I’ve been a HikeAPI participant since the group’s first official hike on the San Gabriel Mountains’ Eaton Canyon Trail in late-2015. At the time, folx in the community who were involved with APIFM (then known as Asian and Pacific Islander Obesity Prevention Alliance) expressed an interest in hiking, but didn’t like the idea of hiking on their own. So APIFM organized a monthly series of group hikes led by a volunteer to give community members a chance to learn about and easily navigate local trails. We wanted these hikes to be accessible to folx of all ages and hiking abilities, so we set a model of having a hike leader up front while another hike leader brought up the rear to ensure no one was left behind.
HikeAPI’s group hikes have taken us on a range of trails throughout the San Gabriel Mountains, Santa Monica Mountains, and Verdugo Mountains over the years — but that first hike in Eaton Canyon was particularly memorable. Though Eaton Canyon is arguably one of the most popular local trails and close proximity to where many of the participants live, for some it was their first time there. I’m so happy that APIFM was able to introduce community members to such a beautiful local recreation area and it was a joy to experience it again as a first-timer might. I carried over that excitement into helping to plan future hikes. Going on these monthly hikes have helped me forge new friendships.