Aki showed little enthusiasm for this early morning walk up the Gold Creek valley. Only after I boot up and reach for her harness does she give a half-hearted tag wag. It takes twice as long as usual to walk from Chicken Ridge to the Basin Road trestle bridge. I watch dandelion seed float down like light snow as she nose-surveys big sections of the roadside. I also think about the paper’s weather forecast, which proclaims this the last sunny day before a multiple-day storm. Why then, are we the only ones on this popular trail? Maybe everyone else is worn out by the unprecedented stretch of warm, sunny weather.
While Aki distributes more of her bottomless supply of urine, I decide to focus my camera on illuminated things—flowers and running water beautified by shafts of sunlight. As if reading my mind, the little dog baulks where a little used path leaves the main trail. Taking the lesser used one will mean missing out on dog encounters and for me, mountain views. But we should find sunlit wild flowers along the diminutive trail. I yield, as usual, to her will. We take the smaller path, parts of which started out as a deer track. Hiker boots widened it to its present state—a narrow trail of brown dirt through walls of aggressive green plants. We squeeze between tall thimbleberry bushes that seem to push their white blossoms in my face. In spaces between thimbleberries and the jagged leafed salmon berry bushes, bright red columbine flowers dangle in the morning sun.
Every since we started down the seldom used trail, Aki is the impatient one. She dashes away and returns as I take a picture of dandelion down clinging to a columbine flower. I get the hint and pick up the pace. She pulls me to the front door when we reach the house rather than trot around the back where we hang her harness and store the doggie treats. I solve the mystery when I walk to the back door and see Aki’s other human exiting with a breakfast tray that carries tea and slices of home baked bread topped with cheese and sections of red peppers. Aki is all about the cheese and follows my partner out to the temporary teahouse we erect each summer in the side yard. Perhaps the little dog sensed the coming weather change and knew her other human would want to enjoy one last morning of sunshine drinking tea and eating cheese smörgás. On these occasions, she has come to expect a sharing out of cheese.