Cold wind blows down from glaciers that separate jagged peaks surrounding the Chilkat River. We zip up and seal the gaps in our clothing during a brisk walk along the only river in Alaska that does not totally freeze solid, due to a glacial sediment alluvial fan.This stretch of unfrozen water provides spawning ground for the final salmon run on the north American continent. That’s why an estimated 3,000 bald eagles converge here annually for a final feed every November, in Haines, Alaska.Marilynn and I have volunteered as caretakers at the Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve in Haines for two separate summers (Eagle Caretakers), and have seen many of the 400 resident bald eagles, but we have never witnessed the November convergence. But 3,000 eagles? We’re skeptical, and expect that this phenomenon is probably over-hyped.High-pitched screeches in the distance call for us to pick up the pace, and break free of the woods obstructing our view. Viola! There be eagles, hordes of them!Some soar down to the river to snatch a swimming fish with their talons, while others line up along dead-end channels that trap Coho and Chum.Many eagles perch in the trees to rest, or wait for an opportunity to steal another’s catch. Perhaps they conduct business in a language we cannot understand.The eagles have arrived at their annual convention/feed. I’m not sure exactly how many have come. How can you count them all?Outside of a handful of serious photographers, this week we have the place to ourselves. A handful of hearty humans shall arrive next week to enjoy this amazing event, and participate in the Bald Eagle Festival activities in Haines Borough for a final economic boon before winter.We experience the gathering of eagles in one of the most pristine settings on planet earth. If anything, this phenomenon is under-hyped.The cold wind blows down from glacial separated jagged mountains, and we seal the gaps in our clothing, looking forward to stoking up the wood burner back at the cabin.
Thank you Abundant Universe!