Art and Music Trek

Summer Trek




Overview of Art and Music Trek

The Art Trek is a project-based expedition ideal for artists who love to be outdoors. Explore Native arts, various forms of music, jewelry making, and leather working – guided by our resident experts at Basecamp, as well as special visits to New Mexico artisans. Learn how the power of the environment and culture of the Southwest influences the area’s art. Mediums like leather working, storytelling, metal smithing, pottery, weaving, painting, and drawing can all be a part of this trek. This trek is the perfect experience for someone looking to hone their skills, experience new media, and be inspired by the landscape and culture of the Southwest. Open to all levels; no experience necessary – just the curiosity to explore and grow!

 Art Trek will spend about two weeks “on the road,” visiting local artists in New Mexico and about one week at our Basecamp. Each year the itinerary varies, though you can rest assured that there will be plenty of time to learn about different artists’ processes, view finished products, and create art. Throughout the trek, there will be opportunities to contribute to an individual and a collective portfolio of projects. 

While at Basecamp, trekkers will have the opportunity to learn new art skills as well as the opportunity to try other new things like animal tracking, plant identification, mountain biking, farming, cooking, music, and rock climbing. The exact specialties of our staff vary from year to year, but we always have an incredibly talented and knowledgeable team that is excited to introduce trekkers to new skills as well as offer deeper exploration for those already familiar with a topic. 


Age Range: 15 - 18

Gender: All welcome, Male, Female, Non-binary

Min Group Size: 8

Max Group Size: 18

Instructors: 3

Elevation: 5,000 to 11,000 feet

22 Days on Trek

number of days on the trek

Cost: $4,125

Scholarships Available - Click Here

July 16 - August 4

Enroll Now

Registration Deadline: July 15, 2022

COVID-19 Considerations:

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we believe outdoor education is more essential than ever. While we don’t know exactly what the pandemic will look like for Summer 2022, we are hopeful that we can run small group treks in outdoor spaces. Some experiences noted in this document, such as caving, may not be possible.

Skills Outcomes

Grow and strengthen these skills


Camp Craft

Outdoor Living


Community Living

Leave No Trace Awareness

Art Portfolio and a Range of Media

Writing/Composing Original Music

Trek Log


Just like previous mornings, I wake up to Brad’s plucking on the guitar. It always reminds me of waking up at my friend Mary’s house. Her dad always plays music as we wake up. Waking up outside is one of my favorite things. There are no words that describe the feelings of bliss and stillness that I experience as I look at the sunlight pouring through the tree, illuminating the morning mountain mist. After breakfast, we head off to a blacksmith shop. None of us have any idea what to expect. Personally, I was anticipating some quiet old man that would demonstrate metalworking for hours, at a time I was not expecting Curtis.
Curtis was right out of a sh*tty western movie. He was sporting a cowboy hat, jeans, a leather vest, and a plaid flannel. He reminded me of every old farmer back at home, in North Carolina.

The following page will consist of Curtis quotes:

“[Sadie] Wow you bend good.”
“Now that’s forging baby”
“Metal is like women. When it’s hot it’s hot and when it’s not, it’s not. Get it while it’s hot.”
“Water runs down hill. So does shit.”
“I saw God once, and He’s big!”
“I’m not afraid of dying, but I am afraid of living wrong.”

Shout out, Curtis.

Willa Salmanson

We wake up in the TT cabins, having stayed up later than usual the night before. We tried (but kind of) failed to move quickly since the hike back to the Mess Hall is a bit long. We did make it in time for a breakfast of cereal (to Sadie’s delight) and blue corn mush, that was a bit better than last time. Post details, we went to the Cottonwood Circle where it was mostly just AMT, since MDT was mountain biking. There were two Cottonwood options; cleaning the Comm with Carrie or papermaking/leatherworking in the NAW. After some confusion in picking, I ended up with Cas & Zeynep in the NAW. We spent a lot of time ripping up old scraps of paper to soak before we started leatherworking. It took a lot of time to cut and punch all the holes. I didn’t even start stitching the pieces together before lunch time. Thankfully we were going to continue in the afternoon. Since it had soaked long enough, we began to make paper out of paper. Cas and I had a pretty effective system going and got through most of it fairly quickly. While we were doing this, everyone else in AMT was screen-printing with some…interesting designs. For campfire we joined YCC in the Hogan where we played games and sang a plethora of tunes (including Wayside as Zeynep always requests). Back at the cabins, most people were sleeping outside in order to see the stars. I was delighted to be once again asked to do what AMT had labelled as a “star-reading” or reading a myth from Ovid’s Metamorphoses that correlates to a constellation. That night I read about Orpheus & Eurydice, who have to do with the Lyra (or Lyre) constellation. I had so much fun sharing the story with everyone and so glad they all stuck through it since it can be confusing. I went to bed pretty soon after that and was having a restful sleep until 3 in the morning when it began to drizzle so everyone came back inside. Turns out I had the right decision to sleep inside.

Resources for Parents

Within Your Itinerary You Might

The trek itineraries vary year to year, depending on permits and staff expertise

  • Meet with a musician
  • Visit an Amphitheater
  • Take some Day hikes
  • Meet with an instrument manufacturer
  • Visit music festival
  • Visit Hispanic Cultural Center and Indian Pueblo Cultural Center
  • A Sunset hike
  • Basecamp Loop (Cottonwoods)
  • Visit Zuni Pueblo to meet musicians and artists
  • Meet with an artist 
  • Visit Georgia O’Keefe Museum and other local art based museums  
  • Visit Taos Earthships
  • Explore Lavender Farm
  • Day hike Canyon de Chelly
  • Day hike El Morro National Monument

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