With the wealth of trails in the Juneau area, I knew we would have this one to ourselves, even on this warm, sunny Sunday. Just a gated gravel road ending at an old mine, the trail climbs through and then above an old growth conifer forest. Succulent salmon berries, red or yellow, grow along the trail. The red ones’ glittery translucent makes them the easiest to spot. When ripe they taste like watered wine and leave a wild after taste on the tongue. I haven’t worked out a way to describe the taste of the opaque yellow ones.
Away from flight and helicopter corridors, the trail offers silence as well as tasty berries. After minutes of climbing we only hear the sounds of boot strikes on gravel and Aki’s panting. Undeterred by the heat the little poodle mix pushes on ahead. I worry about the lack of trail side watering possibilities until we hear a small brook ahead. Even through thirsty, Aki won’t approach the water on her own but waits from me to slip and slide down a small slope to where the stream enters a culvert. Aki takes a few caution sips then moves up stream where blue berry brush and ferns form a shading canopy. When she has drunk her fill we return to the sun washed trail and find that American Robin just ahead— the one that all summer has waited for our approach on each trail taken.