I can tell no one has walked this moraine trail for a while. My boot cleats are the first to chip the trail’s hard, slick ice. My admiration for the effective cleats is exceeded only by a fear that the worn rubber strapping will snap. After side slipping a couple of times Aki now travels on the trail margin where the ice tapers onto bare ground or snow. Smart dog. Mt. Fog blocked all mountain views when we entered to the moraine but is melting away into the spruce covered hills. Through breaks in the trailside alders I can see Mt. McGinnis, its snowy outline barely contrasting with the white sky. We are heading to a frozen mud bar on the Mendenhall River that offers an unencumbered view of the mountain.
With the white sky, flat light and narrow variation in hue, the scene is a disappointment. But, when I follow Aki down the mud bar we find a beaver lodge, its three entrances open and apparently unprotected. My little dog sniffs around a bit and pees the beavers a greeting. I can’t see evidence of that a predator tried to dig its way into the lodge but the paths up to the entrances look well used. No wonder the moraine beaver population seems to be expanding. Aki and I pass the beaver’s current logging plot on the way back to the car and are startled by two splashes made by the day crew.