This morning I thought about fish and flowers not dog baths. Then we came under the influence of our seductive spirits. It happened at the end of the road where a trail leads across flower choked meadows to the sea. Turn right and walk a half mile and you find the mouth of Kowee Creek.
I was hoping to see the meadow in bloom and sunlight. I’d also hope to a catch a fresh from the sea pink salmon at the mouth of Kowee Creek.
It’s high season for the mosquitos who plague the Kowee Meadows trail. They moved us quickly down the trail, and I stop only for brief snaps of orchids in a muskeg pond and later refections in a beaver pond. At first we were spared a wet muddy walk by a slightly elevated boardwalk. When it ran out we had to cross ground worked to the consistency of a hog wallow by other hikers.
Usually Aki manages to prance around the worse of a muddy trail to return the car with clean fur. This is how she started down the trail. Then a beautiful dog, cut in the shape of a Yukon River sled dog, arrived. It was white with black spots and the long legs of its bred. Aki chased and followed it through the worse of the bog holes and returned to me with legs coated with mud. “King” the sled dog barely took on any color.
King and his young owner were with us when we followed the trail onto a now flooded trail. Beavers. We could see their domed home rising at the edge of a large pond backdropped by a ridge of black and white mountains. King and his owner continued on down the trail. I turned us back when I saw water rise above her boots and then reach half way up her calf. Beavers.
The sun was breaking through the clouds now and I could see a blanket of yellow and purple flowers in the near distance. Resisting this natural seduction I turned back to the forest and we followed the old trail now abandoned to windfalls and mud. Later, feeling good about still having dry socks I lead us onto the meadow trail and looked for shooting stars among the crowds of yellow buttercups. purple lupine, and chocolate brown lilies. Spotting a small patch of the magenta shooting stars twenty feet off trail I was tempted to walk over for a closer look. That would be like walking over Renior canvases to get to a Goya that you prefer so I kept to the trail.
Leaving the main trail we head down a fainter one across the meadow. Aki shoot ahead to bounce around the meadow, then stops to roll in something. She’s found bear poop. Fortunately bears are grass eaters this time of year so she doesn’t smell too bad. Nothing a bath can’t resolve. We never see the bear that left this calling card, for which I am thankful.
After Aki yielded to the bear we push on to the creek mouth where I catch a couple of Dolly Varden trout for dinner. Normally we’d see humpbacks here but only a red kayak cuts the ocean’s surface. Later we will watch a gang of seals at work in Berner’s Bay before returning to meadow and trail.
With the sun getting the best out of the meadow flowers I want to stay on the flooded trail rather than return by the muddy tangle that the old trail has become. Feeling that more exposure to beauty is worth a ride home with wet socks I press ahead. This time it is me that gives in to seduction. Aki follows along in my wake, muddy water often up to her chest. Just shy of the place where the beavers have covered the trail with 12 inches of water I spot a dry peninsula of ground leading into the woods. We take it back to old trail and then return without further temptation to the car.