you know, I want to kind of give a disclaimer that I don't necessarily want to, like apply any like metaphorical meaning to engaging with nature, or that being outdoors is going to be this epiphany experience or anything like that. It's not, it's, you know, it can be just as simple as you know, I like to hang out outside, which is totally valid. You know, you don't have to go outdoors to have some epiphany experience. But for me, being outdoors in nature has really provided a sense of belonging that society has not given me, you know, when I go outdoors, and I see the different ways that plants and animals exist, and the resilience that they demonstrate in the outdoors and things like that, that has, you know, given me a sense of belonging and recognizing that there are many different ways to be embodied. And that, you know, everyone kind of has their role in the ecosystem. And that is all just as valid. Yeah,
I really like how you put that, because that sort of goes to the, the idea of philosophy of where, I guess where humans, broadly speaking, where we fit, sort of in this broader scope of things. And I think oftentimes we sort of think we're separate, right? We think we're, we're, we're off on our own, and what we do has no interconnectedness with, with these other aspects. And, you know, maybe that does get a little bit to what we're talking about a little bit earlier, this idea of, of defining natural spaces. Right. And I think oftentimes, we do think that, you know, oh, outdoor spaces, natural spaces, that's, that's over there. We contain them and national forests or state parks are, what have you and right, just looking out my window, right, there are plenty of trees, there's grass, there's animals that inhabit any or all of them. Right, and realizing that we are a part of that whole ecosystem, I think is, you know, maybe that's the shift we need in order to start thinking about accessibility. Right?
Yeah, yeah, there's this idea that there's the built environment and the natural environment, and never the two shall meet. And, you know, that's not true at all. It's very much intertwined.
Yeah, yeah, we've been our built in natural environment have been intertwined, since the beginning. And it's, it's never changed. What advice do you have, for those who want to get into, you know, either into nature, or into doing sort of more outdoor type of activities, but they just don't know where to start? What what advice might you have
for them? Yeah, I think, again, I mentioned this earlier, but starting small, and whatever is the most accessible to you. And, you know, that may mean, you know, sitting on a bench in your, you know, in your apartment community and just sitting outside, it may mean, you know, taking the bus to the closest little city park, you know, and just starting there and figuring out, you know, what am I comfortable doing? What can my body do in the outdoors. And then, you know, again, connecting with people, with other people doing this. And, you know, there's lots of like, trail app resources out there, in most states have like a trails coalition that often provides trail information on their website. So doing some research around that, and, you know, finding other hiking groups online that can provide information. You know, just I always kind of caution, like, go into that with a bit of an expectation that it's going to kind of suck. Yeah, yeah. And just be prepared for that. But
yeah, Temper Temper expectations just a little bit. When when folks do go online, or they look at at trail maps, and, you know, obviously not ones that you've done, they've gone really into depth, but what should they look for, if they're worried about a trail, maybe being too strenuous? Or, you know, not necessarily maybe being outside of what they feel they could do at the moment?
Yeah, so I kind of look for a few basic features or information, and that's the surface of the trail. So if it's gonna be paved, or rock or gravel or dirt, and then how steep the trail is the elevation gain, the steepest grade on the trail, which, you know, represents how steep any section of the trail is going to be. And then, you know, are there places to rest on the trail? Places to step off the trail if I need to? Water restrooms, things like that available?
Yeah. Fantastic. And I guess I think this maybe is a little natural segue. But could you tell me a little bit about the guides you're working with with Falcon in terms of when could we expect them? What what are we looking at?
Yeah, I just finished the manuscript like
congratulations. Snaps for you. Alright.
Yeah, thank you. It's been a an intense to your project, which is much more complicated by COVID and wildflower wildfire. Yes.
All of it. Yeah. All of it. Just all of it 2021 and 2020. All of it just. Absolutely.
Yeah. So yeah, so it's scheduled for publication in June of 2020. To cover all the best OST, there's I think, almost 50 hikes in there. But it includes scenic drives and viewpoints and picnic areas and hikes and wheelchair accessible trails. So I really tried to provide a variety of options for people, you know, wherever they are, and whatever their comfort, inability and experience levels are, so that they have something available to them to try.
Absolutely. That sounds wonderful. And I'm hoping that you continue this right. Is that the plan? Are you are you planning to do more guides for other places in the country?
Yeah, definitely. Hope.
