Aki and I are back on the glacial moraine. It’s early in the day—too early for wind to raise a ruffle on the Dredge Lakes. It’s also too early for other dog walkers to appear. On our last visit my little dog discouraged a black bear that must have been attracted by the herring scent floating off my coat. But since then I’ve washed the coat and we are on a different section of the moraine.
We drop off a raised trail to where we have an unobstructed view of Moose Lake. A white strip of fog separates lakeside cottonwoods in full fall yellow from a spruce-green mountainside. Reflected in the lake, the fog underlines the cottonwood trees. I take several photos of the scene and look at them on the camera view screen as we return to the trail. “This is why we are here, little dog,” I tell Aki and then say, “Uh-oh.” Aki, who apparently knows the meaning of “Uh-oh,” goes on alert and looks down the trail where a 100-pound-plus-pound black bear has just stopped walking toward us. With fluffy, shinny back fur and round belly, he has the just-moussed look of a bear full of fish fat. When Aki growls, it slowly turns around and trots away from us down the trail. “That’s it, little dog, I tell the ten-pound poodle mix, we are not coming back to the moraine until hibernation time.”