Aki’s other human and I were drawn to the glacier by the sun. It shines without filters over the river of ice, lake, trees, and mountains. We stay in spite of the bad cross country ski conditions. Reduced to liquid by a recent warm spell, the lake refroze on a windless night. As the freeze deepened , the thin smooth icy plane thickened, forcing water trapped along the shallow edges to flood over its surface, We ski to the edge of one and see two versions of glacier and its surrounding mountains. At other places the overflow merely softened the ice. Over one such place a leaping animal created a starburst each time its paw broke through the ice’s thin crust; the resulting splash melting sharp edged designs in the surrounding ice.
WIth no snow fall since the thaw, we rely on a buildup of hoar frost to gain any purchase on the smooth surface. Slipping along the lake’s edge, I realize that the cold has silenced a normally noisy Nugget Falls, the sun is finally warming my face, and we are the only visitors to this place that hosts over half a million tourists every summer. We have two legs of the three legged stool of happiness: solitude in beauty, and comforting sun. The third, good snow conditions, can be found up Montana Creek where a horde skis in the creek valley’s perpetual dusk. Aki would be there, given a chance, to sniff and play with other dogs. The new ice gives her nothing to smell. If Romeo, the dog loving glacier wolf were still alive, he would have played with Aki. His scent is long gone. All Aki has is us, hopefully that is enough.