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June 2013

Don't Let This Map Discourage You

Dear Reader,

Perhaps you have arrived here by searching for The North Cascades Institute, or it's superb Environmental Learning Center up at Diablo Lake in the North Cascades mountains of Washington State. Before deciding never to go there because of the story told in the map below, I hasten to assure you that in all the years I've taught at that magnificent place, I've never received a single mosquito bite. Further, I was told that it's highly unusual for there to be mosquitos there at all in September (the winds through the gorge sweep them away), so the incident commemmorated in my map is not likely to happen again in September, at least. Insect repellent is always on the list of things to pack because the ELC is, after all, at the edge of a thriving wilderness, and those are places that serve all manner of living beings. On that note:


Mosquito map
An ill-fated walking tour intended to give an inspiring overview of the natural features of the area ended in well-tolerated failure. For this map, a crowquill pen with India ink was used for the line work. Watercolor was added after the ink work was done. This map is intended to be humorous, so I used a casual script with no guidelines for the text. Just for fun and a bit of real science, I profiled our dubious friend the mosquito.


Travel Journal: The Dalles, Oregon

When I was 12 years old and living in Casablanca, Morocco, I was invited to go to our French neighbors' summer home near Carcasonne, France. Prone to homesickness to begin with, I soon turned to a small, lined notebook* I had brought to make notes about the long drive as a way to keep my mind off my trepidation about leaving home.Thus began a lifelong habit of creating travel journals. Here is my most recent page from a fun weekend exploration of an historic area just a few hours from Seattle:

The DallesSm
Every aspect of this trip was a pleasure. The drive, the historic buildings in The Dalles, the stunning presence of Mt. Hood against the blue sky, and the wealth of cultural significance of the area. I tried to include them all. The page is 6"x10".

*Since I posted this piece on The Dalles, I have written a memoir of the trip I took when I was twelve. To read it, please click here.