Getting to know a new area can be daunting. Where do you start? First, I got my driver license, next got my car registered, and then started to explore local hikes. In March, my first trail was at Raymondskill, tried the Cliff trail and saw the falls. (That was where I found the gnarly tree in my last post!)
As I meet and chat with locals, I’ll ask, “where do you suggest I go to hike and where can I find local art?” They recommended Grey Towers, a historic site that was once the summer estate of the Pinchot family. This became my second hike, although I’d call it more of a walk. It has interesting architecture, with a long, steep paved drive to get up to the house and grounds. There are a variety of tours available (after it opens in May) of the buildings, forest trees and cemetery.
Only the crocus were out the day I went:
Grey Towers mansion and crocus
The Bait Box was built in the 1920s as a playhouse. Loved the setting, so I sat and sketched, while visiting children ran about.
After a worrisome day, waking up with severe vertigo, I nearly cancelled this trip. Wasn’t sure how I could get on a plane with it. Fortunately, it mostly cleared up, so the trip was on! Still with traces of vertigo, flights and travel went smoothly, and we got to relax my first afternoon in Hood River. Love Hood River, great vibes, and great people.
Nearly sunset at the Columbia River
We agreed to do the most difficult, but most “worth it” hike first. So day 2, we drove (I say we, but my friend did all the driving.). Got to give her credit for hosting, driving and being a great friend. So we drove across the Columbia River to Washington, then up some back roads, which turned to dirt roads, with some edgy curves. Took us about an hour to get to the trailhead, and there was only one other car there, which was great. “Only” a little over 2 miles in, but with 1,365’ gain. And 6,000’ elevation. I’m not used to that at all, add the fact that it got a little scary towards the top with some vertigo kicking in. Some of the last steep part was on my hands and knees, I didn’t trust standing up.
But, I must say, it was definitely WORTH IT! Proud of us both, and views of four separate mountains from the top. Basically, we climbed a small mountain to get a better view of the big ones. 🙂
So relieved to have a chance to sit, I did several sketches from up here. Added color back at home.
View of Mt. Adams, shortly before reaching the top
View of Mt. Hood from top
Another view of Mt. Adams from the top. The clouds were starting to cover the top.
After all that work, we stopped at Mt. Hood winery (of course!) and I did a quick sketch while we relaxed.
View of Mt. Hood from Mt. Hood winery
I guess I’ll have to return, this place has so many amazing views, wine and delicious food!
After arriving at noon, I was able to take in 2 very nice hikes. Started off with Snead Farm Dickey Ridge loop, 3.6 miles. Should have been easy, like it was rated, but I was surprised to find myself huffing after a short distance. I realized we were at an elevation of 2,400’, not what I’m used to, so I just took my time and remembered it’s not a race! There was hardly anyone else on this trail, which was a great way to enjoy the park and the many views. Lunch had a wonderful view which I have not done justice with this quick sketch. Sorry!
Lunch view from Snead Farm Dickey Ridge loop
Stopped for a quick sketch of these bloodroot flowers, coming out to welcome me! The half opened leaf wrapped around the stem will open fully soon.
Got in a second shorter hike, Fox Hollow, which included a cemetery and a pink feather. (cardinal maybe?)
The second day, I got out early and beat the crowd to Mary’s Rock. This hike includes a portion of the Appalachian Trail, so I was happy to get this pic of an AT trail marker with the appropriate headgear. 😉
Sat down at the top and did a few sketches.
View from Mary’s Rock
View at Mary’s Rock
Also got a second shorter hike in after lunch at Skyland (where I stayed) to Stony Man. This trail was the most crowded and I used the horse trail (no horses on it yet) to go back down, which avoided most of the people. What can I say? I appreciate the solitude of hiking.
My last scheduled day, Wednesday, was going to rain ALL day, so I checked out early, and caught the view from a few overlooks along my way out, even got another quick sketch in. Will have to add color later!
