We were heading to the glacier moraine but on this rare sunny day I couldn’t drive past the light washed wetlands. Neither Aki nor I have been to this section by the airport for a couple of years. Frost flowers sparkle on dead fireweed stalks and willow gall roses. Aki sniffs at one spot, dashes to another, and sniffs again. People rarely walk their dogs here so I can’t figure out what she is investigating.
To get to the high tide line, we have to walk along the Egan Expressway for thirty minutes. Cars rush by at 55 miles per hour. Aki ignores them. I go extensional: pretend that the highway a fast mountain river that brings life to a desert instead of shoppers home from Fred Meyers.
Leaving the “river” we walk over tussocks of grass bent low by snow to where the high tide replaced snow cover with a thin, flexible sheet of salt water ice. Portions of the ice sheet broke off when the tide ebbed and now lay on the banks of small, deep channels, draped like Greek gowns. When we return to the snow covered area, Aki restarts her investigation. We find a set of fresh tracks that must have been made by a large, running cat, say a Lynx. There are four tracks together as if made by the cat when it brought all four paws together just before springing forward. Maybe three feet away, we find a similar set of four, but also a “v” shaped groove that suggests that the animal dragged its right rear paw. While I was trying to focus my camera on some ice bling, did a cool cat leap across our tracks?