Gini and Randy precede us down to the river as John and I are moving more slowly. The wind is really blowing today and I’m not sure how we are going to keep our umbrellas from blowing away. I decide to finish the painting that I started two days before. Forget the umbrella. Instead I set up my easel so that painting board has its back to sun, thereby shading the front.

The light is better earlier in the day, casting shadows from the trees which I add. This helps define the contours of the slope on the other side of the stream. I finish up with the last touches.

Photo of pastel painting.

On the left, my block in of the painting from Day 5. The finished painting on the right. 6″ x 8″ pastel on archival board.

I look downstream and see Gini diligently working at her easel. Randy stands in the river behind her fishing. What a peaceful and harmonious scene.

Photo of Gini painting and Randy fishing.

Gini and Randy—a family that plays together, stays together!

I think that I should start another painting. I’m flagging and tired from my sleep deprived night and the wind is relentless—it’s all starting to wear me down. Often I find if I just take a quiet moment, breathe deeply, drink some water, and have a short rest, the creative force wells up again and gives me a second wind. I’m reminded that I’m in one of the most beautiful spots in the world with a blank board and box of pastels at hand.

For this painting, I need the umbrella and John is there to help me secure it against the wind. We hang my pack, empty of supplies and full of rocks under the easel to add weight. We’ve taped the umbrella to the easel and John props a fairly substantial log up against the easel as a sort of buttress. It looks bizarre but it works great.

Photo of easel buttress.

John rigged up this buttress for my easel to hold it from flying away in the wind.

The others head back to the cabin for snacks and more water. I choose to stay and continue working on my second piece. John is back soon with food and sits with me while I snack. He also takes a swim in the river and fully submerges himself. Ahhh, refreshing! I should dunk too but that means going back to the cabin and getting a suit on. Sigh…the creative muse holds me in place at my easel.

Gini and Randy come back with their hiking poles and are going to walk across Granite Creek to the other side. I would like to go but it would take too long to put my gear away and now I’m committed to finishing my study.

When Gini and Randy get back we find out that what we thought was Granite Creek is really the middle fork of the Flathead split in two by an island. They walked to the end of the island which was no small length of land. So we have yet to discover Granite Creek.

Photo of an overview of the Flathead River.

Overlooking the Flathead River from the trail above. The island in the middle divides the river. What we thought was the Granite Creek confluence is nothing more than the river wrapping the island.

I’ve gotten as far with my painting as I’m going to get so we pack it up head back to the cabin. It’s just about 5 o’clock. The guys go out scavenging for wood to last us for the rest of the time we’re here. It is so nice to have help with the chores!

Gini and I head down to the beach and grill steaks and leftover onions. We also have leftover shrimp—surf & turf!

Photo of Gini Ogle taking care of dinner.

Gini taking care of dinner.

As we are sitting and having appetizers and drinks on the beach, we hear voices above and look up to our perch. Two faces appear at the edge. Boaters from upstream. They have hiked down from their camp at Granite Creek. We share pleasantries and find out there are twelve of them from Bozeman with inflatable canoes and they’ll be passing by tomorrow.

They are pretty funny group and tell us they’ll be stopping in for coffee and french toast in the morning. People show up at the most unexpected times. At least it hasn’t been when I have been showering in the…ahhhh, well you know…

We plan an early night but are waylaid by the evening ritual of the eagle that fishes the river. It flies down the canyon, circling and swooping, putting on a show for us with midair acrobatics and finally lands on the opposite bank.

John has had his camera trained on the eagle but curses when he realizes that his video was not running. Gini got some footage thankfully. Later we find out that John had captured the eagle flying on video as we’d hoped but missed the sky acrobatics.

Photo of a bald eagle.

The bald eagle that has been so visible and then decides to be elusive when our cameras come out.

We do our nightly duties and John and I head back to Our Quiet Place for another night under the stars. I’m totally beat and I don’t care if there is a bear in the area, I fall into a deep sleep before even seeing a single shooting star.

Animals we saw today:
Bald eagle
Resident Chipmunk

Flowers: the same as every day but they continue to get drier and drier
Harebell (Bellflower)
Aspen Daisy
Nodding Onion
Sulphur Flower
Indian Paint Brush
Sandwort (we think)