Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
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03/30/2006: "Elevated Nostalgia"

Yesterday I happened to see a co-worker's screen saver of a photo he had taken on top of Mount Roberts (or there abouts)...It was exactly the kind of photo I need for a series of paintings I'm doing from the perspective of someone who is standing near the edge of a mountain with a view down into the valley behind them.

Anyway, turns out he had lots of similar photos he took last summer, they were so beautiful! Ones that showed snow capped mountains as well as carpets of alpine flowers as well as the arial views down into the Gastineau Channel with little atmospheric Islands and a big blue skies. The compositions were fantastic too.

Looking through the photos (in combination with the warmer weather we've been having and the first signs of migratory birds...yeah, bird flu will be here soon!) made me nostalgic for when I used to live in South Central Alaska. Friends and I used to go hiking and climbing all the time. There is something very intense about standing at the very highest point of a mountain and looking down. I've since had knee surgery and I haven't done any real climbing since I've been in Juneau.

I don't know the exact elevation of where he was at but to give you an idea, he started at 10am and took the Mount Roberts Tram up to the top and started hiking from there and it still took him around 6 1/2-7 hours to climb. He drew me a little map so I'm going to try and follow his steps this summer to take some similar type won't be easy but I am used to suffering for my art!

Replies: 12 Comments

on Thursday, March 30th, Paul Dorrell said


When I worked on a fishing boat in Alaska, 25 years ago, we called at Juneau. I was in port for several days, and after looking at the shots of Mount Roberts, man do I regret not going there. Guess I was more interested in a shower and a decent meal. You've got quite a life in AK. Can't wait to go back--but not as a fisherman.

Understand you dug the book. I'm pleased; you're among the people I wrote it for. Best,


Sure, put a tattoo on your finger. No such thing as too old.

on Thursday, March 30th, Elise said

Hi Paul! Great to hear from're a real person just like the rest of us after all eh?
The life of a fisherman is pretty tough, especially in Alaska, I know I wouldn't want to do it. Anyway, hope you make it back sometime...if so, be sure to look me up, it's always great connecting with other creative types.

Oh, and I think I will get the tattoo, I just needed a little encouragement.

on Thursday, March 30th, Jackie said

E: Doesn't look like a climb for the faint-hearted! Wow - so gorgeous. I've never done much mountain climbing in my life - lots of big hills in Kodiak. In high school, I made it part-way up Mt. Barometer, which sits at the end of Kodiak's runway. Even the view from halfway up was fantastic. Now I'm too overweight and outta shape to climb the mountains!

Good luck in your quest! :laugh:

on Thursday, March 30th, Elise said

Thanks Jackie, I mean, I'm trying to get into shape as we speak but I'm not the picture of fittness myself at the moment.

I feel I'm turning it around. A healthier diet, being generally more active, drinking more water...*trying* to get more sleep, worry less, ya know...the whole nine yards.

There are times though where running up a flight of stairs gets me winded, so I have a ways to go.

on Thursday, March 30th, Rod said

The photos look awsome, but I must still be an Alaskan at heart because the second thought I had was, "Ooh, I bet the mosquitoes are horrible, I bet you gotta keep moving!"
And as for climbing mountains, I will forever be jealous of the day you and your Dad went up Flattop and the clouds were so low that you were above them. I've been back every summer for 10 years and I've never seen that again.
Would you humor us and show that photo again? You sure did look cool up there on the Mtn.

on Thursday, March 30th, Elise said

Hey Rod, sorry I missed your call tonight, I was out. I'm looking forward to the "fun stuff" you may or may not be sending me. When are you planning to come see me?

Also, as per your request, here's that photo you like so much...not very good quality, it's from a scanned photocopy of the original...

elise-hilltop (34k image)

Anyway, I'm off to bed (I know it's way early but...) I'll be home tomorrow night if you want to try again.

on Thursday, March 30th, Elise said

Oh, and we don't really have a problem with mosquitos here like in South Central.


on Friday, March 31st, Maren said

Maybe we should just mark a day on the calendar like July 15th for the first annual Rain-or-Shine Fit-or-Not Mt. Roberts Fun Hike. I've marked my calendar...see you there?

on Friday, March 31st, Elise said

OK Maren, I'll mark my calendar too! Of course, I'm going to take lots and lots of photos which might drive you crazy. Jen said she'd like to do the hike too, maybe you two could go off ahead at your own pace while I set up my shots.

Still, I'm looking forward to it. I'm going to get a season pass for the tram this summer.

on Friday, March 31st, Kasia said

Trekking and hiking in the mounatins is one of my hobbies! And it is not "sufferring".:) Oh, physically of course it is. But reaching the top is always so rewarding:) I can't wait for the paintings inspired by such incrdible views:)

on Friday, March 31st, Elise said

Hey Kasia! I was teasing about having to suffer, though I do have joint problems that can cause a lot of pain, the reward definatly makes it worth it.

Oh, and I can't wait to do the paintings! Stay tuned...

on Friday, March 31st, Kasia said

Sure I will:)