Thursday, October 24, 2013

Mule Creek Training Run

I thought I'd post some photos from my training run(s). I am doing the Couch to 5K running program which is a podcast you can download for free on iTunes. It takes a non-runner (like me!) from zero to 5K capable in 12 weeks.

I used this program along with some other free podcasts for running and actually trained and ran a half marathon (13.1 miles) in 2009 so I know it works, even for a former un-runner like yours truly. Of course, it took me longer than 12 weeks to work up to a half marathon (about 5 months actually) but I ran the Denver Rock n Roll Half Marathon in 3:17 so I was really happy - and I have the shirt & medals to prove it!!

I took these photos when I did a 'virtual' 5K 'Run for Joy' last winter. What's a virtual run you ask? Well basically, my friend Micky had a girlfriend who passed away from cancer on December 26, 2010, so in her honor Micky walks a 5K. She lives in Delaware, and I don't, so I run or walk my 5K wherever I happen to be living on Dec 26th and take photos along the way to document my run.

In 2011 (1st Annual Run for Joy) I did the 5k on a treadmill at the YMCA in Buckner, KY.  My 2nd Annual Run for Joy produced these photos. Looks like 3rd Annual Run for Joy will be here too so I'll have to figure out a new route or take photos at new spots to make it interesting.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Back on the Trail with a Tusayan Rock Art hike

Well, it's been a while but I recently returned to Grand Canyon and spent some time on the South Rim.  As always a beautiful, gorgeous place that humbles me spiritually and physically!  Probably one of the hardest places to hike, the canyon fools you with its wide, well-maintained trails and access to water on the Bright Angel Trail.

I did a short hike down to the Coconino Saddle on the Grandview Trail and it about kicked my butt.  If you want to measure your trail fitness, just do a short hike in the canyon and see how sore you are the next day!  I thought I was in good shape, but thighs and calves were sore for about 3 days after that hike!  Didn't help that I went with a bunch of youngsters who were all in phenomenal shape.  They were very patient and considerate of this old gal's slow pace.  We shared a beer and a laugh back at the rim (thanks Erin, Eric and Tara!) and met a cool hippie guy named Charles on the way back up, who offered to sell me his very cool Toyota camper and asked to be adopted.  :-P  We gave him directions to the El Tovar and hopefully he found a nice, rich tourist lady to take him in!  ;D

But I digress...

Later on that week I finally got to do the Tusayan rock art hike I've been dreaming about ever since getting the inside scoop from a Ranger at Grand Canyon while I was a volunteer there.  The site is located very near the park entrance, but due to the sensitive nature of the pictographs and the fact that it is NOT in the park and therefore protected, I won't reveal the location or describe how to get there.  I will say it is an easy hike into a really gorgeous little wash and offers close up views of some A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. rock art.  

The first image that catches your eye is this gorgeous Elk figure.  It's really big, about 2 feet across, and bi-colored.

Here is a multi-figure deer pictograph.  I love the way it is layered with figures overlapping one another.  Gives a real sense of a "herd". 

Here's a faint one, but you can make out another elk figure.  Not sure what the image to the left is?

Here's an interesting can obviously see the human figure to the left, but what the heck is that big blob on the right?  If you look closely you can see "phantom" figures inside the red outlines.  Interesting...

Multiple figures left to right... your guess is as good as mine but I think the right one is a bighorn sheep.

This one looks like a blob at first, but then you can make out layered sideways figures of bighorn sheep.  No, this picture is not turned sideways, that's how they were oriented on the rock face.  Cool, huh?

Under the overhang, some big chunks of rock had fallen.  Not sure how or why, but these impressions look to have been made from grinding.  They were smooth, almost polished surfaces.  I thought the obvious human hand involved in forming these was very exciting!  Evidence of the artist's process...

These circular marks remind me of the footprint of a big cat, but I'm no expert.  We saw some mountain lion tracks and scat up there in the sand btw...!

Lightning or snake image...with some other small markings and indistinct images around it.

Here's a very cool "sun" figure with some center markings.  Unfortunately, some idiot has defaced it with bullet holes.  Now you understand why I won't reveal the location.  It's infuriating that someone has so little respect for these archaeological sites that they would do this and ruin something that's been around way before we got here.  This figure was large - about 2 feet in diameter.

