On this windy spring day Aki and I would like to head out the road and sample a seldom used trail. With our only car in the shop for repairs we must explore what is close — the old mining road to Perseverance Basin. Dropping from our house on Chicken Ridge to Gold Creek we cross it and then climb an avalanche chute to the flume trail. Aki seems reluctant to hang about so we move up to where the trail links with the old mining road.
Sticky husks that recently covered balsam poplar buds litter the trail boards. If it were 10 degrees warmer the fresh buds would perfume the air. Today I must hold one of their husks to my nose to smell the almost religious scent.
Reaching the road we climb its steady grade to where it is buried under several meters of avalanche snow. A line of poplars wearing bright yellow green foliage await us on the other side of the snow slide. We climb on to it. Aki checks out some wolf scat while I measure the killing power of the avalanche. It buried some trees and bent over others. One poplar, bent low to the snow, supports a full load of spring leaves. Another stands straight and green with growth — too strong or lucky to be diminished by the great snow slide.
Climbing further we pass by a series of small rock slides that have tumbled onto the trail. Robins and other birds fill the air with song and the sun breaks out of clouds. Only the wind refuses to bend to the force of spring. It blows steadily flattening Aki’s facial fur and pushing back her ears. She must tack like a schooner into the wind to move forward. We pass a hemlock tree that recently rode a rock slide onto the trail. It still stands happy and tall as if grateful for the free ride to such a sunny place.
I had hoped to spot some mountain goats for they often feed on these slopes in Spring. Instead we find a female black bear and her two large cubs playing on the remains of a avalanche. Mom moves onto the snow first followed by her two children. She stretches out to cool herself on the snow while the kids slide on their paws down the hill. One must have done something wrong for the mom gently cuffs it. All three were laying out in the sun when we resumed our walk home.