AVON, Minn. (AP) - The 8-month-old English pointer followed the pheasant scent, sometimes ranging in circles, sometimes diving into cover so thick only the tip of its white tail showed through the prairie plants.
The early bird catches the worm they always say, but what if you want to catch the bird? You get up even earlier. Hiking through the woods at 3 a.m., my excitement was only slightly marred by the exhaustion of getting up so early.
At daybreak one morning this week, I was fishing from the bank of the Kenai River for silver salmon. The air temperature was a balmy 38 degrees, but fog and a light breeze made it feel colder. Few other anglers were about.
When 14-year-old Owen Squires first looked through a pair of binoculars and told his mother the bird she'd seen flitting around the Juneau Community Garden's weed pile was a hooded oriole, she didn't believe him.
I didn't know what to expect when I accepted the visitor services internship at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. I'm from Oklahoma, also known as the Sooner State. I grew up in a fairly large city so I can't help that I'm a city kid.
Author's note: This is the third and final part of a story that first appeared in the the December/January 2003 issue of Alaska magazine. It's my take on 30 years of "progress" on a river being loved to death.