Its been all snow and no rain since the last hard freeze—that one that firmed up the beaver flooded trails through the moraine. Not knowing when a Pacific low might ruin everything with warm temperatures and rain we return, finding more than a foot of unsettled snow covering the trail. Fortunately Aki’s other human skis with us. The dog, no fool she, allows us to break trail so she can trot along behind. I wouldn’t mind the sun to blink through storm clouds to light up the mountain tops or this abundance of snow. But today the sun leaves us alone in a land of white and gray.
When the trail begins to parallel a cashew shaped lake we leave it and plow into the thiner snow covering the ice and move toward the lake’s far end and the beaver village. It has been awhile since I skied in such deep stuff and it takes me time to fall into the slow backward leaning style that turns the task from work to meditation. Still we are happy when we come upon recent snowshoe tracks that offer a packed surface for skiing.
Interesting animal tracks cover the beaver village grounds. Some were made by predators. We find a “U” shaped trough amount 20 feet long. It stops at a point where a beaver could observe the lake we just crossed without exposing himself to view. Aki finds it too interesting to ignore. Dropping her nose to the trough bottom she sniffs her way from the observation post to its other end. I head over expecting to find a hole in the ice for we stand over the deep water between two beaver dams. Then a great black Labrador Retriever comes galumphing through deep snow to visit Aki. Wanting to avoid further disturbance of the beaver’s ground I lead Aki and her new friend out to the lake.
Skiing on we find a path laid down by other skiers and follow it through frozen flooded lands to another lake. Our presence disturbs a roosting hawk which launches itself up from a lakeside spruce, gains altitude, gives three quick beats of its boxy wings to fly directly over us. In this land of the eagle we rarely spot the hawk.
Last weeks storm managed to penetrate the Troll Woods canopy but only left six inches of snow on the ground. Looking for an easier transit we leave the lake for the woods and take a short cut back to the car. It take fie minutes to pick all the snow balls off Aki before we start the short drive home.