Hiking Mt. Charleston

The air is crisp and low. Snow has settled on the ground yet is starting to burn off as the winter season is coming to a close. People and dogs are hiking and enjoying themselves on this glorious Nevada mountain. The terrain is rocky and steep in sections, the tops of trees sway in the wind, and my family is having a great time outdoors. I wander around taking photographs, the dog plays in the snow, and my husband is among the trees feeling delighted with every moment. These are my two favorite beings to be with and they both make everything even more beautiful.

One of the things we always stop and do is smell the trees. Ponderosa Pines let off a scent of butterscotch. We recommend this to everyone we meet on hikes, “smell these trees! They smell like butterscotch!” One of my good friends told me this same thing many years ago on the North Loop Trail up to Raintree. I told my husband when we met and went on this hike for our first date. Now, it has become our constant. Hence, we love sharing this knowledge with others. When you are out, near a Ponderosa Pine, please, stop and smell the tree! You will not be disappointed. Along the hike, as we smell the Ponderosas, I am also studying all the trees and finding images in their bark.

The base of the tree has many faces in the lines. I see creatures in the textures and my mind begins to wander. I take photographs or sketch what I see when out in nature. Then, I come home and either paint the same day or wait many years to start a painting. Mt. Charleston Series 1 of my original Tiny Paintings were painted a long time after I took the photographs in 2015. The paintings did not come to pass until 2020, five years later. The pictures in this blog are from two different events in my and Chris’s timeline. The painting was from a photograph taken when we first met and the pictures with our dog are from 2018. In the painting I saw the head of a crow. What do you see?

-Karen Hilliard