Editor’s note: Today, we are pleased to present a volunteer project created for ICL supporters of all ages by artist Cindi Walton—an Idaho coloring book. Cindi traveled the state over the last two years to find inspiration for drawing some of Idaho’s landscapes, and she has a little story to tell for each page.
Cindi V. Walton is a painter and an illustrator who takes inspiration from Idaho’s environment. Idaho has everything she loves: sagebrush, mountains and rivers. When she isn’t hiking or on a river, she illustrates children’s books, designs a line of Christmas cards and paints large paintings using acrylic paint and pastels. She is a member of Boise Open Studio Cooperative and has been featured in local publications (i.e. Greenbelt and Boise Weekly).
The Sagebrush Steppe
I am a basalt rock and sagebrush gal. So when I began designing coloring pages for the Idaho Conservation League I knew where I had to start—this was the first page I created. Give me a sea of sagebrush to walk through and big hunks of basalt hovering nearby and I am where my heart is happiest. I love the fragrance of sagebrush in the morning sun, on a hot afternoon and just as the sun is setting. Sometimes when I travel away from home, I carry a little twig of sagebrush from home and it is the first place I go to when I return.
My nieces agreed to be my professional color-ers (yes, I paid them!). Here is a photo of them after coloring this page. I asked for their professional opinions of the page. Sophia said that it was an easy page to color; Stella liked the baby sage hens.
The Snake River
The Snake River not only runs across Idaho it runs deep in my roots. My great-grandparents homesteaded in southern Idaho. Since I returned to live in Boise, I have paddled or hiked along the Snake River from its beginnings at Big Springs to the Oregon–Idaho border.
When I was young we would cross the Snake River at Burley, ID, on our way to visit my Grandmother in Filer, ID. Every time we drove over that bridge my father would say, “Well, there’s the old Snake River.” Once my little sister tried to get the jump on him and said, “Well, there’s the old Worm River.” Of course, from that moment to this day, whenever we cross that bridge you’ll hear everyone say, “Well, there’s the old Worm River.”
I love every inch of this river: the eagles holding court in the cottonwood trees in eastern Idaho, the basalt columns that line the river near Swan Falls, the wide, slow water that carves the border between Idaho and Oregon, and the massiveness of the river and the mountains that line it as it moves through Riggins and into the Columbia. It defines Idaho with its immensity and importance to everyone and every thing that lives along its banks.
Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes
You haven’t lived until you go bicycle riding in North Idaho. There are mountains covered by trees and trees and more trees, which is amazing to this sagebrush gal. Along the trail, there were acres of lily pads blooming white, pink and red. Besides the nice people you meet on the path, there are also other inhabitants to see: munching moose, playful otter and even a tortoise in the middle of the trail. Seventy-two miles of beauty!
I wanted to see a mountain goat! I looked at the map; it said it was only a four-mile hike. Unfortunately, it was four miles straight up!!! Fortunately, the views were breathtaking when you stopped to catch your breath. And, because wildlife are not on a schedule, I had to content myself knowing that I was in their neighborhood and that they were probably spying on me from a distance.
City of Rocks
City of Rocks has lots of rocks and there are lots of people who love to climb them. Even if you are not a rock climber, this place has a lot to look at. I was so tickled to find a nest of ravens hidden in a crevice of Elephant Rock, where we also watched rock climbers scaling the sides of this monolith. Our hike wound through distinct eco-systems: starting in sagebrush and pinion-juniper trees, through Aspen groves and then on up to rocky soil where only short, small plants can survive. Thousands of emigrants traveled through this area following the east-west California Emigration Trail. The trail made a lovely mountain bike ride. Of course, my favorite experience at the end of the day was sitting in camp watching a Northern Harrier hunt in the meadow of sagebrush.
For 15 years we camped at Bear Valley at the beginning of each spring when the creeks ran high and the wildflowers were in bloom. On this visit, it had been eight years since we had been there. We found the man-made things (i.e. campgrounds) had changed. But the magic of nature was still playing out in vivid color. The creeks were still crystal clear, the air was crisp, mama elks had baby elks and, although we didn’t see a bear, we saw sign that he had been nearby.
Download An Idaho Coloring Book (pdf) to print and share with those who love to color—young or old.