Thursday, December 23, 2010

Four Mile Trail (again).

Last summer I hiked up 4 mile trail (see August 10th post to refresh your memory) and found some stunning vistas. Recently, since all of this beautiful snow has descended on the valley, I've decided to go up into the high country again on several trails to see how different they look in their wintery coats.

As with most of the higher trails now, 4 Mile was "closed". That is to say that there was a sign at the trail head saying that it was closed, but, as I hiked up past it to the first "gate", it was wide open. Either the Rangers had forgotten to close the gate, or it wasn't really closed and they forgot to take the closed sign down (that's the story that I'm stickin' with if they try to give me a citation, as one could surely come in from a different trail where there is no sign at all).

[Using my little paint box to do a sketch of Yosemite Valley, looking west. On the right edge of the photo you can see El Capitan, in the centre is the Cathedral Rocks group, and to my left one can see the base of Sentinel Rock, which is casting the shadow in which I sit.]
It was much easier going with the colder temperatures ... although, with my heavy pack and heavier clothes, I was soon quite toasty and had to remove my gloves and open my coat.

I actually made two separate climbs last week ... a few days apart, due to weather. The first hike was a scouting mission. I didn't really have time to try to go all the way up the trail (it's much closer to 5 miles than 4 -- since the trail was changed some time ago). I simply wanted to see if it was possible to get up above the snow line. On that first hike, I found some great snow barriers on the switchbacks about a mile and a half up the mountain. The first one I managed to get through without much problem, but the next one would have required snow shoes at that time. I did have snow shoes with me, but, like I said; it was just a scouting mission and I didn't really want to get too far up. I still needed the daylight to paint -- and, being the middle of December, the light fades quickly.

So, I turned about and went down just a little way and began a painting. I had forgotten some of my supplies and didn't get real far with the painting ... but an okay start.
["Finished" sketch - another of my "green" paintings ... done on recycled materiel which has been primed.]

When I returned there had been some rain and slushy snow in the valley and it had left a thick patina of crusty snow on top of the drifts and avalanches. I was able to traverse across these without too much difficulty. Every eight or ten steps I would crash through up to my knees or higher, but I felt that the snowshoes that I carried would be more cumbersome than helpful - especially on some of the switchbacks, which were very steep and required a little bit of technical climbing.
[Yosemite Falls from the Four Mile Trail. If you look closely, you will see some very interesting colours in the water of the falls. In the winter, when the sun is at these lower angles, it is just right to cause prismatic spectrums -- these "rainbow" effects are breathtaking at times.]

My main goal was to get up to where I could get a good view of Tenya Canyon, North Dome, Cloud's Rest, and Half Dome. It was a real struggle at times, but I managed to make it. By the time I found a good vantage point, however, the trail had become very tricky. The snow was packed along the inside, sloping toward the ledge ... and the drops from the ledge became increasingly steep until it was a sheer drop, down a few thousand feet. Yikes.


[The ever impressive Half Dome -- with Cloud's Rest to the left (north).]

I pushed myself, in spite of my fear of heights, as far as I could. I was even willing to keep going -- but the day was already waining and, from my hike up last summer, I knew that I had another hour and a half to two hours climb (especially going as slowly as I was and struggling up-hill in the snow) ... which wouldn't leave me enough time to hike down before it got dark.
[Standing on the edge ... my stomach up somewhere near my Adam's Apple. Gulp.]

Darkness in Yosemite is as complete as I've ever known darkness to be. No, thanks, I would not like to climb down perilous icy cliffs in the dark.


[Looking north-east up Yosemite Valley. North Dome is in the centre. If you follow it down to the right, Washington Column is at the end of that rock formation. The cabin in which I live is somewhere along the edge of the shadow just below Washington Column. The canyon that extends up and to the left is Tenya Canyon - named after Chief Tenya. Looming above Tenya Canyon is Cloud's Rest ... which terminates against glorious Half Dome.]

So, I turned around and headed back. I did stop to do a little sketching along the way. I felt great about my experience. I had not made it all the way to Glacier Point -- but, then again, I had doubted that it would have been possible -- but, I had some great photos of Half Dome and all of the surrounding areas that I had wanted to see. I'll settle for painting those from photos for now. I may return up the trail to do some painting from up there -- but, next time I go, I hope to bring some company. It's not really all that wise to hike solo into the high country at any time, but, especially in Winter.

[Looking back up at Sentinel Rock and the wilderness in which I had just been adventuring.]

