2009 September Archive | Amber Jean

Skip to Content

Monthly Archives: September 2009

Post-summit Party

How many places on this planet can one enjoy music, good food and wine outdoors at the very same creek I had followed up to a summit earlier in the day? Pine Creek Café is a magical place! So…after hiking 7 miles and gaining over a mile in elevation to the summit of Black Mountain, one must glissade down the snow slope, jump into the freezing cold topaz blue lake (or at least consider jumping into it), climb the cliffs around the edge of the lake knowing one little slip will plunge you into the frigid water (backpack and all), run, trip, and gimp another 5 miles back to the trailhead, put on sandals, drive a few miles downstream to Pine Creek Café and wash the trail dust from your toes in the very creek fed by the 10,000’ snow field ya slid down that afternoon. Pine Creek runs right behind the outdoor stage with party lights and next to the big BBQ. So after a quick rinse in the creek (while chatting with two cute 8 year old boys who have better sense than to play in the cold water look at you in admiration and disbelief), ya pull on a clean pair of blue jeans while the buffalo look at you from across the road, then ya snarf down a burger, drink wine, enjoy GOOD music and kick up the dust with café owner Ned. Thanks for sharing the dance Ned!

Black Mountain – another spectacular first summit


Last Saturday morning came early. I’d been out late the night before at the Livingston Art Walk…which would have been ok in itself except my obnoxious old unwelcome prickly bedmate Insomnia has been a rather constant companion this summer. I lay there in the wee morning hours thinking I should simply give up on sleep and get out for a super early alpine start…wouldn’t it be spectacular to be on the summit for sunrise?!! Each time I got out of bed, I felt sick-to-my-stomach-tired, turned around and crawled back into bed. But sleep eluded me. Insomnia scooted the minute my alarm clock went off. Here’s how it goes: toss, turn, toss, turn, ALARM…sleep. I swear the alarm clock is to Insomnia what garlic is to vampires…the instant the alarm sounds, insomnia flees and I’m free to sleep…except I CAN’T because I HAVE to get up. Do you think I should set my alarm for an hour or so after I go to bed and TRICK Insomnia into vanishing?
I had to drag myself from beneath comfy covers and bumble about the process of packing and eating while groggy from only 2 hours of sleep. Thankfully the peak I planned to climb was not technical or extreme (although I have climbed technical AND extreme peaks on far less sleep).
Black Mountain is a 10,941 foot peak above Pine Creek Lake. Thomas Turiano, writes in his book, Select Peaks of the Greater Yellowstone, that Black Mountain is the “most spectacular mountain in the Western Beartooths north of Mount Cowen. He goes on to say, “Most first-time visitors to Pine Creek Lake are stunned by its sheer size, which is completely unexpected in such steep mountains.” The trailhead to Pine Creek Lake is only about 20 minutes from my house and is a popular winter destination for me since there are some fun frozen falls to climb just a mile up the trail. I’ve been to the lake several times but I have never climbed "spectacular" Black Mountain.
While the hike is not extreme, one does gain a mile of elevation during the 7 miles it takes to get to the summit. The final two miles are a trail-less scramble up talus slopes to a rocky ridge leading to the summit. Fun Fun. The scenery between the topaz blue lake and the summit of Black Mountain is beyond amazing since it includes giant blue quartz-like crystal rocks. Very blue…gemstone blue…baby blue. Other giant rocks are a pastel variety of pinks and whites along with charcoal black rocks with hints of purple. Feels like you’ve wandered onto a beautiful Chinese ink-brush painting complete with waterfalls, springs, and bright green grassy slopes perfectly placed between stone and sky.
Many mountain ranges and peaks can be seen from the summit of Black Mountain. I shot some video on the summit and have begun to learn the ins and outs of editing (phew!) Soon I will share a whole new series of short candid videos from my life exploring inside and outside the studio. Stay tuned!
top photo – Zaydee and I below the summit of Black Mountain
bottom photo – View of Mt Cowen (on left) and Fire Spire (pointy thing on right) from the summit of Black Mountain…and YES!! I have been on both!!

“Chick” original art on paper

Sweet sunny afternoon visit from my favorite doctor who became an instant friend the first time I met her in the exam room while wearing a paper sheet. She ended up purchasing this cute little chick for her home. Her daughter bounced like a frog on my bed and found forest treasures as we went for a little hike. The sky unleashed an impressive afternoon thunderstorm just after they left. The sound of rain on my roof has me thinking about taking a little nap…because aren’t naps in cabins on mountain tops during rainstorms just the best?!

Rave Reviews

Positive feedback is like a scrumptious snack…but without the calories! As the number of Patrons increases and the more posts I blog, the more yummy compliments I receive. Sweet! I thought I would share one from the newest Patron:
We got the "Handsome Fella" and the whole family loves him! It was the highlight of my week after spending a grueling week working in Las Vegas.” – Paul Mayer – Minnesota
Inspiring others is one of my goals in life. Paul went on to write this
I am so glad to have rediscovered your work after all these years, since you showed up 10 years ago in my copy of "Wood Magazine". I am pretty fired up about your work, and it is having some influence on my own woodworking. I pulled out my beautiful set of carving tools that I bought 10 years ago and never used, and I carved a great big spoon that I have named "the van gough spoon" because you need to use your imagination to see the spoon in there. I am not much of an artist myself (although I believe there is one buried in there somewhere), but more of a conventional woodworker. I have also been spending countless hours introducing my father to some basic art concepts, teaching him about woodworking, and helping him launch a business selling his products. It has been an incredible journey so far, and I am excited to see what the next year or so holds because he is really getting fired up about this stuff. I have built a web site for him (http://www.vernswoodgoods.com/) and have started selling his stuff on Etsy as well.”
Check out Paul’s father’s work when you have a moment…and…don’t hesitate to send links, photos, and (of course) compliments my way!