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Build your hiking skills with monthly Pride Outside hikes with local queer geoscientist, Bili O’Hara

Monthly Pride Outside Hikes

Build your skills each week, meet new friends, and connect with nature.

In 2023, Venture Outdoors is offering a series of monthly hikes from March to August for the LGBTQIA+ community. This series of hikes, ranging from 5 to 10+ miles, will culminate in the opportunity to attend an optional weekend backpacking trip in the Laurel Highlands in September.

Meet Trip Leader Bili O’Hara

My name is Bili O’Hara (left). I am a volunteer trip leader for Venture Outdoors. I learned to camp, hike, and backpack during my time working as a geoscientist. I continue to spend time outdoors exploring the green spaces of southwestern Pennsylvania.

I am also Bi+ and nonbinary.

Taking a long day hike or traveling into the backcountry on a multi-day trip always rejuvenates my queer soul. Spending time in nature becomes a short respite to de-center the stresses of living under a dominant culture that often challenges and invalidates my identity. I still remember my first joyful forays into remote field work. Our roles in camp and on the trail had nothing to do with our identities and everything to do with who had finished a task and was therefore available to start the next one. With the distance from “civilization” that is provided by time spent in nature, I can often feel the pressures of traditional social roles and gender norms ease off my shoulders.

Venture Outdoors is all about creating opportunities for folx to get outside, so we have organized a series of Pride Outside hikes to provide a space for LGBTQIA2S+ individuals in the greater Pittsburgh area to experience nature, expand our outdoors skill sets, and center ourselves.

The individual day hikes will provide participants a chance to soak in some nature with queer company while experiencing what it’s like to hike 5 to 10 miles in a day before making the optional commitment of two full days backpacking for approximately 19 miles over hilly, forested terrain.

Join us for one adventure, or all seven. My goal as a volunteer trip leader is to make space and resources available for you to build confidence in your outdoor skills and test your limits in an environment where you feel safe and supported.

I look forward to trekking with you.


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