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Document Your Hikes in Paint

Making art on the trail helps you appreciate the landscape in a new way.

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Huddled in her sleeping bag amidst a driving rainstorm, Appalachian Trail thru-hiker Alina “Abstract” Drufovka experienced what every backpacker dreads—a flooded tent. But instead of lamenting her bad luck, Drufovka made lemonade out of lemons. She broke out her watercolors.

“I ended up using the pools of water in the corners of my tent to make a watercolor painting,” she says. “This way I didn’t have to leave my tent to get water.”

Rainstorm or no, watercoloring is an excellent way to commemorate scenes from the trail. Unlike snapping a photo, capturing the view with paints or pens allows you to take in details and immerse yourself in the landscape. Plus, your creations make great postcards home or gifts for your hiking partners. 

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An Alina Drufovka original. Alina Drufovka

You don’t need a natural aptitude for the arts to enjoy painting in nature. Intimidated? Just get started—your first painting won’t be perfect, but the learning process and time spent enjoying your surroundings will be worth it. These tips from outdoor painters will help you tap into your inner artist.