Thursday, July 9, 2015

Weekend Escape to Two Medicine, Glacier National Park

Mariposa Lily

Glacier National Park is an amazing place to visit.  If you've been there, you know what I mean.  The views are majestic and tell why Montana is known as Big Sky County.  God's creation is so inspiring with the massive mountain peaks rising up from vividly green meadows.  Intricately designed wildflowers springing up along the trails like confetti beg to have their photos taken.  We spent one Sunday afternoon and another weekend at Two Medicine.  

It's such a treat to pack a simple picnic lunch in the cooler and head out on the road, knowing that these vistas are waiting at the other end.  A few sandwiches, a pasta salad, potato chips, cookies and sodas...refillable water bottles are a must if there's any hiking in our plans.

Summer in Montana does eventually feel hot.  May and June feel like summer will never arrive.  But then it just hits and I'm guessing it's a combination of elevation and being so far north.  We have a dry climate so it's easier to take but hot just the same.  Even at our home, a day in the seventies feels like low eighties.  In the past few years I've grown more sensitive to the direct sun so the wide brimmed hat, spf shirt and sunscreen are a must.  Columbia makes a long sleeved, button-down shirt with Omni-Shade UPF 50 sun protection.  This is a similar version available.  They start around $39.99 and are worth every penny.  The hat I wear is the Sloggers women's wide brim braided sun hat; it comes in seven colors and runs from $15-25.  I was given the advice to not let it get wet because it's made of paper.  It has built in UPF 50+ sun protection.  I just bought the hat this spring because I knew between gardening, hiking, and camping a small brimmed cotton hat is not enough.  I've made my own sunscreen and it works but I also pack Badger Balm SPF 30 Kids Sunscreen Cream.  It smells heavenly with tangerine and vanilla like a much better than anything I've purchased before.  It's probably a little pricey but I avoided wearing any other sunscreen in the past because I hated their smell.  For me, it's well worth it in the long run.  

Along the trail, I asked, "Can I get a new profile pic?"
 I'm wearing the hat and sun shirt here.
We drove up on a Sunday afternoon to scope out camping options for future visits.  We have recently purchased a camp trailer for summer adventures in the mountains.  It's longer than our previous trailer and DH was concerned about campsites for easy parking and pulling through.  There's a picnic area with great views of the lake, bathrooms and water spigots.  Bear safety is a big deal in Glacier National Park as well as all other mountain areas of Montana.  Even on the front range hills at the base of the mountains, many little communities, farms and ranches have regular bear traffic.  We pack up all our food, put garbage in bear proof dumpsters, and lock the cooler inside our vehicle.  The basic idea is to prevent all scraps, crumbs, containers that would draw the bears to want human food as their food source.

My two kids (teens?) were excited to swim as always but then they discovered the ice cold temperature of the water.  It does come down off the mountain, where there is still snow up higher.  This is Glacier National Park and the glacier part is felt in the rivers and lakes.  So they made it in up to their knees and raced back to shore because their legs were numb.  We took a short little hike that lead to a look out on the south shore.

As we followed the trail, I looked behind us and loved how the shadows crept across the path.  The blue sky above balanced the shadows below.  This trail did not gain much elevation compared to many other trails available.  It was great for a quick hike because we had to drive home that same day.  We didn't pack water along which was NOT how it should be done.  We didn't have bear spray either so we made enough noise that bears would know we were there.  There was quite a bit of hiker traffic so I'm sure the bears were aware; a surprised bear is a dangerous bear.  When the kids were little we sang all our favorite children's songs and made up loud crazy stories.

Trail from the South Shore Trail Head, looking
back at the light and shadows on the trail.

The meadow views along the way were a sweet pleasure to the eyes.  A soothing balm that I store up in my mind for tough days away from this place.  I go to the mountains and it's just a healing, rejuvenating place.  I look so carefully at every view, the large and the small...taking it all in.  My family is very patient with me.  This has become our way of exploring lake shores, river banks, and winding trails.  I watch the light and the shadows that show off each view best.  If the clouds come in line with the sun and dull the view, I'll look up to study the direction of the clouds movement.  Then I'll wait for the sun to show through again for the shot I'm trying to capture.

This is a nice easy hike, with very little change in elevation.
When the trail comes to a fork, we stayed to the right.
This was the view we discovered along the way.

Here's a view of the little creek running through the meadow.  It meandered back and forth with several places to jump across or a little bridge to continue the trail.  I wanted to take off my shoes and dip my toes in for a little while.

