Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Plein air adventures

Today, I decided to hike down into a great painting spot.  Reportedly, the 4WD road that leads into the canyon where I wanted to go is in pretty bad shape, so rather than risk getting stuck (who wants THAT?)  I hiked in about 3 miles.  Since I was carrying a pretty heavy painting pack with all my gear plus water, drinks, and snacks for the day, this 6 mile round trip over some rather rough terrain felt like plenty. Especially on the way back, which entailed an extremely steep ascent up to the ridge - about 1000 feet in a half mile.(I'm guessing here, but I'm a pretty good guesser on stuff like that)

My journey would take me from the top of Thompson Ridge, at about 8200 feet elevation, down (steeply) into San Antonio canyon. I wanted to paint by the river. This canyon is one of most beautiful spots around here - expect to see it again on this blog. (hope they get that road graded soon).

By the way, I HATE my voice on recordings, but I'm just gritting my teeth and posting anyway.

After a nice leisurely hike for a little over a mile,  I had to descend down steeply into the canyon.  I did take some video here, but I won't  post it. Just take my word that it is STEEP, RUGGED, and tricky carrying a 50 pound pack.  I slipped a couple of times because the pumice soil common here is like little ball bearings underfoot. Plus, this is not a maintained trail, but just a local shortcut.

Before I reached the river, my final destination, I stopped at the natural hot springs, about 200 feet above the canyon floor. These natural thermal springs come out of the side of the cliffs, and are just FABULOUS.
You'll have to take my word for this too.... for some reason, neither my video or the photos I took here came out.
Maybe it was because of the naked people.  Folks like to bath  sans clothes in the hot springs. It never fails that I come down here and there's people hanging around without clothes. Usually it's people you'd rather not see naked..  Anyway, the hot springs are pretty awesome - maybe next time I'll get some photos.  I did meet a local ladies hiking group who had hiked in from the other side of the river - had thought about hiking with them today, but painting seemed like more fun - it  was good to say hi to them however. They were sitting next to the naked people, but nobody seems to notice much around here.

Here's the parking lot and bridge down by the river. Obviously some people made it on the 4wd road.  But most of them are on ATV's.

Here's one place I considered setting up....
And another ( I liked those backlit rocks on the hillside)

Here's where I finally ended up.. I really liked that dead snag by the river, and the opportunity to have a dark background with the trees behind it.

And here's my painting in progress on location. Of course I didn't take any close ups. (I had good intentions of showing the whole thing in progress, but just FORGOT once I started painting. It's that whole right brain/left brain thing). I'll try to post the finished version - needs a little tuning in the studio. Knowing I had a tough hike back out of the canyon, I had to head on back home so I could cook supper. You know, that whole "women's work is never done" thing.    (we had beans and rice, so not really much "cooking".)

I know there are some really great places further up canyon, but I'll save those for another day when maybe I can get closer by car.

1 comment:

Judy P. said...

Adventure, indeed! Steep hiking with a 50 lb. pack- it's a good thing you know what you're doing. The color in your painting at the end looks great, you really caught the light.