Dietlind Vander Schaaf

Lake of the Clouds, 2022
Encaustic, Oil, and 23 Karat Gold Leaf on Panel
24 x 24 in
The Lakes of the Clouds are a set of tarns (mountain lakes) located at 5,032 feet between Mount Monroe and Mount Washington in the White Mountains. These lakes form the source of the Ammonoosuc River, a tributary of the Connecticut River. Back in the early 90s I worked for the Appalachian Mountain Club in a variety of capacities - in reservations, at the front desk of the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, as a Guided Hikes Leader for the Education Department, at what was then the Crawford Notch Hostel and is now the Highland Visitor Center. I drove a shuttle bus to pick up hikers, filled in as a caretaker off season at Carter Notch hut, and volunteered on search and rescue missions. I also worked at Zealand Falls and Lonesome Lake huts. My sister Deirdre worked at Greenleaf and Lakes of the Clouds, which we referred to affectionately as “Lakes.” My years at the AMC were incredibly special and gave me a deep and lasting love for hiking and for the White Mountains in particular. I remember a multi day traverse when I was 19 years old that I did on my days off to visit my sister. It was the first time I saw one of the Lakes of the Clouds and I thought it was the most beautiful thing - pristine water reflecting the wide open sky.