More Like Early Spring

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No No No No November, tomorrow brings December. The calendar claims that we are sliding into winter—that it is only three weeks away. But as rain continues to melt November snow, it feels more like early spring. Aki and I walk through the Treadwell mining ruins. The lovely snow is almost all slush on the trail. The little dog works to avoid stepping into the little swimming pools of melt water that fill each boot print on the trail. But neither the rain nor the slush discourages her. When I feel the cold water soak my socks I check to see if the poodle-mix wants to make it a short day. She is already down the trail, smelling more signs left by her dog buddies.

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To avoid the slushy trail, I lead Aki out onto the beach of crushed gold ore that fronts the ruins. Here the trail is drier but we’ve lost the protection from the wind driven rain that the ruin’s trees provided. I’d like to stay and enjoy the harsh beauty of storm clouds above the channel but retreat back into the trees before my hands are too cold to operate the camera.

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Later, from a protected spot at the edge of the woods, I will watch two bald eagles circle above the channel as if it were summer. Nearer, a brace of loons will dive on baitfish that have collected in the collapsed glory hole. Aki will play tag with a wet wheaten terrier. But when we reach the trailhead, she will be the first to the car, waiting with impatience, for me to open the door.

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