The land is finally white thanks to last night’s snow. It sticks to every surface, no matter how vertical. I’d hoped that we would be the first to track up the snow covering Eagle Beach. But raven got here first. He wandered above with no apparent purpose but to pattern the snow with its talon prints.
Every twenty feet or so, we cross a line of red squirrel tracks. Animals that left the tracks scold us from safe perches in trailside spruce trees. The ravens that tracked up the trail croak out the progress of our passage. One lands just above us in a cottonwood tree, turns its head, and studies us with one eye, as if he was using a monocle. This raven and another will leap frog over our heads from tree to tree, squawking all the way.
When we started the hike, Aki rolled in the snow and then plunged her face into it. She emerged blind until she set the snow flying by twisting her head. Now the snow is fighting back. Balls of it cling to her lower limbs. When one grows too heavy, she chews it off.
When we started, I could see the Chilkat Mountains rising on the other side of Lynn Canal. Now swirling snow clouds cut the mountains off from view.