Robinwood is on the Salmon River. At this time of year as the salmon are spawning, and with the unmistakeable aroma that goes along with that, the river feels more alive and connected than ever. I was down at the beach a few days ago and all was quiet, and now suddenly there is activity. Salmon jumping, gasping, and struggling over the shallow spots, aiming to get as far upstream as they can before their final gift to the land -fertilizer and food for the creatures that roam the river’s edge and the forest beyond.
The Salmon River headwaters begin in Strathcona Provincial Park and it runs about 80 kms before it reaches the ocean in Kelsey Bay near the Sayward Village. Banked by old growth of Sitka Spruce, Western Hemlock and Red Cedar, Cottonwood and Alder, we have about 800 meters of river running the southern border of our land.
During the summer, I swim and bathe in the shallow water everyday. I’m able to walk across to the other side, at some point the water just ankle deep. In the rainy season, I don’t even like to get close.
The Salmon River fluctuates dramatically with the rains. The main reason it changes so much from day to day and hour to hour is because of clearcut logging along the valley up river. When it rains 70 mm, for example, we can expect the river to rise 2-3 feet within 24 hours. And there’s a dam upriver as well. Basically, a few days of rain create huge changes around here. Standing on the beach below the trees, you can see grass and twigs still lodged in the branches, showing that last winter, the river came a good 10 feet there.
So, with the salmon come the bears! Look at these tracks!
I followed them a few meters and found this: A big bite out of this guy!
And more tracks; signs of the secret life of woodland creatures left in the sand. The ones on the left are from Rita and the bear, but the ones on the right, well, what do you suppose those are from? Raccoon? River otter? I am not sure….