Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Plein Air Trek, Ingalls Peak and the Alpine Wilderness



I had a plein air gig in Cle Elum Washington so I spent the time in the Alpine Wilderness around Ingalls Lake.
It was quite a slog. Not the 18 year old I was when I could hike 20 miles a day in the back country with a 50 lb pack. Matter of fact, this is the same Kelty pack that I had when I was 18 and hiked the Olympics, Cascades and Rockies as well as hitch hike from BC to Mexico. I think it is the single item I've kept in my life consistently from that time. I traded 3 pairs of skiis, two pairs of ski boots for a guitar and this Kelty pack. Traded up on the guitar but still have the pack after almost 40 years.
The online hikers guide said it was an easy hike of 9 miles round trip and ONLY 2800' gain in elevation. I'm sure that is right but ..........let's just say it was good to get t0 camp.
I guess I could have just taken my watercolors but they just don't do it for me. I gotta say though, this was the finest place to paint I've ever been. I've found the painting will paint itself when you set up in the right place.

From Headlight Basin and Ingall's Meadow, Mt. Stuart dominates your view. I have to say, the human race is amazing. I met a man and his teenage son that had just "summitted" Mt. Stuart in two days. They hiked in, climbed the mountain and were hiking out the next day. I was passed on the way up the trail by a group of 4 ladies. I don't think the youngest one was less than 50 years old. They passed me coming down after they had done a little skinny dipping in Ingalls Lake (which from personal experience is cold enough to shrivel any libido!) and I hadn't even reached the pass yet. Ouch!

There were far more mountain goats than people. They were friendly too! Almost too friendly as they are starved for salt and will eat anything with sweat on it, back straps, shoes, packs. I hung my pack in the trees from past experiences in the Rockies. Nothing like hiking out barefoot with your pack tied together with shoestrings.

Now it's back to the studio and work up some of the material I got in the back country while it is still fresh.


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