And here it is 'in situ'.  You can see how the overhang protects the images from the weather.  Unfortunately it doesn't protect from stupid idiots with guns.

These images were scattered over 2 sites at this location.  An obvious social trail led to the first site with the big bi-colored elk, deer and bighorn sheep figures.  The snake/lightning and other figures were located at a second site down the wash.  I wouldn't have found it without help from my partner, Gary.  When I asked him how he found the 2nd site he said "I just looked for a good spot to find cover if it were raining".  Smart guy -knows how to get in out of the rain...  o.O

So there you have it...there are a couple more images on my facebook page, but they weren't very clear so I didn't include them.  If you want to see them, just click here to go to the album on Facebook.

I did a couple quick sketches of the rock art, but didn't have the time to sit down and do a really nice drawing of anything.  Here they are:

Next week I'll be at the North Rim and then back to Sedona where I hope to do lots more sketching from the trail. :)

Happy Journeys!


Monday, February 28, 2011

Missing the trail...

It's been a while since I've done any hiking or camping!  I miss it very much.  I remember when I was in my 20's, I totally turned my back on outdoor activities like that - which is pretty weird considering it's such a part of who I am now.  I guess we all go through times in our life when we search for who we are and what we enjoy...

At any rate, I do get outdoors every day, it's just that right now, I'm in the city!  Los Angeles is wonderful and Marina del Rey even better.  I get the big city and the beach at my doorstep.  There are a LOT of people here!!!  So when I go on my runs, in my mind I'm thinking back to my Denver Half-Marathon training and running on the back trails at Grand Canyon National Park.  Dirt roads, Mule Deer, Elk, the occasional Mountain Lion - and human.  ;) Now that was a cool place to run - and hike, and backpack, and - everything!

Yesterday (Sunday) I went for an extended run to the end of the harbor here in MdR.  I took some photos!  It's not a drawing or a sketch, but I hope you'll forgive me for that!  

Can you see the "Standing Stones"?

From the breakwater back toward the bridge to Playa del Rey

Wishing I had a sailboat....

Looking toward Marina del Rey

Sailing - takes me away... (singing)  Regatta Season is here!

Can you see the standing stones now?

Now this is what I call "Earth Art"

Welcome to my world - where a trail is a state of mind! :D  Happy Journeys!!

- Liz

Monday, October 4, 2010

ALDHA West Meeting 9/24-26/2010

I attended the annual meeting of ALDHA-West the last weekend of September with "Meadow Ed" Faubert and my partner, Gary Kirk.  ALDHA is an association of long-distance hikers.  Several there recieved their "triple crown" awards, meaning they had thru-hiked the 3 major US trails - the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), the Continental Divide Trail (CDT), and the Appalachian Trail (AT).  The PCT is 2,650 miles, the CDT is  2,588 miles, and the AT is 2,168 miles long.  All together that adds up to 7,406 miles!

Long distance hikers are a peculiar breed, but the folks I met at ALDHA-West were very cool, and very friendly and eager to share tales of the trail, fun and not-so-fun experiences, and their best advice on what, why, when, where, and how to accomplish your hiking goals.

I got to sketch a few of them over the weekend.  They're not great sketches, but they were fun to do at least, and these folks have certainly inspired me to consider becoming a thru-hiker someday myself!

All images were sketched on location with either a marker or black ball point pen. 

It's fun to do faces, but I have to admit I'm not so great at capturing the likenesses.  But, practice makes perfect!  So, hats off to all you distance hikers out there.  I cut my teeth at Grand Canyon, but you all inspire me to take on some much longer hikes in the near future!

Thanks, and Enjoy!  --L

Sunday, October 25, 2009

What Works, So Far...

Some more images from the trail. A beautiful little sunflower that apparently was really tasty to some bug. The leaves had nice little lacy holes chewed in them!

And I omitted the second drawing from the previous post so I thought I'd add it here. This plant grew right next to my porch in Southern Indiana. Don't know what it was but it bloomed beautiful crimson flowers and had a gorgeous green/burgundy variegated leaf. It was really tall, too. Grew about 6+ feet high.

Okay, so when I started this post I promised I would let you know what is working and what isn't on the trail.

