I should have known better than choose a North Douglas trail for today’s walk. On this Sunday afternoon with a lot of visitors in town for the folk festival, the attraction of a minus 3.5 foot tide has filled the trailhead parking areas to overflowing. Even the waters Fritz Cove are crowded with boats targeting feeder king salmon. Trying to ignore my whinny little dog, I head to a trail unaffected by tides.
I expected to find the parking lot for this mountain meadow trail empty but every space but one is taken. Men with hunting dogs and shotguns wander toward the trees where grouse have been know to roost. It’s too late for the snow and too early for muskeg wildflowers but Aki has the dogs to distract her. I am drawn to small islands of beauty things like skunk cabbage and the bleached grain of standing-dead pines. The yellow skunk cabbage flowers provide the only vibrant color on the meadow until I spot the splash of red from the exposed breast of an American robin. Otherwise it is a soft, gray day that offers silence until the first hunter fires.