Hiking Through History, Part I

June 11, 2015  •  1 Comment

It’s Sunday and I’m sewing knickers. No, I’m not making underwear on a Sunday and who knows if that’s even a bad thing anyway. I’m making Knickerbockers, the past-the-knee, baggy pants of the early 20th century. The modern day equivalents are worn by football players and really sad-looking child models.

Rebecca M. Fullerton, early 20th Century adventurer.Rebecca M. Fullerton, early 20th Century adventurer.Yours Truly on the trail up Carter Dome in New Hampshire's beautiful White Mountains. In reality, I’m modifying a pair of relatively comfortable thrift-store slacks by cutting them short and adding a hem that can be buttoned snugly around the calf. I recently purchased a wool army surplus coat from 1955. Along the way I’ve collected a blouse, a wide-brimmed hat, and an old tin cup. I’m currently on the hunt for a canvas rucksack.

You've probably noticed already (if you follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram) that I'm a bit of a hiker. The goal of all these clothing shenanigans is to combine my love of trails and history-geekfests by assembling an outfit vaguely akin to what one would wear hiking circa 1915, for that is what I intend to do later this summer.

The idea came to me last year on a week-long hike in the White Mountains, visiting the huts of the Appalachian Mountain Club. I’m the Archivist for this environmental conservation and outdoor recreation non-profit, and I went hoping to check in on the condition of old log books at six of the huts and to talk with visitors and huts staff about the history of these places. It was a great week out in the mountains and at the end I immediately planned on making the trip again the following year.

Incidentally, the Lakes of the Clouds Hut between Mount Monroe and Mount Washington will be one hundred years old this summer. In celebration of this historic event and as a fun experiment I’ll be hiking in 1915-ish costume in an effort to get a sense of what it was like to be an outdoorswoman in that era. I will give a short talk at each hut about that place’s special history and talk to hikers along the trail who notice my unconventional garb. I will, of course, also be carrying my sketchbook and camera to gather material for a new batch of paintings and drawings.

This is the perfect adventure for me combining history, hiking, art, and the challenge of the unknown! Here’s hoping it’s all a great success! I will be writing more blog posts and posting photos as I plan for and set out on this journey.

Read Part II of this adventure!

My hikes in the White Mountains have led to many paintings in the last few years. You can see the results of that side of my trips in the Hinterlands gallery of my website. Some of the original paintings are available through my online shop. You can follow along on my next adventures via Facebook and Instagram. Happy Trails!


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