In a half-an-hour, I could harvest a pint of cranberries from this muskeg meadow. The berries would be wet but bitter sweet. I’d eat at least a handful raw and slip the rest in one of the plastic bags we always carry. Aki would follow close behind me, ready to munch down a few red berries from my hand if given half a chance. But I want to make it to Peterson Bay before low tide rather than linger to harvest.
Aki doesn’t seem to mind if we stay or go. She can always find worthwhile scents to sample further down the trail. A nervous cluster of mallards bursts into the air when the dog and I slip onto the beach. Further out in the bay I can just make out a big raft of goldeneye ducks, just back from a summer on the coast.
Low clouds rapidly rise to reveal a thick layer of snow on the mountains above Mendenhall Glacier. The summer time workers would call the first snow, “termination dust,” and speed up their return to the Lower 48. For me and the poodle dog, the arrival of coastal ducks and the first snowy enrichment of our glacial mountains, tells us that things are about to get interesting.