Before heading over to the Gastineau Meadows Trail, I had to shovel away several inches of snow from our driveway. There might be more on the trail so I slipped my ice grippers into a jacket pocket. The sun was only a few inches above the Douglas Island ridge when we started the drive. It rarely rises more above the ridge this close to our shortest day of the year.
Two ravens are waiting for us when we reach the trailhead. One clings to the snow-covered branches of an alder tree, its pure-black body standing out against the flanks of Mt. Juneau. The ravens fly just in front of us as we head up the trail, then stop just before we can see Mt. Jumbo. They will be waiting at this spot when return from our swing through the meadow.
Thirty minutes later we reach the meadow. The sun has already disappeared behind Mt. Juneau even though dusk will last for three more hours. I often wonder why naturalists haven’t named this place “Dusk” rather than given it the name of an early explorer.