It is amazing how fast some weeks go and week 5 was certainly one of them. I had a full week of drawing, running, reading, and hiking. It was also a very cold week with lots of snow followed by even more rain. Yesterday I woke up to a frozen water pump in 19ªF. As the sun came up the pipes thawed and I had water by 1pm. Last night Ranger Barry thoughtfully brought me 5 gallons of water just in case it freezes again.
One new exciting addition to my cabin is a space heater. After some extremely miserable cold sleepless nights, sleepless because I would have to get up several times and put wood on the fire, I asked Ranger Trevor if they had any available heaters. Sure enough there were two brand new ones still in their boxes sitting under the table. They were bought for the rangers who work in the tool shop but apparently didn’t need them. All I have to say is the first night I used mine was the first night in 5 weeks that I slept all night. I felt great. I now stay warm all day and I am able to stay up much later drawing. And my disposition is far superior than it had been.
New Adventures: I went with Barry on the rangers boat up Lake St. Clair to Narcissus hut to delivery a large artwork that was to be helicopter to Windy Ridge Hut for installation. It was fun to be able to go on the rangers boat. I wish I could have gone on the helicopter but it is forbidden. Volunteers and some parks staff used to be taken from hut to hut to work in the park via helicopter but a few years ago one went down and everyone was killed. As you can imagine lawsuits ensured and now only head rangers and some track workers and the tools go by helicopter. While Barry was up at Windy Ridge I did a day hike around Narcissus, chatted with a few other hikers and came back to our boat to meet Barry and the helicopter a few hours later. It was a beautiful clear day, but cold and our socks were wet from stepping off the boat onto our heliport island. We were not able to park on the dock and the heliport was underwater because of all the rain so we docked on what is usually the bay but 80% was underwater leaving a small island to park on. We filled out boots with water getting off the boat and spend the day in soggy feet. I was happy to have on my wood injinji toe socks because my feet stayed warm and blister free even though it was 30º F. I have great photos of the mountains covered in snow.
Running: Wow I feel happy about running. Since my overuse hip flexor and illiopsoas strain I am very happy to report I am on an upwardly mobile running schedule. I have moved from 4 days a week running to 5 and from 25 miles to 40 miler per week. I am trying to be careful and only adding 10% more mileage each week. Four more weeks and I will be back up o 55 miles a week. I will be ready to run the August 16th 10k, in New York though I expect my times to be a bit shower than usual with all the winter running and uh winter eating. All this rice, oatmeal, potatoes is great carbs for fueling glycogen levels but I am ready for some of the New York City summer heat to sweat off the extra energy I stored while living in the mountains.
Drawing: I am still working on my large pencil drawing and have begun drawing small watercolors of rocks in detail. I find the rock drawings engaging in my attempts to represent all the lines and color deviations on the rock. It is about illustration more than art but I can see working this kind of method into greater works. I feel pretty satisfied with the amount of work I am getting done – especially now that I am warm.
Final Weeks Plans: I gave up any plans of camping. I struggled with my thoughts about camping but I can honestly say now that I do not like camping alone. I am sure of that. Especially in the winter when you have 10-12 hours of darkness and you are sitting all alone in the dark, it is 15º or less in the higher elevations, and it is just not fun. The more I read about deaths in the park brochure, experienced my own acquaintance’s death I just found it too stressful to do alone. I am glad I am finally at peace with that decision. My partner Lisa arrives Tuesday. It is her 40th birthday. I have organized something very special. I chartered a private plane and a boat to take us on a full days tour of Southwest Tasmania. The southwest is World Heritage designated, it has no roads, no civilization and pure 4500 sq. km of wilderness. 1,111,974 acres. The plane will land on the water to meet a boat that will take us to a marine researve of Bathurst harbour. We have a good change of seeing whales and seals.