Ice Hiking in British Columbia 17
The Last Four Days
(I’ve been telling a photo story about a journey made 64 years ago.)
We left the dangerous world of old snow on the big ice and spent our remaining time climbing several of the lesser peaks above Franklin Glacier. I loved every minute of it. Clean rock, honest snow, soft warm weather.
We were sitting on a pleasant summit when a tiny black dot, a raven, appeared high over the great Waddington ice fields, flying a straight line toward us. As it grew close, we could hear the bird grunting with every wingstroke. It scarcely veered when it finally noticed us, landing with a thump three feet away.
At first this seemed to be a brief truce necessitated by exhaustion. But this particular bird was calm and fearless; it may never have seen humans before. Or it could have grown up at the Vancouver docks and seen too many.
The raven and I looked at each other. I drank in the glorious purplish greenish sheen of its jet-black feathers. It seemed deeply interested in my red hat and shirt. We offered it lunch; it declined. We spoke to it softly and it seemed to lean forward to catch every one of our words. As it listened, it occasionally opened its beak as if it were responding to our words with a “wow!"
Eventually we ran out of time. We had to rise and loom over the resting bird. And of course, that sudden human looming caused our raven to fly up and away from us forever.\
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