I just loved the wandering creek that wove it's
way through the meadow...brightly colored wildflowers
were scattered throughout the grasses.

The amount of beach here was pretty limited and several others were there with cameras and binoculars.  After a few moments were were headed back for the docks and on to the snack/grocery store.  They sell ice cream, coffee, camp gear, basic groceries, and tourist shop items.

View of Two Medicine Lake on our Sunday afternoon hike.

The following weekend we headed back to Two Medicine with our camp trailer.  We arrived about an hour before dark.  Sunset comes later to us here, like between 9 and 10 pm.  Sunrise arrives around 5:30 am.  We were able to pick from three campsite available in one of three loops.  We didn't go any further to explore the other two loops.  We wanted to be sure to get a place and park it; we'd had strong winds on our way and so glad to be settled.

I spent a few hours enjoying a little bit of fishing with my son on Saturday morning.  It was my first time fishing in a lot of years.  We didn't catch anything but had a great time together.

On Saturday, just DH and I went on a hike for two hours.  Our teens stayed at the trailer )with Rex the big dog) setting up for cup o' noodles and a game of Monopoly.  We enjoyed this time on our own, our first chance to hike together without kids in so many years.  Walkie-talkies make it easy to keep in touch...if they aren't left on all night.  Low batteries shorten their range by quite a bit.

The hike we took would have led to Dawson Pass if we'd taken the whole day.
This was the view above us along the trail.

We hiked for an hour and felt the climb in elevation at times.  We weren't focused on reaching a destination but just enjoyed the views along the way.  The wildflowers along the trail were just the ticket for building my reference photos.  We kept an eye on the time and after an hour, we turned to head back to camp.

Pray Lake is smaller and adjacent to Two Medicine Lake;
 view from the campground side.

The photo below was taken on the previous weekend afternoon trip.  Running Eagle Falls Nature Trail is on the right, before reaching the lake, picnic area, and campground.  It's an easy stop and the trail is short enough for families with small children.

Running Eagle Falls

These are some of the wildflowers I spied along the travels in this area.  I have a large collection on the computer hard drive of art reference photos.  Even so, I'm always adding to it every opportunity I'm given.  The lighting, focus, composition all make a difference.  The photo needs to clearly define this flower so I can transfer it to paper.  It's become easier for me to automatically compose within the frame so there's little cropping needed.  If the details of petals or leaves are not clear enough, I'll be frustrated during the painting process.  It's like I get lost and my brush won't be able to communicate it to the viewer.  Of the four wildflowers shown, the mariposa lily is the only one I have not used as a subject of my paintings yet.


Indian Paintbrush


At this point, I'm still forming in my mind a vision of what this blog should become.  I've been reflecting on my goals, my intended audience, and my purpose.  There are two directions I can take and I'm not sure that it has to be one or the other.  It could really be both.  There's a podcast that I've enjoyed for years called The Creative Mom Podcast.  In it, I found delight in hearing how another mom is trying to weave her creativity in her daily life.  Even when it seemed unlikely that I'd spend any time with art myself, I could find time to listen to Amy and she kept me hopeful.  This is where her Creative Mom Podcasts are posted.  So maybe my blog is for other moms desiring to make art intentional in their busy lives.  That can come in many ways, even if just with camera for a season.  I love meeting other moms with their own creative outlets, even if theirs are different from mine.  That energy for creating is a truly encouraging blessing.  So I could possibly tell the adventures/obstacles that I face in my pursuit.

There's another direction I've contemplated.  For the past few years, I've had a desire to start painting on a regular basis.  I'd like to dive into painting to create a collection to sell online.  Etsy will soon be my first adventure in selling online.  I've been reading information for most successfully selling strategies for Etsy shopkeepers.  The advice I've found most often includes using Facebook, blogging, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.  Of those, Twitter is the one I'm not at all familiar with.  I knew that I could start being more active with a purpose here and on Pinterest.  I'll be more active with Instagram as time goes on.  So my goal is to build an audience of potential buyers for my artworks.  I came to the conclusion that giving a glimpse into my creative process could be helpful.  If someone gets to know me as an artist and follows along with my journey, they could feel more excitement at owning the finished painting.  Do buyers just look and buy impulsively or do they pause to inspect more closely before looking to meet the artist?  I'm really believing that there could be a curiosity to see the painting in progress, the studio layout, and the places that inspire the creativity.

So what would be your reason for checking back in on my art adventures?  What would be your take away that would bring you back again?  What is your creative outlet that inspires and energizes you?


She must make art.

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