It started with a two week vacation in the mountains, away from electronic distractions, with lots of time hiking and outdoors. Then there was so much to do when we got home, and so much business travel, that I have not been back on line even for e-mail more than two or three times. No time to write blog posts.
But I did do a good bit of sketching on the vacation, in a new horizontal format book like my large moleskine (about 6 by 16 inches when it's opened up - I call it "Horizon 1"). And I painted one watercolor that seemed like it painted itself, and says a lot about what I "see" when I drive the Blue Ridge Parkway, which we were on several times a day for two weeks. I'll post the painting later.
Much of our activity during the vacation is on and around Grandfather Mountain. We usually avoid the tourist attraction itself (though we did visit this year, at Youngest's request, and we had a great time on one of the most strenuous trails - that's another post) and instead we prefer to hike the Tanawha Trail (13 miles long, skirting the mountain lower down) in pieces from various starting points. Our favorite portion is Rough Ridge.
Here are two sketches done from the Rough Ridge boardwalk (recently repaired, and with a new bridge to a large rock). Both are done in pencil (click for larger views). The first is looking southwest, and shows the Linn Cove Viaduct - one of the engineering marvels of our time. The other shows part of the boardwalk stairs and a bit of the new little bridge. This (and the Bass Lake at the Cone Manor) is the hike we do the msot often during our vacation each year.
The last image here shows the fall colors this year, which came on VERY fast (just two or three days from green to this) and vanished just as quickly. In seventeen years of autumns in this area, we have never seen one this fast. Usually it takes about two weeks to do what this autumn did in about eight days.
I never tire of seeing Grandfather Mountain, in all his grandeur and craggy beauty. It's definitely one of the most impressive and inspiring peaks in the East. It's never the same twice.