It would be the last hike of the season, Jessica Newton posted on her social media platforms. With mild weather forecast and Colorado's breathtaking fall foliage as a backdrop, she was excited — convinced an excursion at Beaver Ranch Park would be the quintessential way to close out months of warm-weather hikes with her "sister friends."
Still, when that Sunday morning arrived in 2018, Newton was shocked when her usual crew of about 15 had mushroomed to include about 70 Black women. There's a first time for everything, she thought as they broke into smaller groups and headed toward the nature trail. What a sight they were, she recalls, as the women — in sneakers and hiking boots, a virtual sea of colorful headwraps, flowy braids and dreadlocks, poufy twists and long, flowy locks — trekked peacefully across the craggy terrain in the crisp mountain air.