Aki loves this trail for the abundance of scent left on it by other dogs. What enhances the experience for her diminishes it for me—-soft snow melted down by rain to reveal dog droppings and yellow stains. She rushes about, tail stiffly pointed at a 60 degree angle to sink her nose into the richness of dung.
I brought snowshoes and plan to take the lesser traveled path that leads deeper into Gasteneau Meadows, forking off the main trail just before it enters the hillside spruce forest. Finding it untracked I veer onto the path when Aki is already 25 meters up the main trail. Usually happy to join me in any adventure the little dog forms a statute of disbelief on the well traveled route as I move deeper onto the meadow.
Its like snowshoeing on well cooked oatmeal but I push on. Without me breaking trail Aki would have a hard time making progress in the stuff but she has me making a way for her majestic self. In minutes she is following close behind as I climb the gently rising meadow to a ridge that provides my favorite view of Mt. Juneau.
The ridge, covered with a scattering of stunted pines blocks the view of Juneau Town and Gasteneau Channel so the mountain appears to rise from a windswept plateau. It’s a place accessible only in winter when the meadow ridge and Mt. Juneau both carry burdens of snow. Aki stands by patiently in this place too clean to interest her as I take a picture of the mountain.
We drop down the backside of the ridge and follow the fresh tracks of a walking wolf on top of the older ones left by a lone skier. Aki leaves both a message that yellows the snow. “Happy New Year?”