I probably lug way too many supplies with me.
For shorter hikes I carry a "High Sierra" hydration pack like this 'Splash' model--it's got 2 large zippered compartments (one of which holds my 2 liter water bladder) and a smaller squarish one on the front which forms an adjustable quick-clip compartment behind it. That's where I store my sketchbook. I take a 5X7 bristol paper sketchbook, spiral bound, which fits nicely into a large ziploc type freezer bag. This goes in the outside pocket of my pack. I also take a rather large plastic divided bin (ArtBin Solutions) filled to capacity with permanent markers, an ebony pencil, a sharpener, and a kneadable eraser. I like to take a small pair of field binoculars, and always some snacks! This makes my pack a little heavy, but since I'm a total klutz with watercolors, the markers are my next best tool. Eventually I'll be able to eliminate all the colors I never use, but for now I prefer the option of having a rainbow at my disposal!

For overnight hikes I have a Granite Gear Vapor Ki. It's a really light pack, so I have to be careful how much I pack since it's got about a 30# max capacity. I dump the plastic bin and shove my markers into a heavy duty ziploc baggie. Since space is a premium, I try to pack smart and put the least used items on the bottom and work my way up. At the top I try to keep my markers and I strap my sketchbook on the outside (still in the baggie, of course!). This has worked pretty well so far. I think the extra weight is worth it.

My winter project will be a home-made pochade box. I am hoping to be able to design and build one to fit into my backpack. My goal is to be able to paint anywhere. I still have to consider space and I may eventually have to purchase a bigger, more durable pack for the longer hikes. Remember that I have to carry everything with me at least to the campsite! So it's all got to fit into the pack along with water, clothing, food, shelter and sleeping bag!!

So that's the dilemma of the artist as backpacker.

Enjoy! -L

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Botanical Sketches

I recently completed a volunteer term at Grand Canyon N.P. working for the science & resource management dept. I worked in the nursery/greenhouse, mostly watering and caring for the salvaged plants and helping with propagation. Whenever the park has a construction project, to their credit, they try to save as many plants as possible beforehand. The nursery is where the plants go to live while they're building whatever it is. Currently, the park is building new parking lots at the Visitor Center in hopes of eliminating all the roadside parking that occurs at the ever-popular Mather Point overlook. It will be so wonderful to be able to enter the park (eventually) and not have to contend with hundreds of cars and pedestrians along the side of the road there!

In the nursery/greenhouse I really learned a lot and it was wonderful being outside with the plants! I also worked with several of the seasonal employees there. Emily, Em, and Ash were so knowledgeable, bright and hard working. It is cool to see young people who are so smart and willing to work hard while also having fun! I miss them already and I've only been gone a couple of days. Thanks for a great summer, guys!

As a naturalist, I was hoping to do more sketches while I was there, and I still intend to take some of my time off to hoof it down to the bottom of the hill with my sketchbook, pens & pencils to capture some of those happy plants. So in honor of my "Reveg" stint, I'm posting these sketches I did in the past. The top two are plants you'll find right now in Grand Canyon - Cliff Rose and Scarlet Penstemon. The bottom one is a gorgeous something or other that used to grow right off my front porch in southern Indiana. I have no idea what it is, but it had gorgeous red flowers and a wonderful variegated leaf. It grew really 5 feet and the hummingbirds just loved it!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

North Rim Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon is probably the most gorgeous place I've ever been but there's another side to it that a lot of people never get to see! While the South Rim gets nearly 5 million visitors a year, the NORTH RIM gets only about 500,000. It is also about 1,000 feet higher in elevation, so the climate is much more alpine than its southern cousin.

I spent about 3 weeks this past summer on the north rim, staffing the Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project table. I just LOVE it over there. It's about a 5 hour drive north from Flagstaff, OR you can do a through-hike "rim to rim" from Bright Angel Trail, across the river and up North Kaibab.

This sketch was done from the porch of the North Rim Lodge. A grand old dame of a hotel with two huge stone terraces where you can sit and enjoy a flawless view of the canyon from the "other side", or you can sit inside the sun room on the comfy chairs and couches provided just for that! Don't forget to attend a condor talk in the auditorium, and you absolutely MUST have breakfast at the lodge! The views are incredible!

Because the North Rim is higher in elevation, it gets LOTS of snow this time of year. The road closes with the first big snow or on Dec. 1st, whichever comes first. The closest you can get is Jacob Lake right now, unless you want to ski in or hike thru! Either way, it's definitely worth the trip!