Friday, September 14, 2007


September 14, 2007

This third visit to Cascade Pass allows me to see the beginning of fall. Vine maples and blueberries are the most conspicuous colors, but other trees and herbs are changing as well. When we arrive, the black flies are not around, and I have hopes (to be dashed as the day warms up) of painting here in relative peace.

We hike up the Cascade Pass trail for about a mile, enjoying the cool woods and occasional glimpses of the tall mountains at the end of the switchbacks. Most of the woodland flowers have set their seeds for the season. We find berries on the devil’s club, mountain ash, and queen’s cup. Seeds on the little understory herbs. Thimbleberries sweet and plump (as plump as thimbleberries get.) Plants that in lower elevations would be fruiting at wildly different times are all rushing to produce their last hurrah.

Back at the trailhead, the blackflies have reactivated with the heat. We drive down to a waterfall, where the cool breeze keeps the flies away, and there, I set up my paints. The afternoon heat brings changes here, as well. After an hour, the waterfall fills with more water, exploding as it hits the rock below. The surge sends spray against the rock, mare’s tails down the sloping slab. As we leave, the sun is full on the falls, the spray glistening white.

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