First Snowfall at my Camp, Warner Mountains
My last Post was on November 6th and the next couple of weeks thereafter were spent with my nose to the grindstone building a plywood shelf for the back of my SUV to be able to safely transport my 120 Watt suitcase solar panel array, and constructing a plywood case for my 12 Volt AGM (Absorbed Glass Matt) Deep Cycle 115 AH (Amp Hour) Battery, complete with 300 Watt Pure Sine Wave Inverter, and wiring in a dual socket 12 Volt receptacle to plug my electronic things into for use & recharging. I then disappeared into the Winter vastness of the Oregon High Desert Mountains and Plateaus for several weeks to paint, of course, and test my equipment and ultimately myself. The shelf safely transported the suitcase solar array, which is 22” x 34” and lay flat on the shelf, and there was room to carry other things on the selfsame shelf. The AGM Battery, within its new case, rested in the passenger foot well, and being fully charged was used periodically throughout the following weeks. There being only one full day where the sun shone brightly all day, and that day was spent travelling to the nearest town, 65 miles away, for supplies, I was not able to set up the solar array to test that, so that will have to wait until later in the year with longer & sunnier days, however it traveled safely on its shelf. Transporting 3 five-gallon cans on my trailer-hitch platform, also worked, and extended my time in the Wild before I needed to resupply. And since my return I’ve been ploughing through (that’s plowing, for the American reader) my Emails, carrying out necessary equipment maintenance and such, but I thought I had best write a Post or two, now that I have returned to Wi-Fi reception (more on Wi-Fi below), to assure my readers (all two or three of you), that I have gone into the Winter Wilds, been tested … and returned. The Oil Sketches completed out in those Wilds will soon begin to appear in future postings.
But my first test actually occurred even before I left. While I was loading up the truck, I turned and slammed straight into a partly open garage door. Grabbing my head and waiting for the pain to subside, as it usually begins to after a few seconds, I realized it was a good smack when 45 seconds passed with no subsidence of the pain; and then the blood began to pour onto the floor in great big drops. I have never seen so much of my own blood outside of my body as I then saw. Well, I managed to open the door of my SUV, grab a roll of paper towels, rip a few off and pressed them to my wound. Many paper towels later, and 15 or 20 minutes of compression and wonder of wonders the bleeding was staunched; head wounds do bleed … a lot. I have never had a good look at the wound since it was too high on my head to get a good glimpse of it through my bifocals, even when using a hand mirror. Cleaning the blood off my face and head was not easy with no running water nearby, but I managed it. After rigging a bandage slathered with First Aid Cream, I decided to continue loading up, and if it didn’t begin to bleed again I would head off in the morning as intended. Not to belabor the tale, the bandage came off in the morning, and with dabs of alcohol followed by First Aid cream over the next few days, the wound healed during the next couple of weeks or so. A friend looked at it the day after and 200 miles down the Oregon Coast, and when he didn’t faint I took it as a sign that I probably didn’t need stitches. Sadly it’s not a scar with great character since most people will never see it unless they are pro-basketball players.
Things were experienced, and learned, on this latest sojourn in the Wild. The spaces are large, East beyond the Cascades, and the Winter daylight hours are short, and so when moving within these landscapes, especially those where I’ve not been before, these few daylight hours become a very important part of one’s decision making process. Thus during the weeks away I passed three possible places where I might have accessed free Wi-Fi. The first was when my first paintings were still too tacky to scan … the Oil Paint seems to take longer to dry than in the Summer and early Autumn. The next two possibilities were when I had to resupply and attend to maintenance of equipment, and found no time to seek out free Wi-Fi before it was necessary to leave and find a suitable campsite before darkness fell. But each new campsite found is one that I will be able to find again after dark in future, so future passings will allow the free Wi-Fi to be accessed whether it be daylight or not. Short days also mean having to take advantage of the light to actually paint the Oil Sketches, and supper was often prepared in the dark, sometimes by Moonlight and several times under a snowfall. I was comfortable down to 0º Fahrenheit, and have yet to go below that, but I reckon it will have to get yet much colder than that before I begin to worry. Six inches of snow at campsites did not hinder driving into them, nor the heavy snowfall driving over the Willamette Pass on Hwy 58, when returning to the Yamhill area. Wildlife was seen, such as 200 antelope, coyotes, deer, including a resident herd of 14 doe and 1 stag at one of my campsites, and more wildlife was detected through their tracks in the snow, such as rabbits, various unknown small rodents, more coyotes, deer, elk, and at least one set of tracks that I believe belonged to a cougar. Here follows a few Photos.
Coyote track on the left & unknown trail on the right
First Glimpse of Hart Mountain
Into the Distance – on the Hart Mountain Plateau
High Desert Winter Road – Beatys Butte
Evening Glow – Beatys Butte
Morning Light – Hart Mountain
Campsite in the Aspens – Hart Mountain
Working with my Guerrilla Painting Kit
Christmas Morning – Hart Mountain
Christmas Day Snow Shower – Hart Mountain
Well, I think that's enough to be getting on with, don't you?