Back from an Aki-less visit to the Montana wheat country, I take the little dog out on one of her favorite moraine trails. A long stretch of rainy weather ended in Juneau yesterday and we have a windless, sunny morning, which we don’t have to share with other hikers.
The Alaskan summer had raced along during my absence. The purple of lupine blossoms have faded and I found fireweed, that magenta harbinger of fall, in full flower. A nesting robin jogs along the trail to lead us away from their hatchlings. Now mated up, the beavers have switched into construction mode. Every day they add stripped tree branches and mud to dams that back water over our hiking trails.
We manage to arrive, with wet paws and boots, to a remote lake on the edge of the Troll Woods. A young beaver, fur slicked back with water, cruises 30 feet away. He swims back and forth in front of Aki, who watches with partially submerged paws. When she doesn’t plunge in, the beaver slaps his tail on the water and disappears under the resulting splash. I think the beaver is trying to drive us off, so I lead Aki away from him. The beaver follows our progress around the lake. Each time we stop, he starts cruising back and forth in front of Aki, like a teenager trying to screw up the courage to knock on a pretty girl’s door. The little dog loses interest long before the beaver, who punishes the lake with a series of tail splashes when we finally reenter the Troll Woods.