Monday, February 10, 2014

Down the Clark Fork

My original road trip “sort of” destination was Glacier National Park or maybe even Yellowstone -- where any plein air paintings might interest somebody.  However, that was before the 2013 government shutdown.  Ultimately, I figure Congress had my welfare in mind since it gave me the chance to discover places like the South Fork of the Clearwater and Mr. Zoom’s bridge.  So, abandoning thoughts of sneaking into Glacier or Yellowstone Parks, I continued my “explore.”  What would I  find along Montana State Highway 200 paralleling the Clark Fork?

If Lewis and Clark had rear view mirrors on their canoes they might have witnessed a scene much like this along the Clark Fork.

The Clark Fork, eventually leads to the Columbia River, albeit a longer route than the Clearwater River which Lewis and Clark floated down.  I wonder why they didn’t stick with the Clark Fork instead of dragging all their pots and pans and spare socks over a pass to the Clearwater.  First, it is named after Meriwether Clark, himself, and second,  following that drainage they could have added British Columbia, Canada, to their list of new discoveries.  

                             In this stretch Lewis and Clark could have enjoyed a leisurely paddle to the west.
Perhaps it was because driving this route I encountered several hazards.  First a doe deer dashed with her fawn across the highway in an effort to boost my ego -- that is -- to demonstrate how wise I was to have our car brakes serviced before the trip.  Obviously they were lost because the “deer crossing” sign was sited 100 yards further down the highway.  Within minutes a turkey tried to offer itself up for Thanksgiving dinner.  Even closer -- my definition of turning on a dime has now been revised to the image of  a turkey charging head down like a National Football League fullback instantly reversing course as he was about to be tackled -- the tackler in this case being my careening car.  I should have checked for tail feathers in the grill.

The other hazard -- I had consumed too much coffee, Montana obviously doesn’t believe in rest rooms on their state highways and trees were scarce along this section of road.  In contrast barbed-wire fences abounded in profusion with every single tree situated on the other side.  At the point of desperation I found a side “road” with a sign announcing “land for sale.”  Ah ha, a place where I could slip through a gate.  I’m glad I waited because there, out of sight of the highway, I found a bonafide sod house -- abandoned, but still intact -- a fringe benefit of drinking too much coffee.

                          I can't help but think life was pretty depressing living in this windowless abode.

The next day another side road caught my attention.  What would I find along White Pine Creek Road?  Maybe I'd even discover White Pine Creek...

...or another painting subject:  "Waiting for Rain"   9 x 12 inches   Alkyd on Raymar Panel.  This was my last plein air painting of the trip as the hour arrived when I had to cover some miles in order to catch my ferry home to Alaska.

Another factor that persuaded me to put away the brushes -- I wasn't excited about painting in the rain such as I found along Montana's Bull River.

Meanwhile, Karen was bidding her possible final good bye to Four Mile Lake, a farewell that included scenes and treasures from her past.

                     Some residents of Wisconsin's Four Mile Lake neighborhood keep their forests manicured.  

With no way to bring "him" home, Karen had to leave her only stone sculpture behind.  Karen carved "Quiet Time" out of a rock during a high school art class.

                                                    And so, farewell to Karen's sculpture "Quiet Time."


Anonymous said...

This is my first time visit at here and i am actually impressed to read all at single place.

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Kangas said...

For me i never thought that place was look relaxing and amazing and as i seen those photos i forgot a little bit those debt that i have from debt collection.I hope i could go their.