I forgot how this trail to the mouth of Mendenhall River affects Aki. It seems to rob her of confidence, even on a sunny spring day when no shotgun blasts compete with the complaints of eagles, ravens, and ducks. She stations herself at my heels and gives me her, “It is time to turn back” stare every time I look in her direction.


I start to lose confidence in my ability to photograph wild things when my camera refuses to focus on bald eagles as they dive on fish in the river. I do fine when the big, white-headed birds pose between fishing expeditions. But all but one of the bird-in-action pics look shaky. In the discarded ones I can still make out the way the eagle’s wings twist and bend as it positions itself over it prey.


Across the river, another human is flushing ducks and ravens toward us. He watches some drama at the tip of a disappearing spit. I see a great splash off the spit, but not what caused it. Now as frustrated as the little dog, I head back into the forest, clicking one last picture of the glacier reflected in the river for which it is named.



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