When I made plans to stay at Brooks Camp in Katmai National Park, I thought that three nights of tent camping would be enough for us to see plenty of bears and to explore the Valley of 1,000 Smokes. Then, after reading about the potential for weather to impact our visit, I added an extra day to the reservation just in case we were delayed.
What we found out, though, is that wet, foggy weather may stay for days in the Kenai—and sometimes even for weeks! After being grounded through two socked-in days, the only clear thing was our realization that planes weren’t going to be flying to Katmai for at least another two to three days. Dave and Ben took a water taxi across the bay for a hike, and met a gal who had been stranded near Brooks Camp for twelve days, a plight far worse than our not getting there at all.
The silver lining to these clouds was meeting two other artists camping on the Homer Spit. Elizabeth Baka is a fourth-grader who loves to draw nature and animals. When she and her family stopped to watch me paint the derelict old boats and lupine, Elizabeth peppered me with questions about my technique and then commented, “I’d paint even more if my little sisters and brother didn’t bother me so much.” Later we discovered that we were neighbors in the RV park, and that evening Elizabeth knocked on the door with a picture that she had made for me. What a lovely spot of sunshine on a cloudy day!
I also met Linda Zombeck and her husband as I was doing laundry (what else on a rainy day?) in the same RV park. Linda, a pastelist, mentioned that she was new to plein air painting, and we decided to paint the harbor together that evening. Unfortunately, we got only about 40 minutes of dry weather before the skies opened up again—an all too common occurrence for plein air painters in rainforests. Good luck, Linda, as you continue to explore the wonderful world of painting outdoors!