We can’t escape the wind and rain, even in this beachside forest. But the trees take most of the gale and protect us from sideways rain. As often happens, the adverse weather conditions discouraged other hikers and have apparently grounded the helicopters and other machines of Juneau’s tourism industry. So instead of airplane noise, we hear the surf-like roar of wind through the old growth canopy and hollow pops of raindrops hitting broadleaf devil’s club and skunk cabbage. In between gusts, raven’s clucks carry over the forest.
Approaching the beach during a break in the windstorm, I look forward to a chance to do some bird watching—maybe spot an oystercatcher or one of the belted king fishers diving on a fish. But the bay is empty of birds and even waves. Rather than disappointment, I feel peace—the calm that only an empty, quiet, wild place can deliver.