Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Trip to Duck Lake in Mammoth

Rocky outcropping above Deer Creek

Mammoth Ridge and the last of the snow.

Hike the Duck Pass Trail through grassy meadows, past wildflowers growing next to snow tufts, and over loose rocks, and you'll get views of mountain craigs and Alpine lakes that rival that of Tuolumne Meadows. This hike is pretty solidly uphill but the hiker is awarded one pristine mountain lake after another --Arrowhead, Skelton, Barney --they just got more stunning the higher we climbed. Towards the end of the day, I sat on a ledge to draw the craggy Mammoth Ridge when I discovered the downside to hiking the Sierras in late spring -massive swarms of mosquitoes, the kind that can bite down for a half second, evade your swat yet still manage to leave a welt. To avoid being eaten alive, I gave myself fifteen minutes to sketch the densely rocky scene. I chose my favorite quick drawing tool -Papermate Sharpwriter #2. The retractable part at the tip makes it possible to expand the lead with one hand while swatting mosquitos with the other.
I mixed water from my canteen with a bit of Dr Martins waterproof black ink (that for once had not exploded from the change in pressure) to create the shadows. Back at my studio I tried to give more emphasis to the patches of snow by outlining it and the rocks. Perhaps it looks a bit more caroonlike, but I like the way the snow crawls along the mountainside like creeping clouds.