Friday, December 10, 2010

Workin' at the Studio

I've spent the last week at the studio in Marihoozits doing several projects. One of them is a landscape painting that I started back in September. For whatever reason ... I was interrupted and lost the flow, or I lost faith in it, or had issues with it that were frustrating me - I'm not sure ... but I had set it aside and could never seem to get back to it. It was a real struggle this week, too, for me to go back to work on it, but I did get several hours into it and feel much better about the way that it's going. Still, it will be a while before I finish it, as I'll be here in the park for the next week or so. When it's finished I'll post it. Basically, though, it's just a studio version of the oil sketch that I did at, so called, Mirror Lake (which isn't really a lake at all anymore).
I did do some small paintings while I was up there ... a couple of still life things and a portrait of a neighbor's dog. This small "green" painting was done using an onion which I've been carting around with me for several years ... one from my little garden in Medical Lake (the one laying down on the right). It was a small, quick oil exercise, but it made me want to do a larger, more polished piece, which I haven't done for quite some time.

I also did this little oil sketch of Meecah, laying by the wood stove in the kitchen area of the studio. It's not really done yet --I'm going to go back into it. Meecah may sleep 12 hours of the day, but she doesn't seem to want to hold the same pose for very long. I got pictures of her in this pose that I'll have to finish the painting from. This is also one of my "green" pieces (done on prepared cardboard). I'm considering doing a larger one on canvas.

I also started another small still life painting (on actual canvas!) of the little Absinthe bottle and drizzle spoon that I have. Some years ago I did a still life of this same thing which I called "Vincent's Poison". As with the first still life, I had to mix up a batch of "Absinthe" -- not the real stuff, mind you ... it's just water with some watercolour paint mixed in to give it that yellow-greenish look. I was going to put some in the bottle, too, for the sake of the still life, but when I screwed the top off, I could still smell that strong liquorish odor of the potentate beverage! It's been over five years since I consumed that! I was kind of surprised that it still held such a strong sent. I had no sugar cubes to put on the drizzle spoon (they pour the alcohol through the sugar cubes, into the glass), so I cut little cubes of wood and painted them with a white acrylic. When I was about halfway done with this little 8" x 10" work, I decided that the background needed something special. So, I had the idea to position the whole thing as if it were in Vincent's room at the place he and Gogaun shared in France. So ... I've got a little research to do before I finish it up. It shouldn't be too hard to find some of his paintings from that time period on the Internet. So, in a few weeks I'll post a picture of that work when it's done.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

JMT in der Schnee.

On Monday I went for a hike up the John Muir Trail. The hike up to the bridge was a bit treacherous, as there was a lot of ice. The view from the bridge was great; Vernal Fall was flowing even though the Merced River was choked with ice. Just a little way beyond the bridge, the Mist Trail was closed due to the winter weather. I went around the sign, but didn't get very far -- the trail was buried under snow slides. There are a lot of things that I'll take some chances on, but being buried under a few tons of snow doesn't sound like a whole lot of fun to me.
Along the way there were some fabulous views of the back of Half Dome and Liberty Cap.

The Airline industry seemed to be working against me, though. Ever see a plaid sky?

When I got to Clark Point, there was another gate up closing the JMT.
I still had a wonderful view of Nevada Fall from there, though.

It was a strenuous outing, but it felt very rewarding.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Three Brothers

There's a rock formation here in the park called the Three Brothers. It's named for the three sons of Chief Tenya ... or so legend has it. It's interesting the way that the granite has formed throughout the park ... there are many domes, spires, and towers. They keep me in a constant state of admiration ... awe ... inspiration.
.
I've painted Sentinel Rock a few times ... but the different light and the snow made it much more fun to paint today.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Wintery Paintings

Lately I've been doing a bunch of smaller paintings to sell in an upcoming show. I had a lot of fun yesterday painting a diptych of the scene that I call "quarter view" as it's the one you see on the Yosemite National Parks quarter that was minted last summer.
It's an awe inspiring place that I've painted a few times already, but it looks so different ... and so much better, I think ... in the snow. El Capitain is on the left, and Bridalveil Fall is on the right (it was cast in shadow, but the formation around it is spectacular ... especially the Leaning Tower at the far right). The mighty Merced River ties the two paintings together nicely, I thought. More than likely, I'll do this as a larger project since it worked so well as a small one.
This is a look at Cathedral Rocks in a snowy landscape. It's also a place that I've gone to paint many times ... always refreshing to see these places in different lighting and with snow on them.
And then there's Mt Watkins again.
Mirror Lake was frozen over in many places ... so there was no reflection at this spot ... but it was still a stunning view.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving Journey

On Thanksgiving morning I went on a Photo Journey - in the footsteps, quite literally, of Ansel Adams. At 7:45 I walked Belinda to her store at Curry Village, then proceeded down the length of the Valley. I ended up going all the way down to Pohno Bridge and back ... somewhere around ten miles or more. Much of my excursion was off-trail; wading through snow up past my knees.

