A Chinook Giving a Little Back.
The beaches of West Coast rivers–or rather those rivers that still retain their salmon runs–are blessed by the stinky presence of rotting chinook these days. The smell might turn your nose, but don’t be fooled. This is a sacred sight.
Rivers run downstream, and carry with them a watershed’s nutrients. Salmon and steelhead juveniles are carried out to sea too, where they gorge and grow. When they return, they bring with them the bounty of the sea; they are one of the only mechanisms for moving nutrients UP a watershed.
This fish was rotting on a beach, but a few days back I found a rotting coho hundreds of yards up from the river, dragged there by a black bear, based on the tracks. He’d eaten the eyes and cheeks and belly, and left the rest for the land to swallow.