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The Pacific Crest Trail

Hiking from Mexico to Canada with Sketchbook and Watercolors in Tow


Lindsey Fox (Trail Name Miyagi) hiked 2650 miles from Mexico to Canada with a sketchbook and watercolors in tow. These are the paintings that emerged from the views, vistas, and many mountain tops along the way.

"The moments captured when I took the time to sit and do a quick sketch and wash of watercolor were some of the most magical memorable of my hike. It is my hope this body of work inspires others to experience the many natural wonders of this land in their own and unique ways."

At the start of the trail you are doing everything you can just to hike a bare minimum of miles...usually to the next water source. You get into camp or lunch or a break and you feel like collapsing on your sleeping pad. I made a point to start drawing during those times, no matter how tired. Painting on the trail presented all sorts of challenges, but the reward of painting outside in such stunning locations was worth it. Painting while looking at actual landscape is so different than painting from a photograph. The point of bringing a sketchbook on this trail was to capture those raw moments that no photograph could ever capture. Watercolor allowed me to express my feelings on the trail as well as how the landscape affected me. There were so many times that I remember walking by a beautiful vista and thinking that I should stop and draw. Sometimes I stopped and sometimes I pressed on to get into camp before dark.

Every hundred miles people would take photographs with mile markers that those before had marked out with stones, pinecones, or sticks. I chose a leave no trace option by drawing my mile markers on postcards and then taking a photograph of the postcard and landscape at that particular mile. I then sent these postcards to my family so they could keep track of how far we had come.

drawn between miles 

Exhibition in collaboration with The Pacific Crest Trail Association / Lizard Lounge / Portland, OR

the materials:

Watercolor: the most packable paints, and a familiar medium to me on the go. I started by putting together a custom kit, taking as much care with its weight as I did when I packed my base weight of trail gear. I made 5 sketchbooks each with a combination of watercolor and drawing paper including several pieces detached sheets for postcards. These books were spread across the various resupply boxes. As I filled one book up another was sent. This kit allowed me to carry a minimal amount of painting supplies while knowing that I had enough to fully express my creativity on the trail.

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