What a work-out! It was very cold when I started, but the amount of energy that I had to expend to get through much of the wilderness, kept me nice and toasty warm (that and the winter gear that Belinda had the forethought to get for me on sale at REI on my birthday in June). The day was clear and sunny and the scenery was absolutely fantastic.


I had debated that morning if I should go out to paint or do this photo foray. But, the thing is, the days are getting so much shorter that the light is already waning by three thirty, and much of the valley is in shadow all day because of the angle of the sun and the height of the towering granite. In a few weeks I'll be either painting scenes that have no sun in them at all, or sitting in the cabin, painting from photos, while the storms and winter gloom prevail without.

There were many times along the way that I had wished for my easel ... but all I had to do was stand still for a few minutes, while taking pictures, to realize just how quickly the light changes when the sun is at such a low zenith.

It was an extremely exhausting adventure, and took me until well after three, when the gloaming was rapidly approaching. The mission was a great success; I had wanted material for those long, dark days to come ... and I took over 700 pictures!

Ironically, it was Thanksgiving and I hadn't eaten a thing all day, nor had I carried along any water. I was quite depleted. Thankfully, DNC (Delaware North Corporation - which owns all of the concessions in the Park) gave a big banquet for its employees and guests! I don't remember when I've appreciated a meal more. Great food!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Yosemite in the Snow

The power went out early on Sunday morning at the Mariposa studio ... probably caused by the heavy snow. I had an instant dilemma! It wasn't that I really needed the electricity for warmth or anything ... I'd been doing without heat ... the studio has been staying fairly comfortable ... with sweatshirts on, anyway. And, after seeing the snow, I knew that I would be outside for much of the morning, so I wasn't really in need of lights or anything, but what I couldn't do without was coffee!

I had never fired up my wood burning stove until that time ... but, well, gotta have the java! Fortunately, I use a stove top peculator for coffee at the studio. Unfortunately, my coffee grinder is electric ... so, I had to improvise. Heck, humanity has been grinding coffee by hand since the first caffeine addict to discover the coffee bean. So, I put the beans in a large bowl and used the base of my coffee mug (a two cup Pyrex measuring cup) to grind the beans. It was only a matter of twenty minutes or so before I was enjoying a cup of rich, bold, coffee! Ahhh. My excitement to get out to paint, though, didn't allow me the pleasure of just sitting and enjoying the morning brew ... I put it in a thermos and took it out to paint with me.

When I was done painting, I went back into the dimly lit studio. Hmm. Took dark, really, to get much painting in by then. I began to wonder what I would do when it got dark. There might have been a candle or two lying about, but, well, what was I supposed to do by candle light? I know, I know ... Rembrandt probably did his best etchings by candle light ... and people all through the ages have worked by such things. So ... I looked about for my headlamp and some candles. Couldn't' find either right off hand ... and it was getting darker quickly.

So, there was nothing for it but to pack it in and head back to the park ... which made me happy anyway! I've been chomping at the bit for it to snow in Yosemite so that I can start my winter paintings of the great valley.


This morning found me out there, standing beside the meadow, painting Tis-sa-yak (Half Dome), and the North Dome/Washington Column rock formation. Two separate paintings from the same spot. I could have turned to my right and painted Glacier Point, too ... but after three hours or so of standing there, the cold began to take effect. Good thing that it was only a half mile hike back to the cabin.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Snowy Mariposa

