I crunch along behind Aki as she trots down an icy trail through old growth woods. If snow still falls outside the forest, we wouldn’t know thanks to the trees’ thick canopy. This morning the weather service issued another winter storm advisory, predicting heavy snow tonight. But the snowfall was easing when we left the car for the woods.
Aki sniffs at the stump of a thin hemlock tree that had been growing on the shore of their pond. Recently, beavers chewed through it’s trunk until it fell and then stripped it of bark. Believing that they prefer cottonwood bark for eating, I wonder if the naked hemlock is a sign of famine in beaver country.
The sky is brightening when we reach the beach. Across Stephens Passage, sun shines on Admiralty Island. Named by Tlingits “The Fortress of the Bears,”
Admiralty has the most brown bears per acre in the world. The big grizzlies are still hibernating. Brown bears are rarely seen in our section of the rain forest but their smaller cousins the black bears often wander Juneau streets. Last summer I watched standing on out lawn to better reach an apple on our tree. Aki has chased one or two of them out of her yard.