Thursday, February 4, 2016

Sturgeon River Early Snow

oil on canvas 6 x 12 in.                                                                                                                  $450

30 October 2014 found us at the Sturgeon River, 16.3 km E Jellicoe, Thunder Bay District, Ontario.   This is half a kilometre north of where the Energy East route crosses this rocky brownwater river. We'd turned off the Transcanada Hwy 11 along Camp 51 Road, and walked down to here, on the east bank just below an island. 

I wrote in my notes: "The river is rushing together below the island, from which the Cedars are leaning, towered over by one lean Spruce. The other channel of the river slips over a pair of low falls at the downstream tip of the island, but on this side it it is a serious rapids. The snow filters lightly down from bright clouds that veil the sun and settles in a lacy mantle on the back sides of the trees. This is the first snow of the “real winter” (we'd come through snow going west in early September when Calgary's trees were being ripped up by an unseasonable storm), and there's no ice in the river because the water is still 4.5° C."

As I photographed and planned out the painting, Fred went nearly a little ways downstream to the recently reconstructed Highway 11 bridge, gathering a sample of  recent Cedar-leaf drift 30 cm above the current water level among the angular rocks of the bridge embankment - also some spring drift, now very degraded, 1 m higher. Drift in the low-calcium Boreal Forest isn't rich in land snail shells, and this wasn't very well-sorted drift, so he sees no shells,  just a few Insect remains - it will need to be dried, sifted, and searched carefully later.

The reason we spent only 14 minutes at this lovely site was because we were rushed eastward by obligations and winter. Following the Transcanada Highway along the pipeline, we stopped briefly near Energy East river-crossing waypoints for photos and familiarity, only making it to Opasatika this day.

On the next day, after visiting friends in Cochrane, and stopping briefly for a visit similar to this at Aidie Creek - we drove south into a heavier snowstorm, sliding into the realization that we still had our summer tires on along an under-sanded Hwy 11. Then after waiting a couple of hours for a snow plow to salt the roads, we continued south until the road maintenance crew had turned back at a juristictional boundary, and were halted by police a few kilometres later, as a transport truck had flipped not far ahead of us. After a long wait and a longer detour, we finally rejoined Highway 11 which was spookily vacant almost all the way to North Bay. We pulled into the Nippissing University an hour after midnight, to park and rest for a few hours before giving a morning presentation about the Fragile Crossings expedition to the AGM of the Ontario Rivers Alliance.

Dear supporters and patrons of my art,

This 6 x 12 inch original oil painting, "Sturgeon River Early Snow" is available for purchase at $450 to support our independent survey of the Energy East Pipeline. If you would like to purchase it, please contact Aleta 


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