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“Late Afternoon in the Lincoln Creek Valley”
Oil Sketch on Pannelli Telati fine CottonPanel
5” x 7”
“Colorado Mountain Morning”
Oil Sketch on Pannelli Telati fine CottonPanel
5” x 7”
Yes … I have been in the mountains for over a month, at between seven and eight thousand feet, above Golden and also the mountain town of Salida; now I am seven rocky miles in from the nearest paved road, at 10580’, in a beautiful alpine valley, about ¾ mile beyond Grizzly Reservoir at Lincoln Portal. There is a primitive campground at the reservoir itself, with about five sites, but I chose to advance a distance down the 4-wheel drive road, and found my present dispersed campsite. It’s great, with a beautiful view looking south up the valley, to Truro Peak on the right, Grizzly Peak on the left and Larson Peak in the distance straight ahead. There is a band of trees between me and the campground, small though it might be, and the three sites taken by fishermen.
The first to greet me as I took up residence, were a pair of Grey Jays, also known as Whisky Jacks or Camp Robbers; old friends these birds, as I see them Up North in Minnesota, as well as in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest. Then as I was finishing supper the first night, a doe strolled passed my truck, grazing not more than fifteen feet away. The next day, a chipmunk was busily scuttling around and between the rocks of the fire ring. He seemed to be gnawing at one rock in particular; I can only assume that there were essential minerals there that he detected, or perhaps he was just sharpening his teeth. All this was taking place within 3 to 8 feet from me, and he even ran over my boots once, while I stood silently by. I managed to retreat a stride, retrieve my camera, and get a few shots of the bold little character.
I had left Salida late afternoon on the 7th, and stopped in Buena Vista, for Subway sandwich, using a coupon Dan had given me; good foresight as when I set up a dispersed camp above Twin Lakes, the weather only allowed me to heat water for my thermoses, in preparation for my nightly hot drink, and breakfast the next morning. Even then I heated the water in a light drizzle, before it set in heavier for a few hours.
The next day I got away as soon as I broke camp, intending to breakfast on the other side of Independence Pass on the way to Aspen. It took me over an hour to climb up to the pass, as I kept stopping for photo-ops. Breakfast was taken at the top of the pass, rather than somewhere down the other side. Because of the continuing photo-ops, it took me six hours to make the forty miles over the pass to Aspen, from the previous night’s campsite, but of course a light lunch by a rushing stream was also included in that time. Independence Pass is, as it turns out, is the highest paved road in North America at 12,052 feet. Once I had been to my bank in Aspen, I retraced my steps back towards the pass for nine miles to the rough road to Lincoln Portal. High clearance vehicles recommended, but 4-wheei drive was not necessary; beyond here though, the map shows it the road as 4-wheel drive, and it might be, but not for the mile or so I went beyond my chosen campsite … but it is rough.
During the days following my arrival here, the doe has made another appearance, the chipmunk has made daily appearances at the fire ring, bringing a friend on occasion, a black squirrel has shown up, and once at night before I turned in, I spotted a red eye shining close to the ground, which turned out to be a grazing rabbit; the Grey Jays make a daily visit, not staying for long. The weather has been a mixture of sun and showers, with about 30 seconds of sleet at the start of one of them. The showers have been unpredictable enough in their arrivals that I have found it expedient to do my paintings from the driver’s seat, with the door(s) open, closing them when they blow through. And now as I am writing this paragraph, on my fourth night a coyote has just begun to yip and howl close by; at times it sounds not more than fifty yards away … noisy bugger!
During the week the odd vehicle has passed by my camp heading up the valley, but Friday evening brought quite a few, so I expect there are campsites up there. I chose where I am for the view. I wonder how many of these people have come out from Aspen, or further afield; a mixture, I suppose. I have to admit that I didn’t expect the number of people to show up in the valley that did. And they mostly all went away today (Sunday). And tomorrow I head out as well. I was surprised to hear the coyote howling in the middle of the afternoon today, what with all the traffic and the number of campers over the weekend, but perhaps he was expressing his resentment at the hordes. I hope to get this posted on the blog on my way through Aspen, as I have had no cell connection for the since my arrival on Tuesday.
Making my way down the seven miles of the Lincoln Creek Valley from my campsite beyond Grizzly Reservoir, sleet & hail began to fall so I pulled into one of the dispersed campsites within two miles of the main highway. It lasted about fifteen minutes, with the size of the hail reaching about a quarter of an inch, but most less than that. Luckily, there was no vehicular damage.
For you tech-heads the pigments used were:
Imprimatura: W&N Venetian Red
Drawing: W&N Ultramarine Deep
Painting: W&N Venetian Red, Cobalt & Ultramarine Deep Blues, also a touch of Cerulean, Cadmiums Orange & Yellow Pale.
Rublev:Blue Ridge Yellow Ochre, Italian Burnt Sienna, Purple Ochre & Lead White #1.
M. Graham: Hansa Yellow