Last week, while Aki chased her Frisbee over Juneau trails, I explored lands drained by the Innoko River area in Western Alaska. Some of the area I passed through has been designated wilderness. But we saw as many or even more animals in the non-wilderness areas. The flying predators we spotted—eagles, peregrine falcons, owls (great grey and great horned), and even a raven—seemed more interested in keeping near their food source than fleeing us. On each beach we sampled we added our boot tracks to those of geese, wolves, moose, beaver, porcupine, and grizzly bears. Twice we watched moose swim the width of the Innoko River.
Today, now back with Aki in Juneau, I spent part of this Fourth of July picking blue berries near the Mendenhall River. While we walked on trails beaten through the patch by black bears, none appeared. Even one did appear it would not make the moraine a wild place, not when rubber rafts full of cruise ship customers constantly float past the berry patch.