An immature eagle, small patches of white showing on its chestnut brown head, hovers over the North Douglas boat ramp. I am close enough for a good, crisp view of the bird. Behind the eagle smoke from Yukon forest fires dirties the appearance of the glacier that descends between the Mendenhall Towers toward Fritz Cove. We need rain to wash the air. The forest needs it to water the understory plants and refill ponds and streams. I wish that I hadn’t stopped at the boat ramp to watch the eagle.
Aki and I leave quickly and drive to the Rainforest trailhead. The smoke filled air hasn’t deadened the difference between darks and lights in the forest. But clarity drops off when we break out of the forest and onto the beach.
Smokey air has reduced the Chilkat Mountains to smudges on the horizon. Aki finds plenty of strong smells to investigate. I use my eyes and ears to a fruitless search for surfacing humpback whales, seals, or ducks. We heard an eagle while walking through the forest. But none screams here. Even the sea is quiet. Then a song sparrow settles into the crotch of a cow parsnip plant and sings its “sweet, sweet, sweet” tune.