Yesterday’s snow is rapidly being washed off Chicken Ridge by rain. Ignoring this unpromising development Aki and I head North out the road to find a sheltered trail. Just beyond the Marine Highway terminal rain changes to snow. We pass guys shoveling out their trucks and dog walkers struggling to break trail through 6 inches of fresh snow.
On impulse I pull into the Breadline Bluffs trail parking area and release a very happy dog to enjoy her favorite thing. After a quick lap around the small car park she joins me where the trail enters a forest of spruce and hemlock. We quickly drop into a diminutive valley cut by stream that must fight its way through downed logs and brush pushed into the water by heavy snow. Through no help from Aki or I one of the taller hemlock trees shrugs off its overburden of snow to send it showering down to the forest floor.
After crossing the stream I lose the trail but Aki leads me to where it climbs out of the valley and onto an open muskeg meadow with a scattering of stunted pines now almost obscured with snow.
Even though a slight rise in temperature could turn it to rain, the snow doesn’t clump in Aki’s fine hair, which saves us both the task of removing snowballs from her legs and chest. Maybe that is why she dashes across the meadow and into the old growth forest tucked just behind the Breadline Bluffs. Here, where downed trees opened up the canopy we can watch now fat snow flakes drift slowly to earth, listen to a small surf wash the beach clean of accumulated snow, appreciate that no other sound reaches this deep into the forest. In minutes we do hear another sound— the call of a chestnut backed chickadee. The apparent owner of this bluff side forest he takes possession of a bush feet away from us and cheeps on our way.