Wednesday, September 30, 2015

New Acquisitions

Here are some purchases I've made over the last month or so because, you know, I can't help myself. First, this single skein of alpaca yarn, from locally owned alpacas, spun and dyed locally. Not my first skein of this particular alpaca yarn either, purchased at Pedro's. It is incredibly soft, crying out to be used for something that will touch your skin. I haven't figured out what that something will be yet, but since I purchased it with some birthday money, whatever I make will be for me.

And more yarn - actually two skeins of a hand-dyed wool I ran across more recently. My yarn shop carries affordable "mill-end" skeins in hanks from a place in Minnesota, I believe, but it is usually limited to solids and a mohair blend that gives a heathered look. It's a yarn I've used quite a bit before too, but I've never seen it in a variegated hand-dye before and was very taken with this color combination. All the colors of the sea and I was surprised that I was not turned off by that chartreuse suddenly showing up in it. Pretty sure this is going into scarves, perhaps with matching hat and mittens?

Silk ties, because, you know, I can't help myself, and that particular day that I passed the Goodwill store on my walk, I had my wallet with me. Dang - no money on me is about the only thing that keeps me out of there on my daily walks.

Ceremonial Turquoise by Denys Knight - excuse the uneven lighting

But now, the pièce de résistance. I fell in love with the work of Denys Knight when I saw it during ArtWalk early in the summer. This piece in particular, Ceremonial Turquoise, rang all the bells for me: the warm color of the copper metal, the hints of teal patina, the weaving of metal strips, the ends of those strips flying off in different directions and off the folded copper background, the trapping of the turquoise cabochon, and finally the well-considered framing. The only thing holding me back from doing something there and then was the price, not an unfair price, but a bit more than what I would normally allow myself to spend on a piece of art.

So I tucked it away in the back of my mind, revisited it on display several times over the next few months, carefully compared it against the other pieces she grouped with it, and always came away with the ever stronger feeling that it was the one I liked the best and that I wanted to bring home with me.

Finally, I convinced myself that I could afford to purchase it because I have not spent any of the money I set aside each year for travel and entertainment. Nor do I have any travel or major entertainment expenses planned in the near future. Buying this piece, I decided, easily qualified for the entertainment category.

So toward the end of August I made it mine but had to wait for ArtWalk to end a few weeks later before I could bring it home. I'm now auditioning for the perfect place to hang it. (The outer dimension of the frame is 12" x 14" with the metal portion measuring about 6 x 8 and mounted on black board.) You can see more of Denys's work here, but trust me, it is so much more beautiful seen in person.


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Other Side of Farragut State Park

Farragut State Park is bisected by a state highway, and so far, my explorations have been limited to the area closest to the lake along South Road. Very wooded and full of campgrounds, trailheads, observation points as well as a day-use area, boat launch and swim area. There's a museum in this section too and I had yet to drive over to it.

The Museum At The Brig is housed in the only remaining building from the Naval Base days. Unfortunately, it is closed for the season. I must admit, it didn't look anything like I expected.

On closer inspection, I could see through the grill on the gate that there is a central courtyard which now made the building make more sense to me. I could just spy an old pick-up truck under a shelter so I'm guessing the yard holds other large items from the Navy days.

In front of the brig is a long expanse of grass encircled with shrubbery, the entrance guarded on either side with one of these.

The centerpiece of this area is this memorial to those who fought in the war. It really looks rather odd but is supposed to represent "whale" boats used to train recruits.

The most interesting thing about the sculpture is all these faces covering both the back and face of the sailor.

On either side of the walkway leading to the memorial are these benches, lovely in their detail. To learn more about the memorial and the museum, see here.

Now it was time to cross over the highway and continue along the North Road. This part of the park is mostly flat and open. Essentially, the government bought up the privately held land they wanted for the base and proceeded to clear and level it for the buildings that would eventually comprise "city" of over 55,000 people. Hard to believe that so little of the original base is in evidence on this side short of an expanse of crumbling concrete, narrow roads shooting off through the wooded area hugging the road and this pump house. Now there are camping areas here too and more trails including those for "horses, llamas or any stock animal." To learn more of the history of the training base including an aerial shot and pic of the whale boats, see this link.

Returning along Monaghan Rd I stopped at this large open area where one finds the amphitheater and Friendship Poles. The mountain backdrop made me wonder what those young recruits from other parts of the country thought when they arrived.

This space is divided by a gravel road, and I wondered about this big tree left standing by it. No signs to say it was left there, or planted, for a specific reason. I was intrigued by its asymmetry. The sun's angle made it difficult to get a shot emphasizing how much farther the branches on the right extend out from the trunk than those on the left. Beautiful shape though.

Tucked at the far end of the field to the right of the tree stands the Friendship Poles, part of an effort of the Boy Scouts of America.

This sign tells part of the story.

There are mounds of large boulders around the base of those poles. Here's a close-up of a particularly interesting one for you texture lovers.

And along the gravel road there was an outbreak of this lovely flower, a hold-out from summer.

A little farther down the road before returning to the highway is a model airplane flying field. Again - look at the view the recruits enjoyed, and that is still enjoyed today.

Yeah, I'm pretty enamored of my mountains...

Well, that certainly filled up the afternoon and it was time to head home. Just a 30 minute zip up the highway. Except...about 10 minutes into it, I am at a standstill in traffic backed up do to an accident. As the minutes stretched on with little movement, I thought to kill a little time with my sketchbook. I really couldn't see beyond these two cars, but I could see how many were piling up behind me.

