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The sun was fighting a winning battle against the marine layer when we left home on this expedition to collect seaweed for the garden.The temperature dropped last night. It’s still above freezing but feels like an Alaskan Autumn day.

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Aki would rather go on a regular walk than keep me company while I collect severed rockweed. Staying close, she acts as lookout while, bent over, I grabbed rock weed with gloved hands and dump it into a five gallon bucket. I have to shake from the seaweed crab shells, eagle feathers, and pieces of a deer’s backbone. When she was a puppy, Aki might have snatched some of this wild trash and carried it down the beach.

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Taking a break from collecting, I let the little dog lead me off the beach and around False Outer Point. It’s good to see that the resident raft of golden eye ducks have returned to the crescent-shaped bay. Something spooks a gang of scoters as we round the point and they dot our view of Upper Lynn Canal with their dark silhouettes.

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Just before climbing over a low headland to return to work, Aki stiffens and holds her nose in the direction of a screen of alders. We circle around the screen and peek behind it.  Instead of the expected deer or bear, I spot the remains of an abandoned homeless camp. At the change of seasons, the occupant must have moved closer to the downtown homeless shelter.

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