We are committed to making the Notch a safe space for guests from marginalized communities, in particular Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and members of the LGBTQ+ community. Beyond that, we are actively forming and maintaining partnerships with outdoors/travel groups led for and by BIPOC and LGBTQ+ folks. In particular, we have had the privilege of connecting with and hosting members of Flash Foxy, Outdoor Afro, Latino Outdoors, and Summits in Solidarity repeatedly over the past four years.
Our hostel is proud to host the annual celebration for Summits in Solidarity’s June hiking fundraiser for BIPOC-led justice and outdoor access work. All of our staff participate in the hike and fundraiser, and most of us have taken the organization’s annual anti-racism challenge for outdoorspeople.
We continue to offer promo codes for guests from communities that have experienced historic or present day economic disenfranchisement. For example, are you a member of Latino Outdoors or Brown Girls Climb? Use BIPOCOUTDOORS20 for 20% off all accommodations at the Notch. Outdoor Afro members can use NOTCHAFRO30 for 30% off all accommodations at the Notch. Please reach out to us if your group would like to use our promo code.
Me and White Supremacy Anti-Racism Challenge
The Notch owner and three of our staff helped Summits in Solidarity to facilitate their annual anti-racism challenge this past February, during Black History Month. We challenged outdoorsy people (including hostel guests!) to read Layla Saad’s, “Me and White Supremacy: A 28-Day Challenge to Combat Racism,” and unpack the reading in groups on Zoom, which our staff and other volunteers helped to facilitate. This experience has transformed our staff members’ perspectives on privilege and color and, in turn, informs how they behave around our guests of color.
We believe in showcasing stories that break the mold of the “typical” (cis-gendered, heterosexual, able-bodied white male) outdoor user.
We’ve had the opportunity to do this through our Fireside Chat Series; a monthly speaking engagement we put on throughout winter featuring presentations from avid hikers and outdoors folk hosted in our hostel’s living room. For example, we heard from Aubri “Data” Drake, a nonbinary queer Notch regular, in a chat about their trek through the Alps. We’ve hosted three presentations by Lyla “Sugar” Harrod, the first trans woman to complete the Triple Crown of thru-hiking, and learned all about her experience as a sober, queer, trans woman thru-hiking the AT, PCT, Hayduke, Direttissima, and more. We also hosted a panel discussion with four long-distance hikers of color: Richi, a Dominican-American hiker and ultramarathoner; Hamer, a Dominican-born Appalachian Trail thru-hiker; Justin, an African-American Appalachian Trail thru-hiker and co-founder of the Outdoorist Oath; and Kathy, a Vietnamese-American international hiker and skier.
At one point in our panel discussion with Black and Asian long-distance hikers mentioned above, I asked the panelists, “Can Black, Indigenous, and People of Color use hiking to escape reality the way white hikers do? Is this in their best interest? Is this even a possibility?” to which Justin responded:
There are so many other aspects to thru-hiking or putting ourselves in an outdoor space that we [BIPOC] have to worry about. Like when I mention that my pack was designed by a BIPOC company and I get messages in my comments that say, No one wants to hear about diversity or politics, and if you think you are going to bring that onto the trail you’ll be shunned by the thru-hiking community… A lot of hikers don’t have to watch the news because things like the pandemic or mass shootings disproportionately affect people of color. When I would try to introduce that on trail, hikers would say, I don’t really watch the news, I’m not here for that, I want to focus on hiking. And I think, that must be nice…to only have to focus on hiking.
Another weekend, we hosted a presentation by Ari and Rik of Ridj-it and Mountain Flyer. Ridj-it is a technological platform that connects outdoors people with rideshares, and Mountain Flyer is an outdoor recreation bus that provides transportation from the city of Boston to the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Both services address the need for accessible transportation to outdoor spaces in a region that lacks public transportation which affects BIPOC who are at a socioeconomic and geographical disadvantage.
Upper left: Lyla “Sugar” Harrod
Lower left: Ari & Rik of Ridj-it and Mountain Flyer
Right: Richi, Dominican-American hiker and ultramarathoner
Each summer, The Notch Hostel reserves the last weekend in June exclusively for a Summits in Solidarity hike and fundraiser. We host a film screening during the evening celebration celebrating BIPOC outdoor joy. For example, in 2022 we showed a film featuring Black hiker and activist Mardi Fuller, called “Mardi and the Whites,” as in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.
Summits In Solidarity
In 2020, Notch owner Serena Ryan founded Summits in Solidarity, a racial justice initiative among hikers in the Northeastern US and beyond. Our mission is to identify and liberate from white privilege, entitlement, and supremacy in hiking and outdoor recreation, foster connections that support emergence of a new, anti-racist outdoors community, and raise funds for Black, Indigenous, and people of color justice organizations. On March 24, 2022, Summits in Solidarity formally became a federally recognized non-profit (EIN 88-0948177).
The Notch Store
We have a small store both in house and online. Check out our queer seller and reusable handbag fabricator Bookie, who donates $30 of each Solidarity bag sold to Summits in Solidarity. We also sell a hiker salve handmade in New Hampshire by Black marathon runner Yuma Haidara.