Alice Lake feeds picturesque Marble River

By Gord Henschel, North Island Eagle, May 13  2022

This painting should be a familiar image to many of you who have trundled about the Marble River Campground, but if you haven’t, you’ve really missed one of the North Island’s remarkable places, not only to see views of the river in this painting, but a variety of scenes totally different from each other.

The Marble drains a huge complex of North Island hinterland whose rivers and creeks culminate in two big lakes, Victoria Lake and Alice Lake. Both are wonderful, picturesque waters, home to fish and even a few seals. In relation to the Marble River, Alice Lake is the one that feeds it, its waters emptying into the ocean. This river therefore becomes a major source of saltwater fish, mostly salmon, but not without some difficulty since many have trouble making it up this fast-flowing stream with many rapids and falls. In Quatsino there are holding tanks to help the little salmon smolts survive and grow. Volunteers, helping to solve this problem, have been practising “salmon enhancement” by transporting the new smolts, usually with a helicopter, up the Marble to a facility situated above its highest falls, especially designed to care for the newly born salmon.

When you’re driving to Port Alice you have to cross a bridge, which, if you stand on it and look down the river, you’ll agree that it’s a sight worth seeing, always a thrill! I have painted the Marble campground area many, many times but have always wanted to catch the river at full flow, including the big falls and the bridge from a spot looking up the river. I knew exactly what kind of view I wanted, however I had to make my way down to the bottom of the river, to a spot that would give me that exalted view I had envisioned.

Not so easy, buddy! The fact was, there was no path or trail from the top of the campground, where the campsites and tables were all nicely fixed up, along an almost vertical drop to the river below. Nevertheless, this crazy artist, carrying his palette under his arm, literally slid down the incline. My shoes didn’t get a lot of wear but the seat of my pants disappeared!  BUT, I got to the view I wanted, with all the rocks in the foreground and did two small pencil sketches plus a good portion of a painting that would need fixing at home! There are not many of the more than five hundred paintings I’ve done that gave me that much exercise! Just to make me feel good, please enjoy!

Marble River - Summer Stream  46x61 cm. (18x24 in.) Acrylic on Gallery Canvas  (300 dpi.).

                                                                                                                                     Artwork By Gord Henschel