Aki charges ahead on a side slope trail through the woods. But she agrees to wait with some impatience, when I am slowed by the narrower bits, especially those that form the lip of a precipice. I could be mad at the little dog. We are only on this bluff trail along the lower Mendenhall River because she had refused to walk any further on the flat beach path.
We had to pass through an old growth forest to reach the beach. The little dog threw on the brakes just after we left the woods. Our presence had scared off a large raft of mallards that had sheltered during the night on a nearby side channel. Maybe the ducks’ noisy exit spooked my poodle-mix. As I carried Aki down the beach, more ducks and some shore birds panicked into flight. With my arms full, I could only watch them move out of the camera range.
Only one eagle watched us pass from the very top of a spruce tree. When I set Aki down so I could photograph the big bird it looked down with what appeared to be distain. Picking up the recalcitrant pooch, I carried her past the eagle tree and around the rocky outcropping that blocks beach passage when the tide is high. More mallards and a large cloud of gulls flew off.
To give the little dog and the birds a break, I brought Aki to the edge of the woods where a steep path leads to a trail made by those who needed to access the beach at high tide. The trail passes through a weird sculpture garden of eagle trees, mushroom covered stumps, and boulders wrapped in the snake-like roots of trees that had grown up over them. Aki didn’t mind walking under eagle trees or stepping over white splats of their guano or the feathers they shed while taking flight.