Just Before Dawn – Chignik Lake, January 30

Five degrees, calm, a raven’s throaty croak echoing across the ice. Gaining about four minutes of light each day now, the earth moving into position to give us back our beautiful sunrises.

After a big Sunday morning breakfast we hiked across the lake and up into the foothills for a couple of miles. Otters, mergansers, other ducks and a pair of Pacific Loons in the little bit of open water where the lake empties into the river. The acres of tundra where we picked berries this past summer locked beneath two or three inches of hard ice, the result of snow melt and rainwater accumulating atop frozen ground and another cold snap. Icy snow firm as hardpan. Soft crunch under our boots. Easy hiking.

Once in a while a Red Fox trots across the lake or along the frozen shoreline. Arctic Hare tracks everywhere the snow is soft enough to show them. Yesterday I counted 80 birds at the window feeders – Pine Grosbeaks, Redpolls, Black-Capped Chickadees, Oregon-race Juncos, a couple of Pine Siskins. Bears denned up two months ago. Gulls and eagles gone. Wolf tracks lacing trails just beyond the village. We keep watching for a wolverine in the place we’ve seen them before. Tomorrows forecast says rain. Hope not.

9 thoughts on “Just Before Dawn – Chignik Lake, January 30

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