‘I do this for fun’: Local artist leaves painted rocks for hikers to find

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A New Jersey artist says that she hopes she can brighten someone’s day by leaving painted stones along hiking trails for hikers to find.

Dale Watt has been painting rocks, ornaments and other knickknacks since she retired in 2015. She sold some at craft fairs but then had the idea to leave the trinkets for the people of New Jersey to find.

“I do this for fun,” she says. “I was a doodler as a kid.”

Watt says that she often walks the hiking trails in Monmouth County with her husband Butch. She began leaving the stone along the trails in Shark River Park. Each one is different, but they all have the same message on the back – “Keep smiling.”

She says that of the 25 stones she has left behind, she has only heard from two people who have tracked her down as the source.

“The best part is, whoever finds them, I know I’ll make them smile for a minute or two when they see them,” Watt says, adding that she wished she could install a camera near the rocks so that she could see people’s reactions.

Watt says that she makes sure she leaves the rocks in places that are easy to find. She says that they are usually gone within a couple of days.

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