Saddle Mountain Wilderness

October 12

I’m starting to feel more like myself as the fuss and anxiety of getting ready begin to drop away. I paint the house and drive a long dirt road to a hike that takes me to the edge of Grand Canyon National Park. It’s so windy it’s hard to keep the easel upright, and a fine layer of sand and dust sifts through everything. It reminds me of rafting the river (Colorado).

Kane Ranch AZ

The 1870 ranch house in the morning

 

Cane Springs

October 11

I head out for my first hike, the canyon behind the ranch house where its water seeps out of a spring several miles away. It’s always amazing to me how new ideas reach me while I’m walking. Usually it takes days of travelling on foot – just how is it my brain is so connected to my metatarsals ; – ) I spend the late afternoon painting on the porch, first the rift in the plain of sagebrush that hints of the great canyon to the south and west, and the Vermilion Cliffs to the north.

The Grand Canyon in the distance from Kane Ranch porch

The Grand Canyon in the distance from Kane Ranch porch

Vermilion Cliffs from the Kane Ranch porch

Vermilion Cliffs from the Kane Ranch porch

 

Kane Ranch

October 10

After stops in Boise with old friends, and new artist friends in Parowan Utah (the amazingly creative and accomplished Sue Cotter and Spike Ress), I finally reach Kane Ranch. Forgive me for posting many days at once – it’s several hours’ drive to access the Internet. Despite my residency on the east side of North Cascades National Park – to which you can only fly in, hike in or take a 2-4 hour boat ride — this is more remote! 10 miles of dirt road and 10 more on paved to the nearest gas. I have just enough cell coverage to occasionally get phone messages, but I am back to life without radio, recorded music, instant answers and facebook.

Built in the 1870s the stone ranch house has been updated with solar-powered electricity, propane heat/stove and new outhouses. So while primitive compared to my urban life, this would be luxury to the pioneers that originally occupied so many homes like this one. History hovers wherever you are around here, and in this dry desert air, its evidence is slow to disappear. Part of the residency goal is to communicate a sense of place, to find another way to express the value of public lands.

This is my 10-mile long driveway.

This is my 10-mile long driveway.

My nearest neighbors ; - )

My nearest neighbors ; – )

Kane Ranch house. It was windy enough that the easel blew over.

Kane Ranch house. It was windy enough that the easel blew over.