Convenience drove the choice for today’s trail. It starts near town at near the prison and our collection of large box chain stores. An open steady climb up to a ridge dividing two creek drainages, the trail then drops steeply into a brush choked braided stream. A turn left here takes you to Lemon Creek, stained blue-green by glacier silt. Crossing the braided stream and you can pick up the trail to the Juneau ice field — the 20 something mile deep ice sheet that covers our border with British Columbia.
We turn around at the stream because glaciated ice has made the crossing stones too slippery for even Aki to cross. It’s a sad little spot this afternoon. Even the uniform covering of still white snow can’t bring it beauty. The climb out is steep and a little tricky in places where the trail crosses above a steep slope covered with devil’s club and narrows to a boot width.
Aki races through these parts then turns as if to ask, “what is your problem?”My problem little dog is the need to avoid tumbling into the thorny brush below. The trail continues climbing back to the summit ridge through a dense second growth forest, paralleling a noisy stream that covers parts of the path with slick ice. I realize that for the first time all week that I can only hear the the sound of moving water.
Just past the summit we have to work our way through a huge spruce tree that recently crashed across the trail. The force of impact shattered the tree flesh into sharp edged segments that form a complicated structure an abstract artist would have difficultly bettering. I slide through a hole in the art while Aki slips through a tiny space beneath the trunk and ground.