Juniper Lake Camping


pen and watercolor in Handbook brand watercolor sketchbook, 4 X 8″

I have a habit of many years now, that I take my sketchbook and the tiniest little watercolor palette with me on trips. Over time it’s become less about making art and more about recording events so that I don’t forget.  I also take photos, but they never seem to reflect my experience like my haphazard sketches do. I want to remember things like my campsite number and the wildlife I saw and the things I forgot to bring, like wildflower identification books.

My good buddy Katya and I met up at Lasson Volcanic National Park this year, where she had been camping for 10 days before I got there.  She had the campsite already set up and I sat the first morning while we drank our tea and coffee, and sketched some of that camping paraphernalia.


Each day we hiked up to a different lake or lookout point, with me huffing and puffing from the altitude.  The birds and insects appeared to be in a frenzy of mating – the birds calling out passionately to each other in song, the insects joined in embraces that were not broken by winged flight or even hopping!


Bending and bowing to the elements of nature over time, the trees took on personalities and attitudes that made it impossible not to anthropomorphize them! (or maybe I was hallucinating from the lack of oxygen at the mountains altitudes!) I wanted to name them and assign stories.


Without a doubt the highlight of the trip was at the top of Mt. Harkness where we could see mountain ranges in all directions, all the way to Nevada and Oregon and learned how the ranger spots possible fires and deals with lightning strikes!



  1. You expressed my thoughts exactly about journaling and sketching…we just spent our 50 year anniversary in Bozeman Montana with our family and grandchildren. I had everyone take at least one page of a journal I brought and either draw a picture or express a sentiment…..we have a record of every day that I journaled. It is now a precious part of OUR history. Looking forward to seeing you in August.


  2. susan, Looks like a beautiful, restful time. I love those kind of vacations. Relax, read, draw and relax some more.
    Best to you, Candy


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