End of A Vacation

Our summer camping trip came to an abrupt end today. Friday afternoon, while taking a  hike along the Nooksack River with friends Marc and Ace, Jean tripped on a rock and planted her face into the rocks. Since we were a bit ahead of her and close to the river, we didn’t hear her cries for help. She got up off the ground, bent her glasses back in shape, and limped to where we were sitting by the river. The sight of her coming down the hill sent me reeling. It was evident that something was wrong. Her face had dark smears and her grimace conveyed to me that I needed to get up that hill. I helped her down to the river where she sat and recovered her equilibrium while we assessed the damages. With bruised and skinned eyes, nose, and forehead as well as a badly bruised rib it was apparent that we needed to get her back to camp.

Jean as she arrived back at camp.

Jean as she arrived back at camp.

The four of us returned to camp and Ace used her nursing skills to expertly clean Jean’s wounds and apply dressings.

Getting cleaned up

Getting cleaned up

Almost done with the clean up and first aid

Almost done with the clean up and first aid

We iced her ribs and Jean settled in for the evening dinner with our extended clan and slept as well as could be expected that night.

Ice on the appropriate places

Ice on the appropriate places

On Saturday she began feeling more pain in her ribs and we decided she could use an elastic bandage. We drove 30 miles to a drug store where we could get a wide elastic bandage to wrap her ribs. Doses of aspirin, ice,  and some (legal in WA) hits on a vape pen with high CBD kept the pain at bay for our evening group dinner and music. This also was a celebration of our 28th wedding anniversary.

After a restless night Jean needed to return home. Therefore, at 10:00 this morning I began breaking camp and readying the trailer for our trip home. We left Mt. Baker at 11:30 and arrived home about 2:45. Jean is much more comfortable at home and a trip to our local green store provided a new vape pen. Tomorrow she will see the doctor to further assess the damages.

However, I want to leave you with some photos of a few of the beautiful things we saw since leaving civilization for the wilds of Mt. Baker. It is a wonderful area.

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Tomorrow is another day!

Paul

Posted in Photography, Retirement, Travel, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 8 Comments

Painting at Deception Pass

Today we started at Ana Spit on the north end of Whidbey Island. Lots of birds greeted us and we took a walk with them. However the soft sand and piles of driftwood precluded lugging painting gear. That’s why we ended up at a favorite spot – the rocky beaches below Deception Pass bridge.

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Jean At Work

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Artist Selfie

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And some closeup pics.

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Mossy Rock

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Jellyfish

Tomorrow we head to the mountains and no internet. I will catch up on posts when we return to civilization.

Paul

Posted in Art, Photography, Retirement, Travel | 2 Comments

A Beautiful Day

We slept late, had a leisurely morning, and the spent the afternoon on top of Mt. Erie. The views are stunning with the Cascades to the east, islands to the south and west, and the Olympic Mtns. farther west.

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We did some sketching.

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Aloha from Washington’s islands.

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Paul

Posted in Art, Photography, Retirement, Travel | 3 Comments

On The Road Again

Picasso is loaded and hitched to our faithful Ford Escape and escaping we are.

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The heat finally arrived in Seattle and we are headed to (we hope) cooler places. First we will try close to the sea and then we will go into the mountains. More later.
Paul

Posted in Art, Photography, Retirement, Travel, Ukulele | Tagged | 6 Comments

O’Keefe Inspired

Our recent trip to the southwest included a visit to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. Back in my studio I am finding new inspiration from my memories of the trip and, particularly, the entire span of O’Keeffe’s work.

This is a small oil just completed that I call Violet Flowers. It’s only 4″ by 12″ (almost the size on your computer screen), but packs a lot of intensity in that small canvas.

Violet Flowers

Now I’m working on bigger pieces inspired by the trip.

Paul

Posted in Art, Ghost Ranch, New Mexico, Santa Fe, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Morning Walk

It was 49 this morning for our walk. Storms last night with lots of wind and rain. I love the drops on our garden plants.

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And the wind didn’t topple a new rock sculpture in our neiborhood park.

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Drawing class day is off to a good start.
Paul

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

One More Picture

Just one more picture sent to us by our friend, Kathy, in Flagstaff. She joined us for a wonderful day at Marble Canyon. This is Jean and me standing on the banks of the Colorado River at the bottom of the canyon.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Cold water and hot sun!

Paul

Posted in Arizona, Flagstaff, Grand Canyon | 2 Comments

Home and Art Recap

Two days of driving brought us home last night. Of course the most difficult part of the trip, the worst traffic, and the worst drivers all happened in the hour plus it took us to get from the Bellevue city limits to our home in north Seattle. Denver at rush hour was nothing compared to Seattle on a Saturday afternoon! Go figure.

Anyway, we arrived safe and sound. Today we are unpacking, doing laundry, rescuing our gardens from three weeks of neglect, and I’m practicing ukulele for tonight’s rehearsal with Ukestra Seatte.

