Late Christmas Present

It’s the morning after Christmas, when you might expect to see neighbors on the street, quietly showing off hats, gloves or parkas they freed up from fancy wrappers yesterday. But we are the only ones on the street when we start this little hike up Gold Creek. I want to make some time but Aki slows down the progress of her two humans towards the Perseverance Trail. She needs to read the pee mail.

No clouds hide our views of Mt. Juneau or the other ridges that line Gastineau Channel. But only the bright paint covering the old mining houses on Basin Road sparkle color. After living so long in this rainforest town, I can adjust well to these flat light winter mornings. There are a lot of good things provided by this one. There is neither rain or snow falling, no wind whipping the naked cottonwoods or spruce trees. It is quiet except when grouchy ravens fly overhead. We cross Gold Creek and then slip and slide onto the Flume Trail.

            The covered flume carries creek water to a small electrical plant near Foodland grocery store. Until repaired this summer, the flume leaked enough water to form long, heavy icicles in winter that clung to the flume frame until the next spring thaw. As we started onto to the flume today, I didn’t have time to mourn the absence of icicles. I was too busy avoiding falls on slick ice covering the trail. Then the sun lit up the trail. It delivered just enough heat to the trail to melt the ice, and give us a late Christmas gift that lasted until the sun set behind the Douglas Island Ridge. 

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