Backpacking: Foggy Mountain Bridges

In the summer of 2017 we travelled in a group of four adults and two tweens just across the Alberta-British Columbia border to the Mount Robson to climb the Berg Lake trail.

for whatever one photo is worth:

After four nights atop the mountain, camping rough and day-hiking the area we were wet, tired and running low on supplies. The kids had been champion backpackers, helping out around camp, tolerating the rehydrated meals and composting toilets, entertaining us on the day we spent hunkered in the smallish cabin with fifty other people during a torrential downpour trying to dry our clothing, and carrying their share of the weight up and down the mountain.

Kids being kids, they made up funny games to pass the long hours of hiking. They sang familiar and made-up songs to “scare off the bears.” And for most of the trek back down the mountain, a one-day descent of about eighteen kilometers of mixed terrain, they not only kept pace but led the whole group by a consistent distance.

Readers who are familiar with the hike may recognize the bridge in this photo.

From the bottom, the first third of the hike is a long, gradual climb to (and then along) a lake.

After the lake, a rolling traversal near or on a riverbed brings hikers to a second gradual ascent to the top of a waterfall.

Those who know the route usually break here because the next part of the hike is a steep, rocky climb with warning signage near the bottom. A switchback trail leads up through the rocks and trees with the sound of a waterfall in the distance. As a sign that one is nearing the top, this small bridge appears ahead marking that one is about to begin the final stretch towards the upper falls and the nearby campsite.

As the tweens forged ahead on our descent, I came upon a clearing overlooking this bridge along a switchback on the trail. The pair who had been forging ahead with vigor were just standing there waiting… restingcontemplating… who can say?

Comic: Kicking off Gaige and Crick

I alluded in a previous post that I was fumbling through the idea of starting another web comic as a kind of spiritual sequel to the comic I stopped drawing about two years ago now.

I think it would make a great addition to a daily blog like this and allow me to supplement the wordy nature of daily blogging with something unique and more visual.

It’s not much to look at yet, but it blossomed out of an idea to take an art style I’m comfortable with and a legacy of drawing comics about parenting and then extrapolating it into a story about a guy and his dog and their adventures through the backcountry.

I fussed through some concept work over the last couple days and did some loose sketching on my iPad:

I roughed that out in my go-to vector editing program, Inkscape, first playing around with a character design and getting the models where I liked them. What resulted was some basic art and recycling of the some of the assets from my former comic to rough out the scene:

I did another hour or so of work to build some updated custom scenery, specifically looking at how I can do “nature” better if that’s going to be the primary setting for a future strip. I sketched some trees, I cleaned up my backgrounds and worked on some shadowing.

I’m also keeping to my custom cartooning font that I created and tweaked for use in that aforementioned web comic project.

The final result was a masthead that I’m reasonably happy sharing as a kick-off to this sub-project:

Where this goes next is probably going to take me a few weeks or more to get rolling properly. Stories & jokes. Some settings. More art assets. And a schedule for designing and publishing these on this blog.

Stay tuned.

The Adventures of Gaige and Crick has taken it’s first step out the front door.