I know, when you think of California, you probably don't think about snow. Where we live, though, there's plenty of it throughout the winter... and well into the summer in the higher elevations. This weekend I spent at the studio in Mariposa, and this morning I woke up to a little over 6 inches of the lovely white stuff.
Manzanitas grow around here. I'm not sure if they are classified as a bush, a shrub, or a tree ... or what. What I am sure of, though, is that they are beautiful and unique. Their "bark" is red and very smooth to the touch. In the fall, this red "bark" peels like old paint. The leaves, too, are different ... thick, almond shaped, and a pale, dusty green. I've been wanting to paint them for a while now but have had so many different things that I've wanted to paint. This area just has so much beauty ... where do you start. When I saw them covered with snow, I found them irresistible ... I had to get out to paint 'em. Meecah came out and watched me. She refrained from criticism, though I could tell that she had some ideas of her own. She loved the snow, too, and ran around crazy all day.
This is not a picture of my painting ... it's a photo of some of the Manzanitas that I've been on about here. The painting needs a lot of help before I show it to anyone.
While I was working on the painting, I remembered a snowy landscape painting that Del and I worked on together out near Reardan, WA. He taught me some cool stuff about painting winter scapes.
When I got back inside I took a look at the Reardan painting. It made me smile, thinking back to that sunlit grove of trees in the snow. I thought that I'd learned a lot that day. Today I felt that I showed little signs of improvement. It was a very pleasant outing, but, clearly, I'll have to do it a few more times to get it. No problem there; I'm looking forward to it.

Guitar Girl

Last Friday morning found me, once more, with the Yosemite Western Arts group. This week they had a young woman playing a guitar wearing a Spanish-ish costume. A beutiful young woman.

Oil on prepared cardboard 16" x 20"

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

John Muir

One of America's most noted naturalists was John Muir (1838 - 1914). He's still a big deal here in Yosemite, which he helped to preserve. If you like great biographies, his life makes fastening reading.

A few days ago, I got the idea to do a portrait of him ... without doing a copy of any photos of him. Well, it was a good idea that I still need to work on. I set up my camera and took several pictures of myself in similar poses as he was wont to take ... then I was going to do a self portrait as Mr. Muir ... use some of his well know features ... adapted to my lighting and such.
My first attempt, went awry,as you can see. The pictures of myself that I set up were not great. I ended up doing a colourized version of a photo of him --- superimposed over a painting of the valley taken from a painting that I did last summer. It was a fun little project ... and John may have been happy to know that it was one of my "green paintings" ... prepared, recycled cardboard.

Perhaps I'll have to get someone else to set up the shot and extrapolate from there.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Especially in Michigan

Belinda and I flew over to Detroit yesterday. Tim is visiting from China -- surprised his brother, Ben last week ... then we also surprised him. Ben's birthday is this week. It's the first time we've all been together in about six years.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Hetch Hetchy

Hetch Hetchy is part of the Yosemite National Park ... with a valley that was once as beautiful as the Yosemite Valley. In the early part of the 20th century, though, a dam was put at the western end of the valley, and it was flooded ... to provide water to San Francisco. It's a heart breaking story, but fastening history.
There are some amazing paintings from the late 1800's of Hetch Hetchy ... most notably, those of Albert Bierstadt. Google him and check them out ... worth the look, for sure. I had the idea that I would like to try and find the same spots from which he painted and do a before/after thing ... but, unfortunately, most of those places are under water. I just finished this painting from photos that I took last spring. Well, it's mostly done, anyway ... I'm still poking at it.

As tragic as it is that this amazing valley was flooded ... it's still a breath-taking place. I visited in the spring and fell in love with it. With soooo many great places to see in and around Yosemite, though, it's difficult to go back to any one spot. I do hope to make it back to do more work there.

Monday, November 1, 2010

On Sale Now

This last week I've been busy doing the actual business end of my business (with MUCH help, prodding, and advice from Belinda - and I thank you sooooo much!). I had to drive to the printer in Fresno several times ... then we packaged things, signed and numbered prints .... whew. I'm glad that it's done. This whole project was for the Ahwahnee resort here in Yosemite National Park. We had 500 cards made, which are being sold in packages of 12 - 3 cards each of the four scenes. We also had 50 prints made on stretched canvas (12 of three of the scenes, and 14 of the Ahwahnee Hotel), which I signed and numbered. They also purchased the original oil painting of the hotel. The whole thing came together nicely, and I'm excited to have my work on display, and being sold in such a prestigious venue.

This has been a long time in the process ... we started talking with them sometime in the early summer. Summers in Yosemite, though, are insanely busy -- for everyone working here. It doesn't help that I'm not the best business person in the world, either. I'm going to have to work on that. We finally delivered the products to the warehouse this morning. Whew, I'm glad to have it done.

For availability, purchasing, pricing, and all of that stuff, you will need to call the Ahwahnee Gift shop ... probably later in the week.

Living in California

Every now and then I just stop in my tracks and say to myself "I'm living in California!" I still haven't gotten used to it after almost six months. Mostly I say this to myself when I'm driving to a destination outside of Yosemite, like Fresno or San Francisco, because they seem much more like California to me than the park does.

