Alien pods or harmless pine cone?

My father and I went camping this summer, just like we try to do every summer. We set up camp in an area that, in addition to the normal Ponderosa pines and aspen trees, it also had trees with these really interesting pinecones on them. I’d never seen them before, so I thought I’d sketch them and look them up when I got back someplace that had a signal.

A photo posted by aaron thomason (@aaron_t) on

Turns out the trees were Douglas Fir trees, and this is what their cones look like. Apparently the only other Douglas Firs I’ve ever seen were chopped down and and bundled in Christmas tree lots.

Illustration · Life

Back to basics with Field Notes

Camping in the mountains of Colorado is sometimes about as far off the grid as one can get. Being 15 miles from my questionable (at best) AT&T coverage, I found myself going through technology withdrawal. Not because I felt like I had to be online all the time, but because there was interesting stuff happening all around us and there was no way to share that information with the world — which sounds like I had some kind of complex now that I think about it. Without access Twitter or other social networks, I could experience these happenings and try to remember to tell people later, or, more likely the case, forget because something else cool happened later that bumped the previous experience off my radar.

I was able to take some pictures with my phone, but eventually it ran down, and it wasn’t all that useful in the rain anyway. Fortunately I had one of my trusty Field Notes Brand memo books and a pencil in my bag, so that became my Twitter for a week. One good thing about camping is that there is a lot of down time, so when something worth recording happened, like when the raccoon that broke into one of our containers, I could record it with a quick sketch and come back later when I had time in between fishing sessions or while waiting for the rain to pass to fill in the details.

Now that I’m back and plugged in I thought I’d post the sketches.

Chipmunk food

Giant chocolate banana muffin thing
Seriously. There were probably more calories in each of these muffins than I got most days at home.

Caught one fishIt's raining Thieving RaccoonEagle fishing Nightcrawlers  Broken grill Cigars with dad Spider pillow heebie jeebies Muddy boots Mosquito fill-up  Pouring tent

Field Notes
Field Notes – Durable Materials indeed