I definitely would love to return here and complete some more of the 28 (!) hikes I saved! Thank you Shenandoah! 💕
After car camping with a friend in the Adirondacks last month, I knew I wanted to return and try it alone. So recently, after a very spur of the moment decision, I made camp reservations for 2 nights near Lake Placid. Planning solo made me much more cautious about what I needed and what to bring. Also, even though the days would be warm and sunny, it was going to be cold at night.
On the drive up, the views were so gorgeous, as the trees were just beginning to wear their autumn colors. Stopped near Tupper Lake for a quick sketch.
A tiny island in Tupper Lake
I arrived to camp late afternoon, with just enough time for a quick walk at High Falls Gorge. Yes, it costs $, is very touristy and only a mile long, but it really packs a powerful experience in that short walk.
The next day, my plan was to hopefully find a waterfall that I was fortunate to experience in my early twenties. Back then, three others and myself hiked to the top on a hot summer day and swam in pools at the top. It was such a perfect event that I have always wanted to return, but didn’t know the name or even where exactly it was. I was told Roaring Brook Falls sounded like what I was looking for. (Thanks Jamey!) And it was!
After parking, as I followed the sign for the top of the falls, each step made me more sure that this was the place. At the top, there were the pools we swam in, and there was the view! Wow.
I sat and sketched, and then did the short walk to the bottom of the falls. Not much water right now, but the memories were as crystal clear as the water.
Sketched while relaxing at the top, color added at home. The view of Mount Marcy was an added surprise!
Top of Roaring Brook Falls looking back. The water was crystal clear, not at all how my sketch ended up!
Roaring Brook Falls – at the base
It was quite cold (yes, 30°!) the first night, but I doubled up on nightclothes and was plenty warm the second night.
It was an easy hike and I’m so happy to have found it again!
Day 12 was a 4+ hour drive going north to Wanaka, in the Otago region on South Island. Along the way, we stopped at Lake Hayes to sketch. The Māori name is Wai-whaka-ata which translates to “water that reflects”.
A dizzying series of switchbacks on Crown Range Road brought us to a pull off where we sketched a fantastic view. Quick pencil sketches were all I could manage while I recovered from that ride!
A fun stop in Cardrona, a popular ski town, where Cathy donated to a fence of bras! “Bra-drona” hopes that you will make a donation to the NZ Cancer Society.
Bra-drona in Cardrona
A famous tourist attraction in Wanaka is #thatwanakatree, growing in the lake.
Nearby, there were several huge Douglas fir trees needing to be sketched. Only took time for one, and as I sketched, I wondered how old these are.
Day 11 – we retrace some of yesterday’s travels. First order of each day is usually getting lunch and snack food! Miles Better Pies has a cute statue out front.
Miles Better Pies in Te Anau
Stopped along the way to practice clouds, these are the reason for calling New Zealand “Land of the Long Cloud”.
We returned to Mirror Lake, in Fiordland Nat’l. Park, where I may have been the only one in our group who didn’t sketch the calm clear waters.
View at Mirror Lake
Mirror Lake – I wonder how it got the name? 😉
Here we sat and painted in an ancient beech forest next to Gunn Lake. We saw faces in the trees, while parrots and keas sang above and a New Zealand robin visited us. He tried to join me by sitting on my water container, which he tipped over.
ancient beech forest.
Faces in the ancient trees
A slight interruption in our travels while we waited for them to cross the road –
Slight traffic jam
Last stop of the day was in Eglinton River valley with broad horizons to paint.
Day 10 – We head to Milford Sound in Fiordland National Park for a boat ride through the fiord with breathtaking scenery. Luck and sunshine was with us (it’s in a rain forest with annual rainfall of 22 feet) as we first stopped at Mirror Lake on the way, before meeting up with a convoy.
Sections of the only road to Milford Sound were one lane following cyclone damage a few weeks earlier. There was terrible flooding and several hundred people trapped up there. So only buses and 12+ passenger vehicles were allowed in the convoy. We were one of the first vehicles in line, so we had a bit of a wait until the line was complete and we could start up.
I could have spent several days here, in this place called the pot of gold at the end of the road. My sketches don’t do it justice, but you may be able to infer by the quantity, just how much I was enchanted with this place.