It seems more like spring than winter this morning. A little sunshine can do that even when the temperature hovers above freezing. Snow still covers the trailhead parking lot but inside the forest, the trail is bare. So are my hands. I don’t bother to pull on my mittens.
A songbird flits into a spruce tree from the trail before we reach the beaver pond. It’s too dark in the forest to make out the bird’s markings but it has a thrush’s profile. It flies away without breaking the silence with song.
Snow frosts the top of the beaver’s dam and dulls the reflection of the sun on the pond ice. The image of the sun, itself, is softened by a gauze of thickening clouds. Soon we will return to the gray. Aki needs no encouragement to quicken our pace so we can reach the beach while the sun is still lighting up the Chilkat Mountains on the west side of Lynn Canal.
We make it to the beach before the sun fades. The clouds have almost blocked it off. What sun light escapes marks the close-in clouds and hillsides with sunset purples and pinks. But it still manages to make the snow-covered flanks of the Chilkats painfully white.