Sunday, April 24, 2022

More Virtual Hiking in Arizona

Beginning the Ascent
Watercolour and crayon
© 2022 Charlene Brown

Visitors to the Superstition Mountains don’t generally go looking seriously for the Lost Gold Mine anymore – most of the fatalities I mentioned last week were in the twenty years immediately after Jacob Waltz told one person how to find it – but most of today’s visitors make a token attempt at looking for gold among the nasty cliffs for which the area is famous.  

And they soon find the whole thing even more challenging than it looks.  And it gets hotter sooner in the morning than they expected…

But what eventually defeated my daughter was the California Brittlebush that carpeted the increasingly steep slopes leading up to the cliffs – the yellow brittlebush flowers were having a pollen extravaganza. She retreated as quickly as possible, barely able to see or breathe. A drugstore nearby had just the thing for victims of attacks by the local vegetation, and she had recovered almost completely by the next day.

Another advantage of participating only virtually I didn’t even hear about this adventure until they were back in Canada.

Sunday, April 17, 2022

More Virtual Camping in Arizona

Superstition Mountains
Watercolour and crayon
©2022 Charlene Brown

Unlike Sabino Canyon, the location of my virtual camping and hiking last week (really just a picturesque ravine in the Santa Catalina Mountains north of Tucson), this week’s setting is infamously connected to the legend of the Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine.

According to this legend, Jacob Waltz, who was actually a German immigrant employed at the Vulture Mine, claimed to have found the mother lode of gold in the Superstition Mountains.  He revealed its location to only one person as he lay dying in 1891. And he didn’t reveal it very clearly. Many lives have been lost since then as searchers climbing into every obscure corner in the extremely rugged terrain. There is now a widespread suspicion that Jacob was systematically stealing gold from the Vulture Mine, and came up with the story of the lost mine to explain the bags of gold under his deathbed.

Next I’ll paint my virtual hike up one of the precipitous paths among the crags of these mountains.



Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Time for more of my favourite kind of camping

Sabino Canyon
Watercolour and crayon
©2022 Charlene Brown

During the summers of 2020 and 2021, travel between provinces was discouraged, especially for “vulnerable elderly” people like me.  So I haven’t been back to my mountains (the part of the Rockies in Alberta) since 2019.  I was able to do lots of virtual hiking and camping in Alberta because my daughter supplied me with lots of reference pictures.

And this year I can get an early start on my favourite kind of camping (virtual) as she and her husband were camping and taking pictures in Arizona in March.  This was well ahead of the Alberta camping season, with warm (enough) nights, and nice cool mornings for hiking.

Sunday, April 3, 2022

Banff from a brand new angle

The View from the Mt. Norquay via ferrata
watercolour and crayon
©2022 Charlene Brown

A couple of weeks ago I said I’d never climbed the Mt. Norquay via ferrata, and probably never would.  I’m more convinced than ever of that now, having had another look at my granddaughter’s pictures of it when I used them for reference in painting this.

The via ferrata (iron path) is a relatively new concept in North America, but actually originated over a hundred years ago in Italy during World War I.  (Must admit, whenever I hear a phrase including the words “a hundred years ago” I think ‘right, mid-nineteenth century’ and quickly lose track of the point being made.)