Shaman Island


Aki and return to the North Douglas trail head and, thankfully, find it empty of cars. Ten minutes into the beachside forest, I realize that my boots are the nosiest things in the woods. No airplane, boat, or car noise reaches us. We can hear a cranky set of Stellar jays and the long trill of a thrush. A goose calls out in panic and flies over our heads. The solitude is not appreciated by my little dog, who loves company of all kinds. She must settle for the smells of scent left by dogs who passed through here yesterday.


With the uneasiness I always feel when walking over exposed tidelands, I lead Aki onto a flat, sandy plain dotted with shallow tide pools. She hangs back, like she knows in a few hours almost twenty feet of water will cover the ground where we walk. In minutes we are on the now-exposed causeway that offers a dry path to Shaman Island. A large murder of crows stirs on a rocky point at the end of the causeway and breaks into the trees in the interior of the island. Two bald eagles roost in trees on the edge of the island. Another eagle, bound from Admiralty Island, joins them.


A small raft of harlequin ducks swims away as if to distract us from a small family of their kind that remain huddled against the point. Near the family an orange beaked oystercatcher whistles as if to attract our attention away from its nest. Aki and I wander around the tiny island and start back across the causeway. The crows abandon their island hideout and land in front of us on the trail. When we get within forty feet of them, they burst in the air in a big noisy show and circle back to join the harlequin family and the oystercatcher on the rocky point. A flock of gulls drops in to join them. All will be happy when the tide buries the causeway.





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