We returned to higher country on this sunny, warm day. It feels like spring, even while snow shoeing on this high ridge. Aki brought along the other human who feeds her and they are playing catch with her precious frisbee as we move over open ground surrounded by mountains.
Many old souls live here. In the meadow ancient but stunted mountain hemlocks stand alone, sculpted by wind to Bonsai perfection. They cling to ground passed over by others and survive. We pass the twisted remains of others that have not.
Moving into a surprisingly thick spruce forest we find thick but misshaped trees with twisted trunks. Some are split from root to crown. Parallel ladders of dead branches climb up the sides of others. Their tenacity would suggest desperate pride in a human but trees lack such complexity. They only want to live where their seed fell.
Stopping near the forest edge we perch to eat lunch on a twisted spruce that corkscrews horizontally towards the sun. Aki alternatively begs for cheese and for someone to throw her frisbee. When neither happens she shivers, not for dramatic effect but because constant movement keeps her warm.