The Wild Wanderer Spotlight Series highlights the stories of queer adventurers in their own words, and we hope that by sharing these underrepresented voices, true diversity and inclusion will begin to make their way into the mainstream.
Wild Wanderer Spotlight: Honnie & Niki
“Safety has always been our biggest concern. Will we get injured? Will we get lost? As we travel further and further from our California Bay Area bubble, our mentality on safety shifted. As queer women of color, we now worry about our social safety.” – Honnie & Niki
What are your pronouns?
How do you identify?
We’re both queer cis-females.
What outdoor activities are you involved in?
Hiking, camping, kayaking, and biking are our main activities these days. Our favorite trails are those with big lakes, waterfalls, and hot springs. Camping, especially dispersed camping, allowed us to explore cool places further away from home. We took up kayaking to be out on the water; it seems to be the driving force for us both. Niki has been an avid biker for over 8 years, both mountain and road biking. Honnie tags along for the leisure rides. We also love sports. Niki is on a local co-ed soccer team and Honnie was on a local LGBTQ softball team before her back injury.
Tell us about a favorite/memorable outdoor adventure you’ve had:
Every outdoor adventure has been mesmerizing thus far, but the most memorable is our Big Sur, CA dispersed camping trip in July of 2020. Most developed campsites were either fully booked due to low capacity or still closed due to COVID restrictions at this time so we looked into dispersed camping as an alternative. The start of the trip was extremely stressful. Honnie had discovered a dead car battery during her vehicle pre-trip inspections the day before and called roadside assistance for a jumpstart. The technician said that the battery was fine and to drive around for about 30 mins to recharge it, so she did. The next morning, the car was dead again. After getting another jump start, we drove to the nearest auto store to replace the battery. We didn’t want to risk being stuck out in the middle of nowhere. Once the battery was replaced, we were finally on the road!
We drove down the coast of California Highway 1, passing Half Moon Bay, Santa Cruz, and Monterey, making pit stops at scenic overlooks and buying fruit from local farmers on the side of the road. After passing Big Sur, we drove up the mountains, along narrow dirt roads, to find a clear, leveled site for the night. It was super hot, super dry, and super dusty. After settling in, we explored the grounds and everything that had gone wrong, just faded away.
We were on top of the mountains, above the clouds, during sunset. Paragliders were jumping off of cliffs and sailing into the horizon. We saw thousands of stars, the milky way, and even comet Neowise under the big dipper. The experience was absolutely breathtaking.
In your opinion, what are the most important challenges/issues facing queer people outside?
Safe access. Safety has always been our biggest concern. Will we get injured? Will we get lost? As we travel further and further from our California Bay Area bubble, our mentality on safety shifted. As queer women of color, we now worry about our social safety. Should we show public displays of affection? Is Honnie passing enough so people won’t bother us? It’s scary. That’s why we started Happy Khamper, to provide destinations and resources for minorities to feel more comfortable to opt outside.
As an LGBTQIA+ person, if you could change one thing about the outdoor industry, what would it be?
The outdoor industry needs to facilitate and improve efforts in programs and organizations to encourage outdoor activities and create safe spaces for LGBTQIA+ youth and teens to develop leadership skills, seek adventure, and build community.
Do you have anything else to add?
If you’re having a difficult time planning a trip, reach out to us and we can recommend some resources for you!
Connect with Honnie & Niki
Follow Honnie & Niki on Instagram.
See more Wild Wanderer Spotlights. You can follow Wild Wanderer on the organization’s website, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
This article is part of our Trailblazer program.
Backpackers.com Affiliate Policy: This article may contain affiliate links, which help fund our website. When you click on the links to purchase the gear we get a commission, and this goes a long way to creating guides, gear reviews, and other excellent content.