That's the hope. That's fantastic. I love to hear. Well, so I've, I've enjoyed our conversation so much today. You've given me certainly a whole different perspective when we consider accessibility in particularly what we might need to do. And I guess we consider outdoor spaces. I'd love to end with you telling us a little bit about what you're looking forward to, right. We've been going through this pandemic, and everybody sort of a little down, but so we need a little joy. So what do you what are you excited about what? You know, where are you going hiking next?
Yeah, well, I'm actually leaving in a couple of weeks to drive cross country back to Florida, to spend a couple of months there visiting my folks and then coming back. So I'll be you know, doing some stops and projects and events along the way. So you know, folks can definitely follow us for more information about that. And next year, I'm hoping to start doing more training programs and launching chapters of disabled hikers around the country. Very coning more disabled folks to do this work in their own communities. So
that's fantastic. I love to hear it. Well, again, Tyron, thank you so much. I really appreciate our conversation. I hope those listening, enjoyed it as well, I'm sure they did. You've given me so much to think about. And I really do appreciate Oh, with that. We do have a question that popped in, which is fantastic. So Mellie being 1718 said, which is sirens favorite accessible hike in the North Cascades? It's great question.
Yeah. So I mean, of course, I have to ask and maybe if you want to speak to this, what does accessible mean for you? Are you asking for a wheelchair accessible trail or just kind of a quote unquote, easy trail? Or?
Yeah. merely being? What are you looking for? Maybe Maybe they're typing. The fun part about doing a live show? Well, I guess sort of what I guess what are some accessible hacks, I guess in terms of maybe if you can think of some that are a little easier on that user and maybe have some maybe not great or not, not too tremendous of inclination changes, and then you know, maybe some that might have a little bit more difficult. Okay, wheelchair, but also easy to get to. So that's what Molly's looking for.
Yeah, I think there's a lot of trails around Mount Baker that are pretty accessible. There's artists point. And of course, these are a really short hiking period, right? Because winter and all of that, but artists point has some really nice accessible view points in a trail. There's picture Lake Fire and Ice trail. And then a little further south open a little more, longer duration. There's thunder Creek Trail, out highway 20 is really beautiful. And then there's a boardwalk short boardwalk trail called Happy Creek Nature Trail. That is really nice.
Yeah, there you go. Mellie. That is, there's a lot of recommendations. So I'll have to I want to mention that. transcripts will be available. So Emily, if you didn't catch it all, that will be open for a second. Go back and read it. I know I certainly will. And when I'm in the North Pacific Northwest again, I'm certainly going to reach out to you siren for some some good. Some good options. You're very welcome, Millie. All right. With that siren again. I thank you so much. It's been a wonderful conversation. I loved having you here.
Thank you. Enjoy. Cool.
All right. So again, I'd like to thank our guest siren for being the second guest in the series. We have two more conversations coming up this year, one in November, and one in December, head over. To find them you can go to our website at dis dis move excetera dot live to find In terms of finding information about siren and the great work that they're doing, you can find more information at disabled hikers calm. You can also find them on Instagram or Facebook at disabled hikers one word. If you're interested, you can also join in their Facebook group so they have a disabled hikers community in Facebook, or on Facebook, not in Facebook. And then you can find more information about the disabled hikers guide to Western Washington and Oregon. at their website, disabled hikers comm backslash, the disabled hikers guide book, and I will make sure to put that in the show notes so that you have those links. If you'd like to support siren and the work that they are doing, you can find them on Patreon at patreon.com/sirensyrenifyoumissedanypartof. Today's conversation, feel free to watch the replay which is going to be here on YouTube. I'm also going to be releasing each of these conversations as a podcast, the trailer is out you can listen to that subscribe to it. It's on Spotify, Apple podcasts, and pretty much wherever else you'd find or listen to podcasts. As a reminder, this is our second conversation. If you want to find more information about the others, you can go to Luma le que ma backslash that hippie prof and there are the other conversations that I will have for the rest of the fall. If you want to support the show, and this one and some others that I'm working on, you can find us on Patreon at patreon.com/thathippieprofiwouldreallyliketothankmyfriendadriandocblest. He's the one who composed and put together the music that you heard at the beginning and that you're going to hear just a second from now. And lastly, I want to thank all of you watching live as well as listening to the broadcast. You're really the reason I'm here. And I'm glad and I hope you've enjoyed this conversation and I hope you'll join me next time see you later.