I choose this hike through the Treadwell ruins for convenience. We usually save the trail for days when the large cottonwoods and old mining buildings are needed to protect us from wind-driven rain or snow. This morning, sunshine reaches through the winter-sparse canopy to light up the electric green tree moss and enflame the ends of the little dog’s fine hair to make visible her aura.
The beach is empty when we reach it. Two ravens burst from their roosts across the glory hole and fly over our heads. Must be a slow day for corvids. I look without success for the seal that usually swims off the beach but find only a scoter and one Barrow golden eye. Because the flooded glory hole looks tropical on a sunny day like this, I lead Aki up a trail leading to a cliff edge that will offer us the perfect view of its water. Far down below the cliff edge, the seal surfaces out of the green of the hole and looks at the beach where we were buzzed by the ravens. I am surprised at how long the seal stays on the surface until it turns and looks directly at us and slips back into the hole. Can a seal see a poodle and her human a quarter-mile away? The answer must be “yes.” It’s the only explanation for the seal’s behavior.