Sunday, May 31, 2015

Where is Elva?

We've been traveling.  Before I left home I had a strong resolution to keep posting a blog regularily .... but I didn't.  I'll blame it on the weather.  The weather was too darn nice and so day after day Dale and I got up as early as we could drag ourselves out of bed, and all too often ended up eating supper at 9 or even 10 PM.
Mostly we've been in Yellowstone National Park -- one of my favorite haunts.  We spend nights in the little town of Gardiner, Montana, and days in the park.  Virtually every day we get up early and eat a 'lap' breakfast once we get into the park:  peanut butter on toast, hard boiled egg, a little cold sausage, banana and coffee.  You'd think I'd get tired of the same breakfast, but it is nice not having to think in the early morning.  Lunch comes out of the cooler and has more variety -- sometimes sandwiches, sometimes sardines, sometimes cheese and sausage. I cook a hot supper back at the little cabin we stay in. 

We seldom have a plan, unless something caught our attention the day before and there is a reason to go back to the same location the next day.  Many of the park's visitors have a special interest:  they want to see wolves, or geyers, or the whole park in three days.  We putz along and look for bugs, birds, flowers, and, of course, all the big mammals.  Bison calves were born while we were there ... always fun to watch.  This year we saw pied-billed grebes dance for the first time, and had several days watching baby ravens growing up.  This post just features a few of the sketches I drew while on this trip.

This aspen was scarred years ago when a bear cub climbed the tree.  Its sharp claws left permanent marks.  

Mountain goat.

Three elk cows.
Magpie caught nest building.

Usually I either draw from my photos on my laptop, or many of my drawings are field sketches done on location.  This last one, the grizzly, is just done from memory -- but what a memory.  Dale and I had had lunch, napped in the car, and were just sitting hoping some little bird would come along.  Suddenly I whispered to Dale, "Look!  LOOK!!"  A grizzly was walking past.  My window was rolled down and we didn't even have a key in the ignition so I could roll it up.  Fortunately the grizzly just strolled past.  Later we measured the distance -- 60 feet. 


  1. This sounds like a heavenly existence. Sketching and nature. Heavenly I tell you.

  2. Where is Elva has been the question. Happy to hear the answer is you where having fun!

  3. You are the only couple I know who have MORE FUN than Jim and I do!!

  4. Where Elva? Out having adventures, sketching and taking wonderful photos to share with us all. :)

  5. Very nice, Elva. You manage to make us see all these things through your eyes. Love the clawed-up aspen.

  6. ...sounds like a perfect life! Love the sketches...