Yesterday was just such a fabulous day for Luke and me...... Gary was off in the skiff showing our latest cabin guests (really nice folks!) the Harris River Estuary, bears, eagles and bajillions of salmon, Luke and I drove over to another part of the Harris River to take an easy walk. We have had several days of huge rains and a wonderful wind storm the night before which knocked out the electric.
..love when that happens. Spotted a trail we hadn't seen before (turns out it's a well used bear trail along the river) and we took off for a gentle walk through moss draped trees and moss covered ground. It was so beautiful, so serene, so green even the air looked green and smelling of all sorts of wonderful things (and the underlying stench of millions of rotting salmon)...according to Luke who proceeded to leave messages for "everyone" who frequents that trail. There was bear sign everywhere! Luke never leaves me, just stays a few feet ahead, waiting for me to catch up while surveying everything. I can see he is very alert to any possible dangers as well as have a fine time sampling the smells. We spotted a bear and just quietly watched it meander through the woods to the river...he knew we were there and was unconcerned as were we. Every creature is so belly full of salmon and berries right now there is no danger whatever. This guy was BIG and so shiny black....just a beautiful big fella! Luke knows things. Sometimes when we walk he will know a bear is around and will not let me proceed, will sit in front of me quietly or issuing forth low rumblings but yesterday he was silent and calmly unconcerned. We continued our walk until the trail got pretty difficult with a lot of trees down, muck from the rains and a lot of otter dens so we turned back. He got an attack of the puppy frenzies running pellmell through the trees and brush, jumping over downed trees and small creek rivulets...around and around down the trail and back to me, smiling and just living for the joy of the moment. It was beautiful! When he was through we continued down the path quietly and then.....a wolf howling, over and over, it's song echoing through the woods. It, too, did not alarm Luke. He usually is not happy with wolves being around but I think he sensed that this day, everything was just happy to be alive in the cool Alaskan sunshine with full bellies and dry coats. As we headed back to my truck, the local loose and aggressive Rott mix was up for a confrontation. Luke is now truly "one of the Alaskan dogs" and will not back down from a rumble...something which bothers me, I work on it, but really don't know what to do though an out and out fight hasn't happened yet. He got into that stare match and for once I was not fearful, just accepting of the situation and trying to control it calmly. I was telling the other dog to get out of here but he kept inching toward us, Luke just poised for a strike. I picked up a rock and ....well, anyone who knows me would have laughed at that as I can't hit an airplane hangar standing right in front of it...but, I got that dang dog square in the ribs. He took off but only about fifty feet. I just thought, what the heck and headed for the truck, Luke walking along beside me just ready to nail that dog. Made it to the truck and loaded up. I will say that went well but, I know Luke only LET me have the control. Maybe that is a start? It was good though. When we got home, Gary was just getting back and wondered if we all wanted to to out in the boat with him to pull shrimp pots and hopefully see some whales...so off we all went. Luke loves being out on the water. Well, we all do! Got some shrimp and of course when I dropped a couple of those slippery suckers Luke just slurped them right up. Our guests got a chuckle out of that. We slowly cruised up into the estuary again where we watched thousands of gulls, terns, eagles, some blue herons, salmon, crab and a bunch of seals with pups on the rocks and shore. As we sat quietly in the boat, sun glow behind the trees an enormous black bear came out onto the beach and just mozied along, happy in the moment, full belly. We watched him until he was out of sight and then motored on back to the cabin. All is good and right in our world and Luke was a tired, happy boy.
Luke....there ya going telling stories on us again.
Gary....which one of us are you talking about now.