“Access for All” is a blog series welcoming diverse perspectives that create an inclusive modern outdoors for everyone. Meet Tyrhee Moore, outdoorsman and founder of Soul Trak who is redefining what it looks like to exist in nature.
I am deeply connected to my community [in Washington DC]. It is what shaped me as a kid, but so has the outdoors.
[I had] most of my introductory outdoor experiences in Jackson Hole [through City Kids Wilderness Project, a non-profit organization that provides enriching life experiences for D.C. children]. It was very special. It doesn’t get much better than being able to learn how to kayak on big rapids in the Snake River, or canoe along the base of the Tetons, or learn to rock climb in Utah on some of the best sandstone in the world.
City Kids also built a comfortable community with other kids that looked like me and shared similar experiences as I did. These made my experiences feel natural and partially eliminated this feeling of otherness. I looked forward to my summers. It was an opportunity to embrace the adventure. As a kid, I learned to appreciate every step of my journey and that growth doesn’t happen overnight. I’ve also learned that I am far more resilient when put in very challenging circumstances.
I took a mountaineering course with (NOLS) when I turned 18-year-old. It was something very powerful about planning, executing, and reaping the reward of standing on an actual summit after so much hard work. I work hard and fight every day of my life and it feels like I never fully can overcome those challenges—but to stand on a summit gives me that direct reassurance that I am invincible.
My biggest mountaineering accomplishment definitely would be Expedition Denali [the first all African-American team to attempt the famed peak in 2013]. That climb was profound in many ways. It was my first time being on a big mountain like that with such a strong sense of community, so many incredible black outdoorsmen/women together taking on such a profound summit. It also had given me a platform that I previously did not truly appreciate. I was able to inspire others outside of my direct network as a result of it. I began to view the outdoors through a lens that didn’t just serve my own personal interests but many others as well and how could I do my part in creating more space.
Tyrhee wears the Grandview GTX waterproof hiking boots, built for comfort in all terrains and weather conditions.
BRIDGING TWO COMMUNITIES
Soul Trak was an opportunity to bring those two worlds together. It was important for Soul Trak to be in my hometown in DC because that’s the city that I know and love most. I also know very directly how devastating wide the adventure gap is within my city. Ironically it is a city surrounded by nature. I want my community to know that you do not have to leave your community to build a relationship with the earth: it is all around us. In our backyards, down the street in our parks, and flowing through our cities.
A time where I felt I could be completely free to be myself was when I returned home and began leading Soul Trak programs. For most of my life, I had been entering into these preexisting cultures that shaped the outdoors that I didn’t fit in. I realized that we could redefine what existing in nature looked like.
Soul Trak is all about redefining the outdoors and developing a connection with the environment through ongoing experiences, positive community, and protecting the environment that allows us the space to come together. Outings feel very familiar in regards to the atmosphere of the many participants, like reconnecting with family, but also there’s an aspect of adventure or uncertainty when going into an activity that you may have never done before like canyoneering, rock climbing or even camping.
“Soul Trak is all about redefining the outdoors and developing a connection with the environment through ongoing experiences, positive community, and protecting the environment that allows us the space to come together.”
However, the balance of taking risks and pushing yourself in combination with a community of support behind you really makes for an invaluable collective. As a leader of ongoing moments of empowerment, I feel very fortunate and blessed to have the opportunity to bridge two worlds that are very dear to me, my tribe, and the boundless opportunities of nature.
My ancestors have always been mountain climbers, fighting an uphill battle their entire lives. That narrative unfortunately has not yet changed. I believe there is no mountain that I cannot climb with all that I’ve been able to overcome on a daily basis. I’ve also recognized that my existence in the mountains is one of necessity—for myself and others that come after me.
[Mountaineering] is a reminder that I am just a small piece of the pie. Everything that I do is so much bigger than myself and for those that come after me, it’s knowing that even when you are out there surrounded by whiteness—whether it be the snow, other climbers, or the European names of its peaks—you are not alone.