Hiking Mineral King – White Chief Part 2

White Chief might be the most beautiful place accessible by foot from Mineral King. Short hike, steep, lots of variety. Any time Trail Guy encounters someone along the trail below the Eagle Lake/White Chief junction, he tells them they will be happier if they choose White Chief. 

Here are more photos from our Eclipse Day White Chief walk/hike.

What is this flowering shrub??

What is this teensy darker version of a Baby-Blue-Eyes??

What is this unknown yellow flower??

Slow but handy way to fill a water bottle.

There are more photos, but they were on Trail Guy’s camera because I overworked my battery. Aiming at the sun may not have been such a good idea. . . 

More tomorrow? Stay tuned. . .

Hiking Mineral King – White Chief

The eclipse. Big deal. Lots of chatter. Lots of ideas. Lots of rah-rah. What to do about it in Mineral King?

Easy! Poke a hole in a piece of cardboard with an ice pick, get a piece of white paper, and walk to White Chief. 

I say “walk” because I elected to not carry a pack or food. My camera was in my pocket, and a water bottle was in my hand. Let’s go!

Neither Trail Guy nor I had ever used a device like this. We both decided that if a “pinhole” (ice pick sized) is good, then why not a larger hole?

The answer is that the small hole works; the larger ones do not. We have a theory on why this is, but it will take too long to type.

I couldn’t tell the difference between light from an eclipsed sun and light when high clouds are obscuring the sunshine.

See the light in the ice-pick-sized hole? The moon kept eclipsing the sun for awhile, although I was hard-pressed to tell without the device.

Trail Guy insisted that the light was different from just a cloudy day. He’s observant and artistic like that; me? I just bumble along.

Since the steepest part of the hike was behind us, we decided to just keep on trucking up the trail into White Chief. The day became very crystal clear.

When this thick cloud passed over the sun, I aimed my camera at it. Does this look like an eclipse?

To be continued. . . tune in tomorrow.

Cabin Life

Posted by on Aug 29, 2017 in Mineral King | 2 Comments

In case you were thinking that life at the cabin consisted only of hiking, here is a peek into what else occupies time while in Mineral King. I also read a great deal, but didn’t photograph my books. I figure you know what books look like. Most recently I finished Round Ireland with a Fridge and Stranger in the Woods.

Baking in a wood stove is a project. Making English muffins can be done on a griddle . . . who knew??

Sometimes we just walk among neighboring cabins. . . snooping, checking out new maintenance, looking for flowers in bloom. . .

I’ve always loved the light on the chimney of this little cabin. It is the oldest one in Mineral King.

This pair of cabins belongs to some people in Hawaii. They don’t come often; instead they let other people use their place. Sometimes those other people have loud parties, but this year has been much better, i.e. quiet.

Explorer’s Gentian – my favorite wildflower

And more Explorer’s Gentian – why does it bloom on this side of the creek and not by our place??

I love to split firewood. Trail Guy gets it into girl-sized chunks, and I whale at it with my girl-axe. It isn’t often in our current times that there are opportunities to just pound on things. It is very satisfying – I’d recommend it.

This yarn is the color of Explorer’s Gentian. Cabin time means knitting time.

Proof That I Draw Better Now

Posted by on Aug 28, 2017 in commissions, drawing | 4 Comments

It just occurred to me that perhaps you might disagree with my evaluation of  what “drawing better” actually looks like.

Bummer. Having a blog often means taking a risk, so here goes.

This is the little Hume Lake cabin as I drew it from the customer’s photos in 1995. (I didn’t draw the bug spot, or whatever that is.)

Here it is after reworking it, using photos I took earlier this month.

I feel relieved to have gotten a second chance to make this drawing the best I know how.

Funny Walk at Hume Lake

When I got to Hume Lake, I asked my friend if she had heard of the Little Brown Church. This was something I learned about and visited one time in 1978, and since so much had changed, I thought it might be gone.

Nope. It is still there. It is a steep steep steep climb; the signs say 1/2 mile, but it felt farther.

I don’t know when, why or who.

Have one more look at the little brown church with my friend so you can get a sense of the smallness.

See what I mean by “a funny walk”??

I Draw Better Now

Posted by on Aug 24, 2017 in commissions, drawing, the business of art | No Comments

In 1995, I drew a Hume Lake cabin from the customer’s photos.

Last week I had the pleasure of staying in that cabin and seeing it for the first time. The customer’s daughter and I grew up together and have recently reconnected.

She brought the drawing to Hume Lake, and I was dismayed to see it had a bug spot on it. It also was missing the flag, and now I put flags in color into my pencil drawings whenever possible. Besides, I draw better now.

Daughter allowed me to remove it from the frame and bring it home with me. The biggest thing was to discover if the drawing had been spray-fixed, which would not allow me to do any erasing. I can’t put color over pencil and have it look like anything good – it needs to have blank paper beneath the color. 

YEA! I can repair, replace, add, and improve it, because it isn’t spray-fixed!! Stay tuned – I hope to have some studio time next week to do the work of making this drawing something to be proud of.

P.S. Tomorrow’s post will be of a funny walk at Hume Lake.

A New-To-Me Cabin Community

Posted by on Aug 23, 2017 in Going Places, Sources of inspiration | 4 Comments

Ever heard of or been to Hume Lake, California? I lived and worked there the summer of 1978, and again for a few weeks in maybe 1981 or 1982. 

