On June 8 and 9th, my friend and fellow artist Mary Lohuis were escorted to the Bent Rod Ranch a short distance from Daniel Junction to paint for the Green River Valley Program of the Jackson Hole Land Trust. We spent two days sketching and painting from the ranch house located atop a sagebrush-covered plateau that overlooked the confluence at peak flow of the Green River and Forty Rod Creek.

According to several history books Mary brought along, we also had a bird’s eye view of the site of the original Green River Rendezvous and ill-fated Fort Bonneville. From our location, there were views of lush Green River valley ranch lands, the Wind River and Wyoming Ranges.

  

Thanks to our guide, Mindi Crabb, and the Brown family we were allowed to camp on the flat gravel pad at the ranch house parking area high above the valley. This made it possible to avoid the worst of the mosquitoes and ticks. In spite of our precautions (insect repellent and creative clothing adjustments) Mary, who specializes in flower photography and delicate colored-pencil plant sketches that requires close contact to ground level, we found 2 hitchhikers in the camper. Note to self, bring a small bottle of alcohol to put the little buggers in. A tiny travel-size bottle of shampoo worked nicely in it’s stead.

Besides the awe-inspiring river levels and vast views, we discovered that we’d arrived at the height of the Spring flower display that Mary captured beautifully with her camera.

   

For the fundraiser I chose to paint Forty Rod Creek and two-track that to leads to a creek crossing obliterated by the high water. I’ve always dreamed of painting the Wyoming landscape outside of the Jackson Hole valley. The big sky and wide-open spaces remind of the land that I was born in, North Central Nebraska, sans the snow-covered mountains.

My deepest appreciation to the Land Trust, Jackson Hole and Green River, Mindi and the Brown family for affording Mary and I the opportunity to spend intimate time in this incredibly beautiful, dynamic and historic place.

 

– Diane Benefiel