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Friday, July 3, 2015

Day 27: Long's Peak from Lily Lake (7/1/15)

I got settled in on a nice bench under a pine tree, right on Lily Lake. There's a great view of Long's Peak (but in hindsight, there was a mile trail that would have gotten me up on a ridge for a better view). It spit rain for a bit but I was covered by the tree, and then it hailed little pea sized hail for about five minutes. It passed and I kept working. It was a really entertaining spot because a momma and her baby ducklings kept swimming by, and I occasionally spotted a muskrat swimming around. The trail around the lake is pretty easy so there were a lot of families and people out walking. Just like yesterday's view, it kept changing with the moving clouds. Sunny, then cloudy, then stormy, then in shadow, then in I just had to choose a view and go with it. These mountains are stunning and I know there is so much more beauty in this park that I don't have time to discover on this trip.

I had a great conversation with an elderly park volunteer! He identified the mountains in my painting from left to right: Mount Meeker (second highest in park), Long's Peak (highest in park and only "fourteener"), and Mount Lady Washington. You can also see "the beaver" along the left ridge leading up to Long's Peak. The beaver is in profile, his nose points up near the peak, then his body, then it curves up for his tail. No beaver in Bierstadt's paintings of Long's he may have been at a different angle. He also told me what to do in case you're stranded outside in lightening...tuck down on your heels but don't sit on the ground. Two people were struck by lightening and died in the park last summer.

The afternoon rain did hit and I knew it was about to rain because the temperature dropped and the wind picked up. I'm usually pretty removed from weather changes, either in my car or inside, so it was interesting that I could perceive the change. I went to a restaurant called You Need Pie! while I waited out the storm because, well, I needed pie.

I met a lot of really nice people painting today, and on this trip. I can't help but feel a little like a rockstar when I hear a kid go by and say, "MOM/DAD SHE'S PAINTING! She is REALLY good. That's a really good painting." Everyone has something positive to say and it's really encouraging. I like meeting people on this adventure.

I had some big picture reflections today about what this all means. Because I am not as familiar with Bierstadt's work, or that there are only a few paintings here, I am thinking more about my work here. There are so many people in this park making memories. Terry Tempest Williams talks about the love for parks being passed on from generation to generation, and that parks push people to live beyond themselves in the national parks documentary. This landscape, and other park landscapes, hold so much joy and togetherness. It's the same nostalgia I felt driving across Nebraska, thinking about my family and remembering our cross country bike trip. I think that's a big part of landscape art...a memory and connection you share with the landscape that makes it personally meaningful.

I had a great conversation with my friend Katherine about how much there is to know in the world. I can't find the Annie Dillard quote...but she says something about wishing she could hold it all in her hands. I feel overwhelmed and awakened by all I want to know and all I don't even know I want to know. Rainer Maria Rilke says in Letters to a Young Poet, "Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the present you need to live the question." I am happy Albert Bierstadt brought me here...I will visit him again, more in depth, in Yosemite. My time in this park has been enough for this journey, but for me, I've started a sentence I want to come back to finish.

Bye for now, RMNP, happy 100th anniversary!

View of Mount Meeker and Long's Peak from Lily Lake.
Rain on the peaks.
Little duck family.
The muskrat obsession begins. These little guys are SO. CUTE.
Vertical cliff face of Long's Peak - very popular spot for rock climbers.
Muskrat is back. Look at his little eyes!
A little dark, but the other pics showed the colors way too light. Mount Meeker and Long's Peak from Lily Lake.
Then I saw beaver! Will have to figure out how to upload videos because I have a great one of this guy munching on some grub.
Longs Peak, Estes Park, Colorado by Albert Bierstadt.
Then I saw beaver! Will have to figure out how to upload videos because I have a great one of this guy munching on some grub.
Hotel Beaver.
Albert Bierstadt...piercing eyes.
Estes Park, Colorado by Albert Bierstadt.
Estes Park, Colorado by Albert Bierstadt.
Thomas Moran also did a drawing of Long's Peak! Long's Peak and Estes Park.




  1. Love the painting, love the critters and love the Hotel Beaver!
    Love, mom

  2. make me LOL with all your little, funny comments!