Monthly Archives: June 2014

Eagle Crest Road


P1010143Aki and I walked with pride up the steep mountain road on a hot, sunny day. The little dog should be proud of the way she kept pace with a well conditioned husky dog on his way to the mountain ridge. I was smug at being able to climb at speed without having to take deep breaths. I don’t know about Aki but my pride dissipated when we passed a half a dozen young women escorting a day class down the road. Almost all of the women pushed a child laden jogger cart. One lady, with a baby strapped to her chest, pushed twins in a cart. It aged me 5 years.

P1010136We were alone on the mountain after the day care class passed—-at least we didn’t run into any other people or dogs. There were robins and blue jays uninterested in yielding to the little dog. A marmot sang out warning to her children, not the shrill air raid siren whistle the oversized guinea pigs usually sound just before an eagle flies over the nest. This was a sweet song, a gentle warning that one might give well behaved children, more to impress the neighbors than to scare the off spring into action. I thought about approaching closer just to hear it again.

P1010145We pass muskeg ponds made opaque by fallen spruce pollen. They add a new color, a pale golden yellow, to the forest. Above one pond a cloud of pollen lifts from a stand of spruce and grows to partly obscure the trees. It pulses, as if its bellows blew the pollen from the cones. It’s beauty has a price—congestion and stinging eyes. On the way down the mountain we smell the resin of sun-heated spruce and the complex perfume of flowering skunk cabbage. The perfume smells nothing like cabbage or skunks, more like lilac but with a sharp, acidic twist.P1010128

Walking Through Ruins

P1140288The rain’s back. We walk with the old friend through the Treadwell ruins. Since the mine collapsed almost a century ago, nature had been trying to reclaim the once bustling townsite. When it could no longer produce wealth, the mine owners abandoned it and, I think, its workforce. Large buildings, a baseball field, swimming pool and other comfort providing things were left to the mercy of alders and willows.

P1140291Aki and I find an ore car in the deep woods, still standing on the rails once used it move it in and out of the mine. Ground plants have already claimed most of the track but the car stands ready to report for duty where miners left it after seawater flooded out the mine tunnels. Nature would reclaim our Chicken Ridge Neighborhood in a generation if we let the Taku winds blister away house paint and moss destroy our roofs. Maybe we should have built our shelters with the industrial bones left by our ancestors in Treadwell.P1140293