This week’s location was a little farther afield than our other View22 locations. Finding the Poison Creek protected property turned out to involve a scenic drive that took me south of town and miles up the Hoback, a beautiful valley of sagebrush, forest, and cliffs with a clear river running right through it – and no cell reception. After several rounds of driving right by the tiny dirt road that leads to the Poison Creek trailhead, I found Trio artist Jennifer Hoffman, her adorable daughter Amelia, and their dog Sammy. Jennifer let me know that their family has been coming up here for years, so she already had a feel for and connection to the property. She pointed out an area up ahead and uphill where she thought she might be able to get a good view of the landscape. Twenty minutes later, far surpassing our original goal, we set up shop in a small grove of aspens. From here, I could see everything around us, and across the way to a small little pastoral valley of its own called Bryant Flats. I am realizing with each of these outings that there is always something new to discover in Jackson Hole and its surroundings!
On our hike up, I gained an enormous amount of respect for seven-year-old Amelia, who knew about every plant and wanted to catch every bug. As opposed to being obsessed with video games and other vices and devices of the modern age, Amelia made her own fun through nature. She is awesome – and how could she not be with a mom like Jennifer! Jennifer is definitely passionate about nature, and it shows in her art and her observations. She pointed out so many things about the natural around us that I would not have noticed otherwise, like the kestrels flying and the abnormally large aspens.
Before I knew it, the light was changing, signaling our cue to start packing up. On our way back down to the trailhead, Amelia explained to me her interest butterflies and different colors of Indian paintbrush. Kids in the valley are so cool! I was sad that this would be the last time I would get to go out painting exclusively with Jennifer this summer. She is just amazing.