Week of Wildflowers – Everything!

Posted by on Jul 21, 2017 in Color, Mineral King, Photography | 2 Comments

Today concludes the Week of Wildflowers in Mineral King. Sure, there are many I haven’t photographed, different ones along the road, ones that appeared earlier in the summer, ones that will appear later. This week has been about flowers that I saw and photographed in the last two weeks. And for the final post of Mineral King wildflowers, today’s photos are about everything, all together, everywhere, Yea God! (boo devil)


Week of Wildflowers – Blue

Posted by on Jul 20, 2017 in Color, Mineral King, Photography | No Comments

Blue includes purplish blue, and perhaps bluish purple. Some of these you may have seen previously on the blog, because blue flowers are my favorite. 

My favorite penstemon – this only appears as “Foothill Penstemon” in my four books, but that can’t be true at 7000-9000′.

Blue Lips

Fivespot, still in bloom if you climb toward Timber Gap (last week, anyway!)

Nightshade – don’t know the particular variety

More penstemon, because I have it.

Okay, all the Ls line up here:

Languid Ladies, AKA Sierra Bluebells



May I remind you again how much I adore this penstemon?

A variety of Bro-dee-uh (spelled brodiaea or some such reckless combo of vowels)

These are butterflies, not flowers. Why aren’t they called “flutterbys”?

These aren’t in Mineral King but are along the road at about 5000 feet (near the Wolverton gate/helipad). I include them here in case someone knows what these are. They do not exist in any of my books (or my neighbors’ books either.)

Week of Wildflowers – Red

Posted by on Jul 19, 2017 in Color, Mineral King, Photography | One Comment

Reddish is a more accurate term for today’s Mineral King wildflowers. I am including orange and pinkish flowers too. Someone pointed out to me once that red is very uncommon in nature. It is used for accents rather than in large amounts.

Here are some oranges:

Much brighter orange in person than this anemic photo – I never noticed it before this year and have no idea what its name is.

Western Wallflower is a tricky one – sometimes it is orange, sometimes it is yellow.

This is a lichen, not a flower. The color was irresistible! (It might be a little smaller than a quarter, in case you were thinking of pouring some Cap’n Crunch into it.)

Now, reds.

Indian Paintbrush

Indian Paintbrush again

Penstemon, Goldenbeard penstemon, or California fuchsia? Beats me, it is striking. (You know you want to laugh at that. . .)

Crimson Columbine

More of the striking penstemon.

Pinks are sort of red, red plus white. They certainly don’t belong with white, blue, or yellow.

Elephant Head

Another penstemon, called “Pride of the Mountains”

Heather or Laurel? I’m going with Red Heather (ignore the phlox in the background – they already had their turn.)

I don’t know this delicate little pinkish thing that resembles manzanita but is very low to the ground.

Have I ever seen this before? It seems to be everywhere this year. I think it will turn into a berry.


Shooting Star – often more purplish than pinkish, sometimes named “Jeffrey”

Pussy-paws. They have never been so tall!


Week of Wildflowers – Yellow

Posted by on Jul 18, 2017 in Color, Mineral King, Photography | One Comment

As I was thinking about a week of wildflowers (Mineral King wildflowers, specifically), it occurred to me that all the flowers can be categorized with the same colors I use for painting – white, yellow, blues and reds. (orange, pink, and purple pose a bit of a challenge – just work with me here. . .)

Here are eight yellow wildflowers I found recently in Mineral King:


Cinquefoil? Not shiny, so I don’t think it is cinquefoil. Yellow flowers and I don’t really understand one another very well.

Sulphur flower – this is new to me this year. Probably just blew past it in all the previous years.

Meadow Hosakia is also new to me this year. It’s been right there in my favorite book all along, but I disregarded it.

Monkey flower, actually “seepspring monkey flower”.

Western Wallflower (who comes up with these names??)

Dandelions qualify as wildflowers in Mineral King; what you do with them in your own yard is your own business.

I don’t know – another ubiquitous tiny yellow flower

Why is a yellow flower named “Violet”? (I just work here, but inquiring minds need to know.)

Week of Wildflowers – White

Posted by on Jul 17, 2017 in Color, Mineral King, Photography | 6 Comments

I’m able to spend lots of time in Mineral King this month. While hiking, I think. Sometimes I think about the blog, and the idea of a week of wildflowers came to me. Today, white! I’m doing my best to look at white flowers and learn some new names. Several blog readers have told me that they love white flowers, so out of respect for you, I will try to stop ignoring them. Here are 17 for you to enjoy: (there are more than 17 out there along the trails but I probably ignored them.)

Dandelion puff


Not sure – sort of looks like Pennyroyal, but I forgot to scratch and sniff

Cow parsnip

Wild Geranium

I don’t know and can’t find in any of my 4 books!

Morning glory (not the kind that plagues the farmers down the hill)

Rein Orchis (weird, I know)

Pennyroyal, for sure

Knotweed? Sort of looks like it, but not exactly and wasn’t growing in a wet area.

