When the bear and her two cubs wander out of heavy brush, I’m pulling off my sweatshirt. The plop-like sound of the hoodie releasing its hold on my head causes momma bear to look across the stream that separates Aki and I from her and hers. As I fumble through switching the telephoto for my wide angle lens, the bear family slips back into the brush. I manage to spot mom moving between two large spruce and the teddy bear face of one of the cubs poking out from a tangle of alders.
If Aki tumbled to the bears’ presence, she didn’t let me know. We start down a trail the troll woods away from the bear family. I didn’t want to enter the woods on this blue-sky day. It would have been better to circle around Crystal, Moose or Moraine Lake, watching transient ducks, like blue wing teals, paddle across the reflections of the glacier or one its mountain consorts.
The bear’s was the only family we would see on the moraine. That was my plan. We had to avoid the beaches because it is Sea Week. Today’s minus 4.4 foot low tide will drawn every family with grade school children to our beach trails. For the past 49 years the kids would have ridden school buses to the beaches exposed by big spring tides to celebrate Sea Week. Naturalists pointed out cool things found in tide pools and helped them understand the power of the tides. This year, thanks to the virus, parents must take on the naturalists’ role, like they have to be their kids teachers after the schools closed, like mother bear does for her cubs.