Winter Guys Are Back


We are deep in the troll woods, surrounded by moss-covered trees. Aki just froze in place, her twitching nose the only thing on her body that moves. She stares into the woods. But whatever she smells is too far away to see. There is a stream of spawning salmon in direction of her stare. There are probably bears as well.

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I am not worried. We have seen no sign of bears—no scat or tracks. We have seen little of anything except bare trees and gray skies. On each of the small lakes we pass, we did see pairs of bufflehead and golden eye ducks. These are the winter guys are back from the outer coast. Their white feather patterns make them easy to spot on the lakes’ dark waters. No wonder they move to the opposite side of their lake when we near.

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