There are better trails to take on this rainy morning. Many would offer views of storm clouds over water or mountains. We have no hope of seeing oceans, clouds, whales, eagles or bears along this creek. Even the trail’s surface discourages use. Aki has already become jumpy thanks to the many times I’ve slipped on wet roots or greasy mud. But it’s become an October tradition to hike up the Fish Creek Trail.
Seven Octobers ago I described a trip Aki and I took up this trail in my first blog post. The last of the salmon carcasses had already been washed out to sea by fall storms. With their fishy prey gone the bears, eagles, and herons moved to more likely hunting spots. It was then as it is today, a place gone to rest after the salmon spawn.
Storm flooding and high winds damaged the forest since our last visit. Hundred-year-old trees lay uprooted on dry stream channels. Some blocked the trail until a kind soul with a chain saw cut out a path. A water ouzel (dipper) walks along the creek bottom into the creek’s swift current. It doesn’t stop moving even after it climbs on a midstream rock, bouncing up and down like a child’s toy. Storm floods have wiped away any tracks or scat left along the creek by wild animals. The only signs that eagles ever visited the creek are a few of their dropped feathers in understory plants.