Yesterday’s warmth triggered a release of sap that now coats the balsam poplars’ new growth. It also must have released incense trapped in the sap because the air along the Perseverance Trail smells like church. When the sun finally pushes through the morning cloud layer, the yellow-green poplar leaves seem to absorb it until they glow. These leaves will spend the summer coated in an drab green and then, while dying, give the Gold Creek valley it’s only fall glory by turning rich yellow.
Above the new growth I look for mountain goats but only find two. One disappears. The other, its fur poofing out like a well trimmed French poodle, lingers. Just down the trail, I watched a bald eagle cruise low over the flank of Mt. Juneau where I spotted two goats last week. It could have been hunting for kids or afterbirth. The goats aren’t due to birth their young until late May but I wonder if, like everything else this year, they are ahead of schedule.