This Artist’s Illustrations Highlight Challenges Faced by BIPOC Thru-Hikers

The following is a guest post courtesy of Marie Draws. Marie is a PCT thru-hiker and artist who is using her skills to tell the stories of backpackers from diverse backgrounds and communities.

After George Floyd’s violent death, I wanted to use my skills to help the Black Lives Matter movement. Fellow hiker Stark Naked reached out to tell me about their experiences of racism on the PCT and I thought a lot more people needed to hear their story. We collaborated on a simple yet straightforward series of illustrations that would bring anything from uncomfortable moments to downright awful life experiences, using colorful graphics and visuals to pull more people in. The strong reactions and encouraging feedback that followed made it clear that racism in the outdoors needed more attention. After that, Stark Naked put me in contact with Akuna, and we highlighted his voice as a Black hiker on the AT to keep the conversation going. Both of these illustration series are below. –Marie

Up next: Queerness in the Outdoors. If you want to share your experiences with me, please get in touch on Instagram @mariedraws_thePCT.

Marie Draws for Stark Naked: Racism on the PCT

Marie Draws for Akuna: Racism on the AT

Marie Draws is a bright and colorful illustrator who combines her vulnerable approach with simple visuals to create engaging content for brave adventure seekers. Since completing the PCT in 2019, Marie wants to encourage people of all backgrounds to turn their hiking dream into a reality. Follow her on Instagram for more illustrations, and visit her website to learn more about the Pre-Trail Book and mentoring sessions she offers to future thru-hikers.


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Comments 2

  • ThreeSpeed : Jul 10th

    As a 62 year old white guy I’m embarrassed and sickened by the attitudes of folks “like” me. At this point in time, there is no “neutral stance” on racism. You either stand with all against it or you’re condoning it by your non-action.

  • Marianne : Feb 17th

    I am so sorry that these are the experiences of Black hikers. Representation in the outdoors is crucial. Thank you for sharing your story.


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