Taking advantage of the new snow, Aki and I circle the Peterson Creek Salt Chuck (lake). She porpoises in and out of the snow, upright tail beating back and forth like a metronome. I ski behind her, listening to the ice crack under my skis. The center of the lake would provide a smoother path but I don’t feel like getting wet to the waist if I cross a soft section of ice.
When we near the waterfall that drains the lake Aki bolts toward the woods, barking at something in the trees. I am guessing that she has spotted the river otters that had made the tracks in the snow I now cross. The headland I move towards is one of their handouts. Aki has had a strange relationship with otters. One called her out onto thin ice. Another tempted her to join an otter family in the Mendenhall River. But today, they can’t tempt the little poodle-mix into their woods.