mountain high

uticaMe, Isabelle, Ben at Lake Utica in the high mountains in California

We drove 5 hours to get to this little bit of heaven, crossed the great dry golden stretches of the the cental valley shimmering in 105 degree (F) heat, loaded our kayaks and canoe with camping stuff and headed out on the lake to find and claim an island of our own to camp on.  Isabelle and I found one that suited us and my boys headed off for another one to do their own version of Robinson Crusoe.

Our version was all about sketching, and swimming, and identifying new wild flowers and watching the geese and Mergansers and napping and gentle paddling out to find the flowering lily pads.  It was all pretty heady and I did some of the usual sort of sketching.  But the granite rock formations and the twisted trees kept turning into faces and weird creatures, so I decided to give that a try.

rocktreepeopleElegant Writer pen in Arches Travel Book

It was really easy to imagine that the indigenous peoples, who spent their lives outside (rather than primarily inside like most of us) so close to nature, would see their ancestors in the rocks and trees and cloud formations.

treedancerThe ants were large and black and so gentle that they were not the least bit bothersome as they traipsed across the leg or sketch pages.  And the electric blue dragonflies seemed to be in an almost constant state of bug-love, mating in heart shaped rings.

More sketches tomorrow, and Isabelle’s blog has captured the essense of our trip.


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