Ways To Document Your Hike
One of the joys of hiking is appreciating the many wonders of Mother Nature that city environments cannot provide. While it would be impossible to document the freshness of the air, you can document other aspects of your hike. Documenting your adventures is a fun way of immortalizing those precious memories. It’s perfect for sharing with friends and family while also giving you memories to look back to in the future. But how do you document your hike? Here are 5 ways.
1. Make An Old-Fashioned Journal
It’s cheap and will never require batteries to operate. It is also lightweight that you can fold and slip in the pocket of your hiking pants or stash in your backpacking backpack. You have a choice of going for extra-large journals or using the smaller ticker type of notebook. It’s your choice.
Writing on a journal is one of the easiest and most practical ways to document any adventure. Scientists experimenting with something always write down their thoughts. Sure, some may take a voice recording of their adventures. But there are instances when you have to pause for a moment to gather your thoughts. Writing is still the best as you get to immerse yourself in the activity. You’ll be writing while resting your feet off your hiking shoes and hiking socks.
Making your own journal is also easy. You can use the old notebooks of your kids. Remove the pages that are still blank and sew or bind them together to form a new notebook. You can also use several sheets of ordinary typewriting paper. Bind them and you’ve got a journal of your own.
Of course, you can always buy a journal. In such cases, we’d recommend getting one that has waterproof pages. This way you will never have to worry about ink blots and unreadable entries in your log. Be sure to buy a writing instrument that also allows you to write in any condition. Great writing instruments are tactical pens. These writing instruments enable you to write upside down, in extreme temperatures, underwater, in zero gravity, and over grease.
Need a time stamp on your journal entries? Having hiking watches should help you put a time stamp onto your log.
2. Sketch, Draw, or Paint Your Adventures
A handy addition to your journal is a sketchpad. This works for those who have a knack for sketches and drawings. And if you happen to have the skill for painting, you might want to bring your paintbrushes with you, too.
Hiking in the wilderness can open up a lot of interesting subjects to paint or draw. It’s like the equivalent of nature and wildlife photography, except that it takes skill and patience to make one. Scenic sunrises and sunsets would look best in color paintings. The blooms on the fields would also look dazzling in full color.
But it doesn’t matter if you’re drawing in black and white or painting in colors. What matters is that you’re able to document the scene. It’s true that these scenes may already be in postcards and snapshots on Instagram or Google. But just the thought that you’re the one immortalizing these “scenes” can give you a sense of accomplishment. You know that you’re there at that moment when you were drawing or painting the scene.
Think about it this way. The time it takes you to finish the art offers a lot of opportunities that get imprinted on your mind. How do you feel while you’re painting or drawing the scene? Did a cool and fresh gust of wind blow in your direction? Did a butterfly land on your hiking sunglasses? These are figments of memory that you can have while drawing, sketching, or painting in the wilderness.
3. Get Snapping With A Camera
Travel cameras remain the best tools for documentation. After all, pictures can speak more than a thousand words. True, you can paint or sketch a scene with your drawing materials. But there are also instances that are so brief you have to be fast to immortalize the scene.
For instance, if you see a very rare species of animal on the trail, you’re better off with a camera than a sketchpad. By the time you start with a few rough lines on your sketchpad, the animal would already be a goner. That’s not happening with a camera.
But there are a few things you have to keep in mind when using a camera for documentation. As much as possible, keep everything quiet when shooting wildlife. You’d want to capture them on the lens in their natural state. You don’t want to disturb or startle them with the loud noise from your shutter button. Using your camera flash is also a big no-no when it comes to wildlife photography.
You may say that you’re here to hike and not to shoot the photographs of wild animals. However, you also have to realize that spooking these animals may make them not want to venture into these parts of the trail anymore. You may have seen them, but how about the other hikers after you?
Don’t be afraid to use a DSLR camera. They provide better control and options for you when it comes to documenting your adventures. The prices of these camera systems have also come down in recent years that they’re now more affordable. It is also best to learn to go manual when taking shots of the scenery. You can opt for Auto Exposure settings, but we do encourage tinkering with the various settings on your cam to get the best shots. One last thing. Save your images in RAW format. You’ll have greater latitude tweaking it afterward.
You can still get decent pictures with a point-and-shoot camera system, however. Or, you can use the camera on your smartphone. These are great photo-documentation devices in themselves.
Whatever camera system you will use, make sure you have spare batteries. Thru-hikes like those in the Appalachian can take half a year to complete. Make sure to factor these into your preparations. Weatherproofing is also a must. You and your equipment will be at the mercy of the elements. So protection is essential.
By the way, remove your hiking gloves whenever taking pictures. You will have better control of your camera if you can feel the shutter in your fingertips.
4. Record With A Video Camera
There are many advantages to documenting your hiking with a video camera system. It gives you both audio and video recording capabilities. There are also systems that allow you to take photographs of a scene. It’s a versatile device that can document almost everything. As a matter of fact, the video camera is the choice of serious hikers everywhere.
Conventional video camera systems are bulky and heavy. This makes them unsuitable for long hikes. You can have the best hiking sandals on your feet, but the added weight can still exact its toll. As such, it is best to get a video camera system that is light and compact. It should also have different features to make your video documentation more worthwhile.
Recording your outdoor adventures with a video camera is easy. You can have it mounted to your helmet or attached to a mechanism on your backpack. This way you will have a first-person view of your adventures. If you want to be in every scene, you might consider a selfie stick and mount it on your backpack and angle it towards the front.
An excellent videographic tool for the outdoors is a smart quadcopter drone. It allows you to take continuous video while you’re hiking the trail. Know that this technology doesn’t have a battery life that will run for hours. At most, it can only fly for 25 minutes or so. They’re very expensive, too.
Whatever video camera system you decide to use, make sure you have a plan on how to proceed with the documentation. It pays to have an idea of the terrain you’re trekking. This will help you frame fantastic shots.
5. Start Your Own Hiking Blog
You can create your own travel or hiking blog before you head out to the trails. There are many blog site providers on the internet and most are free to set up. You can then use your camera or video camera to send real-time photos and stream live images straight into your blog. This way, your family and friends will be sharing your memories in an instant.
Do make sure that your camera or video camera system can connect to the internet, though, to send such images in real time. If not, you can always upload these images and video clips after your journey. You can also take snapshots of the entries in your journal to add to the realism of the hike.
You can edit pictures or turn them into a photo collage. You can also create a video montage of your travels. Add a few interesting lines from your experience and you should have a great travel blog.
Documenting your hike is easy with these 5 ways. You can go old-fashioned or high-tech. In the end, it is always best to share your memories with the people you love.