This was a trip with many new sights, happy memories, and lots of new people. We met our nephew’s family at the wedding in Colorado and got to spend time with Jean’s family. In addition we got to be with Jean’s sister, Pat, for her birthday! In Flagstaff we spent time with our friend Kathy and visit sights in the area. Finally, in Santa Fe, Flagstaff, and St. George Utah we saw many places new to us. The Marble Canyon in northern Arizona was beautiful. We enjoyed a great day in the “back door” of Bandelier National Monument. A day at Ghost Ranch revitalized our interest in returning there to paint. Bryce and Zion National Parks were totally new to me and as impressive as their hype. We definitely want to spend some extended time in the SW doing some serious painting, so stay tuned for future adventures down there.

Although our visits with family and friends and our going on excursions every day limited our time to do art. However, we did manage to sometimes grab a quick sketch along the way. Here are a couple I did in a few minutes in Santa Fe.

I did a few very quick water color sketches of landscapes.

And I experimented with pastels as a quick sketch medium. I used several different surfaces to see how easy they were to use for quick pieces.

Finally, perhaps the most fun was with a little box I bought at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. This is Zen art requiring only water and a brush. It lasts for a minute or two and then disappears! I love it!

Now it’s time to get to ukulele practice. Tomorrow I will get into my studio to paint.

Paul

Posted in Arizona, Art, Bandelier National Monument, Bryce Canyon National Park, Flagstaff, Ghost Ranch, Grand Canyon, New Mexico, Santa Fe, St. George Utah, Travel, Uncategorized, Utah, Zion National Park | 1 Comment

Bryce Canyon

Today involved more red rock canyons. We headed for Bryce Canyon National Park, stopped along the way at Red Canyon, spent several hours at Bryce, and drove a scenic route along the south edge of Cedar Breaks National Monument on the way home. When it comes to rock formations our cup (and our memory chips) runneth over!

Red Canyon

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Bryce Canyon has many options for exploration. Like Zion, there is a shuttle system. However, the Bryce shuttle only covers about 1/4 of the park. Working on the assumption that 75% of the tourists would use the shuttle we drove to the end of the road, well beyond shuttlers. What we got were uncrowded trails and beautiful views for which we did not have to jockey into position among dozens of other tourists. At over 9,000 feet the air was naturally air conditioned at about 70 degrees!

Of course, Bryce is about the rocks. I like to show them with the trees to illustrate the perspective and highlight the colors. I also try to snap as many pictures of Jean as she will allow.

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Today I got to scratch an item off my bucket list – the bristle cone pine. One of these trees is the oldest known living individual of any species! The ones we saw today were a mere 1600 years old. The oldest bristle cones are 5,000 years old. Makes me feel quite young.

When the bristle cone begins to die some branch or root will take over and generate a new tree. In this way it keeps going for millenia. The skeletons of old dead trunks are beautiful sculptures atop the red cliffs.

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Of course I couldn’t resist my usual close ups.

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Late in the afternoon we left Bryce and drove southwest to Cedar Breaks. I had noticed a scenic route on our map and it was beautiful. Utah highway 14 follows the southern edge of Cedar Breaks over a range that had us just a few feet short of 10,000 feet. Snow covered the meadows at that altitude. The views along this route are worth the drive.  Alas, since I was driving I have no photos to share. It is a narrow road with limited opportunities to stop.

After spending the day at those air conditioned altitudes we returned to our condo in St. George where the temperature was 101 degrees.

Quite a day!

Paul

Posted in Bryce Canyon National Park, Cedar Breaks National Monument, Photography, Retirement, Travel, Uncategorized, Utah | 5 Comments

Zion National Park

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Visiting Zion today is a bit like visiting Disneyland – be prepared to ride crowded trams. Cars are not allowed!

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The transportation system works well, but is overcrowded most of the day. Parking is a problem even outside of the park. We arrived early and parked just outside the entrance. A short walk took us through the pedestrian gate and to the Zion Shuttle. Later arrivals parked a few miles from the entrance and took a town bus (free) to the park.

Zion National Park is all about the interface of rock and water. Water continues to erode the rock, creating sand and soil. That allows plants to grow – the third element of the park. These three combine for gorgeous views every way you turn. We took three different hikes to experience the canyon.

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Zion is also about people – lots of them. (Click to enlarge)

A surprising find was the abundance of flowers. The water creates mini-environments where you can find everything from cactus to marsh reeds. Here are some of my favorite flowers.

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We stopped for lunch in this quiet spot beside the river.

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After lunch Jean did a little sketch.

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We took time for selfie with the cliffs.

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At the end of the day we rested under the trees by Zion Lodge with several hundred other people.

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Then we rode the shuttle back to the entrance, cooled off our very hot car ( it was 96 degrees today), and drove back to our cool condo in St. George.

Paul

Posted in Art, Photography, Retirement, St. George Utah, Travel, Uncategorized, Zion National Park | 3 Comments