The little dog and I have reached the junction in Treadwell Woods where we always turn left. It’s marked by the tall cottonwood with an eagle’s nest. The other trail leads to Lucky Me. No eaglet calls for food. No adult looks accusingly over the lip of the nest at the poodle mix. A corona of backlit cottonwood leaves circles of the nest. Too bad there isn’t a white-headed adult to wear the green crown.
I’ve never been able to coax Aki away to take the right fork at this junction until today. Today, she is more than happy to follow a dog friend and its human right to take the road less traveled. It’s a trail dappled by leaf shadows that leads to a beach of pulverized ore from the Ready Bullion mine. The mine closed more than 100 years ago, leaving behind the beach, buildings, mine carts, bricks and crockery. Rusting wheels and rails emerge like mammoth tusks from the shifting ore sand.
All of the bird action is taking place at the waterline. Two sandpipers—a greater yellow legs and a grey tailed tattler—feed in the shallows until driven off by the wake of a Seattle-bound barge. An adult bald eagle munches on a crab carcass and then flies over to a small stream to bathe. Just offshore a raft of surf scoters descends on of school of bait fish.