We were headed for Whistler today but, as we were about 10 minutes out of Whistler, we rounded the corner just south of Daisy Lake and the traffic came to a standstill. It turned out that just 15 minutes before we got there, a three car collision had occurred, with a fatality.
That meant that the highway would be closed for hours so we turned around and stopped in at Brohm Lake and went for a walk in the crisp air instead.
However, the sky was clear and blue and the sun was shining, but Brohm Lake is on the wrong side of the road and the sun wasn’t reaching us. So we hopped back in the truck and headed into Brackendale to walk the dike along the Squamish River and see the eagles.
The sun was warm on our faces and the path held many happy walkers and many even happier dogs. A few eagles perched in the trees or hopped along the river bank across the water. A seal floated lazily in the river, having ventured several kilometres in from the ocean looking for an easy meal, perhaps a spawned out coho drifting back downstream; that’s what the eagles are waiting for.
Along the dike are a number of benches made of driftwood, and a fabulous piece of metal artwork of several sockeye salmon, migrating up the Squamish.
The late afternoon sun is low in the sky at this time of year, and the shadows it creates are so interesting. The bright light illuminated mossy blankets on every surface, the brilliant lime greens blanketing the otherwise drab ground. As I crouched down low, taking photos of moss covered rocks, Kirk chuckled and later told me that several people were stretching their necks to see what I was photographing, and that one woman had stopped and almost peered over my shoulder to see what could possibly be more interesting than the eagles everyone else was gawking at.
The massive cottonwoods, and the smaller poplar trees edging the river are bare skeletons, their texture so interesting. I both love and hate this time of year. The world slows down and breathes shallower as the plants pull back their energy to sleep for another season, waiting until spring to stretch again. But that same slowness makes me melancholy because it always feels like the season of death, more life of losses I have experienced have occurred in the colder months. It’s always there in the back of my mind.
Our final stop was down at the estuary, where the Squamish River meets the ocean. Again, the low light and golden colour gave everything a warm glow in the chill air. The dried grasses were like a carpet, shades of brown and red and gold, fringing the shallow slow moving water.
It wasn’t the day it was supposed to be but if we had made it into Whistler we very likely still wouldn’t be home yet, some nine hours later.
The highway is partially open now, but the congestion is still apparently heavy and it is flowing as single lane alternating traffic.