This gravel road climbs up from Glacier Highway like it was built for logging. Wide enough for an timber or ore truck it rises past a gravel barrow pit then up through an old growth spruce forest that has never seen professional logging.
At first we are eye level with the forest understory plants, mostly berry brush and devil’s club displaying the reds and yellows of fall. Tall spruce trunks rise naked above the color. Further up the trail we look directly into the thick canopy growth that would block out the sky if we walked beneath it.
The trail flattens out before we rise above the tree tops and then cuts through a muskeg meadow marked by all terrain vehicle tracks. Here, rather than man’s road, we find bear scat darkened with blue berry juice. The bushes lining the meadow have been picked almost clean. I find one berry, late to ripen, that taste as sweet as store bought candy.
After returning to the road we move up to where the cloud cover reaches into the forest to obscure the spruce tops. With Spanish moss drapery distorting their shape the big trees look like ancient Scotch giants about to descend on the Peterson Creek spawning beds.
Aki walks past the giants without concern but stops where the road cuts through thick brush. Like the fool she know me to be, I move ahead. Fifty feet later she joins me at a gallop. Another fifty feet and she discovers something that she practically sucks down into her stomach and then runs large circles around me. Her victory dance.
My glasses fog up each time I try to focus the camera and moisture builds up on my face as we move further into the clouds. The road ends before we are fully enveloped. I’m tempted to follow a rough trail leading to whatever develop that justified construction of the road but turn back just before water logged brush can soak my unprotected jeans.