This view should always have whales. I’ve seen them here, running on the Admiralty Island side of Stephens’ Passage; their inverted cones hanging in the air as each humpback’ head dips under the water. Today, with most of our whales heading toward Maui, we only see three ducks taking flight from the water. Unsettled weather provides the real drama on the beach. To the south, columns of rain drop from the obscuring marine layer straight to the passage waters. The clouds part to the west, revealing blue skies and a soon to be setting sun. Aki barks and runs to the tree line where some recent deer tracks lead.
We started this walk in a thick alder forest drained by winding stream filled with muskeg brown water. Clear panels of 2 inch thick ice, straight edges sharp enough to have been cut with a knife, lay against the stream edges, secured there by back eddies. Armed with a camera, I hunted beauty; Aki the urine stories of forest animals. Away from the trail, tracks in the snow, wolf and a human hunter, crisscrossed those of a large deer. Wolves don’t honor our hunting regulations but the deer’s other predators must stop hunting after the first of the year. I’ll look for the deer’s tracks in January.