Cascade Canyon On-Site Drawing

This is the 3rd drawing I did while on my backpacking trip. Cascade Canyon is the most popular place to backpack into and camp in Grand Teton National Park. Campsites fill up quickly so you don’t want to spend too much time being picky about where to set up camp when it gets close to dusk.

As we were hiking down from the top of Hurricane pass (elevation 10,338 ft), I was praying about where we should camp. When we got close to the middle of the South Fork camping zone, I heard God speak to me, “Go to the third campsite from this point.” The first campsite had a lot of still water and lots of mosquitos! The 2nd campsite was full. So we proceeded to move to the 3rd campsite as God had instructed me.

As we were walking I was wondering if I had even heard him. It would be disappointing to get to the third site and discover that it was occupied or that it was not a good site for our group. We had already been hiking for 8.5 hours and our group was getting tired.

So I continued praying, “God, you know what is the best site for us. You know what is special for each one in our group. You know what we enjoy. I ask you for a site that would be a blessing for each person in our group. Then he spoke to me again, “You will like the next site.” As I heard these words, I could feel his pleasure for us. And of course the next site was the ‘3rd site’ that he first spoke to me about.

As we got closer, I again wondered if I was making this up or if I was really hearing God direct me to a site that our backpacking group would truly like. I know that God is always good and would never lie or play a joke on me. But sometimes I can mess up and get it wrong. Was this one of those times?

Finally, I found the trail marker for the 3rd campsite and followed this long narrow trail into a group of trees and over a mound of rocks. I got excited as I wondered what God meant by “you will like the next site.” As I hiked through another group of trees, rounded a rock bend and descended a small hill onto a flat platform which overlooked the entire canyon valley below, I could hear that I was standing next to a raging river cascading down the canyon. I had finally arrived to the third site.

The campsite was amazingly beautiful! It was vacant and fully available to us, and it had everything that all four of my group love in a backpacking campsite!!! God did not disappoint me. And I really did hear him direct me here. I was floored by his kindness and love towards me. He truly does care about the things we love, down to the smallest detail.

After we set up camp and finished eating dinner, I sat down on a boulder next to the cascading river and began sketching this third drawing. I continued drawing past 9:30 pm. In northern Wyoming, summer days do not get fully dark until after 10pm. You can’t see the star fields in the night sky until after 11:00. But by 9:30 it was difficult to see the details in the scene I was drawing.

The next morning I woke at 6 and continued drawing this scene until about 8:30 am. I’m still developing my technique of rendering running water with a pencil. It took a lot of tweaking as I kept working on the look of this river. But I kept at it until I was satisfied that I had done my best for now.

We are all growing and in process. If we keep working at developing our skills, then we will continue growing in that area as well. For 20 years I have created most of my art with a computer. But after all of that time, my journey has brought me back to working on my skill with a simple pencil and paper.

Give me an entire summer in an isolated mountain cabin, and I will be happy as a lark if I have nothing more than some basic essentials to live, four pencils, a sketchbook, an acoustic guitar, and a few books to read. If you had a summer to be anywhere you wanted to be, what would YOU take with you? What would you spend your time doing?

To see the other two drawings I completed on this backpacking trip, please click here.


Categories: creativity and drawing.