A couple of weeks ago, my husband, son and I managed to get away for our annual anniversary vacation. We usually go camping, and typically at the coast. However, this time, we thought we’d try Mt. Adams in Washington, about 3 hours from Bend. Beautiful! Gorgeous! And WET…

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My son and I near the base of Mt. Adams. Yep, those are some scary clouds building in the background.

The day after we arrived at our campsite, we took a hike heading up to the base of Mt. Adams, near Adams Glacier. Though it was the middle of August, the wildflowers were blooming like crazy! Indian paintbrush, Lupine, Asters, and Penstemon in large fields of pink, red, and purple gave me fits of color-happiness throughout the hike.

It was quite a steep trail, but not terribly difficult. We only packed the essentials for a quick picnic at the top and a little travel painting for me.

Two hours later, we arrived at the top of Killen Creek. We could see Mt. Saint Helens and Rainier in the distance…along with some nasty-looking clouds. Clouds being those serious thunderheads you see in the photos, not the clouds of MILLIONS of super-hungry mosquitoes looking for some extra-sweet (ahem…) blood. Ours.

Near the top. Uhmmm...does anyone notice some you know...clouds?

Near the top. Uhmmm…does anyone notice some you know…clouds?

Let me tell you, those skeeds were, well, let’s just say crazed with hunger. Once we reached the top, my husband and son explored around while I sat down to paint. I usually plan a focal point and a color scheme in my journal paintings. When I sat down, I had a beautiful spot and perfect layout for a horizon line, with the focal point at the juncture of thunderheads and crippled high-alpine trees.

Here's the area I wanted to paint

Here’s the area I wanted to paint. Isn’t it gorgeous?

Anyway, I sat down to paint the journal painting and Wham! Wham! Wham Bam Wham….well, you get the idea. Mosquitoes from their leafy lairs were landing and screaming for blood. I whacked and slapped and, as in my son’s terms for killing bugs that lbite him…we needed lots of body bags. I spent about 5 minutes? Maybe? Seemed like 2 hours, trying to paint. I think I have mosquito parts smooshed into my painting.

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Hurried painting at the top of our hike.

I’m serious when I say it was VERY rushed. I usually take a lot more time. But the mosquitoes were just SO BAD!

Anyway, I gave up, packed the paints away and stood to go check on my guys. That’s about the time the first threat of thunder ka-boomed at us. Yikes! We were on top of an exposed meadow, above timberline! Head on down, folks! Head on down! We beat feet to get out of the area as soon as we could. Thunder began to rumble around us like a mad monster as we hurried down the hillside. We received a few sprinkles, a scattering of hail, but nothing too bad until we got about 30 minutes from the truck at the trailhead. Now…NOW the rain really began. This was a crushing blow of a bucket of water dumped with force. Within seconds, we were completely drenched. I’ve been in many storms while hiking in the forest, but this one was one for the record books. I don’t think I’ve ever been so wet with clothes on. We walked/ran/stumbled and could barely see, in a 6 inch river down the trail until we came to the truck. We ended up just laughing at how incredibly hard it rained on us. We drove slowly back to our campsite in the deluge. We sat for hours in the truck. We ate cold tuna in our truck. It rained all night. And we were TENT CAMPING. Ugh.

The next morning threatened more storms so we packed up and changed location. I managed to get two (better) paintings done in my journal during the rest of the trip. Without the rain and mosquitoes!

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Laurence Lake near Mt. Hood, Oregon. Journal entry.

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Mt. Hood, Oregon, from Laurence Lake. Journal entry.

 And even managed a beautiful and peaceful kayak float one morning.

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Kayaking at Laurence Lake in the morning.

A few days later, back to Bend and work. But what an incredible trip. Full of laughs, water, hiking, kayaking, painting, and even a dinner in the truck when it rained so hard. Love the outdoors. Wouldn’t change a thing.

Feed the beast, people. Keep creating and enjoying life!

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