Thursday, September 21, 2017

Smoky days & final days at Brooks Lake … sort of.

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Wednesday, September 6, 2017 to Saturday, September 9, 2017; to Brooks Lake, Absaroka Range, Wyoming.

“Morning on Brooks Lake Creek”
(Absaroka Range, Wyoming)
Oil Painting on Pannelli Telati fine Cotton Panel
5” x 7”

Thursday: A very smoky day; the worst thus far.  I finished my fifth Oil of this Brooks Lake area, at 14:00 today, and after a lunch, drove the mile to the end of forest road 516, that I had been camped on, noting a couple decent campsites, but none with the view I have had overlooking the lake, and thus conducive for painting.  It also provided shelter from the sun, being partly tucked into a small grove of trees.  I then moved camps to the south end of the lake on Forest Road 515-1C, and had a slightly earlier supper.  This is for tonight only, as in the morning I am off, and hope to get several blog posts lined up for publishing.  By the time you read this there will have been two or three posted before this one.

Smokiest day thus far.
I have seen no large wildlife here in the form of deer, elk or bears, although the meadows 150’ below by the lake should have attracted any or all of them, and I surmise must do at times.  A couple who parked near me and hiked down to the lake to fish, were surprised I’d not had any sightings, as they come often to fish, and had in fact seen some elk along Brooks Lake Creek on their way in that morning.  I have seen a Bald Eagle several times during the nine days I have been at Brooks Lake, and once saw him splash into the lake after a fish (the one that got away), and heavily take off from the water again.  The Grey Jays, there are oft-times three of them, visit a couple times a day, and have shown me something I have never seen before from a Grey Jay; attempting to snatch butterflies from the air by fluttering after them in a butterfly like fashion.  They were successful once every few times, and when so, would land with their catch, plucking wings off (perhaps other things too), before partaking of their repast.  Can’t believe I have been here ten nights now, especially since this stop was to have been only a one night stand on my way to Grand Tetons National Park … serendipity!

Thought this was my last view of the Pinnacles …
and a hazy one.

Brooks Lake through the trees.

A lot of these formations around here.

Friday: My sojourn at Brooks Lake finally came to an end (or so I thought … read on), as I headed back down Forest Road 515, and upon reaching the main highway, jogged right a quarter mile to the day use area of the Falls Campground.  Here I took a half mile stroll to the Brooks Lake Creek Falls.  It was much higher than I had expected.  The water almost slides, and in places actually does, down the steep slope into the canyon below.  Oh it falls over little cliffs on the way down but, mostly it seems to slide.  And it is a long slide … at the furthest extent, I was a bit above the level of the top of the falls and about a hundred yards or so away, and the bottom of the falls was directly below me, perhaps 300 feet into the depths of the canyon, and as I have said sliding more than falling most of the way down.

View on the way from the Lake to Hwy 287.

Pinnacles from the beginning of the walk to Brooks Lake Creek Falls.

A few yards before the top of the falls.

Top of the Falls.

About 1/3 of the falls is seen.

About 1/3 of the falls is seen.

Woodland walk on the way back to the car.

After this delightful interlude, I toddled back on down to Dubois, 20 miles distant, to top up my tank, food and ice supplies, and spend the afternoon in the library to post the blog.  This I did, but being Friday the library closed at 17:00, instead of the 19:00 I was expecting, so instead of getting a two or three posts lined up for publishing I just managed one.  I also checked my recent emails (the older ones have to wait), as I really have been cut off from doing that since Aspen, 25 days ago.  And that’s all I did, as I did not have time to open any one of them.  Even then I finished up my online work by sitting outside the library after they had closed to use their Wi-Fi.  By the time Dubois was left behind the Sun was setting, and it was too late to get over the pass and find a new campsite near Jackson Hole and the Tetons, so back to my last campsite on Brooks Lake.

And surprise, surprise … after another very smoky day, as I prepared my SUV for the night and a late supper, the stars came out brightly for the first time in several days.  Whereas the night before, I could just make out the Summer Triangle of the first magnitude stars of Deneb, Altair and Vega, and little else, now the sky was full of stars, perhaps not as bright as an altitude of 9100’ would normally give you, but almost.  And later the Moon arose brightly over the Pinnacles with just a slightly yellow cast, instead of the almost red it had been the night before.  The wind must have changed.  And I thought of Michael, a greying biker I had met earlier in the day as he filled his water bottle in the town park, who had been driven off of Union Pass, by the smoke wafting down from northern Montana 500 miles distant, and instead of hiking up a 13000’ peak up there in the Wind River Range, decided to pack it in and head south, perhaps to Colorado, or maybe on to New Mexico.  Another day and he might have got up that 13000’ peak.

Final dawn light from my 3rd campsite here.

The outflow of Brooks Lake Creek, beginning its journey
to the Falls a few miles away.

West from the boat landing.

North from the boat landing.

East from the boat landing.

Speaking of the Pinnacles, as mentioned, later in the library a chap named John commented on the explosive nature of the origin of the Pinnacles … I will have to look that up.  I have been wondering about their geology.

The pigments used in the Painting were:

Imprimatura: W&N Venetian Red.

Drawing: W&N Cobalt Blue.

Painting: W&N Venetian Red, Cerulean Cobalt & Ultramarine Deep Blues, Cadmiums Orange & Yellow Pale.

Rublev:Blue Ridge Yellow Ochre, Italian Burnt Sienna, Purple Ochre & Lead White #1.

M. Graham: Hansa Yellow.

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