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Sometimes when we least expect it, we stumble into small wonders that enlarge our understanding of the world, or deepen our appreciation of the wild beings with whom we share the landscape.

This happened to me recently while walking along the Turnagain Arm Trail, at Anchorage’s southern fringes. I’d taken a side path to an open rocky bench that offers sweeping views of Cook Inlet and adjoining lands, and was headed back to the main trail, when off to my right I noticed a most curious thing: a tree cavity stuffed with a dozen or so bright red rose hips.

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