Rain Challenges Artist in Denali


Rain pounded the roof on the sixth day of my artist residency in Denali National Park. My spirits hit an all time low. This was Bob’s last day at the Murie cabin we decided to take the bus to the top of Sable pass and hike down one last time. Mid-day the rain stopped, but a lingering smokey haze was like seeing through a dirty lens, or smudged glasses. Finally, the sun broke through small gaps in the clouds and searchlight beams traveled at the speed of the wind across the distant hills. As we hiked spots of blue sky emerged and more sunbeams danced on the meadows, lighting fireweed, highlighting ridges, creating beautiful light and shadows. A photographers delight, a gift for an artist. I felt my mood lighten a certain zest added to my step, it was a scene from the “Sound of Music”.

We saw the sow grizzly with two spring cubs again, and later the two adult grizzlies wisely separated by a great distance from the fierce mama this time. I shot lots of film of landscape and became enthused for the first time in a week that I might have something to paint. Toward the bottom of the grade we could see the Murie cabin far below, a tiny speck in a grand vista. In the above photo the cabin is toward the lower right hand corner, on the lower left is the small fresh water stream with the hill above. The East Fork River runs from left to right across the middle of the photo and in the distance is the park road cut into the hillside as it climbs toward Polychrome Pass. It is indeed a privilege to be a part of such a wild and beautiful land, even for a short time.

Gail Niebrugge, Denali Artist-in-Residence

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  1. Beautiful, Gail. What a description! The size of the Murie cabin puts things into perspective!

    Noella x

  2. It is but a tiny speck in the wild.

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