Scenic River Route: Environment for the Artist

By Diann Hokanson
The Scenic River is a painter’s paradise. Monet’s Giverney gardens with lily pones and Japanese bridge summoned the Impressionists no less than our Klamath inspires the Realist, Abstract, Representational and Surrealist artist.
The River itself with its deep emerald still places and raging white water rapids, travels both swiftly and lazily through narrow steep rock walls and wide open spaces. Edged with spiky river grasses, the smooth worn river rocks invite the graceful Snowy Egret. Blue Heron and the artist!
The Klamath is fed by bubbling streams and some pretty swift creeks. Down along their banks the temperature can be twenty degrees cooler.
Our own little Ferguson Creek isn’t even on the map. Walking under its conifer, oak and maple canopy is like closing a door, shutting out the noise of traffic from the highway, and opening into a world of quiet, cool and non-electric gurgle of the creek. Huge ferns grow here and moss covers the trunks of the Oaks and old fallen logs. N the middle of all these greens and earth tones are surprising brilliant reds, tiny fuchsia and delicate pinks and lavenders of wild flowers and trillium.
The landscape painter finds scenes of majestic grandeur. In the Wilderness area Ukonom, Sprit, Blue Granite and Cliff lakes, each set like a diamond in the Marble Mountains. Ukonom falls, a mile up Ukonom Creek from the other side of the river, is worth the hike. The beautiful double waterfall is much like the Wiamea Falls of Hawaii. From Greyback, the high country, you can see across thirteen different layers of mountains and hills, each a little fainter as if you could see to infinity. In the spring and fall, mists settle in below and between the mountains, and we feel like the very first human.
Pastoral Scenes are also available; cattle and horses in cattle in golden meadows as well as lovely old barns and cabins. Along Highway 96 are old communities left from the Gold rush. Klamath River, Scott Bar, Hamburg, Seiad Valley, Fort Goff and Happy Camp. We have our old buildings and small town atmosphere. It’s like stepping into a time warp.
The portrait artist is after my own heart. You would think living in all this would be pretty distracting but the closest theater is 75 miles and the closest shopping mall is 110 miles away! What makes our place unique are its people. Do you know a medicine man? Have you seen the expression on the face of the prospector who held two nuggets of gold in hand? I know a 63 year old lady who dredges underwater, A man who can fell a tree in a stand without hitting another, a doctor who came to retire and fish and has never worked so hard in his life, a woman who runs a publishing house, and people who really live off the land with no phones and electricity. There are river guides and wilderness packers who will take you into the wilderness and artists living here. We have lived here fifty years and haven’t made a dent!

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