This was taken along the highway on the way to Fresno.

I don't know; it's a strange thing, really, that preconceived idea about what a place is supposed to be like. And when a state is as vast as California, any preconceived idea can be both right and wrong. When someone talks about California, most people think about the muscle beaches, the Beach Boys, surfing, and all of that. Others, though, I'm sure, just think of the High Sierra Mountains ... while others may think of Hollywierd, L.A., or San Francisco.

Yosemite seems to me like it should be located in the North West ... with the higher elevation, mountains, snow, and forests ... it almost feels like I never left Washington sometimes. Now Tioga Pass and Glacier point are closing for the season because of snow. I'm really looking forward to the winter ... painting lots of snow scenes.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Vote for Abe

Yesterday I went to the YWA (Yosemite Western Artists) figure drawing session again. I was delighted to see something different and creative in the model. As I walked into the room I was greeted by Abe Lincoln and his aid d'camp. Although I don't remember the Colonel's name, he made a great model.


I laughed when I saw Abe and, prompted by the memory of one of the sayings that Del Gish likes to use now and then, I went up to him. "Other than the obvious," I asked, "how did you like the play?" He enjoyed the joke and told me that he had recently seen a version of that play locally. He also informed me that he is related to the former president. He sure looks like it.


Again I enjoyed a morning of drawing with a bunch of nice, talented artists.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Figure Drawing

Last week I went to join a bunch of local artist who get together every Friday morning to do some figure drawing. They gather in an old school house near Oakhurst, CA. This school house was active from 1878 - 1962. It's a cool old building and it was fun to go in just to see what a school house from the old west looked like.



I met a bunch of nice people and had a decent morning of drawing. Unlike most places where I've done figure drawing, these were not nudes ... which I would have preferred, but it was great to be amongst a group of artists doing something other than landscapes.

Next week, I'll take my paint, though, it was great to work with charcoal again.





Monday, October 25, 2010

More Green

Last week I made another assault on the Yosemite Falls trail. This time, I made it to the top before I sat down with my little paint box and did a sketch of the river (which was then down to a trickle - right now it's raging again after several days of rain and snow) just as it came to the brink of the cliffs, becoming Yosemite Falls. A few days later a friend, Kelly, and I hiked up to Old Inspiration Point, which is just above the Wawona tunnel. It was a beutiful and easy trail. I can't really say that for the trail from there up to Stanford Point. Kelly is about 20 years younger than I and he's in better shape ... he set a blistering pace up the steep trail. I was really huffing and puffing by the time we reached Stanford Point ... but, man, the hike was worth it.
Kelly then proceded to climb out onto the cliff edges ... freakin' me out. I'll have to go up to that place to paint sometime ... but late in the afternoon as it was, everything was washed out in direct sunlight.

Green again

Another "green" painting ... which actually has a lot of green in it. A fun little still life done from apples that my friends next door provided me with.

Harold Gower

A few weeks ago, Belinda's grandfather, Harold Gower, ended his 96 year stay here on planet Earth. He is missed. I didn't know Harold well, but the times that I did get to share with him are cherrished memories. Once, while sitting around a campfire in Maine (in 2004), he did a spontanious recitation of the Robert Service poem, "The Cremation of Sam McGee" that was perfect. I loved it; that's one of my favorite poems, and I loved his telling of it.

I was happy to do this painting for Karin, his wife. May it bring her some joy.

Liberty Cap

Due to three straight days of rain, I finally got around to finishing the pastel of Liberty Cap that I started a few weeks ago.
It's not often that I do pastel, but I always wonder, while I'm working on one, why not? It's a fun and very forgiving medium. It's also a lot easier to carry around than an easel and all of the accouterments thereof. I think that I'm going to start doing a few more of these.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Last Miwok

In the Yosemite museum there is an old Native American woman from the Yosemite - Miwok tribe who makes baskets. At first look, she apears to be a static display. But, her slow, methodical method - handed down, no doubt for generations unknown - produces stunning baskets. Museum quality, for certain.


I understand that she is the last of her tribe. What a shame. Alas, so it goes. As humanity marches on, it tramples on the paths of those who came before. Sometimes we stand on the shoulders of those who have reached new heights before us ... and then, sometimes, as the collection of organisms that we are ... we obliterate the very things that helpped us grow and blossom.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Back to painting in the park

Since my return from SF, I've done some nice hikes in Yosemite.