Phlox – sometimes these are lavender.

Mariposa Lily (pay no attention to the tiny yellows here)



Naked Buckwheat

Don’t know and can’t find – it is exactly the sort of white flower that I usually just pass by as if it is just another grass or leaf.

These might be Baby’s Breath. Who knew they existed outside of florists’ shops?

Mineral King Water and Wildflowers

Posted by on Jul 14, 2017 in Mineral King, Photography | 6 Comments

I know, Mineral King is supposed to be the topic on Fridays, but I have so many photos to show you that I’m breaking my policy. Can’t get fired . . . 

Crystal Creek where the trail crosses

Crystal Creek below the trail crossing

Indian paintbrush

Mariposa Lily, a non-boring white flower

The Pussy Paws are tall this year. Because they aren’t lying on the dirt, I was able to smell them, and they are STRONG. Who knew??

The lupine is a little faded this year.

My favorite penstemmon – I don’t ever remember seeing it in Mineral King before!

Fiesta Flower, I think. . .

Trail Guy along the Nature Trail that ought to be called the “Wildflower Walk” (thanks, Melissa!)

The larkspur are thick, but their color is weak

Rein Orchis is the weirdest name. It is an odd shaped white flower.

The ground is polka-dotted with Sierra Star Tulip.

Inside one of the most charming cabins (not mine, which is also charming).

Red-breasted Sap-sucker – never heard of it, never seen one before.

What is this unknown white flower? If I didn’t ignore them in all my flower books, I might know.

Weird Signs in Mineral King

Posted by on Jul 10, 2017 in Mineral King | One Comment

Remember in the post about the Mineral King trail drawing that there was a short sign?

Have a look at the signage, but first, this is Austin, so you have an idea of relative sign sizes. He’s the little person in the large hat, crossing on the plank.

Now, here is short guy, short sign.

Here is short guy, tall sign.

No wonder people take their dogs and their bicycles where it is forbidden; who notices little signs that are 7-1/2 feet up in the air??

California Artist’s 1st Mineral King Hike This Season

Posted by on Jul 7, 2017 in Mineral King, Sources of inspiration | 2 Comments

The Central California Artist, ahem, that would be me, finally had a bit of time in Mineral King and hiked to White Chief with Trail Guy and a new friend named Jessica.

The artist is sore, and she isn’t happy about it.

The artist is happy to have gone to White Chief, and happy to have spent time with Trail Guy and their new friend.

The artist will now shut up and show you the photos. There will be many.

No bridge across Spring Creek, too scary to cross where the bridge belongs.

We cross below the normal place, where the creek spreads out into 3 manageable sections.

Great flowers along the trail, including these larkspur.

First view of White Chief canyon of the season – no flowers, since it hasn’t been snow-free very long.

Surround Sound in water!

Trail Guy is inspecting one of the sink holes.

Here it is from higher up. Two other people are curious. 

We were snow free until the end of the middle section of the trail. This is where we turned back.

There were fingers of running water where green has begun.

I was reluctant to leave the surround sound of the water.

There were several obstacles in addition to the missing bridge.

These brave and strong Park employees went for it at the bridge crossing.

Trail Guy’s Second Mineral King Hike of 2017

Posted by on Jun 30, 2017 in Mineral King | 2 Comments

Once June is past, I hope that the Mineral King posts will be of my experiences instead of just hitchhiking on Trail Guy’s.

The baby marmots are out, and as always, have moved underneath our cabin. Since there is nothing that we can do about it, we take photos. (They make noise and messes that smell bad, in case you were wondering why we’d be anything except enchanted.)  

Trail Guy went to White Chief. It is a short but very steep hike, and it involved fording Spring Creek. (As of this writing, the bridge hasn’t been put up for the season yet.)

I wasn’t there so I have nothing to say. Just enjoy the photos and the fact that you aren’t gasping for breath, due to altitude and exertion.

Because this blog is supposed to be promoting my art, here is a recent (and the only) painting I’ve done of White Chief. (This view is closest to the first White Chief photo in this post.)

6×6″ oil painting, White Chief, $65 (inc. tax)

Mineral King Trail Art

Posted by on Jun 28, 2017 in drawing, Mineral King, Oil Paintings | 2 Comments

Being on a roll with pencil drawings of Mineral King makes me think very carefully about what I should draw next. 

This is a view I recently painted, and it sold right away. 

Allllrighty, then. Looks and sounds like a logical next pencil drawing. However, all the other drawings are vertical, so this scene will need some cropping, stretching and improvising, all while maintaining its believability.

How’s this? Is it believable?

To contribute to the authenticity, I’ve included the trail sign. In real life, the thing is about 1-1/2 feet off the ground. Weird. Can you spot its goofy little self in this drawing?

Here it is in all its midgetry. (My blog, my word. . . any questions?)