Aki and I are time traveling. The mountain meadow where we started this walk is nearing high summer. Bog rosemary plants have formed magenta islands on the muskeg. The early bloomers have already gone to seed. We heard the banshee-like call of a red tail hawk after a mail plane flew over the meadow. Slipping off the meadow and its handicap accessible trail, we follow an old plank trail to the Fish Creek crossing. This involves only a short travel in time.
A craftsman made the trail of hand-split spruce, setting each board in a graceful step pattern. If he used metal nails to secure the plank steps, I can’t find them. But each step holds firm when I descend with Aki to a modern bridge across the creek. From there we follow the Treadwell ditch trail toward Mt. Jumbo and spring.
Along the ditch, blue berry bushes are just setting blossoms. Some of the ferns slowly relax their tight spiral heads to spread their lacy leaves to the sun. Using imagination, I travel back 100 years to the time when Chinese laborers built this ten-mile long flume to carry water for the Treadwell gold mills. It’s quiet enough to hear their ghosts cursing in Mandarin as their phantom whipsaws rip through trailside spruce.