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June 8 - Root structure at west intersection of Maddron Bald & Albright Grove Loop Trails

Back to Recent Work
June 8 - Creek at Campsite 29, Maddron Bald Trail

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

2002, ink on paper,
all images 9" x 12" or less

Sometimes you just can't win! For the third time in three years, I was trying to camp in an area of the Smoky Mountains called Albright Grove. I had no idea what I'd find there, but with the word "Grove" in the name, it evoked a shady, grassy area with flowers and perhaps (from looking at the park map) a couple of gently flowing streams on either side. What a perfect place to go sketching, I thought. There was a special loop trail off the main trail just to go to the grove, and when there's a special trail for something in the park, there's usually something worth going to look at there (for example, see High Rocks). The first two years I tried hiking up to the grove, I was rained out. The first time, I got as far as a backcountry campsite before rain forced me back to the car. The second time, I never made it out of the developed campground before I returned to Atlanta.

This year, I was determined (again) to make it to Albright Grove. Finally, the trip went off without a hitch, and the weather was simply beautiful for camping, hiking, and sketching. Unfortunately, there wasn't much of anything to see in Albright Grove! The loop trail took me through a densely-treed area that was identical to miles of other park trails. There were no grand vistas, no grassy meadows, no flowers (perhaps earlier in the Spring?...), and I never got close enough to either stream to even see them.

I was determined to sketch something, so at the end of the loop trail, I sat on the ground to rest my feet before returning to my base camp. Across the patch of bare ground at the trailhead, I saw a tangle of roots and made that my first sketch. Hardly dramatic, hardly different from many other sketches I have done, but at least I produced something. While I can sketch root formations in my sleep by now, I do like the way this sketch captures the dark, threatening spaces enclosed by the root structures.

Without anything to stop for in Albright Grove, I found myself back at the campsite much earlier than anticipated. Finding one sketch from the trip a bit on the anemic side, I decided to try sketching something at the campsite. For a challenge, I sketched the stream running by the campsite. Instead of focusing on the objects outside the water, I tried to be different and sketch the objects in the water. Unfortunately, I don't think I captured the surface of the water properly, so the sketch looks more like a big rock on the right sitting next to a bunch of little rocks. I'll have to try for this effect again.

Overall, while the camping trip this time was quite nice, it unfortunately didn't yield a bountiful art harvest, as far as sketches go. I was a bit better off with my camera, and the results can be found in the Photo Gallery.

All work displayed on this page © 2002 Rick Hines.
Material may not be used without the artist's written permission.