Sunlight on a Flooded Forest Floor

Even after many Alaskan winters I am still a creature that needs light. This morning the view down channel from Chicken Ridge offers little hope for sunshine. Last night’s hard rain has slowed to a depressing drizzle so we drive to a trail that presents well under wet gray skies.

Few cars share the road with us out to the trail head and none is parked there. Too bad. Their drivers are missing a mixed blue and white sky brightened by the rising sun. The trail leads through old growth forest to beach where we should receive the full benefit of the sunny morning. First we pass through a grove of alders on a trail covered with their dried fallen leaves. Aki does one of her gymnastic hand stand pees here, raising her hind quarters skyward as she makes water until her tails wags high in the air. (The picture only captures the beginning of the performance.)  

Brash bluejays and an industrious wood pecker dominate the old growth spruce forest. When we catch one of the jays resting on a partially submerged skunk cabbage leaf it flies to a nearby spruce limb and complains about our rudeness. The presence of the jay on a floating leaf is not as surprising as the shallow lake that now floods over this skunk cabbage hollow. Last night’s rain can’t explain it so I suspect beavers, who haven’t colonized this area before. Later we use transit a boardwalk trail that appears from a distance to float over a new shallow lake dominated by spreading skunk cabbage leaves. 

Light flooding from open beach into the forest draws out into the open where we find blue skies and sunlit clouds but only one gull that stands atop an off shore rock. In winter hundreds of waterfowl and gulls shelter here. Other times we spot seals or whales just offshore. Today we leave all this open beauty to the sentry gull and return to the forest and a trail that meanders along the airy strip of trees that bordering forest and beach. 

(As I finishing writing, a bald eagle slowly flies above our neighbor’s house. From here it appears to arc over the computer monitor.)

1 thought on “Sunlight on a Flooded Forest Floor

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