Journal of Michael Baum / Travels of an Artist

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Road Trip to the Dunes
Arkansas River Canyon
 


                           High water in the canyon

 


                   The Gap
 


                      Glowing cliffs

 

Highway 17 runs straight as an arrow to the north end of the San Luis Valley through Moffat and Hooper, past the alligator farm and the UFO observation tower. It's late. We'll have to save these wonders for another trip. We rise over Poncha Pass and descend into the Arkansas River valley. In Salida, we grab a quick dinner at Sonic and enjoy our feast in a tree-shaded park. It's still hot at 7:00 pm. We are thankful for the shade.

The way home is through the Arkansas River canyon toward Canon City. The evening light is beautiful. We stop for photos all along the way. I will get several paintings out of this stretch (see "High Water Study below"). Near Parkdale where the road climbs out of the canyon, we are stopped. The road is closed. Another wildfire burns just ahead. Helicopters circle overhead, dipping into the river sucking up huge gulps of water, then dumping it over  the smoking slopes in front of us, surprising the hell out of the fish that were unfortunate enough to get sucked up with the water. It's a small fire that started in Royal Gorge. But it has damaged and burned buildings and at least one home up in the hills. Now it's burning toward the highway. We watch the helicopters work. After a while, a pace truck leads us up the highway, past the fire zone, toward home.


"High Water Study"
9" x 12" oil on linen panel

 

The Parkdale fire

     

 
 

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