Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Spawn and Die

I've been reminded of how incredible the life of a salmon is. As fry they survive in small creeks feeding off of their parents flesh until they are big enough to swim out to sea and swim around for a couple of years and then they make their way back to the place they were born (if its still there) over rocks, through culverts, and swim up creeks that were more suited to their fry-sized bodies than 3+ pounds. Then they flip around and wag their tail and then they die.

Preservation of salmon spawning streams is very important down here and very well protected. And its amazing where you find them.

We had a great short hike along the Switzer Creek Trail (map - look for Switzer Creek) which runs through the woods by a middle school and behind a neighborhood. What a great place to have a tree house and run around all day when you're not in school. The creek was so tiny in spots that it was just so surprising to hear splashing of a big chum trying to make its way…to its destiny.

This is what I call McDole Creek because its beside Mr. McDole's house. For those of you who have been here that's the one with the incredible yard filled with interesting shrubs and flowers. Its probably the best kept garden in Juneau.

At high tide the fish can easily swim up to the large pool right before the culvert but as the tide recedes there's a very small creek with lots of obstacles. I find myself always stopping to watch what's going on and to see who has actually made it to the big pool of death.

This is Lawson Creek which you pass over to get to downtown Douglas. I was riding my bike the other afternoon and stopped and took this shot from above.

And this isn't even one of the main streams - some of the other creeks, like Kowee Creek, just on the other side of the Douglas Bridge, is really filled up with the deadones. And stinky…oh my…there are dead salmon bodies everywhere stacked up like cordwood in some places…where are all the bears who should be cleaning this up!

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