Aki and I slog up the Fish Creek Trail, entering a land gone to rest after the salmon runs. In late summer, pink and chum salmon fought for space and mates on the creek’s shallow stretches. They mated and died, providing food for bears, eagles and herons. Thick brush lined the trail, hiding the presence of bears until a black mass darts away when you round a corner or you narrowly miss stepping in a half eaten salmon.
In summer this creek valley is an exciting, dangerous place, especially for a ten-pound poodle mix with a Napoleon complex. But today, with old growth canopy providing some protection from the rain, and the creek waters humming their calming song, I can relax and pretend that the creek is carrying away my blues.
Aki is not relaxed. She stations herself a few feet in front of me as we wind around hundred foot high spruce trees, checking back often to make sure I am not about to do something stupid. Thinking that she smells danger, I look for the tracks of bears or wolves but only find one made this morning by a deer pivoting off the trail.
I wonder what it would be like to spend your whole life in this little creek valley, smoking and drying salmon and deer meat to carry you through to next summer. After years of watching the creek bring salmon to your camp would you claim it as your god?