Rain and slick-ice trails must be keeping everyone else out of the Gold Creek valley. Aki doesn’t appear to notice the solitude. For a dog with sensitive nose and an inquisitive nature like her, this mid-winter thaw is magic—as stimulating as Disneyland or an overturned meat truck. Nose impaired and cocooned in waterproofs against the rain, I look inward, rather than out today.
We cross a young forest growing over the rubble of hydraulic mining. A century ago, I couldn’t walk over the wasteland created here by men moiling for gold. The old growth forest they destroyed fed hunters and gathers and offered a peaceful place for the rest. But the gold extraction efforts that destroyed it provided jobs for the people in the nescient Juneau town. Without them, there would be no Juneau. Without them, I might still be living in California. I guess I owe them a debt but refuse to share responsibility for their destructive acts.