Aki and I return to the mountains, this time with a reinforcement, with plans to climb to Cropley Lake. The Scots would call it a corrie; in France its a cirque— a pothole lake left by the retreating the glacier after carving out the surrounding mountain amphitheater. It’s a steep climb up, made more difficult today by the soft wet snow on which we snow shoe.
The series of bowls and meadows we cross offer great sport for Aki as she dashes between myself and her other housemate. As I climb a particularly steep bowl, the little dog stands by my partner as she exchanges text messages with our traveling child. They stand in a pocket of reception in mountains without cell coverage until I reach Aki’s limit of 50 meters of separation. She charges up the mountain snow until reaching my side then flies down to her other human. Up and down she goes as we move toward the lake.
A scattering of hard done spruce trees occupy the next meadow we cross. What first must have seemed like a perfect place for sprucelings to grow (easy light and abundant water) the meadow offered paradise for the young trees until they grew tall enough to attract attention from the wind and blowing snow. Those forces first shaped the trees into tough twisted survivors, then stripped them of green and eventually life. The old dead ones only offer tall perches for hunting birds and signposts for us.
We find the lake still covered deep snow while avalanche tracks mark the surrounding mountain bowls. Above one the sun shines surrounded by a circular rainbow cut by vapor trails of passing jets.