Retired Road Guy loves to hike. He is particularly fond of loops, which ALWAYS include some off-trail stuff. The man really really knows Mineral King, and he knows how to choose the best hike for the right people at the optimal time of year.
Dude’s just gifted like that. He is an introvert, but put him on a Mineral King trail and you might mistake him for a friendly trail guide.
I did not go on this hike, but was privileged to borrow the best photos.
Five members of The Sawtooth Six were there, with 4 cameras. These are our cabin neighbors from some fraternity, I Phelta Thi or something. They have come up once a year for about 28 years now. In the early years, Trail Guy and I would leave Mineral King that weekend. Now we love it when they are in “town”. Guess we all grew up a little.
First Saturday Three Rivers has been happening for 3 years now. On the first Saturday of the month, merchants and artists in Three Rivers do something special. They have sales, open houses, new products, refreshments, or anything out of their normal procedures for the day.
It gives you a reason to come up the hill. I’ve heard it is fun. There is something about most of the first Saturdays that just won’t fit into my life, usually involving Mineral King. Occasionally I do open my studio or join the folks at Colors, but not in September. I’m sorry. I hope you visit Three Rivers anyway and have a bang-up great time.
On September 1 (Happy B’day, S & MKW & RT!) Colors will have 2 new paintings from me. Not really new, but old paintings that I retouched because I paint better now (an admission of growth rather than a statement of false humility about the past or braggadocio about the present). They are the paintings of Sequoia trees, hanging above the oranges:
If you are interested, you will enjoy seeing them in person much more than in this crummy little photo.
While in Wilsonia, the private cabin community in Kings Canyon National Park, I visited the General Grant Tree. It is about a mile from Wilsonia in a spectacular grove of giant sequoias (sequoia gigantea not to be confused with California redwoods called sequoia sempervirens).
Of course, what grove of Big Trees wouldn’t be considered spectacular?
I discovered something surprising. The General has been stripped of his title, except on the few remaining old signs and maps. He is now called the “Grant Tree”. Hmmmm, mighty peculiar (but probably not pathetic.)
As The Cabins of Wilsonia takes shape, new ideas keep coming. Because Wilsonia is in Kings Canyon National Park (ugh – do you mind if I just type KCNP?), it seems important to learn more about the immediate area.
So, I went exploring and found the Manzanita and Azalea Trails. There is a well-marked trail system that goes up to Park Ridge Lookout in KCNP, connects to Crystal Springs Campground and also surrounds Wilsonia, in a large and general way.
In addition to these extracurricular activities, I worked on The Cabins of Wilsonia, talked to many cabin folks, and had an immensely productive week.
What about the pathetic part, you ask? Ummm, I got homesick and went home a day early.
I spent a very productive week at a cabin in Wilsonia, a private community within Kings Canyon National Park. The idea was to talk to lots of people, to learn and write down their stories, impressions, memories and thoughts on cabin life there. I was fairly certain that I had all the photos I needed and that the design of the book, The Cabins of Wilsonia, was almost cast in stone.
But. . .
. . . While there, I finally had the opportunity to work uninterrupted on the book. (When I’m in my own studio, there is so much painting to do that the non-urgent business of the book collects dust. I want to work on the book, I really really like working on the book, I wish I could just work on the book every day! Okay, I think you believe me now.)
Redesign: Each day I walked through Wilsonia with my camera and continued to photograph things for a second and third time. OF COURSE I kept finding new things to photograph.This meant I needed to re-evalutate which were the best choices for each street, and continually redesign each section.
Rebalance: I began to realize that there was an imbalance. How many pages have I allotted to each street? (called “Lanes” in Wilsonian) How many cabins are there on each Lane? Had I given the most populated streets the greatest number of pages? This took quite awhile to discern and then to redesign.
Quote Gathering: In addition to the photography and redesign, there were many conversations with people, which was the point of the visit. It is interesting that folks assume I am compiling the history of Wilsonia. Their first response to knowing that I’d like to include quotes from the cabin community is to give me a list of previous owners of their cabins!
This is most likely due to my own inept interviewing and inadequate explanations. I’m an artist, not O’Reilly. (It probably isn’t a good idea to bark at them, “This is a no-spin zone!”) I’m now realizing that gathering quotes will take a long time, lots of conversations, lots of getting to know people gradually. When Jane Coughran and I did The Cabins of Mineral King in 1998, we simply sent forms in the mail requesting stories, and magically, they got filled out and returned. Doesn’t work that way any more.
Eating an elephant: It is time to face the fact that this book is going to take at least 2 more years to get to publication.
That’s not the pathetic part. I’ll tell you that part tomorrow.
More tomorrow about my work week in Wilsonia. . .
