Yesterday I fished for salmon but caught only frustration trolling across the grain of the waves in North Pass. Rain, wind, cold featured prominently, as did a pair of feeding humpback whales. The experience helped me understand the songs sung today by clouds of eagles and gulls, ravens and crows in this riverside forest. They fight over putrefying scraps of dog salmon dropped on the trail by picky bears. I, like the birds and bears, wait for the next pulse of silver salmon, still ocean bright, to turn toward their home streams.
The place smells like death. That’s too broad to communicate the complexities of scent on offer. Deep in the forest quiet, decay flavors air spiced by ripe high bush cranberries. The riverbank smells like week-old road kill. Spots where Aki hangs behind me displease like an untended pit toilet, an odor that could mask skunk spray. Here waits a bear. Carrion eaters, bears are what they eat, smell like condensed decay..I see bear sign everywhere—berry speckled poop, rough trails through the trail side brush, the odd head severed by sharp jaws from a dog salmon body. Time to leave,