The first was a simple hike about half a mile from the cabin, along the Merced River. There were a bunch of kids playing in the river and jumping from the rocky banks. If I turn the sketch into a studio piece, I'll probably include some of those youngsters.
White Pines Bridge
A few days later, I set off to do some painting in the Little Yosemite Valley, a 4 mile hike up the Mist trail to the John Muir Trail. I was a bit disappointed when I got there, however, because you can't see the valley for all of the trees.

Along the JMT. From l to r: The back of Half Dome, Mt Broderick, Liberty Cap, and Navada Fall.
So, I figured that I would go up the John Muir Trail (JMT) a little way to get a better vantage place. And, indeed, I found the view up there much better ... but still, not quite what one would want for a painting. So, I started up the Half Dome trail, which branches off of the JMT at just about the same place where one can see down into the Little Yosemite Valley.

I was very curious about this trail anyway, and was excited to be on it. From where it splits from the JMT it was only another 2 miles to the top of Half Dome. Now, I didn't want to climb the Dome quite yet -- I need to psych myself up a little more for that, besides, I don't really want to do it alone. Things like that are much better as an "experience shared". Belinda has never done that trail, either, and I think that it would be so much better to do it together. Okay, so, that's one of my excuses for turning back when I was about a third of the way up the so called "Sub Dome".

It was a bit scary even there. It's a winding, dangerous trail, hewn out of the living rock at almost a 45 degree angle. Yikes.

The views, though, from up on the ridge before the Sub Dome are among the most spectacular in the park. Unfortunately, it had taken me the better part of the day to do the 8 miles from the cabin to this point - so, I'd actually cheated myself out of the opportunity to paint ,,, if I wanted to get off of the mountain and out of the woods before dark (which I certainly wanted to do - having no flashlight on me, and not wanting to worry Belinda, who would be expecting me at about the same time that I turned around and headed back from my perch on the rocks by the Sub Dome -- where I took a cacophony of photos).
The North side of Half Dome and the Sub Dome from the ridge (at about 7,000 ft, looking up to 8,800 ft). If you look close, you can see the line of people climbing the cables up the side of Half dome. One day I'll find the cohonies to do this!
It only took me a couple of hours to get back to the cabin ... going down the mountain is sooo much easier than up.
A few days later I took Belinda up the trail where Jeremy, Jarrod, and Tara started their climb up the face of Half Dome. She, being less afraid of heights than me, climbed up quite a bit farther than I had on my previous journey there. It prompted me to go a little farther than I had ... but not that much, having retained my brain (and, I'll admit, having read a little too much of the book "Off the Wall: Death in Yosemite" by Ghiglieri and Farabee - ex Yosemite Rangers. It's a very fascinating history of Yosemite ... and lists all known deaths in the park - some 900+ up to 2006 - many of the deaths are from exactly this kind of thing .... scrambling). That's not to say that Belinda was insane to go up farther ... it's just to say that I would be insane if I did ... knowing that I would probably freeze and signal for a helicopter evac if I were to go up any farther. To quote a Clint Eastwood line: "A man's got to know his limitations" (Dirty Harry).

Our next adventure was up in the High Country on the other side of Tioga road. It was a 45 mile drive for us ... down the length of the valley, then up Tioga pass ... then a long, winding road up to the trail head of May Lake and the High Sierra Camp. As the crow flies, though, it was only about 10 miles from the cabin.

It was only a 1.2 mile hike from the trail head with an elevation gain of only 500', but it was some spectacular scenery. I know, I say that about all of the views here in the park ... and, well, it's true of almost every hike that I go on. It's just so mind boggling that there could be so much wonder in one area!

That's part of the problem here. There are so many places to paint and so much to see that one doesn't want to repeat the same hikes -- but one is drawn to explore all of the wonders and seek new vistas to paint and enjoy. It's for sure that I want to return to many of the places I've been when the weather changes and snow covers the rugged countryside. Especially the high country ... and definitely including May Lake, with Mt Hoffman rising straight out of the lake.
It was a relaxing, easy-ish hike up to the lake and there were very few people up there; the high camp having closed already for the season.
We set up by the lake; I with my little Pachade box (one day I'll figure out how to spell it correctly - the spell-check has no idea) and Belinda in her hammock. It was a perfect early autumn day ... warm but not too much. I had brought my umbrella - just in case. I need to do that more. It's a little bit of a nuisance to carry, but, by having it with me, I'm not as limited to where I can set up due to direct sun light.
It was a fabulous experience. The next time I paint up there I hope that there is ice on the lake and snow on the mountain.