Mineral King is the second most popular subject that I paint. Oranges are first, pomegranates are third. Thanks for asking – does me good to know you care.
Many of the artists I know have taken to creating small paintings in this crummy economy. Since Tulare County’s economy is usually crummy anyway, I was already doing that. It is very seldom that I am on the cutting edge of anything, so this has just been a real thrill, I tell you, a real thrill.
I’ve been really working hard on these little jewels this summer, because the Silver City Resort is doing a great job of selling them. They’re selling well for 3 reasons (just my opinion):
1. $50 is dirt cheap for an original oil painting (especially if you are from a big city)
2. People on vacation in the area would like a real souvenir of their trip that isn’t an unnecessary plastic item stamped with Mineral King.
3. (Ahem). They are sort of good. Not as tight with the detail as many of my other paintings, but whaddya expect for $50, hmmmm?
Just try to be polite, ‘kay? And might want to duck, in case there is a lightning strike for excessive braggadocio.
P.S. These might have sold – I haven’t checked since delivering them to Silver City a few weeks ago. BUT, do not lose heart – I can repaint anything for you. Just ask!
One way you can tell that you are middle-aged is when hiking downhill is more painful than hiking uphill. (Can I get an “Amen”?)
Last week I left you wondering how we were going to leave White Chief if not by the same trail we used to get there. Trail Guy loves loops – I might start calling him “Loopy” – no, bad idea. I call him Trail Guy, but about 40% of the time he is Off-Trail Guy.
He pointed up to a ridge above and to the west of lower White Chief canyon and said if we climbed it, we’d drop down into Eagle Meadow. That is in the area of the Mosquito and Eagle Lakes junction. He said he knew it wasn’t hard, because he had explored there last year.
Sure, Off-Trail Guy.
The Honeymoon Cabin in Mineral King sits at the beginning of the Eagle/Mosquito/White Chief trailhead.
It was part of the resort, back in the days of a store and rental cabins in Mineral King. That era ended in 1969, when an avalanche took out the store. By then, Walt Disney owned the place, and what the snow left behind, Uncle Wally’s people finished with fire.
This is the only remaining structure from the resort, and now it serves as a museum of Mineral King history. It is maintained by the Mineral King Preservation Society.
I paint it over and over and over. (I mean I paint canvases with its image, but I’m guessing you were tracking with me well enough to understand that.) This is #12, maybe. Since it is at the Silver City Resort and I am not, I can’t flip it over and check for you.
Orange you glad you live in California? Or perhaps you aren’t so glad – the state is way over its head financially, we have both sales tax and state income tax, our gas is almost the most expensive in the country, and it is stinkin’ hot.
But we can grow oranges, and we can paint them. That’s what California artists do who get calls from realtors who sell lots of citrus orchards. Blessings on you, Oh Realtors of Good Taste.
In case you were wondering, my favorite color isn’t orange. Besides, it looks terrible on me. Not my color. Maybe that is why it is fun to paint.
Last week I had an explosion of California poppies in the painting studio. They landed on top of my stereo. (Yes, that is duct tape on the stereo – You can ask Retired Road Guy, but I doubt he’ll remember.)
Who knew that canvases came in 2×2″? They are so cute, and can be painted quickly. Of course I need my mega-strong magnifying glasses to see what I am painting, just in case anyone under 45 years of age looks at them.
Usually I begin a blog post with a relevant photo. There must be a reason it seems relevant, so I ponder why you might want to see it.
The thoughts begin flowing, and boy of boy, I LOVE to type because the words can keep up with my thoughts. I type fast, I make mistakes, but they are easily corrected. (Got fired from a typing job once – still smarts.)
After the thoughts are recorded, I reread them for flow and understanding. If anything makes me hesitate or wonder what I meant, or if it could mean two things, then it gets changed.
Next, I remove unnecessary words, such as beginning a sentence with “So”, which is a current speaking trend that I hope to avoid. (Has anyone else noticed this?) I also remove sentences after asking myself, “Does anyone care?” (if the answer is NO!)
Sometimes I think about SEO. That means Search Engine Optimization, which means using certain words in certain ways so that Mr. Google can find me (for certain).
Then I check for typographical and grammatical errors. Typos make me twitch. They jump out of other people’s blogs, out of menus, library books, the newspaper, signs, and anything with the written word. Websites with typos do not look trustworthy . . . nosirree, if that company can’t even make their website correct, then they won’t care about my order.
Finally, I do all the technical stuff like putting in key words and tags (geeky stuff), filling in the SEO all-in-one-pack (more geeky stuff) checking categories, and finally, I schedule the post.
Now that you know my routine, you can join me in wondering “Does anyone care about this blog post?”