Discovering Anchorage Alaska; Tony Knowles Coastal Trail

Your boots squeak as you walk atop the soggy trail. The road looks like a festive mocha cake, with vibrant autumn leave sprinkles. You have more energy than you know what to do with. It must be the air you think. The crisp coolness, the light clean wisps propel you forward.


You try to quiet your feet. You move slowly attempting to blend into the scenery. You hope for a wildlife spotting. Nothing too feral, no bears, but a moose will do.


You feel like the only human in the world. The sky has never been so clear, so blue. The water, almost black, does not move.  The wind rustles the golden leaves, the remaining ones, the fighters who cling defiantly to skinny slate branches.


Delicately you continue onward, rambling, following the trail as it winds around neighborhoods, past parks. You are stunned by the occasional shocks of red- berries, clustered against an otherwise grey backdrop.


A bald eagle perches on a tree to your left. You stop to stare. The bird is larger than you would have imagined. You’re grateful for the fact that it seems preoccupied by it’s prey, something in the marsh, you can’t see. You are so close you can look into its beady eyes. You hold your breath. Waiting for the swoop. Instead it returns to the sky. The moment has passed.


You continue onward. Approaching a clearing you find yourself gazing across the opal water at a massive chain of mountains. The more you blink, the clearer the chain becomes. It appears to reach the sky.


A beaver breaks through the surface of the water startling you. Your exhale, sharp and sudden releases a smoky trail reminding you how cold it is. The beaver dives beneath the water and appears once again. He, or possibly she, carries twigs in her mouth and piles them at the corner of the embankment.


Your ears perk up. You are suddenly aware of the fact that you’re not alone. Something rustles in the bushes behind you. Your heart races, you prepare your camera. You just know you are about to be face to face with a large majestic moose. You prepare your lens for the zoom.


It grows quiet. You wait patiently for your prize. Suddenly, in a flash of excited sandy energy, your moose bursts forth. Only your moose isn’t a moose, it’s a golden retriever followed by its two jogging owners who greet you with cheer and vigor.


You’ve been walking for an hour, lost in thought. Slowly your fingers have grown numb, your nose is running. It is time to head back.


It has been a fine morning, a calm cool, stimulating morning, remarkable in all the right small ways. You didn’t spot your moose, but the trail shared her many other gifts. You are not disappointed.