For the Price of Wet Boots


It’s enough on this windless, gray summer morning, to be alone on the moraine with Aki.  She almost died on our last visit, giving into curiosity and the urge to across thin ice after a noisy beaver. Today we will avoid that part of the Troll Woods but not forgo adventure.

P1100957Along open sections of trail, especially around the burned out bit of forest, the wild lupine unfold their blue and white flowers that reflect in mounds of rain water still clinging to upturned leaves.  This is the only show of color, except the green of new growth that is everywhere; the only drama if you don’t count cloud reflections on flat calm lake water. Every now and then a just planted juvenile king salmon brakes the lake surface, apparently happy to be free of the fish tank of his birth.

P1100959We could stay here in this calm gray and green place, maybe check out the beaver village for signs of this season’s building projects but I’m drawn to the lake beyond a rubicon of beaver flooded trail. I manage to make it across the inundated trail to a well maintained beaver dam. With Aki in tow I work along the top of the dam, stopping to enjoy the little forest of mares tail growing along the glacier side of the dam. We can see the glacier from here by looking over the beaver’s pond and through poles of dead trees. Buckbean (British Tobacco) grow straight and tall above the pond surface that reflects their angular leaf pairs and towers of downward facing white flowers.

P1100980The dam is really a dike between two ponds. We find a gap halfway across that doesn’t look deep enough to make up turn around.  I take two steps in shallow water and then sink the third into a deep channel, flooding a boot with pond water and soaking my pants.  Again I’m a victim of the beavers. Aki swims across the channel without urging.  Clouds of mosquitos descend on me but do not bite. Reaching the other side of the gap we walk across the dike to an infrequently visited section of the Troll Woods. The bugs leave, as if driven away but the bird song that seems to come from everywhere. It’s almost loud enough to block the sound of a beaver tail slap coming from the pond. Aki hears it and charges to pond’s edge but comes back quickly, satisfied with the role of tourist. Just up the trail we find a fresh pile of bear scat that may have been left by the bear that crossed the road as we approached the trail head. Time to leave.


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