Back then I was unaware of the extensive cabin community, not yet having met Trail Guy or married into a cabin or begun an art business called “Cabin Art”. I knew there were cabins, but they didn’t concern me.

Recently, I had the great privilege and pleasure of spending time with an old friend and a new friend at a Hume Lake cabin. I had drawn the cabin for my friend’s mom, working from photos, but had not seen it in person. I asked my friend if I could have the drawing back to fix, because I draw better than I did in 1995. That will be a subject for another post or two.

Hume Lake is an entirely different type of community than Mineral King or Wilsonia, with some shared cabin community characteristics. It feels like a miniature city, with a National Forest Service campground, the Christian conference grounds with multiple camps, lots of commerce, THE LAKE! OH MY!, and a group of many fancy cabins that go up and up and up the side of the hill.

Have a look at some of the things we enjoyed while there. I have more thoughts and photos than will fit into one day’s post, so instead of Mineral King on Friday, there will be a funny walk at Hume Lake.

This dining hall is much fancier on the outside since I worked in the kitchen here.

Look at these happy women, about to spend 3 happy days walking, talking, eating, and just enjoying time together in the mountains.

This is Ten Mile Creek. It is one of 2 streams that feeds Hume Lake.

This dam was built in about 1909. When I was working here, to walk around the lake meant some scrambling and bush-whacking.

Now there is a nice trail all the way around with this fancy bridge at the dam end where we used to have to go rogue.

This is one of the new camps (since 2000) – a yearlong school of learning and serving. I’d like a do-over so I can go here.

A really nice looking “cabin”

I love me some blue. . .teal too.

This is a friend’s cabin – we went exploring to find it, and it fits my mental idea of a real cabin.

We spent a fair amount of time just talking – these are some wise women with great humor and authenticity.

There were downed trees EVERYWHERE, including in the lake. I don’t know why they were in the lake. It began its life as a timber pond, but that was over 100 years ago.

This is the view from Inspiration Point. My friend said she only drives to this point, but we walked there together, sort of by accident since we were out exploring the cabins.

I think the sunshine is on the Middle Fork of the Kings River in the distance, beyond the dam at the end of the lake.

New Mineral King Old Paintings

Because 6 Mineral King oil paintings sold at the Silver City Mountain Resort (AKA Silver City Store), I painted 4 new ones.

Seems like bad math or poor production to you? Labor Day is a mere 2 weeks away, and this means the season is almost finished. Part of the business of art is making tough decisions like this. That’s why I earn the Big Bucks have the freedom to spend lengths of time in Mineral King.

I could have painted more to have on hand, but I can paint more when it isn’t so hot in the painting workshop/studio. 

The 2 matching paintings in different sizes were begun before summer started. They’ve been waiting their turn. I’d rather be walking on that trail than painting it.

These are the 2 most popular Mineral King subjects that I paint and sell through Silver City. The 3rd is Sawtooth, by quite a distance. The top is the Honeymoon Cabin, which serves as a little museum for the Mineral King Preservation Society The bottom one is a private family cabin with Farewell Gap in the distance, as seen from the bridge at the end of the road.

These need another layer and some wildflowers.

Alrighty then!! The top painting is 6×6″ ($60 + tax unless you live in another state) and the bottom is 8×8″ ($100 – ditto on the taxes). When they are dry enough, they’ll be for sale at Silver City.


Sold Mineral King Oil Paintings

These Mineral King oil paintings recently sold. That’s the good news. The less good news is that I have no idea who bought them. This is probably usual when one sells through a store* rather than a gallery. 

Tomorrow I’ll show you what I painted to fill the blank spots on the store*’s shelves.

*”The store” is the Silver City Store, AKA Silver City Mountain Resort.


Hiking Mineral King – Eagle Lake, part 2

The rock section of the Eagle Lake Trail is very challenging if you were just expecting a little walk in the woods. Sometimes you have to wiggle your feet between some boulders, sometimes you have to just guess where the trail might be, sometimes you walk on a slab of granite, and none of it is very easy.

There are rewards: this is “Heather”.

After the rocks, there is another section that I forgot about. It isn’t too hard, but you have to watch your step because of all the roots. Trail Guy said there needs to be more “trail checks”, which are things that catch rocks and dirt when water is flowing down the trail; otherwise, all the fill dirt washes down the trail, exposing the roots of the trees (none of which show in this photo- you’ll have to trust me on this.)

Eagle Lake is one of 4 lakes dammed by the Mt. Whitney Power Company so they could control the water flow for producing electricity. Trail Guy is heading out over the dam; doesn’t it look like a lovely inviting path?

Welcome to Eagle Lake. Wish I’d brought some M&Ms. We earned them.

Trouble is, now we have to retrace our steps.

I think of the Eagle Lake Trail as “roots and shoots”, because there are zillions of roots to trip over, and all those rocks required lots of shooting with explosives to make the trail. The evidence is in those star-ish shaped dealies on the rocks.

“Ridiculous!”, said Trail Guy, about the condition of the trail.

The vertical meadow below the sinkhole and above the trail junction to White Chief was still full of a variety of wildflowers.So interesting that Eagle Lake is the most popular Mineral King hike destination, and it is probably the very worst trail. Our conclusion is that people like the name, have no idea what they are getting into (it’s only 2.4 miles one way – how bad could that be?? Try 2+ hours to walk it and then decide for yourself!), and most people want to go to lakes.