I got stopped at about point A for an accident at southern tip of that lake

After an hour, we got to moving a bit and my view showed how far ahead of me the traffic had stopped - literally miles! My thought was that it must have been a terrible accident for it to have brought this two-lane stretch to a total standstill. As I got closer to the site, I could see smoke pluming into the sky - now that's puzzling. And then we arrived with no evidence of a wreck save for blackened highway and about a 1/4 mile of ditch and slope of dry grass and pines that had caught fire and was still being mopped up by fire fighters. That must have been some crash, I thought.

But no, THIS is what held up traffic - I ended up following it back to Ponderay where I got this shot. The news said that one of the 5th wheel trailer's tires failed and ignited due to friction. Droplets of molten rubber were then cast off into the brush on the side of the highway starting 3 separate fires and overrunning the trailer before the driver realized what was happening. No wonder they weren't easing traffic around the site and it took so long to clean things up. No one was hurt but now I am thinking, that sure ruined someone's vacation. 

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Return to Farragut State Park

Wednesday was the first day of fall, and mother nature set aside her cool and damp weather of last week to bless us with a perfect day for hiking. I traveled back to Farragut State Park to take up where I'd left off along Shoreline Trail two weeks ago (see this post). It's looking a bit more like autumn, with these sumacs working on turning red.

Gee, that's a bit of a drive for such a short hike, but I knew I could justify the 30 mile drive by checking out other unexplored parts of the park afterwards, so off I went.

This part of the Shoreline Trail does not hug the shoreline quite like the rest. The stretch to Buttonhook Bay is higher up on the mountainside through more wooded sections, with a few more ups and downs, but still a pretty gentle walk.

Half a mile is normally about a ten minute walk for me, and I was questioning that the bay could be that close. Remember the picture I took from the lagoon showing the point beyond which the bay lies? I thought the trail would go around that point of land, but instead, that point is more like a little island, with the trail coming out to the right of it onto the bay and these public docks. You are looking at the southernmost part of Lake Pend Oreille.

On the highway leading to the Park, there's this sign telling of a former town somewhere near this spot. I'd have to agree that a cruise up the lake would definitely have been more attractive than the overland slog back in those days!

I noted a bridge to the left, over a bit of swampy land between the main trail and that island-like point that turns this bay into a buttonhook. I could see a narrow steep trail taking off around the point and decided I'd check it out on my way back. For now, it was continue on another half mile to the viewpoint.

These two birds had the bay to themselves. Don't know what they are.

Looking at the southernmost shore, I was struck by how green the water was. Well, maybe some of it was due to reflecting the pine trees.

A sudden movement startled me as I made my way between the trees. Ah, just a squirrel, and none too happy at me being there.

Finally, the trail gave up on the shoreline and turned back into the woods and started up. I was hoping for not too much steepness and not for too long but what did I expect? You've got to be up a ways to get a view. After several twists and a look at my watch to see if I'd made a wrong turn or overshot the viewpoint, I faced this incline and thought, "That viewpoint had better be up there and there had better be a bench to sit on!" Surely I'd come the half mile beyond arriving at the bay indicated on the sign back at the start.

Huff, puff...I reached that farthest point I could see when I made my threat and behold! Here was the viewpoint, and yes, there was a bench!

Here's another shot that shows better how the bay wraps around that point in buttonhook fashion. I paused for a bite to eat and to rest before making my way back down. Just a beautiful peaceful place to just be.

And while I watched, I single boat made its way around into the bay, cut its engines and tossed out a line to fish.

On the way down, my eye noticed how very green these pine boughs picked out by the sun looked. So much looks very dry right now, but here in this cool shady spot, they looked quite fresh.

And now back along the shore and looking at what I'd walked through, I was surprised to see so much color and how the reflection looking this direction was so different from. Same deep green waters but now with something sun drenched and fall-like mirrored in them.

Let's take a closer look.

And a bit closer. I'm seeing some tree trunks rippling a bit like the boat masts in the waters at city beach.

Moving to another spot. My poor camera was about to have a nervous breakdown trying to figure out how to focus and deal with the light!

Another section - it was like eating potato chips, I couldn't stop...

And I also couldn't help thinking of Monet and the Impressionists. It is easy to see where the inspiration for the movement might have come from. I'm pondering how I might use these if printed on fabric.

From this spot I could look across at that bit of point and knew I'd leave unsatisfied if I didn't walk its trail too. So I put the camera away and continued on to that bridge that would lead me there.

And this tells me that the bridge has a connection to the Naval Station that once occupied what has since become a State Park. My question is, was the bridge built for this spot or was it repurposed once the Navy left?

I was hoping that after the initial steep climb, the trail would level off as it circled round but boy, was I wrong. It was a real up and down scramble that had me wondering what I was thinking since I'd already taxed myself a bit getting up to the viewpoint. But it was one of those things that once started, it didn't make a lot of sense to turn back and I knew it wasn't very long. And the views were certainly worth it. The only thing that would have made it better - to see a mountain goat scrambling in the rocks across the way. No such luck.

Goodness - did I mention how green the water is down at this end? I just couldn't get over it.

Well, that's it for the Shoreline Trail. I'll share the rest of the park in the next post.