I like being lost in the mixed forest between Peterson Creek and Stephens Passage. Calmed by knowledge that I’ll eventually stumble onto the ocean shore if I keep the sun over my left shoulder, I follow Aki down ill defined deer paths, somethings choosing my own way when her’s leads into impenetrable brush.
I felt overdressed when we left the car, warmed by the sun shinning down from another cloudless blue sky. It’s light sparkled on hoar frosted limbs of otherwise naked shrubs when we crossed open swamps. In the deep forest it can only glitter circles of ground. Excited by the soft snow in the woods and the scents of four legged critters that passed through it during the night, Aki porpoises along, then dives head first into larger drifts. Driven into the forest by the sun, last night’s cold settles around me as I watch the little dog.
We cross the ice covered creek above a beaver dam and plunge into the manageable chaos of confusing ground. A deer wanders with us. We follow her tracks to where she sheltered in a snow free hollow and return to the open meadows. I post hole across them. Soon my jeans are soaked to the knee and I have to remind myself that soon we shall be on the beach. We make it there, a quiet place this time of year. A crisp wolf track points a way through some drift wood to the water. Aki follows on my heals as I wander among the beach rocks, stopping to photograph the white peaks of Admiralty island rising just across Stephens Passage. I find a hollow, carved out of the flat side of a rock in the shape of a modernist’s candy dish. Inside, a new generation of mussels line the lower side, sleeping (if mussels sleep) in the sun.