On May 11, Amber Strautkalns made a call on Reddit. As a mother of three, Strautkalns was looking for an inclusive group of like-minded introverts with whom she could enjoy the outdoors. The only groups she could find were led by fitness junkies with washboard abs.
“Fat Stoner Babes Hiking Club??” She wrote. “Where do I find them? Or should I create?!? !”
Strautkalns answered his own question two days later after a flood of people said they wanted the same thing. She designed a graphic and posted it on social media to invite other “alternating chubby” parents, or anyone interested, to join Fat Stoner Babes – a hiking club that loves stoners, introverts and the body.
“I just wanted to hang out with like-minded people and people who were also introverted and had trouble getting out of the house,” Strautkalns said.
To his surprise, people showed up. About 30 people came to Creve Coeur Park for the club’s first outing on May 15. Fat Stoner Babes has several other hikes in St. Louis parks and natural areas planned throughout the summer.
Do hikers have to be stoners? No. Babies ? Strautkalns doesn’t care if you have a dick “as long as you don’t act like one”. Do hikers have to be fat? No. But if you are and have struggled to find a band you feel comfortable with, that crowd is definitely your people, says Strautkalns.
“You don’t have to be fat. You don’t have to be a stoner. You don’t need to have the best confidence,” she adds. “It’s okay. We’re all here to succeed. Let’s go!”
Strautkalns, a former photographer and stay-at-home mom, was looking for a way to spend time away from her children. Although not every hiking group she found online seemed to fit her vibe.
“I’m chubby, I like to get high and walk around,” says Strautkalns. “I’m not trying to rush to the finish line and I’m not going to exercise. We’re just gonna get out of the house and get some fresh air.
On a recent hike at Rockwoods Reservation in Wildwood, a group of mostly strangers met near a trail. They discussed their lives and what brought them to the club as they explored a two-mile trail with creeks and caves.
For Caroline Berg, the club sounded enticing after a fruitless search for an inclusive fitness group.
“People tend to be fitness enthusiasts, and it’s not always the vibe that people enjoy,” Berg says.
Same goes for Allison Morgan, who found the club on Reddit. “I just moved from Ohio and was looking for things to do in St. Louis,” says Morgan. “[The club] seems really open and inclusive. Just good energy.
Despite the criteria included in the club’s original name, Strautkalns says that’s exactly what she did. Just good energy and calm vibes. All she hopes to do is build an inclusive community where everyone feels welcome.
“I try to have fun here, and I want other people to have fun too,” says Strautkalns. “It’s hard to do when you’re self-conscious or having trouble getting out of the house for whatever reason, whether it’s for mental health reasons or you’re busy with kids. No matter. We all have our stuff.
Fat Stoner Babes is open to everyone. Some upcoming walking spots include Castlewood State Park, Missouri Botanical Garden, Jefferson Barracks, Forest Park and more. Attend the next club outing at Dr. Edmund A. Babler Memorial State Park (800 Guy Park Drive, Wildwood) at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, June 6.
A full schedule is posted on Reddit and in Fat Stoner Babe’s Facebook group.